The Man in the High Castle: Season 1, Episode 2 Review

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Good evening all! Maria here, and hope all of you are having a good week so far. 🙂 Tonight, I’ll be talking about the second episode of the first season of The Man in the High Castle, and you can expect Episode 3 later this week, to make up for last week. 😀

Before I move onto the review, of course my disclaimer…if you haven’t seen the episode yet, spoilers lie ahead.

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The highlights from Episode 2 (in no particular order):

  • Raeder and Obergrueppenfuehrer Smith are involved in a shootout with several men in an alley
  • Juliana buys a Bible under the counter at the only bookstore in Canon City
  • Paper Crane guy
  • Frank’s sister and her children are gassed with Zyklon B at Kempetai headquarters
  • Joe watches HIS OWN copy of the film
  • Randall gets executed

This episode, I have to say, was quite emotional, especially towards the end. I thought that a few cool characters (namely Frank and Juliana) were going to be killed off, and while I was viewing it, I felt an underlying sense of relevance to what is going on today. In one of the scenes, Randall says, “Evil triumphs only when good men do nothing” and that is unfortunately true.

The focus of the second episode appears to be Paper Crane guy. We do see a bit of him in the first episode but we get to know more about him in this one. At first glance, he seems relatively harmless and is the one who encourages Juliana to buy the Bible under the counter at the local bookstore (which is perpetually empty of people). But it turns out there’s more to him than what meets the eye, and…well, let’s just say his character incurs a large twist. I don’t want to give too much away here.

Overall, this was a good episode, and owing to the twists and bends I give it a 5/5.

I hope you enjoyed this review, and if you have already watched it and want to include input please feel free to. I want to know what you thought of it as well! 🙂

 

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The Man In The High Castle: Season 1, Episode 1

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Happy Monday all! I hope this post finds you in a good mood, and if today was the opposite of cheerful I hope it brightens your day.

Tonight’s post is exclusively focusing on the first episode of the first season of The Man In The High Castle, which is titled “The New World”. This episode basically introduces you to a majority of the characters that you’ll be seeing throughout the rest of the other episodes, and also to the Japanese Pacific States and Greater Nazi Reich.

Now, if you have not seen the episode yet, I am warning you in advance that there are spoilers in this review. If you want to stop reading right here and view it that’s fine, and if you want to continue reading that’s okay as well. However, though, consider yourself warned. So with that being said…

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Let’s get started.

“The New World” starts off in New York City, where we see one of the main characters, Joe Blake, sitting in a movie theater on Broadway watching propaganda films, and accepting a piece of paper (with an address on it) from someone whose identity isn’t exactly made clear. I would say, though, that this person is possibly from the resistance.

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Joe does go to this address, and it is revealed to be a sort of factory. Now, this is where you get the vibe that he is possibly working for the Resistance, because he talks about wanting to bring back the America his father knew and talked about, before it was split between the Japanese  and Nazis after they won the war. At that point the Nazis themselves decide to bust into the factory, COPS-style (if you have watched that show at any point then you’ll know what I mean), and Joe Blake is lucky to get into the cab of a semi and drive away before getting caught. The factory manager unfortunately isn’t so lucky as he gets bitten in the neck by a German Shepherd and hauled away by Nazis.

Then the scene shifts to San Francisco, where we get acquainted with Juliana Crain, as well as her mother, stepfather, half sister, and boyfriend, Frank Frink. Juliana does appear to be content with the way things are in the Japanese Pacific States, as she is big into taking classes at the local Dojo and buying herbs which make her mother wince as she drinks them. That is, until she is hurriedly handed a film (along with a bus ticket to Canon City, Colorado, which is in the Neutral Zone) from her half sister, Trudy, who as it turns out is indeed part of the Resistance–and who ends up getting shot by the Japanese right in front of Juliana. This prompts her to view the film, which shows the United States, not the Nazis or Japanese, winning the war. Once she views it, she basically makes up her mind to go to Canon City in Trudy’s place and not to turn the film in to the police, which Frank advises to no avail.

