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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movie Review (Not) Captain America 2 : The Winter Soldier

Are you stoked for the 2nd installment of Capt America yet? It's gonna be out tomorrow (yeah, we Asians seem to get it a week earlier than the US. Live with it - Bwahahah). 

If not, maybe these few teaser posters might just be the boost you need to do the trick? Enjoy...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Movie Review - 47 Ronin

Movie Title
47 Ronin
Year
2013
Genre
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, History
 
Story
I finally got around to watching the movie version of one of my favorite stories (based on the Dark Horse books) - 47 Ronin. The story remains basically the same as my earlier review of the Dark Horse books. In the movie version, there are additional elements that were not in the books - Magic, Demons, strange creatures & Witches.Of course among the new elements is Keanu Reeves' character, Kai, who mysteriously appeared in the beginning of the movie in a flashback as a boy who was raised by the birdlike forest demons, called Tengu*, but finally escaped the Tengu Forest and was found by Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) & Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), his chief Samurai. 

* I have included several images of Tengu interpretations above.
Despised by Lord Asano's Samurai and is referred to as a "halfbreed" but somehow, Lord Asano & his daughter Mika (Ko Shibasaki) see beyond his white skin. After Lord Asano's death, they plot their revenge against the evil Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano). However, that would not be easy as he has a witch, Mizuki (Rinko Kikuchi, whom we last saw in Pacific Rim) by his side.Acting
Of course, since Keanu is in the lead role, he's gonna get most of the flak for the movie not being a financial success. but I think it's not so much Keanu's acting but rather the way the various realistic and fantastic elements were put together didn't really jive. Plus the fact that there wasn't really much character development didn't do much for the movie. So all of these factors made the movie into what it is.1 thing I really liked from this movie was the introduction of Ko Shibasaki, well introduced to me at least, as I'd not seen her before. And boy, is she a hottie!Overall
It's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, the movie left you with quite a lot of unanswered questions such as the existence of the mythical creatures, demons, magic and witches. What was her motivation for her evil deeds? If she was so powerful and could cloud men's minds, why was she subservient to Lord Kira? Why were there strange giant beasts running around in the forest and why do normal men think they can hunt these giant beasts with conventional weapons? Why was the armored giant Samurai destroyed so easily?
Having said that, if audiences were to treat this movie as that had intended it to be - ie: a fantasy movie rather than a modern take on a historical legend, then, it would've been more enjoyable. The CGI, altho' not the best I'd seen, but was not too shabby. When the critics say it has bad CGI, I think they actually meant bad character design more than bad CGI. Take for example the Tengu who raised Kai, they looked more like chicken men than birdlike demons.Sure, I'd say go and watch it. You're probably going to enjoy it if you leave logic out of the room. Worth a repeat watch, maybe. I know I would probably watch this again a few years down the road.

Rating: 5.5/10

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Food Review - MOF - Japanese Cafe (Sunway Pyramid)

Name 
MOF - Japanese Cafe
Food
Japanese, Halal 
Location
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
Getting there
Located in the heart of Sunway, right next to the Subang township, this premiere mall is also quite easy to locate. 
View Larger Map
Parking
There are lots of parking bays available within the Sunway Pyramid Mall itself, which is adjacent to both the Sunway Tower and Sunway Convention Centre. So, with a little patience, you should have no problems getting yourself a parking bay.
Ambience
The place is quite busy and makes the outlet not quite the right place to bring your date for a long quiet evening because it very much looks and feels like a fast-food joint. I also recall having seen this brand MOF at the Pavillion KL some time ago but it doesn't seem to be there anymore. So now, the only place you can find MOF is at Sunway Pyramid.

The restaurant is split into 2 areas: 
- within the restaurant 
- outside the restaurant (a la cafe style)
It's very clean and brightly lit, making it pretty inviting for a family dining experience or an alternative to the burger fast-food joints for dating couples.

At the back of the restaurant, they also have a section that mimics the Japanese tatami dining style, which I thought is kinda cute.
Presentation
The presentation isn't fantastic as the food is presented in plasticware. It would've been much classier if they had used some sort of china. However, it does fit with the theme very well - clean, simple & fuss-free.
Taste
I must say that the food is not bad. I'd definitely go back for repeat visits despite the fact that they had made errors to my orders twice on 2 different occasions.
I tend to like my food with a little more or stronger tastes, so for those who prefer their food to be milder may find some of the items might be too savory. As I said, I'm kinda OK with it, especially if you go for the rice meals.

I quite liked the Teriyaki Beef  Bento set as well. The beef was done with the right tenderness, slightly sweet (from the Teriyaki Sauce) and slightly savory (from the Soy Sauce), together with the rice, makes it an irresistible combo. I found myself wanting more of it even after I'd finished it...=)

I especially liked the pan-fried Salmon Fillet with Roe. I have not seen salmon done this way before but perhaps other places may also have it but it's not quite the standard fare. The roe really adds a new dimension to the salmon, which we are all familiar with. If you have not tried this item before, you must try it.
Variety
There are enough different items on the menu to cater to diners with different preferences. They include items with fish, beef or chicken. All of which are pretty standard for Japanese eateries here in Malaysia.
Value For Money
While the price points for the menu items are not really expensive, they are not so economical that you'r go there for your daily meals.
While I'm usually quite disappointed with the portions that I get when my food is served, this place pleasantly surprises me with their portion size. I was surprised by the size of the fish that they served more than once. If you look at the images I included here for the grilled mackerel, you'd have in idea of the size of the fish they gave us. It's significantly larger than the bento box it came in.