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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Food Review - Pork Rib Noodles (Chun Heong Coffee Shop)

Name
Pork Rib Noodles - Chun Heong Coffee Shop
Address
28 Lorong Ara Kiri 2, Lucky Garden
Food
Pork Rib Noodles (Lunch)
Location
Bangsar - Lucky Garden

Getting there
It is a double shop-lot right in the middle of the shops (instead of at a corner) located prominently across from the Jalan Tempinis-Jalan Ara Kiri Roundabout.

Parking
This can be a hassle as the parking spots are usually all taken and even double parked. This however is you do not mind parking slightly further away and taking a short walk from either Bangsar Village or the housing areas surrounding the place.

Service
Service is quick and fuss-free. The old lady is friendly and you she would enjoy recommending her menu to you if you are unsure of what to try.
Ambience
Typical of any Chinese Coffee Shop, the noise levels are pretty up there but the place is considered fairly clean (considering the shop has been there foe some years) and brightly lit.

Taste
The pork ribs are served in a clear double-boiled Chinese herbal broth which has a very tempting aroma. I like mine with dry Wantan noodles. However, the more traditional noodles like mee, hor fun (or kuey teow), mee-hoon and even mee-suah (or “meen seen” in Cantonese) are also available. I tend to look for some form of chili paste with my food but they only provide chili-padi in soy sauce. I didn’t really use it because the meat in the soup provides enough savory taste.

Presentation
The food is served in large decorated porcelain Chinese bowls (which is a very good thing not only presentation-wise but from the health perspective as well). If it’s the dry noodle variety, then the food will come in 2 bowls instead of one.

Variety
They also serve Duck & Chicken in herbal soup (all double-boiled) but I have not had a chance to try them as each time I visit, I always order the Pork Ribs (Yeah, it’s that good!).

Value for Money
Each serving comes with at least 4 big chunks of pork ribs complete with a generous portion of noodles.

Overall
Altho’ run only by a friendly elderly couple, their service (with a smile, put many other eateries to shame). Great food at great value with excellent service tucked somewhere in the heart of the city - Bangsar. Go try it, an excellent example of great stall food.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie Review - 2012

Do we ever listen?
Movie Title
2012
Year
2009
Genre
Action/Adventure
Story
Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. A global cataclysm brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors. Basically, it's about what the different people do to survive the coming of the end. The governments around the world; led by the President of the US unites to come up with a plan so that a selected number of people can survive. They create a modern day 'Noah's Ark' to accomodate the 'chosen' people. Unknown to most people, the ticket to board costs 1billion USD for a person. Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) also joins in the struggle to survive in order to keep him and his family alive. The rest of the story is best to watch and know it yourself.
Acting
When I watched the trailer for this movie; the only thing that made me want to watch it was John Cusack. A splendid actor, one would expect another remarkable performance from him. Once again, John Cusack pulled off his character; a divorced father and writer Jackson Curtis very well. His 6 year old daughter Lilly was played by Morgan Lily who for her age, did a credible job. The other supporting actors were also quite commendable especially Danny Glover who fit the role of the President almost perfectly. Then there was Chiwetel Ejiofor, a less known actor who's role was a person of importance in relation to the 2012 predicted end of the world; he was convincing. Most of the minor characters especially those who appeared only once did reasonably well. You could get emotional as well when you see how everyone tried to survive and some who gave in to 'fate' and awaited their death. One scene that was especially touching was when the Indian family who's father was the one who discovered the 2012 disaster 3 years back held each other tight knowing there was no escape from the waves.
Overall
I did not know what to expect as the only thing I knew about the movie was that in 2012, the world would end. The storyline is interesting; and I like how there are different kinds of characters; from the rich to the poor; from the selfish to the self-sacrificing; from the heartless to the compassionate. I was glad that the action did not occupy the whole 2 hours and 40 minutes (approx). Instead,there was a balance of the 'destruction scenes' and meaningful ones. There are many lessons you can learn just by watching the movie. It does make you appreciate what you have right now; you never know when the end will come. Another one was the vast difference between the rich and the poor; and the movie pointed out men's selfishness especially during the hard times. The importance of family was also emphasized. Lastly, the graphics were good; making everything believable. The movie seems rather long but it was good to the extent where I felt it was only 2 hours; nothing bored me. Definitely a must watch!
Rating: 7.5/10
Guest Reviewer: Serene Chua

