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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Stuff So Good

These are some really fantastic pictures. I saw these images and I really love them. So, knowing that if I don't save them somewhere, in no time, I would've forgotten their beauty and the craft & hard-work behind them. 

However, instead of posting them on Facebook, where the result would pretty much be the same (ie: forgotten by not only myself but also others who admire these kinds of work). Hence, my decision to put them into my blog, which also serves as my personal diary of sorts. So, I do hope you like these pictures as much as I do.
 

Movie Review - What Maisie Knew

Movie Title

What Maisie Knew
Year
2012
Genre
Drama

Story
This movie is apparently a contemporary adaptation of Henry James'classic American novel written over 115 years ago . It centers around the titular character Maisie (Onata Aprile), a 6-7 year-old girl caught in the middle of a broken marriage between a burnt out NY rock-band lead, Susanna (Julianne Moore whom we recently saw in the Carrie remake) and Beale (Steve Coogan), a high-flying international businessman who is contantly travelling, who is also having an affair with the baby-sitter, Margo (Joanna Vanderham, whom I've not seen before but I thought she's very hot and looked a bit like a cross between 2 other hotties - Elisha Cuthbert and Kate Bosworth).
Expectedly, they separate and are in the midst of a custody battle for Maisie. Maisie is caught in the middle having to live with Susanna on certain days and with Beale on other days. It is when she goes over to Beale's that she discovers that Margo is now her step-mum.Meanwhile, Susanna has also acquired a new life-partner in bartender Lincoln (Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd whom I last saw in the dismal Battleship) who eventually ends up as her step-dad. Soon, we can see that Maisie actually spends more time with her step-parents than her biological ones as Susanna is constantly either away on her rock tours or partying while Beale would be globe-trotting, sometimes even for weeks. 

As Margo and Lincoln spend more time taking care of Maisie, they realize that to their partners, they were nothing more than tools for them to use. They soon grow to love each other as they spend more and more time with Maisie together as a family.Before the movie ends, Beale had decided that it was best for his business that he moved back to London and realized that bringing Maisie with him would not be good for her. Separately, Susanna comes to the painful realization that Maisie needed the parental love and attention that she could not give. So it would be better for Maisie to remain with Margo and Lincoln.In the end, the title, alluding to what Maisie (and now the audience as well) knew was actually who her 'real parents'  were. The ones who truly loved her unconditionally. 
Acting

The acting by all in this film is simply outstandingly brilliant. Despite having said that, there is one performance really stands out - Onata Aprile, who played Maisie. I am telling you now,this girl is one to watch. Her performance is probably the best performance from a child I have ever watched. The other one that I can think of is Haley Joel Osment (Anyone remember him? He made it big from the 6th Sense along with Bruce Willis - arguably, the only good movie ever from M. Night Shyamalan)Overall
This is a slow-burn kinda movie. You have to let yourself simmer in its creative juices before the goodness & beauty hits you. It's not a romantic movie for dating couples or a sad tear-jerker but rather a very real take on a slice of the reality of life.

Beautiful film. Watch it, if not for anything, then for Onata's grade A++ performance!

Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Food Review - Star Cafe (Taman Desa)

Name 
Desa Star Cafe (Non-Halal - serves alcohol)
Food
Local, Western, Fusion, Casual Dining
Location
At a prominent corner visible from Jalan Desa Utama
View Larger MapGetting There
Located at a really prominent & strategic corner of the Taman Desa Business Park with lots of tall mature trees that provide ample greenery & shade for the cafe. Located at the far corner of the Business Park facing the Taman Desa Medical Centre, it is very prominent and even if you are entering Taman Desa (from the Old Klang Road entrance) for the very first time, you would not be able to miss it.

Parking
The Lunch crowd may find parking to be a challenge as this restaurant is located at a Business Park after all but the dinner crowd would have an easier time finding parking around the Business Park vicinity as the office people would've gone off by then.

