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Showing posts from April, 2013

Sabio By The Sea

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First thing first, this place definitely has a really nice ambience. The whole Quayside Isle exudes a chill relaxed vibe, that coupled with a nice cool night, can allow us to imagine we are not in Singapore. And the face that more than 50% of the people there are Caucasians doesn't hurt that vibe. However, without a car it will be quite difficult to get in, unless of course your yacht is berthed there or you stay at Sentosa Cove/W Hotel/W residences. Anyways, regarding the restaurant the open concept is inviting and very well ventilated (a cool night is important, and I'd imagine the day being too sunny/humid). They have a fair range of tapas (hot/cold), jambons y chorizos, Josper grill items and paella. The red sangria was light but boring, lacked that distinctively fruity-claret taste - somewhere between sweet, bitter, sour - to be memorable. The salted cod tapas was soft and flakes beautifully under the fork, but they weren't kidding about the "salted" bit. T…

Iron Man 3

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The success and popularity of Iron Man 3 hinges solely on how much one likes/tolerates Robert Downey Jr. The movie served to answer the famed question asked in the much superior "The Avengers" by Captain America: Who/What is Tony Stark without his suit? Honestly, taking RDJ our of the equation, the best things about this movie is: Jarvis, Guy Pearce, Gwnyeth Paltrow's abs, the penultimate air sequence and the post end credits scene (that was THE BEST scene of the whole movie!). Marvel relied too heavily on RDJ and his schtick/too-smart-for-his-own-good-ad-libbing which is distracting tonally, but then again the script by Shane Black and Drew Pearce is nothing spectacular. The characters were all written flat, the plot predictable, loop holes plentifully distracting and the humor's juvenile. It lacked wit (oh, how I miss Whedon!), a real heart and a clear reason for us to care about the character. RDJ tries but he just end up hammy. And of course we have the boring, …

Hemlock Grove

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Pilot, "Jellyfish in the Sky":Netflix's latest binge series is a horror drama that seemed to have more in common with The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" and MTV's "Teen Wolf"  rather than FX's "American Horror Story". That could possibly be because of the exposition heavy pilot trying to establish the seemingly multiple story lines and with the focus on the teenage characters. The pilot started out strong with a mystery quickly setup and the brooding, sulking Bill Skarsgård doing his best impression of his elder brother's (Alex of "True Blood") handsome skulk. Then came the introduction of the the other leading teen Landon Liboiron's hirsute Peter. The girls, so far, are unmemorable. The adults are kind of disappointing. Famke Janssen gets top billing but her wavering accent is annoying and her character's styling does her absolutely no justice. She is an enigma. Literally and figuratively. Rather a waste for su…

Dark Skies

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Went in to the show with really low expectations. Was just in the mood to watch a "silly horror movie" and this had Keri Russell going for it. The producers (from "Paranormal activity" and "Insidious") helped too. Came out of it feeling rather entertained and rather enjoyed the show. Kudos to writer and director Scott Stewart on delivering a sci-fi, horror thriller that was sufficiently suspenseful and mysterious, albeit with predictable plot points and generic storyline. It really wasn't very horrific and had very few scares. But there was one or two genuinely good ones! The first act laid the foundation of the mystery and was well executed to make it interesting; second act laid on the mysteries and unexplained activities, but again nothing unique though thankfully it laid off the cliche the-parent-is-psycho-and-is-imagining-everything angle. The last act was quite satisfying though the climax didn't pack enough oomph. One of the success of this…

Salta

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An Argentinian parrilla restaurant in Tanjong Pagar that has been around for quite a bit. A pity there was no Pentagonian lamb on the menu. That's be perfect! Service was prompt and polite, and wait staff could recommend dishes and knew the differences between the cuts of meat. Sadly, they were not aware that the lobsters were out before we placed our order. The complimentary bread was served with a beef pâté which could be a bit overwhelming for some people. Thereafter, the starters took fifteens minutes to arrive. The Saltoast (a house special) was the best dish of the night. A crispy, well grilled and tasty garlic bread with a hint of anchovies to give it that extra bite. The sausages (beef, pork, ?spicy/cheese), on the other hand, was unspectacular. They were juicy and meaty but a tad too oily and bland. The need arrived shortly after they cleared the starters. Unfortunately, it was cold. Left out too long after preparation? Nonetheless, it was rather well cooked. I had the ri…