Order your copy here at 31% OFF!
2012 (Two-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Comic Review - Avengers Fairy Tales 1-4

Title/Storyline
Avengers Fairy Tales 1-4
Publish Date/Year
2008
Creative Team
See individual Listings
Publisher
Marvel

Story
This review is on the Avengers Fairy Tales. Although it is a 4-issue mini-series, they are basically 4 stand-alone 1-shot issues all written by CB CEBULSKI but showcasing different artists.

Avengers Fairy Tales #1 (based on Peter Pan)
Art: JOAO M.P. LEMOS

Wanda (Scarlet Witch as Wendy) and her brother, Pietro (Quicksilver)
are swept away to Neverland by the boy who never grows up,
Captain (Captain America) & Tinkerbell (Wasp). They meet the Lost Boys (extremely cute & loveable versions of Hakweye, Thor, Black Panther & Iron Man) when they arrive in Neverland. The good guys are soon confronted by Captain Hook (KLAW) and his crew for the final showdown.

Avengers Fairy Tales #2 (based on Pinocchio)
Art: NUNO PLATI

Guilt-ridden inventor Hank Pym (who plays Geppetto) creates a boy - his Vision (Pinocchio), after the apparent tragic death of his wife (Wasp) in an accident while working on one of his earlier inventions. Having gone thru such a tragedy, he imparts this to his son via harsh lessons to prepare him for the unpleasant reality of life. Unbeknownst to Hank Pym, his wife is still alive,
only shrunk down to the size of a Wasp (Plays Jiminy Cricket's role as Pinocchio's confidante). They soon learn the truth and the Bad Guy of the story is Ultron, Hank Pym's earlier creation - his 1st son. The Scarlet Fairy is obviously the Blue Fairy played by Scarlet Witch.

Avengers Fairy Tales #3 (based on Alice in Wonderland)
Art: TAKESHI MIYAZAWA

This issue features the Young AVENGERS instead of the regular Avengers.

Cassie Lang (Stature) is constantly bullied by her peers and one day, she daydreams herself into Wonderland where she meets twisted versions of the Young Avengers as Wonderland characters - White Rabbit (Speed), Caterpillar (Ant-Man), Mad Hatter (Hulkling), the smitten Dormouse (Iron Lad), March Hare (Wiccan), Cheshire Cat (Tigra), King (Patriot) & Queen of Hearts Hawkeye) with Jocasta, Ultron & Vision as the playing cards.

Avengers Fairy Tales #4 (based on Wizard of Oz)
Art: Ricardo Tercio

This issue has She-Hulk in a battle with Whirlwind inside the Avengers Mansion. When she gets the wind knocked out of her, she is swept away to the mysterious land of Oz (playing Dorothy's role) and inadvertently kills the Wicked Witch of the East - Pietra (Pietro, but as a woman. No kidding!) freeing the Munchkins who were under the Wicked Witch of the East's captivity in the process.

The Wicked Witch of the West (Scarlet Witch) vows vengeance for
her sister's death. Here, there is a homage scene to the House of M event where The Wicked Witch of the West utters "No more Munchkins" instead of "No more Mutants". Hence she sought the all-powerful Wizard of Oz (Magneto) for his help in returning her to her world.

Along the way, she encounters her 3 flawed but faithful companions,
a gaunt and weak Scarecrow (Thor), a rusty Tin Man (Iron Man) in need of an oil-change & a heart, and finally, a weary Lion (Captain America/Beast?) who simply needs to find his courage.

Finally, we learn that the Wizard also needed our intrepid heroine's help as well because the Wicked Witch of the West happens to be his only daughter alive and wanted reconciliation.

Art
The artistic re-designs of the characters alone was a great enough reason for me to pick this up. On top of that, Marvel really pulled out all the stops to get the BEST artists for this series. Totally delightful!

I have put in as many images of their work as I can find here. Enjoy!

