Netflix Review: Struggle (The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski)

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Summary

This documentary recalled the life and works of Stanislav Szukalski, beginning from his latter times in California and backtracking into his past. For five years, his close friend Glen Bray helped him to record him telling his eccentric and imaginative tales of success and failures.

From his own invented alphabet to how he believed that Easter island was where humanity began, he was called a genius as a child to a megalomaniac as an adult.

Conclusion

As a fan of art, I was completely intrigued with this sculptor’s life story. Despite the failures in life and his career, he was able to work to the end at something he loved.

Now I would love to Chicago’s Polish Museum of America!

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Movie Review: Crooked House

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Summary

In the late 1950s, an elderly billionaire died after his regular insulin shot from his young wife. His daughter hired an investigator to find out the truth. He discovered that the gentleman was actually poisoned…..

Everyone had a reason and motive to kill him off as everyone from the 12 year old to the aunt disliked him greatly.

Conclusion

This was a movie adaptation of the Agatha Christie murder mystery. Some of the details in the book was changed to “have more impact” on the audience. Overall, it was a decent movie to watch while relaxing in the evening. There wasn’t too much of a surprise or twists in the story.

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Seven Souls In The Skull Castle (Season Moon Kagen)

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Summary

The story began after the fall of the warlord, Nobunaga Oda. Hideyoshi Toyotomi was going to unify all of Japan. However, Tenmao, who was loyal to Nobunaga Oda, believed that he could revive the power of his lord with his conquers and beliefs. He believed that Nobunaga Oda’s armour had powers.

Samurais banding together and fighting for their family and friends. All rushed towards the Skull Castle to face Tenmao. But as they defeated Tenmao , they discovered that Toyotomi’s army was approaching to take over the castle….But then, Tokugawa Ieyasu arrived instead….

Conclusion

As I had read about the history of Japan, I was able to recognize quite a few of the name mentioned during this theatrical play. However, even if you didn’t know anything about the names, you could still enjoy the amazing and sometimes humorous sword-fights with the katanas. The costumes were quite beautiful, especially for the women. I found it interesting that the women at the brothel were ones who owned the machine guns…..

Special lighting and scenery settings that included water, made the background very realistic.

This theatrical production blended some history with a modern twist and a sprinkling of magic. Sometimes, I felt like I was watching an anime come to life!

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Netflix Series: Let’s Fight Ghost

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Summary

Off was a medical student who made money by exorcising evil spirits. As a child, he had an possession encounter with an evil spirit, but his uncle and father (both exorcists) were able to save him. His father didn’t want him to have any more chances of facing spirits, so his father stayed away from Off. His uncle, who was less skilled, watched over him.

One day, Off encounters a lost high school spirit who was dead for five years. She couldn’t remember how and why she died or what her identity was besides her name, Jeen. She was dealing with another evil spirit at an abandoned high school when Off appeared. Naturally, they fought each other. Then, authorities arrived and Off had to leave.

If he could see her, then he might be able to help her rediscover her identity!!

Conclusion

This series was adapted from a Webtoon and in 2016, Bring It On, Ghost was the Korean version. I enjoyed watching the funny interactions the characters had while doing research and fighting evil spirits. However, I preferred if there were less of the romantic scenes. I liked the action scenes more.

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Netflix Series: The Girl From Nowhere

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Summary

Nanno was always the new kid at each high school. Imagine being the target of bullies each time from students and the staff alike. Curiously, she was never afraid and was attracted to secrets and danger, especially death. Revenge was all she could think of…

Conclusion

Some spoilers:

Season One was all about her standing up against all the bullies in each episode, including the ones that led to her death. From the beginning, the fact that she kept coming back to life in a new episode, viewers knew there was something supernatural about her. Making all those who had caused misery to others to repent and to beg for forgiveness was her goal. Forgiveness was not the goal….

Season Two delved into different aspects of abuse from parental neglect to rape. Sometimes it became quite dark. Then everything got complicated when there was competition….

For those who enjoy revenge and the supernatural should check it out. Even though most of issues might be exaggerated, but if one watched enough true crime shows understand that these issues were plausible.

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Netflix Movie: Yes Day

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Summary

Before they were parents, they did things on a whim, whenever and whatever they wanted to do. However, as parents, they fell into the “no” trap. Everything the children wanted, they usually said no. This caused a lot of conflict and rebellious behaviour in the family as the children grew older.

One day, they decided to follow the advise of having a “Yes Day”, which was having 24 hours of all rules by the children. Naturally, there were a few ground rules. Hence, after trying their hardest to follow the rules at school and home for a certain time, the children had their “Yes Day”!

