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Friday, November 30, 2012

Movie Review - Act Of Valor

Movie Title
Act Of Valor
Act of Valor depicts a fictionalized account of a team of real Navy SEAL operations. It stars a group of ACTUAL Navy SEALs in a film unlike any other of Hollywood's movies.

The Elite SEAL Team receives orders to go on a fairly simple mission. The mission was to recover a captive female CIA operative in Latin America whose cover was blown. In the course of the rescue mission, they discover a threat much larger and more terrifying than anyone would have initially thought.

The elite SEAL team must immediately split up and follow up this adrenaline-pumping secret operation that brings them all across the globe and eventually back to the good old US of A.

It also features villains so diabolical that they seem like they came out of a Bond movie.

Now, this is the best part. The movie has no one recognizable or from Hollywood as they are mainly ACTUAL Navy SEALs! Despite that, they actually exhibit some credible acting chops! No, they're not
going to win any acting awards but it doesn't cause a jarring viewing experience. In fact, it's very easy to get into the movie.
The pacing was great. Makes is very easy to watch and there's never a moment when the viewer may think "Hmm, what am I gonna have for dinner". Act of Valor combines stunning combat sequences, State-of-the-art SEAL field tech and heart-pumping action. It's that gripping! 

The action sequences were really something - realistic and very un-Hollywood! You have to watch it to understand what I mean. It's not glamorous and they look un-choreographed - hence very real.
The mix of action and spotlight on the various characters of the movie was pretty well balanced as well. It doesn't really have a main "Hero". However, to tuck at the audience's heart-strings, a character was given a little more background to let the audiences see the human side of these valiant warriors. He was shown that just as he was about to go off on his mission that he was about to become a brand new dad.

WATCH IT, and be pleasantly surprised by a bunch of Non-Actors! I know I will be watching it again soon.

Rating: 7.5/10

Food Review - Celestial Court (Sheraton Imperial)

Celestial Court Chinese Restaurant
Chinese Cuisine (Lunch & Dinner) & Dim Sum (Lunch only)
Sheraton Imperial, KL

Getting there
Located on the 3rd floor inside the iconic Sheraton Imperial along Jalan Sultan Ismail (and across from the famous Asian Heritage Row for the hip and happening crowds) or a stone’s throw away from the Dang Wangi LRT Station.

There are lots of parking inside the hotel and outside the hotel for the club-goers

It is a multiple award-winning fine dining restaurant, hence, the place exudes an air of elegance with professional & friendly staff members who would make your dining experience memorable.

I must say that it has one of the best Chinese Food presentations I have ever come across (the other that comes to mind would be Zuan Yuan @ One World).

The taste is exquisite (except for the pan fried cod dish which we thought was a little too salty.However, they quickly replaced it with another one which was done just right!). Regardless whether you decide to go for the Dim Sum or Non Dim Sum items, it is evident that they take pride in their food preparation where they not only look good but tastegreat.

There are enough items on the menu ranging from Meat dishes, poultry, seafood to non-meat/vegetable dishes to keep diners coming back for more. They also have a separate section for Dim Sum where it is further sub-divided into Steamed or Fried varieties and sweets/desserts.

Value For Money
Now, the Non-dim sum items are a little pricey. A single item can range from RM35-55 and the portions are rather dainty (well, it is fine dining after all!). The dim sum however, are a different story altogether! Ranging from RM12-38 per item, they come in really huge portions. For instance, the Siew Mai/Har Gou are at least 35% larger per piece than what one would get in a typical dim sum place. So, for 2 persons, ordering 5-7 items would be more than enough! Yeah, they are that big!

This is a great place for some top notch Chinese Cuisine – especially if you want to bring your Muslim friends for a good Chinese dining experience. However, be prepared to be set back by quite a bit if you are going for the Non-Dim Sum items.

Food Review - Zende

Zende Restaurant

Located right across from the Mall (which has since been renamed as the Sunway Putra Mall) and right next to the PWTC  (Putra World Trade Centre).

There are lots of parking if you are planning to dine here. You may either park at the hotel itself, the Mall or at the PWTC.

As there were lots of people present at the restaurant (actually, it was running a full house - could be due to the fact that many, like me, had bought the discounted vouchers as well.), the staff were scrambling with ushering diners to their tables and bringing out the food to the buffet lines (well, this is Malaysia after all - where people just grab piles of food on their plates and then just leave them on their tables to be cleared as it's obvious they can't finish the amounts they take).

I have to say the place looks really good. The glass ceiling provides the restaurant with a lot of natural light which adds a lot to the ambience. The light colored theme also makes diners feel very welcome & cozy. Top marks here.

I have to say I was absolutely DISAPPOINTED with what we had to put up with! (Yes, I said put up with). 

