If "Avatar" was THE must-watch movie of 2009, then my friend, "Inception" is THE must-watch movie of 2010 (so far)! And trust me, whatever you have heard from other reviewers, friends or family who have watched it,'s ALL true! The movie will (almost literally) blow your mind away! *grins*

If you have already watched the trailer, it would probably not make much sense to can the mind be the scene of a crime? And they talk about dreams and stealing and, and...well, if I talk about it, it's so much of a spoiler it might turn you off. I myself, however, read the plot of it all in the Wikipedia entry (I actually like spoilers...yes, you've read right! Not that I would intentionally spoil it for you, but I like to see how the movie unveils itself and see how it would wow me, even when I know how the movie ends and all that. It's the process of it, not the destination that matters *wink*) and it STILL didn't make much sense! The whole concept is rather convoluted when put into words, so you WILL have to watch it to really understand what's it about =)

What I CAN tell is that, aside from the brilliant story line, the cinematography and effects are equally (if not more) kick-ass than ever! Since the movie is talking about dreams and the mind, things can get rather abstract right? Sometimes to the point of being utter rubbish (or is it in MY mind only? o.O"). But the film makers portray the inner workings of the mind really, REALLY well...big big kudos to Christopher Nolan for the fantastic scenes and not making it something nonsensical! Not only that, the action in the film is so spot-on and tight, it's a joy to be immersed into it get some slow-mo parts a la "Matrix", some hard hitting scenes like in "Batman Begins" or "The Dark Knight" and then some! To add to the awesome-ness of it all, there is also drama, romance and quite a bit of humour injected's that for a must-watch movie?

Let's not forget the incredible cast as well...we have the big names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, and Marion Cotillard; Leo is rather at his peak I would say...he definitely came a long way from the infamous "Titanic" Jack Dawson, playing the cool and brilliant team leader. But let's not forget the other supporting casts also! They definitely held their own: Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and more. This stellar cast with their strong performances give this movie that edge in its greatness =)

And like everyone says, don't move out of your seat to get popcorn or to go for a toilet break...the story line is so intense that if you missed even a bit of it, you'll find yourself scrambling to understand the bigger picture *wink* It's a rather heavy film, if I may say so myself, but it still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat from the start with the action scenes...even to the very end, when the film cuts to black, you'll groan in either frustration or confusion (as in the audience I was in today); but right after that, you'll definitely go "WOW! That is one. Effin'. AWESOME movie." I think I want to watch it again now....*grins*

The Cove

When you think about dolphins, what is the first image that comes into mind? For me, it was an image of a dolphin flying up from a water and doing some cool tricks at a show in an aquarium / zoo. Recently, after getting exposed to more shows like Animal Planet & National Geographic (thank you Astro!) I see dolphins swimming happily through the waters of the ocean...that changed after watching "The Cove".

"The Cove" is a documentary expose directed by National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos about dolphins being hunted en masse in a particular cove in Taiji, Japan. Apparently, not many people knew about this horrific practice, so they (the film crew) set up hidden cameras and equipment illegally at the cove to uncover the killings...o.O"

Of course, the movie doesn't start off by delving into those footage...rather, we were given a background (sort of) about how they came about this cove, what other whaling activists were doing prior to the movie and the actual process of them setting up the cameras. It is very interesting to note that some of the film crew involved are special effects experts in the film industry and they have created seriously ingenious ways of hiding the cameras along the cove. There is also a brief appearance by some popular actors-turned-activists in the film...see if you can spot them ;)

I have to say though, that although the film is very educational about dolphin and whale hunting I can't help but feel it's very one-sided in the sense that they're trying to push everything on the Japanese about the killings and what not. In return, the Japanese are saying that it's a very traditional culture and has been practiced for quite some time now. I suppose, in retrospect, dolphins are to the Japanese what normal fish and cattle are to the other nationalities who consume them. Coming from a race that has a reputation for 'weird' foods by the Western standards, it's easy to see where the Japanese stand as well as what the film is advocating.