Weekends are pretty quiet for this part of Taman Desa. So, if you are planning a weekend meal here, you'd have no trouble in getting a space.
Ambience
It is well lit and the couple of times that I had been there, I had seen families (including) have their dinners there to business colleagues winding down the day end with a couple of beers. Despite the chairs being plastic, they are very sturdy and look great, as you can see from the pictures.

The double shoplot has also been recently been refurbished so that it is a very cozy place with some good music to help patrons be relaxed .
Variety
Surprisingly, they offer quite a number of items on their menu catering to diners who prefer either Asian fare or Western/fusion food - from Char Kuey Teow to Rib-Eye, Tenderloin Steaks & Braised Lamb Shanks.

On top of that, they do have quite a few desert and beverage items as well. Enough for you to try on your next visit.Taste
The food is actually quite good. As a fairly young establishment, a lot of care has been put into the food preparation.
Presentation
Top marks for the presentation. Again, this is a neighborhood restaurant, hence, it may lose out if compared with some fine dining restaurants located in 5 star hotels or at an upscale mall. Overall, I was pretty impressed with the way the presented the food to us.
Value
Altho' it's considered a neighborhood cafe, the prices are on par with most restaurants in its category. It's not too pricey but it's not a place you may visit daily.
Overall
It's a nice little place to bring your friends for a few drinks or even a meal in a relaxed atmosphere, complete with good food with prices that are quite reasonable. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Personal Favorite...Songs

Puddle Of Mudd - Blurry


I just heard this song again recently and it just reminded me of how much I love this song. So, for those who know it, enjoy it, for those who don't, give it a listen and see if you like it as much as we do.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Movie Review (Geek Edition) - Captain America 2 : The Winter Soldier

Movie Review (Geek Edition) - Captain America 2 : The Winter Soldier

Of course there will be SPOILERS throughout this post!

OK, as I am sure most of you have already either watched, read or watched and read the reviews of Captain America 2, I'd do my movie review differently this time around. Call it an experiment. I guess it won't be a surprise if I were to approach this review from a geek's POV. So, having said that, I'd have to say, audiences already know most of the characters I listed below. This was a smart move by Marvel Studios as this allows them to introduce many more new characters without confusing the movie-going audience.

Most of the characters in the movie are people we've seen before either in Captain America's 1s+t movie or any of the other Avengers related movies (eg: Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, etc)

I'm talking about:
Captain America (aka Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, who first appeared in Captain America: First Avenger, 2011)
Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson, who first appeared in Iron Man, 2008)
Maria Hill (played by Cobie Smulders, who first appeared in the Avengers, 2012)
Peggy Carter (played by Hayley Atwell who first appeared in Captain America: First Avenger, 2011)
Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanov, played by Scarlett Johansson, who first appeared in Iron Man 2, 2010)
Arnim Zola (played by Toby Jones, who first appeared in Captain America: First Avenger, 2011)
Winter Soldier (aka Bucky Barnes, played by Sebastian Stan, who first appeared in Captain America: First Avenger, 2011)

Audiences were of course introduced to new characters as well:
Agent Jasper Sitwell
I remember I first read him back in the early 80's in MTIO#53 when I was first introduced to Quasar (who is a Cosmic-Powered Avenger) another favorite Marvel character of mine - Deathlok, in the Project Pegasus story arc. Apparently, Deathlok is being introduced in the Agents of SHIELD TV Series.
Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)
I believe this was a totally new character created solely for the movie.Batroc (played by Georges St-Pierre)
This was a villain that Cap readers could never take quite as seriously as we should because he just seems like a guy who is just jumping around and talking funny French (My apologies to my French friends). But of course, here in the movie, he's a parkour exponent and a deadly mercenary.Agent Brock Rumlow (Leader of the STRIKE Team, played by Frank Grillo)
Now, even as a geek, this slipped by me until around a 1/3 into the movie that I realized who Rumlow was - Crossbones! This is because - OK, I admit it - I'm not that big of a Cap fan and I haven't read many of Cap's solo books. I usually read Cap mainly in the Avengers books or when he guest-stars in somebody else's books. So, yeah, I had trouble picking up the Agent Rumlow name.Crossbones, as geeks would know, is a Red Skull loyalist (hmmm, now where have we seen/heard that name before?) and a constant thorn to Cap's side. Always clad in just B&W with a skull motif (no, we're NOT talking about the Punisher here...) and a thirst for blood.Now, after watching this movie, we know why he hardly ever removes his skull mask in the comics.

