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Showing posts from 2011

Skyve Elemetary Bistro & Bar

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Skype Elementary Bistro & Bar:An interesting evolution of Table 66. Much larger, airier and more chic decor. They are now a full day dining with Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Tea and Dinner. However, the menus for each are mutually exclusive. Came down for the Brekky/Brunch. The sous-vide eggs benedict was good; came with a portobello mushroom, bread, corn and tomatoes. Quite good, price-compatible, but still lose out to Hediard's egg Benedictine. The mini beef burger was passable as was the Croque Madame. The pizza looks good though. A carafe of bubbly berries was refreshingly cool and apt for brekky. Unfortunately, no desserts for brekky/brunch (see above) and no oysters except for dinner (6-10pm)  or unless pre-ordered. Bar snacks starts at 5pm and is at a separate corner. I can accept the house rules, but the lack of all day desserts is disappointing. Freshness of desserts is easily maintained throughout the day; perhaps they need a dedicated dessert chef.  There is an entire …

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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Guy Ritchie's sequel is gonna make money. It's an entertaining albeit slightly draggy romp with Robert Downey Jr as his usual charismatic self that is getting repetitive. They overplayed the autistic savant bit too much, me thinks. He and Jude Law has a brotastic chemistry, but what a waste of Noomi Rapace! What a step down from Lisbeth this is for her. Though at least there was the dependently funny Stephen Fry in this. Guy Ritchie does action choreography really well and his fight scenes are really entertaining, particularly the German gun fight sequence in the forest. Well-shot! Hans Zimmer's score was appropriate  but not terribly memorable. BBC's "Sherlock" is a more highly recommended viewing!

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol [IMAX]

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Better than 2, not as good as 1 or 3. Tom Cruise is again his charismatic self and carries the movie successfully on his shoulder; I don't see Jeremy Renner taking over this Franchise. Brad Bird did a great job directing and his action choreography was outstanding, particularly the Dubai sequence (from start to end) and the carpark sequence. Paula Patton in a green dress coming out of a BMW is no (NO) match for Maggie Q in a red dress blowing up a Lamborghini. 2 standouts: Simon Pegg and Michael Giacchino; the former has a wickedly brilliant comic touch and the latter composed a brilliantly wicked soundtrack. The IMAX shot footages was gorgeous! If only the whole movie was in IMAX!! Abrams continue to cast his ex-stars in a minor but pivotal role, but Josh Holloway, like Keri Russel before him, had limited screen time. But also like Felicity, Sawyer nails it! And...wtf?!?! where's my "The Dark Knight Rises" prologue...grrr!!! IMAX not really necessary.

Crazy Christmas 2011

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What a sad shade of the original Dim Sum Dollies (R) (yes, they are copyrighted now). Unfunny, unoriginal and uninspired, and forgettable songs (from Glee's play book that's way way too poor). Laughs were thin and forced, with poor directing and bad lighting. A slight glimpse of their former glory was during the bunny skit, but sadly they missed the chance to segue into a rabbit-dragon joke. Instead, we got a hokkien Santa. Sigh. Even Kumar seemed embarrassed to be in this show. Granted, perhaps the lack of energy is partially due to tragic loss of RJ Rosales and the unfortunate relapse for Emma Yong (will next year's in memoriam be for her? let's hope not...). Anybody else caught the sold-out-ness of it all? Underneath the sly governmental snarkiness is a production that reeks of propaganda. Pity...

New Year's Eve

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This must have been loose change for many of the major league Oscar winners and nominees in the movie, which is more chocked-ful of TV actors than movie starts. Unfortunately, the star power in this show is unable to lift it out of its dreary story-telling and run-of-the-mill plotting. It's sad when the funniest thing(s) in the show are the blooper reel at the end and actors re-enacting their funnier TV characters. The only part that really stood-out was a good piece of misdirection involving Josh Duhamel's character. Even the music by Jon Bon Jovi and Lea Michele is as uninspiring as the love life of their characters. Though one thing for sure, NYC still seems like the place to be for NYE! Maybe it's time to re-visit New York.