Don't get me wrong...I don't think that killing dolphins mercilessly in droves every year is good, but there is also another side to that story (which the film makers didn't show...naturally). To me, I see it as a documentary that talks about the food industry...much as it is about dolphins and whales, I can't help but also think about countless other animals that are slaughtered and killed for food every year to meet the demands of - you guessed it right - people. Us. You and me included. And yet, we don't even bat our eyes at the enormous number of cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, fish, etc that are killed for the food industry. They are animals too, no? And yet, we consume them just like any other bulk (myself included). How is that much different from dolphins being killed for their meat in Japan? Is it because it is the norm in other countries to consume other 'normal' kinds of animals that we overlook their suffering too? 

And yet, I still do find myself longing for meat dishes almost every day...I have to admit, I'm no vegetarian! But yes, "The Cove" is a very hard-hitting documentary about the dolphins being killed in droves over the years. The footage of the killings itself is not long, but is enough to make you think hard about the consequences of supply and demand. And who do we blame for that? Not just the Japanese, but the human RACE as a whole...

The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner

Riding on the coattails of "Eclipse", it would seem that publishers are wanting to cash in on Stephenie Meyer's success by getting her to publish yet another book in the Twilight series...still, Stephenie is kind enough to donate $1 for every book sold to the American Red Cross. From what I last saw, there are about 1 million books sold already...that's how big the Twilight series have been! o.O"

To be fair, it's noted here that this book is actually a novella (kind of like a short story if you may) and apparently Stephenie Meyer wanted to release it in the official guide for the Twilight series. The story turned out to be too long after typing, so publishers made it into a separate book...all the more reason for Twilight fans to get it for their collection, no?

"The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner" (TSSL) is self-explanatory, I guess...Bree is one of the small characters in "Eclipse"; essentially, she is the newborn who surrenders to the Cullen family, but ultimately met her demise when the Volturi stepped in. Seems not much to go on because "Eclipse" focused so much on Bella (well, she IS the narrator in the books) but TSSL brings a grittier approach to the other side of the battlefield. Here, the narrator is Bree and we take a look into the newborns' side of the story: how she was made, how she survives within a band of always hungry, always angry group of vampires and how Victoria manipulates the army through her sidekick Riley. 

Bree is definitely no the Twilight series, we see everything through Bella's eyes; often times, it's so focused on Edward and his perfection (not that I'm complaining!) it's quite hard to see past the other things surrounding her in the books. With Bree, she is one hard-pressed girl...everything is nasty and she is always on her toes to stay alive. It definitely paints a different picture compared to the 'perfect' world of the Twilight seems darker and more morbid in Bree's eyes, and it gets more interesting when the Volturi also is mentioned here. Still, one does identify with her as she finds out the true meaning behind the creation of the army and tries to get away from it all. Even though her ending is not a happy one, I think it gives a good perspective on both sides of the story.

If you can, read TSSL (sort of) side-by-side with "Eclipse"'s a clever piece of work by Stephenie Meyer, who weaves the storylines together quite effortlessly and paints a bigger picture of how the big battle between Victoria & the Cullens came about. =) But then, I guess only Twi-hards will appreciate the story...what wouldn't we give for more on the Twilight Saga, right? Yet, for a 'short story', the book is almost 200 pages long! o.O" Go figure. LOL! Now, I'm still waiting for Stephenie to dig out "Midnight Sun" again...heh!

Despicable Me

This has got to be one of the animated films that you MUST watch in the cinema...preferably in 3D! I didn't, and it was still quite an experience, which makes me want to go watch it in 3D now =) 

Who knew that the word "Despicable" could be a whole new meaning in this context? It's awesomely cute, with great actors as the voices and a rather cool (but kind of predictable) storyline. 

