Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bagus La Mian Yong Tau Foo

Found this eatery by chance while driving aimlessly with my sayang couple of weeks back. Went back for a second time yesterday with Eddie and David as both were hungry and David curious to know where is this YTF place I rave about.

Anyway, the first time I was there, I had the Ampang Yong Tau Foo and my sayang had the Dark Soya Mee.

The first thing that I could think of when I tasted mine was how unconventional it is unlike most YTF sold elsewhere. This one comes with a seasoning sauce that is spicy and tasty and not those sweet noodle sauce that I don't like at all.

The next thing that came to mind was how fresh the stuffs were. I have had many YTF before and this without a doubt is super fresh unlike the others where choosing the pieces is like a gamble. David agrees with me so I ain't lying.

The la mian was good too. Springy and a little hard, typical of home made noodles.

The Dark Soya Mee was not fried but rather marinated well. It's like Mee Hailam only tastier. Hard for me to describe but if you like dark soya stuff, this is a must try.

They still give those standard YTF sweet and chili sauce for dips. The soup that comes with it had soya beans in them. First time I've seen YTF soup like that but it's nice so who cares.

Second time we had fried yu tiao. Worth every penny. Not too oily and crispy. Mayo spread on top really complements.

Affordable, clean and tasty. Bagus? Hell yeah!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Majestic

A man in a state of amnesia is wrongly mistaken for a dead soldier.

Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) is a Hollywood movie writer wrongly accused as a communist sympathiser. With his career probably to be short lived by ending up in a blacklist, he got drunk and met with an accident while driving. With his head receiving the blow, he landed in a small town of Lawson, unable to remember where he came from or who he is. Add to that, he resembles a local, a soldier who died 9 years ago in the war. Unable to shake his 'father's' conviction that he is who he say he is, he 'continues' his life as Luke Trimble, a son of a man who owns the town's theater he no longer operates, the Majestic. At the same time, he is wanted by the FBI as he was assumed to be taking flight from authorities

Will he get his memory back? And what happens when the FBI finally finds him?

The Majestic brings us back to the era where the investigation of communist infiltration into Hollywood took center stage. We were brought along to examine the life of a fictitious character whose life is affected by this dark era. It tries to show that no matter who a person is, he can be who he wants to be, even someone we want him to be. As a feel-good movie, the effect of seeing peoples' life turning for the better after a certain event can easily be felt. Luke's return revived the town again after its spirit died when many of its young men were lost in the war.

While there is nothing bad about this movie, there is nothing I find that holds me dear. Unlike Forrest Gump, where we can treat it as a fantasy we like to see happen, Majestic beckons the question - is it that simple in real life? Can we simply pick up from where we left and move on?

While the addition of a political plot in this movie gives its share of diversity, it somehow pollute the main story of a man who finally finds himself. As with any movie within this genre, a love story is a must. With it having not much of attention, none of it's sub genre is that effective. Probably the only reason I find this movie somewhat appealing is Carrey. As in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Carrey played his role of a man who is reluctant to accept who he is, effectively.

I'll probably watch it again, but maybe just once more. Watch this when you are feeling down. You'll feel good after that


If someone you do not know claims to be your beloved, able to prove it, how would you react?

Anna (Nicole Kidman) lost her husband Sean and was about to put all her past behind by getting engaged to Joseph (Danny Huston). On their engagement party, this kid (Cameron Bright) shows up and claims that he is Sean, a reincarnation of Anna's late husband. Is he or is he lying? If he's really Sean, what will Anna, who is clearly not over her dead husband yet, do about her recent engagement? If he's lying, then how did he come to know of Anna's personal details.

Intriguing as it is, which is only reason I believe why most people would want to watch this movie other than Kidman (I would watch her in any movie, any day), that is also the weak point of this movie.

The downfall of Birth is that you'll get your answer sooner than you expected. With such a thin plot, you can't help but expect other elements to ensure that it remains engaging. Great acting? Sure, it's Kidman we're talking about, but sadly, it is just simply not enough to save this movie. Instead of exploring other areas, like elaborating on the strained relationship between Anna and Joseph or how the boy's parents cope with their child insisting he is Sean, the movie prefers to cheat by trying to be arty, stretching some scenes unnecessarily. Look out for that scene in the theater. If that is not lame, I do not know what is. That was not the only instance I might add. Glazer thinks that is such a great idea, he used it on another scene!

The bathtub scene with Anna and Sean together gave this movie the exposure it did not deserve. While I find it not offensive at all (especially after finding out how they shot that scene), although suggestive, I really think that it is absolutely not necessary. Another example of how Glazer cheats the audience.