L’Artiste (The Artist) @ Alliance Francaise

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As part of: Société Générale Private Banking First Rendezvous With French Cinema

What a stunning, beautiful film. Michel Hazanavicius has created a magnificent hommage to the silent era that is sure to be nominated for all the major awards come Oscar 2012! Not a surprise, since this movie grabs you from the beginning as you observe the fall of the silent era, as embodied by the wonderful Jean Dujardin, and the rise of the talkies, as emblazoned by gorgeous Berenice Bejo. Dujardin is undoubtedly the star of the show (other than Uggy!), and is so deserving of the accolades thus far; to me, he is now definitely the front runner for Best Actor. Bejo was luminesce and should also be nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The American actors were also great in their roles and were definitely good fit in this silent flick, where either exaggerated characterizations and large movements, or stoic types with strong features, are to be expected. As said, this film will get nominated for a slew of…

The Muppets [Digital]

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What a winner!!! Well done Jason Segal! A nostalgic comedy that is chockful of laughers. Literally every 5 mins was a laugh out loud moment. The plot was simple,  impropable, irreverent, tongue-in-cheek and meta. Amy Adams was a delight in a role reminiscence of her breakout Enchanted. The slew of cameos were  hilarious and the guest stars absolutely inspired!!! Particularly Miss Piggy's assistant and Walter's human ego. Perfect!! For anybody who knew the muppets just vaguely or intimately, this show is great entertainment. Did not even feel long! Btw, love the Toy Story short too!! But seriously, shameless Disney plugging throughout man!!

Brawn Steakhouse

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What a bad experience!! Firstly, the reservation was booked four days ago...this will be important later on. Upon arrival at 7.30pm on a Sat, the restaurant was quite empty. Okie, granted it's in the CBD, so perhaps its main bulk of business is during the weekdays. There were only three servers (including the ?manager). We were seated promptly, but no menu was given until 5 mins after the water was served. Menu given with no explanation whatsoever - come on! What about some description of the the famed Black Cherry Wood grill, etc. How to distinguish itself as an upmarket place? Anyways, guess what? There was no stock of the much-ballyhooed  21-days aged dried ribeye/sirloin!!! Sheesh...a) they could not have told us that upon reservation? Speaking of which, no one called to confirm seating; b) they should have at least mentioned that during the menu-presentation. Sigh. The bread was hard and stale. Escargot was bland and tasted like it was boiled in water before serving (drizzled…

Restless

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Gus van Sant's latest is not a blockbuster or oscar-bait, and really not even particularly even or good, but it manages to be sweet without being sappy or overwrought. The main fault must lie in the clunky script by Jason Lew which is hamfisted and all over the place , which is essentially, I feel, all about how do deal with grief and death; how do you say goodbye if the person had already left you. The saving grace of the show lies in the amazing and quirky chemistry between the 2 young stars. Henry Hopper and Mia Wasikowska are amazing together. Both are innately charming, charismatic and they imbue the stereotypical characters with an easy likability that connects with the audience. The music by Danny Elfman was folksy and whimsical which suits the overall mood of this show.

District 10

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I have heard about this place since it was at Winstedt Drive, however, never did had the opportunity to try it there then. Anyways, so now it has moved to a more posh, and more visible, location at UE-square, which should mean that business can't be all that bad right? Unfortunately, that again taught me that assuming just makes an ass out of you and me...(or mainly me). I had the fried calamari and the Hoegaarden battered fish and chips. The calamari came really quickly, but, oh boy, it was so bland. Not even lemon and the wasabi/mayo (which was too thick) could save it; and at $14 the portion was way too small. The fish and chips took a while to serve, and on first impression, it indeed looked yummy. Big portion - 2 pieces of fish - with a golden brown batter. A pity that it tastes flat. Boring. The fish was bland and mushy; I got bored after 3/4 of the first piece, felt "full" on starting the 2nd one, and just dug out the meat for the last half. It's sad when the …

Puss in Boots [Digital]

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A watchable, mildly entertaining child-friendly animation pic that unfortunately, lacks the bite and wit of its parent franchise - Shrek. Early on there was some potential and sparks, but as the movie dragged on it is evident that the storyline is thin. There was just too little of the trademark Dreamworks Animation irreverence; liked the sly nods to Lost and Cloverfield, but most of the show is spent waiting for the other boot to drop - which never did. Antonio Banderas is funny in small amount, but here, his Español accent cannot sustain the whole length; Amy Sedaris was a delight as always though. Really, not much to add for this...perhaps 3D may be more fun?

Immortals [Digital]

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A tedious movie that serves best as an introductory vehicle for Henry Cavill - the next Superman. Thus far, signs are encouraging that he will make a better Son of Krypton than Brandon Routh. Anyways, back to the movie...comparisons with "300" is inevitable, and unfortunately the latter is more entertaining and more well-paced. "Immortals" took itself too seriously, and lacked the grandiose self-absorption of "300" which made it more entertaining. The movie is clearly shot for 3D with many scenes that serve to "pop" out, but the hyper-realistic palette is already darkly toned, so I cannot imagine the screen being clearer with the 3D lenses on. The fight scenes are brief and lack the vigour and maso-violence of "300". The scenes and settings are beautifully rendered, unfortunately Tarsem lacked the grandeur vision of Snyder and most are just postcard pretty and not used effectively. Lastly, my biggest beef with the movie is the wasted u…