The film is basically about Gru (Steve Carell in a voice that doesn't sound like him at all!) who is a 'bad' know, the evil villain thing? He tries to be the best bad guy ever with his throngs of tiny minions (stealing the Statue Of Liberty....the small one from Las Vegas! *snickers*) but kind of falls short almost always. Still, that doesn't stop him trying and he tries to pull off the biggest heist steal the moon! In the process, he is thwarted by another bad guy, Vector (Jason Segel) and gets responsible for 3 adorably cute girls! 

What I love, love, LOVE about this movie is the actors who voiced the characters...they did such an AWESOME job in bringing the characters to life! Initially I only knew that Steve Carell is the voice of Gru, but then after reading more about the characters, it's a very pleasant surprise to learn this movie has quite the cast! They have Russell Brand (Dr. Nefario), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Will Arnett (Mr. Perkins), Kristen Wiig (Ms. Hattie) and the ever lovely Julie Andrews as Gru's mother! They all don't sound like their normal talking voices, but I think that's a good thing because it might take away from the story when we see a character that sounds like Julie Andrews and then find it weird! (Well, I do anyways)

Gru and his minions in action

Although the characters are amazingly funny in their own way, the ones that steal the show are the minions! Small and 'ugly' in a way, they bring the most laughs by their antics...and they don't have to talk much! When they do, it's mostly gibberish, but the voice is SOOO cute you can't help but giggle when you hear it =) One scene to note is when Gru walks in on the girls playing with the minions who are in charge of them...and the girls blame the minions. LOLL!

Speaking of the girls, they did a great job too with their own brand of humor and fun: Margo, the responsible eldest girl; Edith, the tomboy-ish girl; and Agnes, the sweet youngest girl with a penchant for unicorns and kitty cats! They bring out the best and sometimes the worst out of Gru, which is hilarious with his outrage and bursts of annoyance. Look out for the scene when they go to Funland with Gru and Agnes wants the unicorn toy. It brings a whole new meaning to the words "Knocked Over!" and "Fluffy"!

"It's so FLUFFY I can DIE!!" 

All in all, a very enjoyable film to watch with your's been a while since I've had so much fun laughing or giggling at a movie screening before =) Quite a nice getaway from all the horror and gory films lately! *wink* 

Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I really don't know where to put myself in the "Twilight fan" category...on the one hand, I loved (and still do love) the books. And yet, when the movies are out, they always seem to fall short...but then I still do go watch them every time it opens in cinemas. LOL! Maybe it's the cast (??!!), or maybe I'm just trying to see what the film makers come up with when they interpret the book...either way, I think I'll still be back to watch the movies until the end of the series. LOL!

"Eclipse" was my favourite book in the series, so I went in with a little bit of anticipation - seeing that the trailer for the movie was quite good - and hoping that they don't spoil the book too much! 

The opening scene with Riley is quite promising...even though it is a slight deviation from the book, but it set the tone for what was to come towards the end, which is quite good =) New director David Slade certainly brings out better material than "New Moon"'s Chris Weitz (but then again, I suppose "New Moon" itself is not a great book to bring to the silver screen in the first place...too dry & morose!). And what comes later in the film is shot rather nicely, with definite better CG and effects. 

Don't think I'll elaborate more on the plot, since everyone already knows what the book is about (if you don't, Google is your best friend! *wink*) but suffice to say that Bella had been proposed to, and she is rather torn between Edward and Jacob, since Edward has come back and Jacob...well, Jacob has his views on who she should love =)

"From now on, I'm Switzerland!" *rolls eyes*

The cast are mostly about the same...we get the Cullen family, the Quileute boys, and some of the Volturi. But there are some other new faces too, like Leah Clearwater (Julia Jones), Seth (Boo Boo Stewart), Riley (Xavier Samuel), and Bree (Jodelle Ferland). Not really big characters, but they are quite memorable, especially Riley. Xavier Samuel is quite a looker and brings the anger to his cute face rather well =) Can't say the same about Victoria though...somehow, I think Bryce Dallas Howard can't pull off the 'scorned vampire whose handsome boyfriend got killed by another handsome vampire' look as well as Rachelle Lefevre. Maybe it's her hair...she had some kind of a bush for hair and it's so distracting (!!), not like Rachelle's natural auburn curls. Still, she is gorgeous as a vampire...her pale face and red lips are just nice!