Let the party begin! Imagine all the interesting things the children wanted… for example, opening the windows while driving through the car wash. Oh dear….

That night, their teenage daughter decided to sneak out to a music festival, leaving her brother alone with his friends instead of watching him. When she got into trouble and regretted going to the festival, she only wanted to go home…

Conclusion

This movie was based on a book of the same name. For adults watching this, it could appear to be a complete waste of time. The fact that all that chaos to happen in one day with the parents’ approval could sound ridiculous to adults. However, watching with my school-age children brought a lot of laughter to watch the outrageous events unfold. These were often ones that they might think about themselves.

The ending was very touching as despite their differences and problems, the family came together to solve their problems.

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Netflix Series: Shadow And Bone

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Summary

Alina was an orphan, who grew up in an orphanage with her best friend, Mal. On the day that they were to be tested to see if they had special powers as Grishas, was worried that she was one. She used a self injury trick, so she was guaranteed to stay with Mal as a regular mortal.

As young adults, both served in an army to help find ways to conquer through the Fold. This dark and dangerous fold contained Volcra, the monstrous creatures. According to the legend, the Dark Heretic was an extremely powerful Grisha, who created the Fold when he became power hungry and wanted to destroy his enemies.

One day, when they were attacked by the Volcra as they were travelling through the Fold, a creature was attacking Mal and as another grabbed her, an enormous beam of light blasted around her body. This beam destroyed the creatures around their vessel! She was actually the legendary Sun Summoner! Alina could be their solution to destroying this monstrous Fold! However, now she became the target of many greedy souls…..

Conclusion

Apparently in this fantasy world, Su Han was the enemy territory and Alina was half-Su Han. As looking half-Su Han (I saw this as equivalent to half-Asian in real life), she lived with racism and prejudice her entire life. This constant bullying made to her stronger and more independent at a young age.

I haven’t read the trilogy that this series was adapted from yet. Therefore, I couldn’t comment if it followed the books faithfully. However, the theme of growing up as the despised and into the sought after Legend made it a feel-good series. There were some twists in the plot as characters begin to show their true colours.

The ending definitely hinted that a second season would be coming someday!

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Netflix Series: Heaven Official’s Blessing (天官賜褔)

Summary

After doing a lot of good deeds, people could rise into the heavens and become one of the many gods or goddesses. Xie Lian was a crown prince who was loved by his kingdom. After doing a lot of good deeds, he died young and rose into the heavens. However, as he was inexperienced and rather unknown as a young god, he was sent back to Earth to solve problems like fighting demons and to build his own temple to gather believers.

Because of his inexperience, two of the toughest gods’ assistants followed along to make sure Cie Lian didn’t not cause any trouble for their senior gods. They also worry that the most evil of wraths and demons, Hua Cheng, would attack. This evil being was ruthless, and cruel while working alone. All the evil spirits were afraid of him…. Just seeing his red gown would cause them to flee! But, the Crown Prince liked to be alone as much as he could….

After travelling alone for awhile, Xie Lian discovered that a young man joined him on the back of the hayride…. He was wearing red….

Conclusion

This Chinese anime was beautifully drawn. The main theme was about love, hate and redemption. Love surpassed life, death and gender. There were still some unanswered questions at the end because season two was coming out in the near future.

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Movie Review: The Giver

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Summary

In the dystopian future, the human race was split up by jobs given to them by society once they were of age. No one had the choice to choose their careers. However, there was only one Giver assigned to one person at a time. The Giver was the only one who knew the truth behind the lies, dangers and inequalities. What was supposed to be an honour became, the main character, Jonas’ goal to leave this world…. But he mustn’t get caught…..

Conclusion

This movie was adapted from the book by Lois Lowry. Although this book was meant for teens, the ideas and concepts worked quite well in the movie. I actually was able to relate to the assignment of career scene with the traditional quizzes that I took as teen about my future career. However, most of the people I knew didn’t follow the path that those quizzes recommended to us. Our future was for us to discover and to change!

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Netflix Documentary: Operation Varsity Blues

Summary

This documentary recalled the March 2019 college admissions scandal that came to light as it involved some very wealthy and influential families plus two very famous actresses’s children.

Rick Singer was supposed to be someone who would help to prepare senior high school students for college entrance exams. However, he eventually became the person to go to for the access of discounted side door entries to colleges. Why were these so much cheaper than the regular side doors?

Conclusion

Throughout my life, I have heard rumours about donating a huge amount of money to have a better chance to schools. Therefore, this topic was not news to me. Wealthy families already have the financial ability to send their children to extra tutoring and schooling. These side doors, according to the documentary, are still available.

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