Posts

Showing posts from October, 2012

Wizards vs Aliens

Image
Episode 1 & 2, "Dawn of the Nekross":What an interesting concept from the fertile mind of Russell T. Davis (and Phil Ford). I always wondered why there's no magic in the Whoinverse, but here comes along a CBBC programme that tries to marry these two disparate entities. Sure it is a children telly, but hey, so was (and is) "Doctor Who". These first two episodes were a bit chunky on the exposition and served mainly to introduce us to the characters. Our protagonist is a young Channing Tatum lookalike who is a wizard and his "friend" (that relationship needs more definition) is the Scully to his Mulder, who like Scully tried his best to explain magic in terms of scientific concepts. Davis did a great job of introducing the aliens to this storyline, and how aliens and magic can clash. The Nekross were sufficiently scary, especially the king - voiced by the very evil sounding Brian Blessed. Surprisingly, it was Brienne from "Games of Throne" …

SkyFall [IMAX]

Image
Bravo Sam Mendes! Bravo!! Bloody good Bond outing with an extremely strong performance by the 3 leads! Yes, even Daniel Craig who had re-defined Bond to make it his role! He oozed charisma and sex appeal, and made Intelligence sexy (again). Craig is definitely giving Connery a run for his money as the best Bond ever. Javier Bardem was brilliant to watch as the flamboyant Bond villain. He got the best lines and really nailed them all; not evil, per se, but oh so deliciously insane! And he had a bloody good entrance! That entrance and opening monologue was simply brilliant and memorable! Well done Bardem and Mendes! Judi Dench gets her meatiest Bond role and sold it with such gravitas and luminosity, the way only a Dame like her could. She is easily the best Bond girl of the show. Sam Mendes directing was superb and he infused his own style throughout, and as expected the dramatic scenes stood out. Riveting, tense and nuanced. His action scenes were brilliant in their simplicity and se…

Nashville

Image
Episode 1, "Pilot": Now, this is an ace show! Possibly the best new series of the season. Hopefully this ABC drama can keep up the rhythm and energy throughout. Excellent acting by Connie Britton, who has a shot at joining Juliana Marguiles to represent network TV's women in the Emmys next year. Even Hayden Panettiere, who was more annoying than anything else in "Hero", was actually well cast in her role. The tension between both ladies felt real and intense, and makes for an interesting combination. Then of course are the supporting actors. I do not really know them well but thus far they all  seemed to have identified well with their characters and none of them appeared too stiff or unnatural. Power Booths as the patriarche of the family simply oozed evilness on the screen, but his scenes regarding the political aspects of the show with his son-in-law played by Eric Close (reminds me of an older James Wolk) were the dullest part of the episode. Let's hope…

Looper

Image
A tedious, pseudo-intellectual flick that tried to integrate two genres into single film. The time-travelling bit can give you a damn headache if you think too much about it; the second bit was so heavily foreshadowed it was a roll-eyed moment. I kept hoping it'd "better" than that. The make-up for Joseph Gordon-Lewitt was amazing. He really looked and affected Bruce Willis almost to a T. But sadly neither himself or the usually brilliant Emily Blunt could save Rian Johnson from ruining an interesting premise. Pity though, simce Johnson brought us two brilliant gems in the past: "Brick" and "The Brothets Bloom". This movie touched on so many promising themes (redemption, nature vs nurture, choices, family vs self, self vs others, etc) but most of it were just soft caresses rather than a full blown body assaults. Granted, at least Johnson was not overtly explicit about any of them. However, just pick one or two and run with it! Also partly to blame was…

End of Watch

Image
An intense, gritty, pseudo-docu/drama about LA cops in the south central with a powerful, arresting performance by Jake Gyllenhaal. Shot almost entirely in handicam, David Ayer has written and directed another intense, complex showing of the LAPD (after "Training Day"), placing the audience right smack in the action. Could be nauseating but always intense. Ultimate action/bromance movie with brilliant chemistry between the charismatic Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. Their characters were complex and the actors developed them fully and honestly. Gyllenhaal has a shot to be long listed for a Best Actor Oscar and Peña for a Best Supporting Actor, but whether they get recognised in the end will depend on the upcoming competition ovet the next few months. Same thing for Ayer. Also stars an unrecognisable America Ferrera and the sweet Anna Kendrick.

RS Deli

Image
Disclaimer: owners are friends of friends.