Can't say the same about some other vampires though...ESPECIALLY the Cullens, with a particular note on Edward since he's the main thing you see throughout the movie. I guess the make up crew didn't get the memo about NOT making vampires being too pale that they stood out from the other 'normal' people in the movie. Some scenes between the cast in the school just makes me go "Edward looks like a zombie instead of a gorgeous vampire trying to blend in amongst humans". And the hair! That perfectly coiffed hair from "Twilight" is gone...*sob* Oh well, people don't come to watch the movie for the make up and wardrobe right (speaking of which, is particularly non-existent for Bella! I doubt that she's THAT poor to not able to get a proper dress for the party...what happened to Alice helping her out?)? I digress...

What I do like about the movie though is the expansion of some of the Cullens' characters in the movie...granted, the book does talk about Rosalie and Jasper's backstories, but it's really nice to see it played out on film. It's almost exactly how I pictured it in my head...which I loved! *wink* The camping scene is also something to watch...I finally found that Kristen Stewart can act cold very convincingly! LOL! That, and some very choice words from Jacob about being "hotter" than Edward just brings it home...=) The big battle between the newborns and the Cullens (together with the wolves) is also something to watch. Although not a very long scene, but it's great to see that they followed through with the vampires being 'hard as marble'. Although the battle between Victoria and Edward wasn't what I expected, but it's still quite a nice thing to watch...gosh, I feel so sadistic saying that I liked people getting killed. LOL!

Wolves and vampires get it on!

In short, it was not bad for an adaptation of the nicest book in the series (for me). Sure, I would miss Edward's nice hair, they could do better with the make up and wardrobe, and there are still cheesy (yet funny that can go both ways) lines; but essentially the story line is good with commendable effort from the film makers in making the movie watchable =) This makes me rather curious too as to what "Breaking Dawn" will will be directed by yet another director but this guy did "Dreamgirls" previously so I'm hoping it's another step up....and no musical-like qualities in it coz the movie is no musical! Although, it would be rather funny to see Edward & Bella burst into song when Renesmee is born...LOLL! *wicked grin*

Toy Story 3 - Toys Have Never Looked Better!

Growing up, I still fondly remember reading Enid Blyton's books about toys; how they come alive when we're asleep and we would go on 'adventures' together in my wild imaginative world. Sadly, I grew up. But then, "Toy Story" came along, and I relived all my kiddie days of playing with my toys and imagining them to have all sorts of adventures not unlike Woody & Buzz when I was asleep! 

As we all know, "Toy Story 3" is the continuation of the adventures of the toys we came to know and love in the first two installments (minus a few minor characters). The difference is that, this time around Andy - the boy whom the toys all belong to - has all grown up and is heading off to college! What will be the fate of his beloved toys? I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say (especially if you have seen the trailer) they found themselves in a day care center led by an enormously cute and gregarious Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear, and lots of hilarity, drama and amazement at the toys' adventures ensue! *wink*

Andy's all grown up...will he bring Woody or Buzz to college?

If you had noticed the toys have been seriously decreased in numbers, fret not..."Toy Story 3" introduces a whole new host of toys for you to gawk at. Some are plain freaky yet adorable (The Baby) and some are so life like it'll also freak you out (case in point: Barbie & Ken)! I remember my sister remarking that Barbie is the EXACT one that she had when she was younger...the detailing is just remarkable! They got everything down pat, even to her hair! Pixar SO deserve kudos on that! 

Effects and great animation aside (that alone should be awesome factors for you to catch the movie!), the storyline of "Toy Story 3" is also great. These days, it's hard to find movies that can score so well on all these levels, but "Toy Story 3" brought it home...It's amazing to see how they gelled all the scenes together, and the story of the toys finding their place in a world where toys get mistreated, abandoned, replaced, etc etc. And that's not all! Not only do you get slapstick humour that the kids will enjoy loads, but there's also jokes that the adults will appreciate (or at least, I did! LOL!). Laughs are abundant, especially in the scene where the toys try to escape, and Mr. Potato plays a huge role in bringing in the laughs! Watch it and you'll know what I'll never look at Mr. Potato the same way again! *wink*

Andy's toys come out to play...and THEN SOME!