I love movies that makes you think long after the show is over and that is the only saving grace of this movie. It makes us question ourselves, what if that happens to us? How will we react?

If this was made-for-TV, it would be great, but it's not. Two stars is all it deserves


Would you risk your life for 70k?

Porter nearly got killed by his wife, a doing of his friend who wanted to screw him off his 70K share of a heist, by showing a photo of him with a hooker. A jealous wife can do anything, remember that. Badly injured, he sets himself to get back the money he rightfully earned, so to speak, and along the way, he meets all sorts of thugs, corrupted cops, all those people a guy like him would normally avoid.

This is a simple mindless action/revenge/violent movie so don't expect an award winning storyline. So is it worth watching then? Trust me, it is

Acting, surprisingly, is good, really. Porter bleeds, limps, slurs and everything a beaten-up man would, making it realistic and not like he is some superman. While this is a mafia kind of movie with all the violence in its glory, humor is planted everywhere, which makes it, sadistically, a fun movie. All the camera angles, slow motion scenes as well as the cinematography are just perfect for a movie like this. From a film-making perspective, there is nothing bad about this movie at all, other than the plot. Although trying to get oneself seriously hurt and courting death for 70K may sound a little too stupid, that is exactly what makes it fun to watch, with Porter repeating countlessly that he IS asking for only his 70K back and nothing more.

While this is not a movie to stimulate the mind, I would not mind popping it into my DVD player and enjoy watching it again.


What if you really lack sleep? Can you still stay focused or would you most probably turn delusional?

Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is a machinist (no surprise here) who has not slept for a year, causing him to continuously lose weight by the day, practically turning him to bones. His inability to sleep leads him to two women, Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) a prostitute and Marie (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón), a waitress he visits every night at the airport cafe.

Most of his co-workers were sceptical when he denies he is on drugs. They tried to get him to seek help but he refuse to admit his deteriorating condition. One day at work, blamed for his inability to stay focused, he caused an accident involving his co-worker Miller (Michael Ironside). Attributing his lost of attention to Ivan (John Sharian), a new co-worker that no one knew existed, everyone around him turned into a nervous lot, treating him as a liability. When he is caught in a situation where he almost got himself injured, he accused his co-workers of conspiring to purge him out, using Ivan to torment him. Not only that, even his most trusted, Stevie and Maria, seems to be part it as well. Hell, even his landlord was not spared, as he suspected her of placing mysterious stick-up notes in his apartment. Is he really starting to turn delusional, or are the people around him turning him crazy?

Christian Bale lost a lot of weight just for this role that you practically see his skeletal frame. It gets really excruciating at times seeing him in that state. Some people think it was a sick attempt to attract movie goers. Whatever the reason Bale decided to do it for, it made no difference to me. His acting was top notch regardless. Bale play Trevor, a man full of dark secrets that he keeps to himself, perfectly. If the Oscars is not political, he would have won easily.

This movie delve in the realm of what is real and what is not. Many questions were laid on the table. Why can't he sleep, who places the notes in his apartment, who is Ivan? Pace is slow at times but it was quite intended as it is not an action movie. The tension builds up as it reach the peak where all answers are answered. Most importantly, the revelation don't make you feel cheated, unlike most movies of the same genre

This movie is definitely not for those with short attention span. Even if you are not, watch this only when you are in the mood for a real drama.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Few Good Men

Why does a lieutenant junior grade with nine months' experience and a track record for plea bargaining get assigned a murder case? Would it be so that it never sees the inside of a courtroom?

Lt Keefe, played by Cruise, is street smart navy lawyer who tries hard not to live in his late father's shadow, a well respected navy lawyer. When he is assigned a case to defend two marines accused of causing death to a fellow marine while conducting an illegal disciplinary measure, everyone thinks that he was moving up. Moore, assigned as his supervisor, decides to be part of the defense team that includes Pollack, after she thinks that Kaffee is not taking things seriously. She believes their clients were innocent as they claimed. With evidences against them and a high profile officer, a well respected Colonel, implicated in the case, Kaffee thinks it is a lost cause. However his conscience takes the better of him and hence the battle between a meager Lt and the mighty Colonel.

The star in this movie should be Cruise as he is exceptional but in my opinion, Nicholson, acting as the hard ass Colonel Jessup steals the show. He acted his character so believably that I can't help hating and at the same time afraid of him. The rest of the cast – Sutherland, Bacon, acted really well that I really cannot find any bad acting by anyone, which is not often in the movies I have seen

This movie is complete with everything I want to look for in a movie. It is funny at times, tense on the other and it has turns and twists. Best of all, it has lots, and I mean lots, of punchlines you can use. The most famous one from this movie - 'You can't handle the truth!' have been used again and again. Watch out for that scene. You won't forget it. Few movies are this good, pun intended

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

50 First Dates

If you meet your other half who can only remember you for a day, would you still pursue on with the relationship?

