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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Comic Review - Nova Vol. 5 #1-5

Nova v5 #1-5
Publish Date/Year
Creative Team
Jeph Loeb
Ed McGuiness
The last we saw of the original/1st Nova (Richard Rider), he was with Star-Lord sacrificing themselves fighting Thanos (hmmm, where have we seen this guys before?) and trapping themselves to keep Thanos in a parallel universe called the Cancerverse.

Then Marvel decided to publish this new version of Nova. I had my apprehension when I first came across this title. This is because I grew up with the 1st & original Nova (Richard Rider) who first appeared in the 70’s. In fact, some of the very first few comics I ever read in my life were Nova comics (see My Path To Geekdom). Moreover, despite Thanos & Star Lord both having returned to the Marvel Universe, there is no updates as to what happened to Nova (Richard Rider).
We all know Thanos had to be brought back because of the movies (he was the secret mastermind villain in the post credit scene of Avengers and will also appear in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie out later this year. The very same movie is also the reason for Star Lord’s return to the Marvel Universe.)

I found myself pleasantly surprised by this new character - 15 year old Sam Alexander. I found his innocence and naivety which were quite endearing. I guess this was Marvel’s success ‘formula’ – a teenager, oft misunderstood and facing the angst and growing pains of self discovery & personal growth. Add the twist of some kind of super powers and the responsibility that comes with it, voila – formula for comic success.
Sam holds much disdain for his father, who is constantly missing from his life and can’t seem to hold on to his job as a school janitor as he’s always missing from work but tells seemingly fantastic tales of space adventuring to him and his younger sister. One day, after waking up to Rocket Raccoon & Gamora (of the Guardiansof the Galaxy) at a local hospital after an accident, Sam, not able to accept the possibility that his dad’s stories could be real, runs home and finds his dad’s Nova helmet and because of his bloodline, activates the powers and before he knows what was happening, he was on the Moon standing before the Watcher Uatu.
His powers combined with that Uatu knows was coming allows the Watcher to show him the impending invasion from the Chitauri (hmmm, another familiar name. Avengers Movie goers should recognize it as it was the alien invasion force.) with their very own Ultimate Nullifier (the only weapon in the universe that even the fearsome Galactus must give pause.)!
Overconfident with his new-found powers, he rushes into the fray only to find out that the leader of the Chitauri is none other than his dad’s once trusted elite black novas partner turned traitor – Titus (the talking Tiger. I’m serious!) but he finds that he’s out-gunned and out-classed. He runs back to Earth with his tail between his legs, but not before seizing the Ultimate Nullifier from Titus. Titus pursues him. Sam makes his final stand against Titus. He triggers the Ultimate Nullifier, ending the Chitauri threat by seemingly sending them into another dimension. At least for the moment the threat has been neutralized.Artwork
I remember Ed McGuiness was a winner from an art contest held by Wizard Magazine (Anyone remember Wizard? I LOVED this mag. Really miss it…) in the early 2000s. In terms of actual comic book work, I first came across his work when I was reading DC’s Our Worlds at War (OWAW) & Superman/Batman books.

I didn’t like his work too much as his style was a little too cartoony and his proportions on the human physique were too exaggerated. However, over the years, his style has evolved and it’s become more aesthetically pleasing visually & I do like his clean and uncluttered style.Overall
I thought this was a great start to what looks to be a potentially great series as we can see Marvel is pulling out all the stops to go cosmic, and of course, for Marvel, cosmic equals characters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova, Silver Surfer, Captain Marvel & Quasar!

This is a pretty smart move by Marvel to allow newer/younger readers a great starting point to jump onto instead of potentially alienating them with the original Nova who has quite a bit of history behind him.

I’m gonna stick with this book for a while. What about you?

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Personal Favorite...Songs

This round, I'm going a little mellow and instead of only 1, I'm going 2 songs. And they're both from female singers. I can't seem to understand why these 2 songs do not get more air-play (well, at least not around these here parts) other than the fact that they are not contemporary hits. But then there are a lot of non-contemporary hits that are being played to death and most of them do not sound as good as these 2 songs (OK, OK, it's a little subjective...).