The film makers have also succeeded in making the toys have their moments to shine...if previously we've seen lots of Woody & Buzz in the first two movies, "Toy Story 3" also focuses on the other toys which makes this movie very interesting as all the characters are just awesome! Not only that, we also get to see some touching scenes for some of the toys too =) And as the movie comes to a close, one (okay, me at least. I'm a sucker for touching scenes) can't just help but reach for a Kleenex as we know that this is the last installment for the "Toy Story" franchise. I got ribbed loads by my niece when she saw the state I was in after the movie ended, but hey...I love me some toys! *sob*

This one REALLY has got to be seen in the cinemas to get that feeling (unless you have a life-sized theatre at your home!), and if you could, watch it in 3D! Sure, lots of people might complain that it's nothing much to shout about in terms of things popping out at you, but I actually prefer the subtle dimension effects that they made for "Toy Story". Kind of like "Avatar", but with cute toys =) It's totally worth the ticket price...heck, I might just watch it again. And again. Just to relive my kiddie days as Buzz's famous saying, "To Infinity....AND BEYOND!"

P/S: Oh yes, don't forget to be there early to catch the short animation film that Pixar always's AWESOME to say the least! They always say the most even when the characters don't talk =) Enjoy!

Betty's Midwest Kitchen - A Must Try!

Whoa...can't believe it's been literally AGES since I've updated! I guess with Facebook being such an easy way to show people photos and all, I've been slacking and lazy to update my blogs. I shall try very hard to remember to update more often! *nods*

Okay, on to business (so to speak!). Being so bored (and a way) at work and all, I went out with a few friends for dinner. Y asked me to bring along my camera, so I knew it would be good food coz she knows her stuff! *wink* We arrived at:

Betty's Midwest Kitchen! American food again...YAYY! 
The address:
A-G-40, Jalan PJU 1/43,
Aman Suria Damansara,
47301 Petaling Jaya

They even have a website:

Walking into Betty's Midwest Kitchen is like walking into a tribute place for all things American...they have so many mementos and pictures that are either American or symbolizes America. I thought it was a nice touch =) Being a weekend, it was fully packed with people...a sure sign that the food is awesome if not unnaturally good! *wink*

Some more photos of the decor in the restaurant...notice the piggies' photos on the wall? Yes, they serve pork!! YUMMM!! *grins* 

Our first order of the day...Ham and Tomato Soup. To me, when I hear the word 'Ham' I automatically think of those breakfast ham slices that we get from the supermarket....and that's what I would find in the soup. How wrong was I! The soup had generous helpings of tomatoes and vegetables (think carrots, celery, parsley, etc etc) as well as chunks of pork in it! Looking up "ham" online, I found out that ham is also cured pork legs or rump....AWESOME! You get this smokey taste from the ham as well as the combined vegetables' tastes in this....*licks lips*

Y's good friend, A ordered this: Baby Back Ribs, one of Betty's signature dishes. Look at them ribs! Grilled until tender and juicy, it's served with fries, coleslaw and a beer-based sauce that is oh-so-GOOD! I had a teensy bit of this, and I have a hankering to come back and order this dish the next time I'm around...YUMM!!

Another signature pork rib dish as well: Grilled Soft Ribs (also served with the beer based sauce). I didn't manage to get a taste of this, but from the looks of it you can already tell that it's AWESOME!!