New Indon-themed cafe/deli that opened up along the busy stretch of Upper Thompson Road. Young, breezy and cheerful, open design. Simple menu with a fast food ordering concept, but delivered to your table (a la Mos Burger). Unfortunately, the menu lacked fish and vegetable (vegetarian) options. The rice sets portions were on the small side, but is in accordance with the price. Like a typical Indonesian food, the curry and sauces tend to be on the sweet side which I found to be a tad too sweet. Both the beef rendang and chicken gulai need to be stewed longer and served hotter. As said, I'd prefer it to be less sweet and more spicy. The nasi lemak's chicken wing was on the dry side; the otak was really good but pity too thin and too small. All the rice sets were served with eggplants, excellent home-made sambal and potato-dried shrimps keropok thingy and rice. Each set has a different rice: plain rice, yellow rice and coconut rice. I f…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Image
Brilliant. Emotional. Raw. Authentic, earnest teenage angst not seen since I can't remember when. And definitely excellent taste in (indie) music! Having the author be the screenwriter and director of the show is a double-edged sword. The good thing is Stephen Chbosky definitely understands the material and knows exactly what he wants to translate onto the big screen; the bad thing is that he gets too over indulgent at times and some scenes dragged out longer than necessary while some scenes are extraneous. The movie could have been trimmed down by at least 15 minutes. The three leads were perfect for their roles. Logan Lerman portrayed the emotional frailty and fractured innocence very well. Emma Watson will be a big star one day. She's on the cusp of a breakthrough and if she hones her skills more, stays aways from cheesy flicks, I see a great future for her. Ezra Miller is the quirky strange one but his performance was also spot on: a sensitive soul within the outrageous pe…

Catalunya

Image
Fancy new Español restaurant with a fantastic location and view! Lots of pedigree here, with the head chef himself previously at work at El Bulli, so expectations were high. Welcome reception was excellent and polite. I arrived first and was placed at the bar to wait. Out came the bar menu and a glass of water. That glass of water was a clincher; a distinguishing factor between good and very good. Menu was simple: a mix of starters, tapas, meats and fish. The sangria was good. Sweet but not masking or watering down the red wine. The bread with salted tomato was a good appetiser. Nothing special about it but good to open the palate with. The fried aubergines was interesting. Served with a miso and yuzu/citrus sauce. You definitely need a liking for all the separate ingredients to like it. Main course was their suckling pig. Half of a 2 week old Spanish piglet. Very good. Soft, succulent with just the right amount of fats left on the skin. The skin itself was crispy but very unlike the …

Magosaburou

Image
Tucked away in a nondescript corner of the top floor of Ion is a Japanese-pseudoKorean BBQ place. Supposedly famed for their beef. Going through the entrance, climb up a flight of stairs, and you arrived at the fifth floor (so you could actually get in via the carpark instead) with a view that over looks Orchard Road. +Plus One for view and ambience. We had the premium beef set lunch that was $95/pax. Firstly, it came with about 2 servings each of Ox tongue, shank, tenderloin cubes and sukiyaki slices, squid and scallops. Secondly, the marbling was divine. You can choose to BBQ yourself or have the staff do it for you. We did the work ourselves which was half the fun, especially hearing the fats melt and sizzle in the fire. Worth the price if you love wagyu beef...it is hard to find such gems in Singapore. The portion is not going to be very filling, but for these kind of food, it is best to be just right rather than stuffed. Besides, the set came with a 5-item appetiser (which was di…

Arteastiq Lite

Image
Cozy, chill place at Mandarin Gallery. Nice comfy furniture designed by Marxx with lotsa glass, but that may be too warm if sunny. The last two decades saw the advent of coffee culture in Singapore and it looks like premium tea culture is creeping into our shores. Keyword being premium. A wide range of tea-based menu with hot, cold, dessert and alcohol drinks. But honestly nothing special about it. Tea presentation is where most of the money goes to. Had the ginger ginseng tea which comes in a pot and with some biscuits and tea-pastry. At least there's free water refill for the tea and friendly service. Acceptable quality, but nothing to wow about. The tea set for 2 comes with a pastry tower with bite size hors d'Oeuvres that tasted basic. The food menu was also minimal and many items were unavailable.

Verdict: Definitely just a place to chill with friends, and nothing else.

Taken 2 [Dig]

Image
A competent sequel that is watchable but lacked the high octane energy of the first one. The stakes just seemed lower even though the whole family is involved. Perhaps because the plot was more straightforward this time round. Liam Neeson was commanding again, sadly no meme-worthy soundbites this outing. Hard to imagine Famke Janssen as a damsel in distress, she just can't lose the femme fatale image after X-Men and Nip/Tuck. Maggie Grace = pretty, acting improving, but no Milla Jovovich (you hear that, Luc Besson?). Directing by Olivier Megaton was similar to the first outing: lots of quick cuts, but some of the action appeared too messy this time. One good fight scene in the hamam,, but nothing tops the one by Viggo Mortenson in "Eastern Promises"

666 Park Avenue

Image
Pilot: This is ABC's latest offering trying to emulate the success of "American Horror Story" after the failure of "The River" last season. "666 Park Avenue" is a soapy crossover between "Rosemary's Baby", "Doctor Faustus" and "Desperate Housewife". Firstly, almost a perfect cast. Terry O'Quin and Vanessa Williams are perfect as the Mephistophelean Gavin and his partner Olivia, Dave Annable has the solid, dependable guy down pat, but it is Rachel Taylor as the main protagonist that is a bit of a mystery. So far she is more annoying than convincing. Secondly, there are some good scares: 2 to be precise, and one "OMG, OMG, OMG!!" moment. But sadly, they did not push it further which would have been what a cable network would had done. Pity. The music was generic horror/scary and looks like Alexander McQueen is a sponsor of the show. Again, another problem with this and most of the new series this season is…