Additional Comments
Marvel's FAIRY TALES franchise uses the superhero characters we all know and love in familiar classic fairy tale contexts. This concept has spawned a few successful series, namely X-Men Fairy Tales & Spider-Man Fairy Tales. The Fantastic Four (upcoming project) will be the next title to receive the FAIRY TALES treatment. This idea also re-affirms Disney's purchase of Marvel recently.

Although all the stories here are understandably predictable, it’s really refreshing to see who among the Avengers would play the roles of the fairy tale characters, making it a very enjoyable read. Go get it!

Order your copy here at 22% OFF: Marvel Fairy Tales

Movie Review - Man of the Year


Movie Title
Man of the Year
Year
2006
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Romance, Thriller

Story
The movie is about Tom Dobbs, a comedic host of a US political talk show, decides to run for precidency one day when a spectator suggests that he does so. He goes in as an independant candidate and campaigns around US. In the end, he wins the election and becomes the next President of the United States. Trouble is that he only won the presidency because of a computer glitch which was discovered by a Delacroy employee. She seeks him out to tell him the truth, but what would he do with the information when he gets it?

Acting
When you have Robin Williams in a show you know it’s gonna be funny. Robin does a good job as a talk show host who’s funny and to the point at the same time. Laura Linney has successfully portrayed her character as a jumpy, undecisive and awkward character but with a touch of determination to add to her character. The chemistry between the two main characters is there but it’s very mellow. On the other hand, this is more of a comedy and drama type of movie. Christopher Walken who plays Jack, Tom’s manager has done a good job as the supporter and a sort of motivator for the main character.

Overall
The movie was enjoyable, I laughed a lot at the political humour that was in the movie. You don’t have to be a US citizen to understand the political references. There were some thriller and suspense parts that really got me at the edge of my seat. I was wondering if it was a thriller movie somewhere in the middle of the movie because of certain scenes. It’s a simple story but emphasizes the need to be honest throughout the movie and the ending was satisfactory.

Rating: 8/10
Guest Reviewer: Amanda Chua

Monday, November 2, 2009

Movie Review - The Phantom of the Opera


Movie Title
The Phantom of the Opera
Year
2004
Genre
Romance, Drama, Musical


Story
(Based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stage Musical of the same name)
His voice calls to her, nurturing her extraordinary talents from the shadows of the opera house where innocent chorus girl Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum) makes her home. Only ballet mistress Madame Giry (Miranda Richardson) knows that Christine's mysterious "Angel of Music" is actually the Phantom (Gerard Butler), a disfigured musical genius who haunts the catacombs of the theatre, terrifying the ensemble of artists who live and work there. When temperamental diva La Carlotta (Minnie Driver) walks out in the middle of a dress rehearsal for the company's latest production, the theatre's eager new managers (Simon Callow, Ciarán Hinds) have no choice but to thrust Christine into the spotlight.

Her mesmerizing opening night performance captivates both the audience and the Phantom, who devotes himself to casting his protégé as the opera's next star. But he is not the only powerful man to be awed by the young soprano, as Christine soon finds herself courted by the theatre's wealthy patron, the Vicompte Raoul de Chagny (Patrick Wilson).
Though she is enthralled by her charismatic mentor, Christine is undeniably drawn to the dashing Raoul, enraging the Phantom and setting the stage for a dramatic crescendo in which soaring passions, fierce jealousies and obsessive love threaten to drive the fated lovers past the point of no return.
Acting
The acting was good considering the fact that the leads were quite new at that time.Emmy Rossum, who was only 17 showed a great display of emotion and acted well. Through this movie, she was suddenly recognised as a newfound talent. Gerard Butler's (who played the Phantom) acting was commedable too. He portrayed the character well and audience cannot help to take pity on him. Patrick Wilson, who acted as the dashing Raoul pulled off his role just as good as the other two and appeared to be the 'knight in shining armor' in the movie. The rest of the cast were generally okay.

Overall
I only managed to watch this recently though it was released in 2004 and I have no regrets. Honestly, I expected much less of the movie since so many musicals were a flop. So for fans of musicals, this is one that will surely not disappoint. The songs are nice and the music really helps to bring out the different emotions throughout the movie. Definitely one movie that's worth watching again!

Rating: 8.5/10
Guest Reviewer: Serene Chua