I am a fan of Adam Sandler so I have watched almost all his movies. 50 First Dates is one of those on the top of the list, alongside Big Daddy and The Wedding Singer. Like it or not, Adam Sandler's comedies will be categorised as his own. He has built a reputation for himself for being the nice, funny next-door-guy and people don't seem to get tired of him. That is why I dislike it when he acts other than himself, like in Waterboy or Little Nicky

In 50 First Date, Sandler plays Henry Roth, a playboy who never thought that he will find true love. That is until he meet and later fall in love with Lucy Whitmore (Barrymore), a girl who suffers from short-term memory, a result of an accident which happened almost a year ago. She can store new memories only for a day. Once the day is over, she will wake up thinking it is the day of the accident, before it happened. That makes Henry's job harder but trade off is, Lucy's path is predictable everyday.

Sandler and Barrymore just seems to have this chemistry that makes them the perfect example of a couple who really enjoys life and most importantly each other. How Henry go to all lengths to win Lucy's heart, which he have to do over and over again everyday was funny and sweet. That is the magic of Adam Sandler when it works. It can make you relate to his character although it is a comedy.

As usual, Sandler's movie will not do without his standard antic toilet humor which is still funny though not necessary, especially in this movie. With Rob Sneider starring not just as a cameo, this is expected.

All of Sandler's romantic comedies have a happy ending, so it's no different for this one except this time though, it is totally unexpected. It's a clever ending and it makes you feel good long after the movie ends, a typical effect of Sandler's movie. Soon enough, you would want to watch it again. The ending in my opinion was an icing on the cake. It is not a typical Hollywood ending you would expect of a romantic comedy. You might need a tissue for that part, as I almost did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

If all of us can have part of our memory erased, would we want to forget all the bad ones? Most would say yes but maybe not after watching this movie. That is what this movie tries to drive at and it hits home real hard for those who had been through failed relationships before.

Clementine (Winslet) broke up with Joel (Carrey) and it was a pretty bad breakup . Shortly after, Clementine underwent a procedure to have all of her memories of Joel removed, and that means everything and everyone related to Joel, as that is the only way to totally forget about someone. (Now, forget about technicality for the sake of this movie. Erasing memory through surgery surely makes no sense and science fiction is not what this movie is about.) Joel was not supposed to find out about it but did so in the end. He was infuriated and decides to have it done as well, mainly to get even. However, as the procedure starts erasing the newer memories first and then goes backwards, it brings Joel back to the time when their relationship was still sweet. That was when he realised that it is worthwhile to keep them, even if he cannot choose which ones. Therefore while in the middle of the 'operation', he had second thoughts, hence the race to beat the 'eraser' in his subconscious mind.

From the storyline point of view, the idea of how sometimes things happened because they were meant to be really will leave you thinking long after the movie ended. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you cannot escape from your destiny. From a technical point of view, the thing that makes this movie so wonderfully enjoyable is the way it was arranged. It may be confusing to some (so if you are going to the movies for no brain activity, this is not for you) but it is not really that difficult to follow because continuity did not suffer at all despite it going back and forth.

Although the movie is mainly about the two of them, the other characters played by Dunts, Woods and Ruffalo, are just as important even though they seems to have a minor role. As the movie progresses, everyone falls in place nicely. You get that when a movie is paced appropriately.

This is no comedy, although they are some comedic moments that will crack you up real good. The promo for this picture was a gimmick, which I really do not understand why the need to do that in the first place. Just because Carrey was in it?

Acting is top notch. Pick a character to relate to and you can easily feel for them, their happiness, sadness and disappointments. You will find the dialogs worth paying attention to.

The movie can be slow at times and with the picture quality intended as it is, it may be tiring but it was worth it.

Stranger Than Fiction

If you know how, when and why you are dying, would you simply accept it as your fate or would you find ways to cheat your death? There are two parts in this movie alternated back and forth and they are related.

Harold Crick (Ferrell) is a lonely single IRS agent who goes about his life in the most systematic way you could imagine. He wakes up on time and catches the right bus to work every morning, thanks to his cool wrist watch. He is also all about numbers, from how many stroke of the toothbrush right to how many steps to the bus stop. Ask him a mathematical sum and he'll give you the answer within seconds.