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To fast forward, we see Juliana leaving for Canon City, Joe going in that direction himself, and Frank getting arrested along with Trudy’s Resistance boyfriend Randall because the authorities feel that something is up with Juliana disappearing from San Francisco.

As stated originally in my previous post, this episode alone got me into the series. One thing that got my interest right away were the visuals–New York really did look like it was completely taken over by the Nazis, and San Francisco looked, I had to admit it, amazing with the Japanese signage.

As far as content went I feel it was a fitting way to start off the series and season. For this type of show, honestly, it could only begin a certain way, and it worked. For characters, Joe Blake really stood out, due to him being portrayed primarily as working for the Resistance, but then being very ambiguous as a person. Juliana was far more easier to read, due to her character being good hearted and transparent, and in this episode you could tell there was going to be a lot more of her in the episodes to come.

Overall, I give this episode a 5/5.

Hooe you enjoyed the review, Episode 2 will be coming up this weekend!

First image: http://www.history.com

Second image: http://www.westelm.com (Art print is from Rifle Paper Co)

Third image: http://www.pastelshop.fr (Art print also from Rifle Paper Co! In fact, I bought it last week.)

 

 

The Man In The High Castle: An Introduction

Happy Friday night all! It’s Maria, and as promised by last night’s post, a review on another show that I’ve been watching lately and am now addicted to is here. To start off, the reason it was long in coming is because I was trying to figure out how to set it all up: if I wanted to write a review on the entire first season or do it episode by episode. Eventually I decided to do it episode by episode, as that would be more engaging and interesting rather than knock the entire first season all out in one single review. And to be honest about this review, this is more of an introduction to it rather than a review on Episode 1, as to understand the premise better. You’ll see my view on Episode 1 tomorrow.

At this point, you are probably wondering what show it is that I’ve decided to cover on this blog, from the first episode to the very last. You may or may not have heard of it, since it has gotten popular since it first came out, on Amazon. Not on Netflix, and definitely not on Hulu.

Everyone, let me formally introduce you to…

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YES! If you thought I was talking about The Man In The High Castle, you would be completely right. I was introduced to this show by someone I work with, who warned others and I to start watching now since the third season is premiering this coming December. With that sound advice, I decided to renew my Amazon Prime membership (you can only watch this show if you have Amazon Prime, which is possibly the only downside) and start watching it myself. Well, let me tell you, from the first episode I was hooked…and binge watching the rest of the first season from there. (The best I could anyway, as I do work and study when I’m not working.)

In a nutshell, and for those not as familiar with the show, The Man In The High Castle focuses on an alternate history in which the Nazis and Imperial Japan have won World War II, and who have divvied up the former United States of America into the Greater Nazi Reich (basically all of the Midwest, southern states, and East Coast with some other states mixed in) and Japanese Pacific States (pretty much the states on the West Coast). A visual aid is below.

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(Note: Contrary to what this map says, that giant gray area  is the Greater Nazi Reich.)

The show hosts a colorful cast of characters, which I will detail in Episode 1’s review. As stated previously in this post, tonight’s review is primarily an introduction to the series itself. In the meantime, I have included the trailer.

 

First image: Wikimedia

Map: http://www.bigthink.com

Trailer: YouTube

More Than Dicks

Hey all! It’s Maria, and I’m quite sorry about not posting on here in a while. Things have been a mix of work, GMAT studying, and also scouting out new and exciting things on Netflix!

With that being said, I’m here to introduce all of you to a very new show on Netflix itself, and one I was unexpectedly connected to last weekend (mostly because I really didn’t feel like watching Hawaii Five-0 or anything else). Everyone, please say hello to…

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I’m going to be honest here: I was aware of American Vandal before I caught glimpse of it on Netflix, all because of Facebook. The leading actor in the show, Jimmy Tatro, has an official fan page on there, and that’s how I got wind of it. And if that name sounds familiar to some of you, it would be because he got big on YouTube (starting with Total Frat Move videos). That’s how I originally discovered him.