Richard III (The Bridge Project)

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Another world-class production comes to Singapore! The Bridge Project's last installment was an astounding success. Richard III was a powerful and exciting production led by a stellar Kevin Spacey and directed by Sam Mendes. Spacey's Richard III was a triumphant portrayal of a snarky, anti-hero who schemes, plots and intrigues his way to the Crown, but yet manage to invoke a sense of pity in the audience at the next to last scene. The stage was beautifully set-up, with excellent lighting and direction, and accompanied by a mini-live band that serves to dramatise and underscore the emotional impact wrought forth from the stage. The Elizabethan English was challenging at times, and especially so during brief portions where the actors, Spacey especially, speaks at rocket speed. Similarly, some of the actors were a tad softer, and that too made understanding the intricacies of the Bard's dialogue just that much harder. All in all, Spacey deservedly receive a double standing ov…

The Adventures of Tintin [IMAX 3D]

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[Disclaimer: I am a Tintin fan! Tintin was the first comic book I read and I have got all them!]
Blistering blue barnacles!! This is a must-watch for true blue Tintin fans! A non-stop, rollicking treasure-mystery adventure with Spielberg back to his early Indiana Jones brilliance. A new franchise is potentially born. The slightly British-leaning plot (written in part by Steven Moffat - Dr Who! Coupling!, Edgar Wright - Shaun of the Dead! Hot Fuzz!, and Joe Cornish - the recent Attack the Block!) is a portmanteau of "The Crab with the Golden Claws", "The Secret of The Unicorn" and "Red Rackham's Treasure" interspersed with amazing, immersive 3D action sequences, classic Tintin-isms and comic relief from Haddock and the pitch-perfect Thompson & Thomson (Simon Pegg! Nick Frost!). Now, only if they found a way to include Snowy's speech bubbles...heh! The gorgeous opening credits, a la "Catch Me If You Can", was accompanied with a score by…

The Lion King 3D

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A timeless classic re-visited!!! One of the best films ever made for my generation. The opening scene was gorgeous in 3D as were any scenes that were big on landscaping and scenery, otherwise not much added value. Though it's great to hear Hans Zimmer score and Elton John/Tim Rice songs in Dolby 7.1 Digital!! From the opening notes of "Circle of Life", to the colourful "I Just Wanna Be King", riotous "Hakuna Matata" and the romantic "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", it's like relieving my childhood!! As passé and cliche as the plot is, it's a fabulous feel-good movie. And for once, it's great to hear children laughing in the cinema!

The Ides of March

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An aptly titled and very timely political drama that reflect the current American situation. However, it was filled with too much lazy "pop" politics on what's wrong with America now. George Clooney's direction was a tad too amateurish and gimmicky. Lucky for him, he had the, yet again, amazing Ryan Gosling, and  paired him with a brilliant cast of actors: Philip Seymout Hoffman, Paul Giammati, Marisa Tomei and the beautiful, underrated Evan Rachel Wood (they all gotta be Demoncrats, or at least non-Republics, right?). Gosling, and all, lifted this show just slightly above average. Also, a very different kinda score from his usual by Alexandre Desplat that doesn't really distract from the show. More relevant to peeps who are interested in politics or Americans.

Drive [Digital]

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A f***ing, bloody, brilliant, dark, modern day noir thriller. Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling are an amazing pair! The former directed a tight, tense and riveting piece of film (gorgeously shot and lighted; stylish and retro), that is headlined aptly and beautifully subtly by the intense Gosling as the anti-hero that you cannot help rooting for. Narrative is first and foremost before brainless action. The first ten minutes were intense and nicely bookended with the last ten minutes (that were also beautiful depicted). The minimal dialogue is bolstered by the retro soundtrack and all-round ace acting by all!! Carey Mulligan again illuminates the screen with her ingenue charms, and she and Gosling have great chemistry. Gosling continues to impress; it's sure been a long way since "The Notebook"!

Faye Wong Concert 2011 王菲巡迴演唱會2011

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[disclaimer: I actually watched her comeback concert back in Nov 2010 over at Shanghai, where it was held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena which seats 18,000 people]

WOW! She is undisputedly the Queen of Mando/Canto-pop! And this concert does not disappoint!! The much smaller Singapore Indoor Stadium (?8-9000) was filled with fans of all ages. Unlike in Shanghai, she sang a couple of cantonese songs and 1 English song (Sinead O'Connor's "A Perfect Indian"). Her dresses were prettier and less theatrical which is either a good or bad thing depending on your taste. Her earlier initial comeback concerts in China set the iconic looks for her promotional items, but I guess, similar to how she changed the songlist for this local concert, she got bored (though I can't decide whether I liked her Alexander McQueen Amish/Mormon dress at the end)! Speaking of which, the songlist here were at least 50% different from the one in Shanghai, which makes it very much worth it to have wa…