These 2 ladies have beautiful voices and the songs have equally beautiful melodies. So, I hope you agree with me that they deserve more air-play time. Well, if you have not heard these songs before, give it a try and see if you agree with me.

Beverley Craven - Promise Me

Jordan Hill - Remember Me This Way 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Food Review - Postcode (Cheras)

Postcode - Good Malaysian Food
Local Favorites/Fusion

Bandar Tasik Permaisuri
Getting there
Located at a prominent corner of the Bandar Sri Permaisuri shop-lots facing the main roads. You should be able to spot it.

You can use the HUKM (Hospital UKM) or the KL Football Stadium as a reference point landmark. The place is just a stone's throw away from these 2 landmarks. 
I haven't been there on a weekday but every time I was there, it was over the weekend and there are lots of car park bays around the shop-lots in the vicinity as most of them aren't open. However, I'd have to say that the parking bays are all still there on weekdays and your chances of getting a space is as good as anyone else.
This is a rather small & homely place that probably can seat up to 40 guests at any time.
The place has a slightly retro & "Kopitiam" feel to the decor. I guess it's due to the marble top tables and chairs with dark hued wooden trims. The theme is quite consistent for the whole restaurant, which makes it look good.

Another big plus point is that the place is clean and quite well-lit. However, I was only there during lunch and usually the brightness from the natural lighting from outside overpowers the interior lights a little (as you can see from my pics.)

The multiple entrances make it feel more inviting and less claustrophobic than places with a single entry/exit point.

They have a menu with quite a varied number of items ranging from rice (meat & meat-free) to noodles (fried, dry or with soup) and toast and lastly there's also coffee & fruit juices.

Some of the rice items include:
- Nasi Lemak (Coconut Milk Rice) varieties
- Chinese Styled rice varieties (eg: Kung Poh Chicken/Fish Rice, Marmite Chicken Rice, Yong Chow Fried, etc)

Some of the noodle items include:
- Hokkien Mee (Fried Thick Noodles in Dark Soy Sauce)
- Curry Mee (Noodles)/Beehoon (Vermicelli)
- Fried Kueh Teow (Flat Vermicelli)
- Wat Tan Hor (Flat Vermicelli in Thick Egg Gravy)

There are also come Fusion items:
- Black Pepper Chicken Chop
- Fish & ChipsService
The Service Staff members are quite nicely dressed in their uniform. Which was a pleasant surprise to me for a place like this. 

Additionally, they are quite attentive and ready to serve. However, the service levels were a little inconsistent because I was there a few times and on those times I was there, the crowd size was almost the same but the time it took for the food to arrive was quite significantly different. I remember once, it took about 15-20 minutes while on another occasion, it took less than 10 minutes. I remember quite vividly that I was very surprised the food arrived so quickly. (Hmmm, maybe I was having more fun & distractions that time...)

The way the food was presented was quite good as well. I mean, the dinner-ware was nothing spectacular but I guess this stemmed from my expectations from a place like this - very budget-friendly & accessible. So yes, I was a little pleasantly surprised and I hope more eateries continue to pleasantly exceed diners' expectations like this.

Other than the dinner-ware, the food placement was also very camera friendly. It's obvious some degree of care and effort was put into the way their food was presented. And that's a good thing.Taste
Unfortunately, there is nothing to really shout about in terms of taste. Please don't get me wrong, the food is not bad. It's just that there was nothing that really stands out or memorable that would give guests a compelling reason to return or recommend to others.

Value For Money
It's not street food prices but it's not really restaurant prices either. So it's pretty affordable and it provides a nice place for guests to relax and surf the net at no extra charge if they so choose.

I'd say it's worth a visit or two, perhaps just to experience the ambience and try out the menu items. So yes, I'd say worth a try but nothing really compelling or extraordinary.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Personal Favorite...Songs

I'm starting another new section in my blog and I'm calling it My Personal Favorites. This is an area where I can basically share more of who I am and the things that shaped me as a person. It would also allow me to go beyond what I usually blog about a lot more. Moreover, it would also serve as a kind of record to allow me to get really personal.