Somehow the appetizers arrived in the midst of the main course...LOL! But that didn't stop us from nomming every single morsel of this dish! They called this "Pigs In a Blanket"...I found a recipe that is similar, and needless to say, both are drool-worthy! You really can't go wrong with sausages wrapped in bacon and subsequently baked / grilled...*wink* I should also mention that they have many cute names for their that I find particularly funny was called "Dog Food". LOL! Nah, it's not actual dog food, but it's fries with gravy and cheese....come to think of it, I think Scottie might just wolf it down! LOLL!

This was a special for the day...can't exactly remember the whole name (it was too long!) but it was something like President Ford's braised steak. Served with greens and mashed potatoes, I think one can't go wrong with this....*grins*

Again, going with the cute names, this was the Braised Boston Butt...LOL! I know, right? It's technically not taken from the pig's butt (it's a pork shoulder), but I guess from the way it's cut and all, it looked like a butt? LOLL! I'm just rambling...but this was done really well! The pork shoulder was grilled JUST RIGHT and the meat just falls away when you slice into it...VERY tasty with the sauce slathered on top!

Finally, this was my order: Pork Chop with Caramelized Apples. When I saw the name, I thought, "Hmm...caramelized apples. That's interesting!" Images of an actual caramel apple (like this) on the pork chop started forming...but when this arrived I was a little disappointed to be honest. LOL! Still, all was forgiven when I took that first bite...the pork chop was smothered in apple sauce not unlike those you can find in apple pies! I know it might sound off-putting, but it actually works! The sauce wasn't as sweet as an apple pie, but when coupled with the marinated pork chop you get this nice combination that just screams 'comfort food'....I can easily see myself eating this whenever I'm feeling upset. Heh! Served with mashed potatoes (which were also AWESOME! Silky and creamy, with just enough gravy to make you go "MMMMM"), caramelized onions and peas, it was a dish I never regretted ordering =)

With that being said, head on down to Betty's if you want to savour good pork dishes or just hearty American food...I definitely heart it! Speaking of it just makes me hungry again...anyone up for a trip there? *wink*

Louisiana - Cajun Food Galore!

No, I am not in the US of A now (I so wish I am, though! LOL!) but who knew there's a place here in Malaysia that serves great Cajun food? I was introduced to Louisiana by a good friend when she took me out to dinner (and asked me to bring my camera along...heh!). It was such a superb experience that I brought my family out to eat there too a few weeks later! Yes, it was THAT good! Don't believe me? Let's allow the photos to do the 'talking' *wink* I'm no professional photographer, but the food there already look great, so not much editing is needed...heh!

The place has a nice homey feel to it, but the best seats are outside where it has a great view of the lake next to it! Eating out with a great view and a cool breeze blowing...*sigh of contentment* 
Here's the address:
Block D-1-01, Jln SS7/13A
Plaza Kelana, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-78755230

My feeble attempt at capturing the cool decoration...outside, it's like a rustic Cajun diner that you see in the movies, with the striking red-and-green color banners and the vintage lighting...awesome!

The fountain that comes on during intervals at the lake...pretty, but photography skills aren't. LOL!

Okay, okay...enough talk! Be prepared to feel hungry after this *wink*

For appetizers (both times!!), we had seafood gumbo! Remember the movie "The Princess & The Frog" where the princess would always talk about gumbo and how yummy it is? Well, if the real thing tastes like the one here, I would say "Get me another bowl!" The gumbo is creamy and savory, with plenty of seafood (shrimp, squid, crabmeat), some sausages and vegetables thrown in. Every bite is finger licking good! The dish comes with pieces of garlic bread and it's a great combination! If you thought pairing garlic bread with mushroom soup is great, garlic bread with gumbo is DIVINE! 

This was what my good friend, Y had...seafood oglio. Spaghetti tossed with some spices and accompanied by loads of seafood...I had a taste and it was scrumptious! Had a little bite and spiciness to it, but it was mild enough to make you go for more...*grins*

Y's housemate, C had the American burger...look at the ginormous size of it! Love the fries that came with it...they are what fries should be: crispy on the outside but soft and tender on the inside with a bit of bite! 