This is because we have had food here at Zende before and it was infinitely better than what we had this day. The Dim Sum variety was limited (they only had about 6 types of Dim Sum, and some of them were un-available due to the greedy diners)

They had:
Chicken Feet
"Char Siew" Pau - well, it's halal
Siew Mai
Glutinous Rice in wrapped Lotus Leaves
Fish Balls
Congee or Porridge with condiments
The hotel had done their part in making the food look very presentable. However, due to the large crowds, by the time we got to some of the food containers, it had become a little messy (no fault of the hotel). Otherwise, the food presentation is pretty good.

Not only the Dim Sum variety was limited but the other food items too. We didn't manage to get much satisfaction from the Dim Sum hence we thought of enjoying the other non-Dim Sum items but sadly, they too were limited in choice. =(

We took some deep fried items like Lobak & some Yong Tau Foo (which I'm disappointed to report was also lacking in variety)

They had an OK variety of desserts like bite-size cakes & sweets but by the time we got to the desserts, we were too depressed to even take the sweet items.
Value for Money:
On paper, RM48++ for a buffet lunch in a restaurant located in a 5-Star hotel like the Seri Pacific seems like a pretty good deal BUT with the food that diners got from their money, I'd say I can think of at least 79 other ways I can use my $$$ better. EPIC FAIL

I'd have to say I really regretted coming here for the buffet despite having only paid a fraction of the original price. The whole time I was there, I was feeling so sorry for the people who had actually paid full price for the buffet.

So, based on this visit, I would say it's a definite "No-no" from me. I would not be visiting Zende again at least for another 1 year, when hopefully, the management realizes the kind of poor quality and value cannot be presented in a hotel and restaurant with a rich a reputable history.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Comic Review - Powerful in Pink (Marvel)

You'd think that when creative teams created these characters, the color Pink would be the last color one would pick right? Well, if you do, then you need to think again!

Here is a selection of Marvel characters (we will do the DC guys another day) that sport the color Pink (or in some cases Purple, which is a close enough cousin of dear ol' Pink.).

We start with one of Fantastic Four's major villains - the ruler of the Negative Zone - Annihilus
Another 2 from the Fantastic Four's rogues gallery - 2 members of the Frightful Four.
The Wizard - who fancies himself to be Reed's intellectual equal.

The Trapster (who used to be called Paste Pot Pete!)

Now we move on to the X-Men's foes. The first one is a Killer Robot from the future called Nimrod.

X-Men fans would no doubt recognize the Sentinel killer robots (who also made a brief appearance in the movie X-Men 3 - in the Danger Room sequence.) brought to life by Bolivar Trask.
Meanwhile, back to more of Fantastic Four's villains. A villainous version of the FF (in fact, they were trying to replicate the process by exposing themselves to cosmic rays and became the U-Foes!)

Their youngest member, Human Torch's counter-part - X-Ray
And who doesn't know the planet-eater Galactus (who also happen to have made an appearance in the Fantastic Four 2 movie, but as a death cloud from space...sigh)?
1 more FF villain - Diablo. As he dabbles in Alchemy (which is kind of like magic), his encounters with FF are always interesting as the FF are science-based heroes.
The Super Skrull - another FF old foe, who ended up being a hero during the Annihilation Wave when the forces of Annihilus (see above) from the Negative Zone threatened the Positive Universe.
More of FF's villains. Here, we have the Hate Monger!
We now move to Captain America's rogues. First, we have Diamondback. I'm unsure as I don't really read Capt America but I think at some point, she turned good.
1 of Cap's arch-nemeses (besides the Red Skull) is the Baron Zemo. The 1st Baron had died some time ago (because he too, like Cap, was from the WWII era) and the mantle has now been passed on to his son.
Now we move on to the heroes. First, we have Machine Man (aka X-51 or Aaron Stack). I really like this character and am sad that he is not as popular as he potentially could be.

Drax the Destroyer. He was created to destroy (Yup, hence his name...), get this, THANOS! I'm not sure if the creators were clear about how powerful Thanos is or how powerful they wanted Drax to be. Anyway, this is the original look. Marvel has changed his looks to suit the modern readers and had recently been part of the new Guardians of the Galaxy. 
We then have members of the Avengers.
First, we have the Scarlet Witch. As I had said earlier, she should be in the next Avengers movie!

Hawkeye. 'nuff said!

And then we have the Cajun scoundrel, X-Men's very own bad boy whom everyone loves - Remy Lebeau aka Gambit.

Lastly, back when Prof X first set-up the New Mutants as a junior group of X-Men in training, Emma Frost (who was still a villain then) also had her own group of mutants in training - the Hellions.