My snarky reviews of Movies, TV series, Food and other happenings...
Not the best: in terms of service or quality, but at least not too expensive. The chirashi lunch set had 4 fishes, 1 crustacean, 2 mollusces and 2 eggs (1 poultry and 1 fish). The chef/owner claims the fish are from Japan. Maybe? Maybe not. I definitely have my doubts regarding the non-fishes. At least the slices are chunky. The set came with a bowl of miso (blah), a chawanmushi (blah), and a scoop of ice-cream (blah). Service was on the slow side, was the kitchen overwhelmed with just another table of 3 next to us, plus 4 counter seats? By the time I was done with my chirashi, the tempura mori just arrived. The maguro yamakke was also disappointing. Yam was not sticky enough (japanese?) and should have added a touch of wasabe (which I did, from my chirashi...unlikely freshly grated). Sadly, it had lots of great buzz about it previously, but perhaps the radiation disaster affected them too.
Return policy: Unlikely to return, unless all the other Japanese restaurants in Cuppage Plaza are unavailable.
5 Koek Road, #03-01/02
An absolute crowd-pleaser for the whole family. Pixar has done it again with a four-quadrant winner that resonated across generations and culture. It may not be as (pseudo)-intellectual as Inside Out but it definitely pack a great emotional punch especially in its third act, with a strong story line on the evergreen theme of family vs self and obligation vs passions that never turned schmaltzy. Great voice work all around in particular Anthony Gonzalez and Gael Garcia Bernal, with great music and score from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the duo that gave us the hits from Frozen, and Michael Giacchino who is back - at last - with a mariachi-tinged score that delivered on the emotional journey.
Directed by Lee Unkrich, who also gave us the last real Pixar tearjerker, Toy Story 3, Coco continued Pixar's animation technological supremacy. The film was gorgeous to behold and tiny nuances like the translucency of the skin, the glow of candle light and the luminosity of the …
If nothing else, this was a singularly stunning, breathtakingly gorgeous, absolutely beautiful piece of film. Just give Roger Deakins his Oscar now! As for Dennis Villeneuve, the man is now five for five since his 2010 breakout film Prisoners, and he will surely be in the running for Best Director again this year. His film in itself - prior viewing of the 1982 original not necessary, but does inform the experience - was a surprisingly simple, yet layered noir/science fiction story that was effectively told despite its length (163 minutes) and also, ironically, satisfyingly unresolved. Ryan Gosling stood out and may get a nod but he is in danger of not breaking out of his comfort zone.
The IMAX experience was really worth it here. Not only as a canvas for Deakin's sumptuous cinematography, but also for the excellent sound design and mixing. So far, only this film, Dunkirk, Mad Max: Fury Road pioneer Avatar has really, properly utilised the capabilities of IMAX.
Together with the cast and the creative team, director Joe Wright and writer Anthony McCarten, created a film that was utterly riveting despite all the talking and the 125 minutes run time. But more than that, the film was also surprisingly funny, unexpectedly rousing and heartfelt. This was Wright's best film since Atonement. Gary Oldman was phenomenon in it, just give him the Best Actor Oscar already, and the supporting cast was also stellar, especially the underrated Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn. In addition, the cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel and the score by Dario Marianelli (whom also worked with Wright on Atonement) were both absolutely top-notched; similarly, the costume design by Jacqueline Durran was outstanding, as were the makeup and production design. This film was an outstanding creative achievement.
Wright's direction was assured and he paced the story very well, except maybe for a slight lagging in the middle of the second act. Howeve…