Da Vinci's Demons

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Pilot, "The Hanging Man":Starz and BBC World new series by David S. Goyer is a beguiling, schizophrenic mix of history, fantasy and conspiracy. The pilot does a good job of outlining their version of Da Vinci which Tom Riley seemed to be portraying as an amalgam of Sherlock (BBC), Sherlock (Hollywood) and The Doctor (Who?). However, the premise of the pilot is quite a mess. It lacked the political depth, character intrigue and sex appeal of Games of Thrones, and tries to insert some sort of overarching "Da Vinci Code"-esque conspiracy that at the moment still feels quite lame. None of the other supporting characters seemed to be very interesting and they all felt rather two-dimensional. Does this show want to be a fun, fantasy re-telling like "Merlin", a serious historical drama like "Spartacus", a sprawling political/philosophical quest like "Games of Thrones" or a dark, conspiracy akin to "The X-Files"? Might watch a couple…

Oblivion [IMAX]

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A very decent and PG sci-fi thriller with gorgeous cinematography, some really good action sets and decent acting. The biggest problem is that the plot is very predictable, which then leads to a conundrum. The predictability caused the pacing to be rather trying although the movie is barely 2 hours long. Joseph Kosinski did a decent job translating his graphic novel to the big screen and some set pieces were really well done. But instead of a traditional 3-Act structure, this movie is really more a 5-Act experience, so you'd be forgiven if you thought the movie is 3 hours long since each Act was rather slow/predictable. However, the Prologue and the world-building in the first Act was very well done and essential! Do not be late!! It really set the tone and integrate the audience into this Brave New World. Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise and he just oozes charisma. And it really is that undeniable screen charisma, all-American hero persona that really carries us through. The two female (…

Hannibal

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Pilot, "Apéritif": There's such high expectations for this mid-season NBC series. It is possibly the one series I was most anticipating. A terrific subject matter, created from the wonderful mind of Bryan Fuller ("Death Like Me", "Wonderfalls" and "Pushing Daisies"), an ace, international caliber cast (Mads Mikkelson, Hugh Dancy and Caroline Dhavernas) and an announced roster of exciting guest stars including Gillian Anderson, Gina Torres, and Fullerverse alumni Ellen Muth and Ellen Greene. So it is with a lot of trepidation that I go into this, and sadly, although I liked it, I doubt it will survive on NBC. The subject matter itself is rather dark, and again, that is restrained by it being on network TV, so they cannot really push it too much, and that ultimately may cause it to not reach its full potential. Secondly, it is too intelligent and wordy. The average TV audience is just going to shut off without their visual adrenaline rush and …

The Place Beyond The Pines

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A very good, tight, well acted first part that led to a downright boring, empty and really meaningless second act, and thankfully brought to a rather emotionally satisfactory close in the final third. Very similar stylistic to Derek Cianfrance's "Blue Valentine" which I just recently caught. Plot wise, nothing too new or groundbreaking, but the story idea is good. The thematic backbone is strong: Fathers and Sons. The age old adages of "sins of the father, paid by the sons" and "the fruit does not fall far from the tree" is thematically explored here by the two families. Unfortunately, the weakest link is Bradley Cooper. Sure, he's a recently Oscar nominated actor, but he has not convinced me that he can really act. And sadly, the second third was all about him and he was just so blank and unconvincing in his portrayal that it was literally boring. I really wished that I could just fast forward through his story. And of course he was not helped …

Blue Valentine [SQ Inflight Entertainment]

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Finally managed to catch this 2010 drama that also skipped our shores, I guess because of the graphic sex scenes. But beneath all that, this is a really depressing love story. The two leads here, Gosling and Williams, really carry the weight of the movie on their shoulders and their chemistry is the real triumph here. You can actually believe these two are falling in love and falling out of love. And the devastation is just so emotional and raw and authentic. Kudos to Williams who really deserve her Oscar nomination here. Sadly, Gosling's role is really more passive in nature and he was not able to aptly convey that passivity to an engaging screen presence. The characters are so flawed and sometimes so annoying that you wonder why did writer/director Derek Cianfrance put them on screen, but perhaps it is also because of all that, that they feel more authentic than the synthetically made-up rom-coms leads by big budget Hollywood studios. Nonetheless, the plot itself tended to be m…

Bernie [SQ inflight entertainment]

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This little indie gem had a standout performance by Jack Black. Possibly the role of his lifetime! Excellent supporting performances by Shirley MacLaine (hilarious!!) and Matthew McConaughey (he's on a roll)! A very interesting little story, that's made more amazing that it's based on a true story. Unfortunately, other than the true story angle, there's not much other draw for this show to be a breakout success. All three stars are not really big box office magnets, even McConaughey with his small role. Nonetheless, it was a quirky story that deserved to be told, with Jack Black hitting a career high. True life can be stranger than fiction! Not sure why it did not come to Singapore. Or did it, just briefly, and I missed it?