Hopefully, some of my meanderings won’t seem too indulgent but allow readers to know me a little more and at a more personal level. 

Anyway, here goes. 

As most youngsters would usually be, I had really been quite active in following the music scene since I was a teen. I remember I was always watching a TV program that showed the latest music videos, called Night Flight (Anybody remember this TV Series?). Bear in mind that this was during a time where there was no internet, YouTube or even CDs. We were all buying cassette tapes then.

It's when we were first exposed to the brilliant (well, for audiences back in the 80's at least) Music Videos by A-Ha, the Police, Tears for Fears, etc.

This particular song had somehow grown on me and I hardly hear it being played on the radio stations, if at all. So for those who like this song, I hope this is a treat for you.

Cutting Crew – I’ve Been In Love Before
I hope you enjoy it. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Movie Review - Getaway

Movie Title
Action, Thriller
On X'Mas eve, Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke), a disgraced and retired American race car driver returns to their Bulgarian home to discover his wife had been abducted and the only way for him to see her alive again was to follow instructions given to him by a Nameless/unidentified adversary/mastermind voiced by Jon Voight.

Magna's first task was to steal a heavily armored sports car (that happen to be installed with cams & mics that feed live audio & video back to the un-named villain)
Then, a nameless brat (Selena Gomez) apparently was trying to carjack the very car Magna was in. We only learn later that this heavy duty armored tank of a car was actually hers to begin with, but now, is a hostage to the whole unpleasant situation.

So the rest of the movie is all about how Magna manages to drive his sports tank around the city damaging multi-millions but somehow not killing anyone. Meanwhile, he somehow manages to bond with the extremely annoying nameless brat and she manages to figure out what the villain was after and how they could thwart him (and a horde of police and gun-toting thugs) and save Magna's wife as well.
Selena Gomez is really irritating and viewers would find it hard to relate to her character. Her script was not helping much either. If not for the fact that her character is conveniently very smart, tech savvy and happen to be the daughter of the bank owner  they eventually needed to rob, there is really no reason for viewers to root for her.

And for the record, despite being Justn Bieber's on-and-off girlfriend, whom many seem to think is hot. I quite think she's rather ugly.
I'm a little sad that Ethan Hawke, who once was considered a mega-star in the same league as maybe Keanu Reeves or Brad Pitt, has now been relagated to roles in movies like these.

The "Wife"'s role was also redundant because other than being the cliched damsel in distress role and a script with no more than spoken 100 words, she was absolutely unnecessary or anyone can be in the role .
This is a piece of stinking rubbish that is good only for the car chases and the 20+ BMWs (Well, I didn’t really keep count and I WON’T  be re-watching this movie for an accurate count) that were trashed in filming this dud.

OK, I admit that the car Magna was driving looked pretty darn cool.
I'd say don't waste your time unless you really like mindless and meaningless car crashes that miraculously do not hurt anyone OR if you are somehow a fan of Selena Gomez.

Rating: 3.5/10 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Screen Hotties

OK, to kick off the new year, I'm adding a new type of post to my blog - HOTTIES! 
I hope you all would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting this together.

I'd try to stick to a predictable format so you all can more or less know what to expect from each of my rants. So, I'm starting off with Screen Hotties (so in the future, I may move on to Sports Hotties, Corporate Hotties,...well, you get the picture.) 

I'd also try to make it a little interesting by having these posts in 2 or more sections:

Retro Hotties (Male & Female)
Retro doesn’t mean the people in my list are old, just that I first came to be aware of them before the year 2000. 
Contemporary Hotties (Male & Female)
Similarly, Contemporary basically means that I came to be aware of these celebs from the year 2000 and onward.
Over-rated Hotties (Male & Female)
This is of course a very subjective matter and as everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, so I’m entitled to mine. I just think that these celebs are hot but not as hot as people seem to think or claim.

Contemporary Hotties:
Male: Chris Evans

As a comic geek (c'mon, if you're reading this blog you should already know that I'm a huge comic geek right?). So when the Fantastic Four movie came out in 2005, I had to watch it. That's when I first came across Chris. Again, as a geek, it's no surprise I'd be there for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer* (2007). 