(Dr) Stephen Strange - Aka Dr. Strange
He was mentioned very briefly when the threat of compromised SHIELD data was being assessed. Geeks and fans would know Dr. Strange is a key part of the Marvel Universe. Being a member of the clandestine Illuminati - the trusted keepers of the Infinity Gems that in the movie world, Thanos and the Collector are looking for. Presumably, to arm the Infinity Gauntlet, which we all saw in Thor's 1st movie.Also, Dr Strange is also a front-runner for Marvel's Phase 3 Movies along with the Black Panther, Captain Marvel (probably), etc. Why him? He's the Marvel Universe's Master of the Mystic Arts (magic, for the uninitiated) and a founding member & leader of another Marvel Team - the Defenders.Sharon Carter (aka Agent 13, played by Emily Van Camp best known for her role in the TV Series - Revenge)
Being the niece to Cap's first love Peggy Carter, comic geeks would know that Cap eventually hooks up with Agent 13 as an item.Falcon (aka Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie)
As I had mentioned in my earlier post, I would've love to have seen some of the classic red & white incorporated into his movie costume but truth be told, I was pretty pleased with the final movie version. This movie version is almost identical to the Ultimate Universe's version of Falcon.
HYDRA
HYDRA's introduction here was waaaaay better than AIM's introduction in Iron Man 3. Here, HYDRA is the illegitimate child of SHIELD.
Baron Von Strucker (played by Thomas Kretschmann)
This guy is often portrayed to be the head honcho of HYDRA (along with Lady Viper, aka Madame HYDRA, played by Svetlana Khodchenkova - whom you have already seen before in the Wolverine movie, and a couple of others - Go read Jonathan Hickman's Secret Warriors.) So having him show up here, we can conclude that this is in preparation for either  Cap 3 or Avengers 3 or beyond. This is because HYDRA has traditionally been Cap's enemies.
"The Twins"
My blog readers & fellow geeks would know who the Twins are. They are Magneto's children, who eventually will become members of the Avengers (Yes, THAT Magneto...). Coincidentally, these 2 characters will also be appearing in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, but played by totally different people, with different costumes as well.
- Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen)
- Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson of the Kick-Ass movies.)
Cap's Partners:
I really liked how the various partners Cap had taken on over the decades were all put into the same movie. Cap of course, partnered Bucky back in the 1940s (WWII & Invaders days). Then, in the Silver  Age (Cap in the Modern World), his partner was the Falcon (Sam Wilson). Black Widow has of course been a partner to many heroes. As I had mentioned before, these heroes include: Daredevil, Iron Man, Hawkeye and dear ol' Cap. The most memorable for me being Uncanny X-Men 268. And as you can see, this story was loved by many and spawn many homage versions of the cover.Last but not least is of course, Cap's latest love interest, Sharon Carter aka Agent 13. Altho' in the movie, not much was done to help audiences see this but I guess they wanted to let the audiences put the pieces together because Cap's original gal was Peggy Carter and Agent 13 is Sharon Carter.

Post Credit scenes (Yes, apparently there were 2 scenes) -
The first being the introduction of Baron Von Strucker and the "Twins".
Now, I missed this scene as well but there apparently was a 2nd scene that appears much later. It shows the Winter Soldier going to the Captain America Museum and saw that what Cap had told him was true - that he was Cap's best friend and trusted partner.