But anyway, onto the plot line of American Vandal. Oceanside High School senior Dylan Maxwell, who is the class clown of his graduating class, is accused of spray painting dicks (yes, dicks) on all of the cars in the faculty parking lot as a prank during one weekend. The show, in a nutshell, follows two sophomores, Peter Maldonado and  Sam Ecklund, as they launch and forge through an investigation to uncover if Dylan was really the one behind the crime, and if he wasn’t, who was really responsible for it in the first place. From episode to episode, I was strongly reminded of Riverdale and the nail-biting, intense investigation into who killed Jason Blossom, only here there was no Riverdale and Jason Blossom.

Not going to leave any spoilers here about who was responsible for drawing the dicks, but if you ever decide to watch the show, as a heads up you will be in for one crazy and wild ride because it is that crazy when it comes to finding out who did. Also, at the end of the season (first season is eight episodes long), you will be questioning life itself. I found myself getting angry and depressed because there really are people like Dylan who aren’t given chances to prove themselves because others won’t let them. Either way, you will not regret viewing this.

I give it a 5/5.

I will be back tomorrow with another review on another show…not saying what it is but you won’t be disappointed. I hope you liked this review, and I hope you all have a good night! 🙂

Photo credits:

http://www.bleedingcool.com

Trailer-YouTube

 

 

A Watchman To Look Out For

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Hello all! Hope you’re having a good Saturday and excellent week! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, things have been a bit hectic what with starting a new job and having life get back to normal, or semi-normal at the most.

Today I’m not writing on a Netflix/Hulu series (that won’t probably be till next week), but I’m writing on something else different–a book review! I used to write loads of these for my high school paper, and I didn’t see very many on them on here, so I figured I would write one for you all this weekend. You’re welcome. 🙂

The book I’m reviewing today is Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman. If the title sounds vaguely familiar, I did mention this novel in passing in one of my other reviews on this blog. It is closely related to To Kill A Mockingbird, which people are more acquainted with (whether by the original  book itself or the 1962 film adaptation). Even though it was written in the mid-1950s, it was not published until 2015, four years after being discovered in a safety deposit box. Now, I know there will be speculation about whether or not it is a sequel to Mockingbird, and I will leave that up to you completely. I’m just here to review it and nothing more.

Go Set A Watchman follows Jean Louise Finch (otherwise known as “Scout” and one of the main characters in Mockingbird as well) as she goes back home to Maycomb, Alabama, for an annual two week visit. She is now 26 years old, and living in New York where she has been working. As the novel progresses, we see events and revelations unfold that lead us to realize that things and people have changed since Mockingbird ended, leaving Jean Louise with more clarity and reflection–especially about her own father, Atticus.

I will admit, this novel is definitely not an easy read, and even more especially now, with the recent spike in racial issues and hate crimes. But it’s one that should not be missed or ignored either. Ever since I bought it, I have read it quite a few times since then. I give it a 5/5.

With that said, I hope all of you enjoyed this book review, and I will see you next week!

Credits:

http://www.treehouseletter.com (image)

A Very Gilded Drama

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Good day all! It’s Maria again, and as promised, I’m here to review the Hulu series Versailles. I figured that since my review of Split was on the dark end, I would bounce back with something a bit more cheerful and pleasant.

I understand that some of you may have watched this before, and a girl I know actually recommended this series to me a while ago. However though, I did not get around to watching it until fairly recently. Versailles can be found on Hulu, and originally aired on Canal+ in France before going to Canada, Britain, and ultimately here in the States. Currently, there are two seasons of the show, and a third one in the works.

In a nutshell, Versailles is pretty self explanatory–it is, of course, about the historic structure in Versailles, France, which was built by King Louis XIV during his reign from 1643 to 1715. But the series is far more complex than that; it actually goes into more than the obvious construction of the famous Palace. You will see yourself looking into the lives of Louis XIV, his family, and the nobles who have found themselves living there despite their feelings of rebellion against the monarchy. There is definitely a lot of drama, secrecy, and political maneuvers going on underneath the gilded and lofty outer facade of Versailles.