Antoinette (Mandarin Gallery)

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Tucked away at the 2nd level of Mandarin Gallery, this little Parisian patisserie and salon du the is charming in its appearance. Very European in design with armchairs, picture frames adoring the walls and gold-gilded furnishings; there's even a settee out at the waiting area for you to park whilst waiting in line. Helmed by award winning pastry chef Pang Kok Keong, this place serves, possibly the best macaroons in Singapore, thus far. They have the right balance of airy-ness and melt-in-the-mouth-ness. His famous "Antoinette" macaroons (milk chocolate mousse infused with earl grey team, chocolate biscuit, raspberry coulis, and earl grey tea crumble)are really superb, the sesame and grand yuzu were great too, however, the strawberry was blah. And this about all the praise I have for this place...oh, one more! Good service too! Unfortunately, they should have stucked to being purely patisserie/dessert-only, instead of diversifying like Pang's previous employer - Cane…

Smiths: Authentic British Fish and Chips

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This new fish and chippys place at Balmoral is not really a new kid in town, with 2 other branches already in Boat Quay and Tanjong Katong. Firstly, the price is a bit on the high side, and that will definitely set expectations up. Unfortunately, the Haddock (served on triple-layer oil-absorbent paper...man! it sure needs the oil absorbing!) that I had was a tad too fishy and overcooked. The batter was good, and not overly doughy/floury, and I really liked the whole vinegar and salt topping(very brit), however, the fish needed some tartar sauce and/or chilli sauce to make it more palatable. At $17, this is not really what I would expect. (much cheaper and more worth your buck to just takeaway from Greenwood). The chips, on the other hand, was good: irregularly chunky and just the right thickness; great with the vinegar/salt.

Verdict: May go back to give the cod a second chance; but the price is a deterrence in making it a regular fish & chips joint.

Smiths
271 Bukit Timah Road
#01-…

The Help

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Another long delayed movie has finally reached our shore. The Oscar buzz has been steadily building for this little sleeper hit in the States and it is totally well deserved!! This is a slow burning hit that rewards its patient audience. Once you get past the southern accent, this is a touching, funny, serious and serious current and reflective movie. The background may be obscure to local audience, but the theme is universal. It is not only a film about racism, but also of pure and simple bigotry and bullying (feminism, elitism, chauvinism all makes appearance). Bullying has not lines, no boundaries; bullying is for the weak. A powerful, emotional performance by Viola Davis will surely gain her another well-deserved Oscar nomination; Octavia Spencer is also equally riveting as the sassy Minny! Emma Stone is a starlet in the making (hope she doesn't pull a Lohan!); Jessica Chastain...wow!...this girl is a STAR! Exciting, illuminating, and arresting!! Can't wait to catch her ne…

Table 66

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I have heard good things about this modern French/European restaurant, and I finally get to taste it (shout out to my boss! THANKS!). Lucky for it, the expectations were met. The place itself was not impressive. The bar looked cozy (and appropriately dimmed), but the dining area itself was unfortunately a bit hard/cheap looking. Service was excellent! Sally was an excellent host, friendly and vivacious without being overly intrusively. On paper the set lunch looked reasonable. Let's talk about food. The oysters were excellent. 2nd best oysters I had in Singapore (1st being those found at The Cliff): fresh, juicy and succulent. We had 3 kinds: au naturel (very good); cucumber granita with mint (refreshing); hollandaise (a bit overpowering). I had a taste of the foie gras (I can't believe California is banning it!!), and the bite that I had showed promise. Next up was one of their signature dish: poached egg with herb-cured salmon. The egg was impressive, with a very good textur…

Open Door Policy

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New place down at Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, sister restaurant of the Forty Hands cafe across the road. This area is shaping up to be a quaint little neighbourhood, with cafes and bookshops and bric-a-brac-wannabe shops. Sadly, ODP is like 40-hands, interesting but not Wow-ing. The decor is unique with a mix of old-school (ala Col Bar) furniture with modern furnishings (reminds me a lot of the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego). The food is an interesting mesh of genres/varieties, with a limited menu. Starters, Meat, Fish, Vegetables and Dessert (with just about 5 items per section). I would say this was more a modern European bistro kinda food. The Halloumi cheese with anchovies was good, just a tad too oily; would have preferred it if they cut down on the oil after searing the cheese, though was a great fit with the salty tang of the achovies. The duck leg confit served on lentils was average at best. The meat was not cured enough and the skin not crispy enough. However, the meat was…