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Showing posts from August, 2013

Kick Ass 2

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A fairly entertaining movie on its own but when compared to its predecessor, it was clearly a rung (or two, or even three at points) below. Hard to imagine saying this, but without Nicholas Cage, this show suffered. An adult was needed to ground the fantastic realism of this High Schoolers-as-Superheros flick and sadly, Morris Chestnut (Hit Girl's guardian), Garrett M. Brown (Kick Ass's father), and Jim Carrey (as Kick Ass's surrogate Big Daddy), are lacking the screen gravitas to grab your attention in a sort of campy way that this show demands. The plot itself is a natural sort of progression from the first installment, but it tried too hard to shoehorn the theme in an adult (read: less comic-book way) way. Unfortunately, that led to a silly "Mean Girl"-esque interlude that could have been so much better, a wannabe Avengers team-up that was just redundant, a total waste of Iain Glen, and a ridiculous arc for Red Mist/The Motherfucker. In additional, the violen…

Elysium [IMAX]

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Lost somewhere within this big-budget sci-fi spectacular is an indie film that could. With an obviously bigger budget and canvas to express himself, writer/director Neill Blomkamp could freely let his imagination run wild, but unfortunately his idea and story is too narrow and restricted and got drowned in the expansiveness of the new world he has created. There's a chiasmatic disconnect between the audience and the events happening on the screen. Without having a hero to root for, we are just passive observers; the little kid in danger felt shoehorned and another vain attempt to elicit compassion in the viewers. However, the kid had too little screen time and similarly for the mother, that that connection Matt Damon is supposed to have with Alice Braga was barely felt. Similarly, the only feeling we end up having is the vague sense of injustice against the 1%-ers. Damon is a good action hero, and a fine actor, however, in this case, I just do not feel for him. His motivations ar…

Imperial Treasure Shanghai Cuisine

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Another entry in the Imperial Treasure chain here in Singapore. Its track record has been sketchy thus far with some of its eateries seemingly appearing like money grubbing copycats and opportunists. But hey, we are in a capitalistic society. So it is with this mentality that I approach eating at their new Shanghai outlet with some trepidation. First of all, service was good: prompt, polite and efficient. Perhaps because dinner was rather later after 8.30pm on a weekday and the crowd was thinning out. Nonetheless, service staffs were all laudable. The menu was vast with a wide variety of selection ranging from the prototypical Shanghainese cold dishes, to the fresh seafood selections more reminiscent of their Cantonese restaurant but mixed in with a few Shanghainese choices like river shrimps and eels. Then of course there is the Singapore favourite of la mien and xiao long bao and other assorted dumplings like jiao zi, qian bao, jiao zi, etc. I came in hungry and ordered quite a bit …

Esquina

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This place has been getting some good reviews and even raves, so expectations were quite high. Personally, I was expecting a proper tapas bar. Anyways, the place was quite full even though and luckily I was there before 6.30pm and still managed to get a seat indoors at the counter. However, half hour later, even the outdoor seats were packed. Pricing wise it is definitely on the upmarket side, and essentially this is a rather upmarket place. There's a lot of effort on food presentation for the mains. However has a place that market itself as a tapas bar, there was surprisingly very little selection of tapas and drinks. Although the main courses were served in tapas-size they are not tapas-priced. Consequently, there is a disconnect between quality and value of the food. At least the alcohol was reasonably priced (in Singapore). The toasted sourdough with aioli is only worth it if the bread was baked onsite; the ham croquetas was quite good with a good balance between the savory ha…

Orphan Black

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Came into this BBC America rather late (like now, 4.5 months after its premiere) because of time issues then. It had always been marked as something to watch based on the interesting premise and concept. As the months rolled and critical adulation keeps piling especially on star Tatiana Maslany, the anticipation and expectation grew. And I must say, it is quite well deserved. However, as feted as Maslany has been by the critics (and the awards thus far), I am not surprised that she had been left out by the Emmy voters. Back to the beginning, the series started off quite bland, with cookie-cutter characters and a rather straightforward plot. However, it kicks into gear by Episode 3 and from there on it's an exhilarating  roller-coaster ride, packed with enough twists and turns, of science fiction and conspiracy theory and mixed in with some sardonic wit and dry comedy. That is not to say the show is without its flaws. The tiresome subplots, in particular the police story line and …

Madam Kwan's

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So, the famous KLCC joint is finally in Singapore. If my memory serves me well, the famed nasi lemak there was tasty but not really memorable. What I do remember was the exceptional rice and chilli. Anyways, the Singapore branch at Vivocity opened to quite a fanfare, and after a bit I finally went down to try. 8-plus dinner on a weekday night barely had any queue. The service was acceptable and prompt and they leave you alone after taking your orders. The Nasi Lemak here was good but slightly on the higher side of average restaurant-priced local food: 2 pieces of chicken, a small bowl of rice, half an egg, some floss, cucumbers, stewed onions and ikan billis and a small plate achar. The rice was really fragrant and lemak with coconut, and the curry sauce was generous and spicy and tasty. Pity the rice was a tad too little compared to the delicious curry. The otak-otak was definitely way over-priced! And while the rice dish came out within 5 mins, the otak-otak only came out when I'…