One day he heard a woman's voice, narrating what he is actually doing. He tried to brush it off as his imagination but as the narration was totally spot on in accurately describing his life, he knew it was more than that. When he heard a line mentioning his imminent death, he simply could not leave it to chance and seeks the assistance of Professor Jules Hilbert (Hoffman), a professor in literature. Meanwhile, Harold also met and fell for Ana Pascal (Gyllenhaal) during a case he was auditing. From the narration, he also knew that Ana actually do have a heart for him too. As his life turned for the better with a new found love, he refuse to submit to his so called 'fate' and decides to find a way to cheat his own death.

In the other part of the story, we were introduced to Kay Eiffel (Thompson), an author who is having a writer's block and her new assistant, Penny Escher (Latifah). Penny was sent by the publisher to help Eiffel finish her new book. Eiffel was having problem finishing the last part of her book and that is on how to kill off the main character, as with all her previous books.

In between, we were shown the life of a boy with a new bicycle and a woman who found a new job. We were left clueless as to who they were or how this two character fit in this already weird movie.

Ferrell in my opinion, although not bad overall, was not the best actor for the character of Harold. I don't find myself feeling sorry for him. Hoffman was wacky, as he was in most of his other movies that you get tired of. Latifah was practically not important at all. Gyllenhaal was charming as Ana, a girl anyone would fall for. The star of the show however definitely has to be Thompson, who played a writer driven crazy, just like anyone under pressure.

I personally love this movie because this is the kind of movie that an aspiring movie maker can attempt without a huge Hollywood budget. The idea itself is intriguing enough to come out with a storyline that can fit a standard movie length time. I also love how everyone is finally related somehow or another with many clues scattered throughout the movie, if you bother to look out for it. Finally, it is just unique, fresh and pretty weird. Forget about reality for once and delve yourself into the whatifs. Won't life be boring if no one ever what give a thought to 'What if...?'. Creativity would be dead.

Having said that, I actually do not like the ending. I can only guess that it is because this is Hollywood. I still recommend it though.

Sayur Lada

This favorite lauk (dish) of mine cannot be found elsewhere (as far as I know) except home, cooked by mum. It has everything I look for in a sayur (vegetable) based lauk. It's lemak (rich in flavour), lots of ingredients and most importantly, it's hot!

Basically its ingredients are tempeh (fermented dried soya beans cake), tahu (toufu), daging (beef meat), udang (prawns) and lada hijau (green chilli) soaked in santan (coconut milk). Not only does the main ingredients resembles Sambal Goreng (fried chilli), another favorite lauk if done properly, it looks pretty much the same too, with a difference.

1. instead of being stir fried, this lauk is soaked with its base flavoring which is santan (coconut milk)

2. no kacang panjang (long beans). So what are those green things you see that looks like kacang panjang? Well, it's pointless to call this dish Sayur Lada if there are no lada right? Those green things that looks like long beans ARE lada hijau (green chilli). Lots of it. Lada hijau is not a garnish or additive. It is the main ingredient! That is why the dish is so pedas (hot).

So how does it tastes like? It'll blow you away!

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Kid In The City

Latest generation by Honda looks like it went through the right lane of change.

Though pictures can be misleading, the new City undeniably went through some transformation inside out especially the exterior, losing that awkward design that most people nickname 'a hatchback in reverse'. The front is nicer than Civic 'trying to be different' headlights too. In fact, it looks more like an Accord Euro. The tail lights reminds of the old Vios though but it don't really matter. I prefer it to Civic ugly rear tail lights anytime. From the side, the flowing design to the short rear makes it look like a smaller version of a latest Civic. Not too bad though.

The interior is similar to the current one except with a different colour scheme for the central control panel which isn't that much to my liking. It looks pretty clean although not that smooth, with parts jutting out, to give it a touch of 'executive sports' look that I have always loved in cars. Still, it is better as opposed to the 'spaceship' modern out-of-this-world look in the Civic. Until cars can fly, it should remain as one, including the dashboard.

Car expected to be rolling down the streets here very soon. Pricelist is out from Kah Motor. Price starts from 60-63k.

For those planning for a car, this could be the one worth waiting for. With the i-VTEC engine, it's even more attractive. Knowing Honda, I am pretty sure the performance and fuel consumption will improve as per the new generation Fit/Jazz, another model that gives a sign that the Japanese company have some European designer within their team.

Inevitably ranked against the Vios due to both being made in Thailand, the new City is clearly the absolute winner. I have no words for the new Vios because I can't stand looking at it.

More pictures at Paul Tan's