I will admit, I like watching shows whose premise is drama and secrets: Gossip GirlRiverdale, etc. But a show with genuine historical background makes it much more gripping and interesting. And that is what Versailles is. As you continue to watch the show you’re basically trapped into the inner workings of what the Palace really was: a place of glory, brutality, politics, and most of all, intrigue. And that is why it’s definitely enjoyable. And you will not want to stop watching it.

I give it a 4.5/5.

Credits:

Daily Express (top image)

YouTube (trailer)

 

We Need to Talk About Kevin

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Hello all! Maria here, and I hope you all are doing great this week! And yes, I am here with another review, but this one is different. Why, do you ask? Well, it’s not a review for a Netflix series or even a basic television series at that, as are most of the reviews on this blog, but it’s a review for a film. I don’t see as many reviews for films on here, so today’s review is going to be a treat for you all.

(Actually, I stand corrected…I shouldn’t say “today’s review” because I will be writing another review right after this one, for a series on Hulu called Versailles. You’ll see it either today after this one or tomorrow, depending on when I finish it.)

This film review is going to be all about one of the most recent M. Night Shyamalan film, Split. I had the opportunity to watch it last weekend with a good friend of mine on Netflix, and let’s just say…it was very interesting. And dark in a few places. I would say, actually, it’s kind of disturbing to boot. But my eyes stayed stuck to that film, no matter what.

A brief synopsis: Split is about a guy, Kevin, who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (otherwise known as multiple personalities). His psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher, has witnessed 23 of them, but there is one that has yet to materialize. At least, not until he kidnaps three teenage girls in a parking lot after knocking out the father of one of them. If you’ve seen the trailer for this movie when it first came out, then you may recall this scene. What happens after that, though, and after you see the girls imprisoned under the basement of a zoo, things themselves begin to spiral as you see Kevin go into one personality after another, eventually getting to the 24th mysterious one.

As I said before, this movie is anything but lighthearted, it is one of the more disturbing films I have ever seen. I’m sure some reading this will be asking, “Why did you keep on watching it? Why didn’t you choose something else on Netflix?” Well, there a few reasons why. First off, I wanted to see if the girls were going to get out alive; second, just seeing Kevin in his various personalities was intriguing, and having been a psychology major, anything psychology related always fascinates me. This film was basically the Netflix film I could not put down.

(As far as being lighthearted, there was one part in the film which made me laugh a little. I’m not sure if any of you watch Adventure Time, or have in the past, but there is a character on there called the Earl of Lemongrab, who is known for his “UNACCEPTABLE” scream. One of Kevin’s personalities, “Dennis”, is looking at the bathroom connected to where the girls are being kept, and he says that it’s in “unacceptable” condition. And to be fair, “Dennis” looks a bit like Lemongrab.)

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In summary, I would have to give Split a 4.5/5.

With that said, I hope you enjoyed this review, and be sure to stay tuned for Versailles!

Credits:

ScreenRant (image 1)

DeviantArt (Lemongrab)

YouTube (trailer)

A War and Peace That Delivers

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Hello all! It’s Maria, and I hope you’ve had an excellent week so far. Mine has been interesting to date…

Anyway, I’m here to bring you another Netflix/series review–actually it’s more along the lines of a miniseries review, since it’s not quite a full series. And that miniseries is humbly called War and Peace, based on the famous novel by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. Now, I got interested in this particular miniseries not because I have read the book–because I really haven’t, the closest I have gotten to existential Russian literature is the first half of Anna KareninaThe Cherry Orchard, and Doctor Zhivago–but because I am a huge history fan, and underneath the fictional veil of the plot, there is a strong historical basis, especially that of the French invasion of Russia.

But even if you’re like me and have never read the book, once you watch the miniseries, you will want to check out the original source of its inspiration. (I haven’t done so yet, because I’ve been re-reading Harper Lee’s supposed sequel to To Kill A MockingbirdGo Set A Watchman. But it’s still on my list of books to read, don’t worry.) Now, War and Peace cannot be found on Netflix, and I am not sure if it will ever come to Netflix, but it you have Hulu, then it is available on there.