Of course, he acted in many more movies but as a comic geek, these were the ones that stuck in my mind:
The Losers (2010) with another hottie - Zoe Saldana & Idris "Heimdall" Elba (why I included The Losers here is because it is also based on a comic book under the Vertigo label. Yupz.)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The Avengers (2012)

*Since I was a wee kid, up until today, Silver Surfer is one of my ALL-TIME favourite heroes (along with a few others like Beta Ray Bill, ROM and a few more...)

And as if you didn't already know this, he's going to reprise his role as the Sentinel of Liberty in the following 2 movies:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (aka Captain America 2)
The Avengers: Age of Ultron (aka Avengers 2)Female: Cobie Smulders
Not having watched a single episode of How I Met Your Mother, I didn't know that she wasn't new to the entertainment industry. I first took notice of her when I first saw her in The Avengers (2012). And boy, did she blow me away! I just thought she's very pretty.

Of course, her fans can now get more of Cobie from the Avengers movie spin-off TV Series - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

She will soon be appearing in the 2 upcoming movies that I'm geekily awaiting with bated breadth.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (aka Captain America 2)
- The Avengers: Age of Ultron (aka Avengers 2)Retro Hotties:
Male: Jim Caviezel

The first time I ever took notice of him was in Frequency (2000) with Dennis Quaid (I remember this movie to be quite good. Will watch again soon and hopefully, I will do a Retro Review of it), followed by movies such as Angel Eyes (2001) with fellow hottie Jennifer Lopez and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) with Guy "Momento" Pearce (which I actually quite enjoyed).

Despite having good acting chops, somehow, he didn't quite make it to the Mega-Star status as how Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp have done.

The biggest one for Jim I believe was Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004). He then acted in movies like Unknown (2006) with Barry Pepper & Greg Kinnear and Outlander (2008) with Ron "Hellboy" Perlman, but they didn't make any waves at the box-office.

I don't watch this TV Series but I'm glad to note that he's back in action in the highly acclaimed & currently still running Person of Interest.Female: Madeleine Stowe

I first came to notice this beauty from the some of the more notable movies from the 1990s, namely:
- The Last of the Mohicans (1992) with Award-winning Daniel Day Lewis
- Unlawful Entry (1992) with the oft-under-appreciated Kurt Russell & "Always the villain" Ray Liotta
- The cult-classic - Twelve Monkeys (1995) with Bruce "John McLane" Willis

Well, for me, this hottie kind of fell off the spotlight in the early 2000s after The General's Daughter (1999). Thankfully, she's currently back in the limelight again with the TV series that's fast gaining popularity - Revenge.Over-rated Hotties:
Male: Leonardo DiCaprio

OK, I knew what I was getting into when I decided to do this section because no matter what, my choices would anger the fans of the hottie I choose for this category. So,...with a heavy heart & gritted teeth, I do this for all of you...

Leonardo DiCaprio. Extremely talented actor and a multiple award winner. And I even admit that while he was much younger, I'd agree that he was quite a hottie. However, despite that, I'll have to say that the years have not been very kind to dear ol' Leo.

Of course, many of us first came to know about him from the mega movie: 
- Titanic (1997) with Kate Winslet
and more recently, the twisted and mind-boggling movies like:
- Inception (2010) with Joseph "Robin(??)" Gordon-Levitt 
- Shutter Island (2010) with Mark "Hulk" Ruffalo
and of course, the latest one that everyone's talking about:
- Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Female: Kirsten Dunst
I first came to see her when she was very young, in movies like Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) & Jumanji (1995), altho' back then I had no idea who she was.

But I guess she would "best" be remembered for her role in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007) with Tobey Maguire. I really hated (Yup, HATED...) the way she portrayed Mary Jane Watson despite all the praises everyone was heaping on the Spider-Man movies. 

Anyway, many profess her beauty but I strongly disagree. I guess I can say she can look pretty provided she doesn't show her teeth because they just look really horrible. 

I recently saw her in Upside Down (2012) with Jim Sturgess.