Originally airing on BBC One in the UK (then A&E, Lifetime, and History Channel in the States) before coming to Hulu, War and Peace follows five aristocratic families before and during the French invasion of Russia. The miniseries, like the novel, starts in 1805 and ends in 1812, at the end of Napoleon’s failed efforts to conquer Russia. Though the aristocratic families and how they’re changed is the chief focus of the miniseries, particular individuals from these families are given special attention, as their personal development is of huge focus as well: Prince Pierre Bezukov (who is the most favorite illegitimate son of  Russia’s most wealthiest man), Natasha Rostova (the daughter of Count Ilya Rostov and his wife Countess Natalya Rostova), Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (the son of Prince Nikolai Bolkonsky and brother of pious Marya Bolkonskaya), and Nikolai Rostov (Natasha’s older brother). Though to be fair, Nikolai is more like a secondary character, so I would safely say that Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei are the three people you want to pay attention to while watching this.

In the beginning, these three are privileged, but want their lives to have meaning, in somewhat different ways. Pierre, who is highly intelligent and idealistic, wants to change the world for the better; Natasha wants to find true love; and as for Andrei, he is continously fed up with the superficiality of society and opts to seek a higher purpose. Which he does, of course, by joining the army. (To the dismay of his wife.) Once these three are introduced to us, the viewers, their lives change in such ways that it is far from impossible to turn away.

War and Peace is eight episodes long, and basically emulates the novel from front to back cover. (The actual novel is four volumes long not including the epilogue at the end.) After finishing the miniseries in two days–yes, it is that kind of series/miniseries that you binge watch–I can safely say that it is highly engaging, will grasp your interest, and you will not want to stop watching until it’s done.

My rating: 5/5

Credits:

BBC One-YouTube

Psarips.com (image)

 

 

A Glitch Worth Noticing

Hello all, I’m Maria, and new to this blog. Nice to meet you all! 😀

To preface tonight’s post–as well as a little bit about myself–I like to expand my horizons, which usually entails means traveling to places I’ve never been, delving into new interests, and furthering my new hobby as a foodie. It also means finding new and intriguing shows and films on Netflix. Which is what I’m about to write about on this now-cooled Sunday evening (I live in Florida, so lately it’s been rainy when it’s not humid and the reverse when it’s not coming down).

And tonight, I am going to introduce and review Glitch.

A few months back, I was introduced to this Netflix Original show by a very good friend of mine, who described it as a show about people “who rise from the dead”. And that is exactly what happens, in a small rural town in Australia.

Now, when someone says a show is about those “who rise from the dead” usually they are referring to those with zombie plot lines, like The Walking Dead and its prequel Fear The Walking Dead. (Which I’ve also enjoyed watching as well. Now if Fear The Walking Dead would end up on Netflix as well, that would be awesome.)  But no, Glitch is definitely different from all of that. And that is what helps to make it much more intriguing. But back to its plot.

In a town called Yoorana, through strange circumstances (which may or may not be linked to a pharmaceutical company), six individuals who are dead find themselves miraculously undead (and in perfect health). A local police officer, Sergeant James Hayes, along with the town doctor, Elishia McKellar, take it upon themselves to figure out what exactly is going on–and this means, especially for James, keeping this a secret from everyone else he knows, especially his overly inquisitive colleague, Vic Eastley.

As the show progresses, you see the six seemingly undead people try to figure out what their identities are, why they died, and especially why they have come back from the dead.

Now, this show originally first came onto the Netflix scene in 2015, and the first season is only six episodes long, but the first ten to fifteen minutes will grip one’s curiosity and    wonder what’s going to happen next. That is what happened when I started watching it, and the season finale left me, as it will with others, with loads more questions than answers.

If I had to rate this show I would give it a 5/5, and while the second season has not even made its way to Netflix yet, you can bet I will be one of the first ones to catch it.

 

Credits:

ABC TV -YouTube

Netflix.com