THIS was what I had the first time...Cajun Tossed Crawfish Spaghetti! I had heard of crawfish before, but I never expected it to look like this...they look like teeny lobsters! The spaghetti was done very well...cooked al dente and then tossed with some crawfish stock, herbs and spices. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on it, and you get a yummy experience! Now, to talk about the crawfish: to me it feels like a combination of shrimp and lobster...the shell is a little difficult to get off (Thank goodness they left only one for me to peel! There were quite a few peeled ones in the dish by the way..*grins*) but once you get the shell off, you have this tender but dense meat...kind of like a lobster texture, but it melts in your mouth more. And yet it has a head like a prawn with the nice gooey stuff that the Chinese adore when eating prawns! Cool eh?

This was what my sister ordered the second time I went with my family...Louisiana's Famous Shrimps Scampi. Look at the succulent prawns!! (I can never differentiate between shrimps and prawns...they look the same to me, and so I shall call them prawns. Hah!) It has a citrus-y taste to it, but oh so good! The prawns are cooked just right and was very springy, not like some places where they overcook the prawns...MMMM!

Kids eat for free in Louisiana...isn't that cool? Rachel had this kiddie set called Popeye The Sailor or something like that...the kiddie menu items all had cartoon character names like Mickey Mouse and Winnie-The-Pooh, so it was quite cute!

My Mom, the ever health conscious person that she is, opted for the Salmon Tataki Salad. Kind of a standard salad really, but the difference comes in the salmon atop's seared just right and seasoned with black pepper. Couple that with the vinaigrette dressing, it was delicious! This got polished off real fast...heh!

Dad always had a thing for rice, so he ordered this: Dirty Rice. LOL! Don't be fooled by its's not at all dirty! Rather, it's a whole mix of yummy condiments: liver, seafood, vegetables, chicken strips, etc etc. Kind of like a 'rojak' rice, if you may...but it's SOOO nice! I had a taste, and the first thing that came to mind that it tasted like Tom Yam rice...hahaha! But after a few bites, it doesn't and you taste this awesome "I want to have more" dish...the portion was ginormous! Imagine a mini mountain...o.O" And yet, my dad can finish about three quarters of it! That's the testament to how good it was..*wink*

Meanwhile, I had the rack of lamb...*grins* Sorry for the bad lighting, but this was taken in the evening (with no flash) so the photo doesn't really do it much justice. The lamb was cooked medium rare, so it's tender and juicy...*licks lips* Pair that with a mustardy sauce on the plate and the roasted vegetables (namely potatoes and carrots! My faves!), it's superb!

Another highlight of the day was the Famous Cajun Crawfish Boil! It had 2 serving sizes...half a kg, or one kg. We ordered the half kg one, and it was sublime! Crawfish boiled just right with loads of vegetables in it! The combination of the crawfish 'juices' with the vegetables were SUPER cool! Squeeze a bit of lemon juice and it's a perfect combination of savoury and tangy flavours! *thumbs up* You have to get dirty eating this though, aka using your fingers...but that makes it extra delicious too! *grins*

We were stuffed quite full in the end (the portions were HUGE!), but Rachel wanted a little dessert, so we ordered the Louisiana Mud Pie...gorgeous right? It's like a Molten Lava cake with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream, drizzles of hot chocolate syrup, toppings of nuts, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top. Ooh, I'm salivating as I type this! 

So yup, that was my account of the great food at Louisiana! Ooh, another thing to note is the impeccable service from the crew there. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, and I remember they asked us how was the food (which we don't really get in other restaurants...I thought that was really nice! People should do it more!) and even voluntarily brought in bowls of water for us to clean our fingers after our enjoyment of the crawfish (although I would have licked my fingers clean even if they didn't bring it...haha! I know, how unlady-like! =P)! Price-wise, it is a bit on the steep side...expect to fork out at least RM40 per person, but it's so worth it! Treating yourself once in a while is always a good thing, I, how often do you find a place that has great ambience, great view, great food and awesome service? *wink*

The Losers

With a title called "The Losers", it's not hard to dismiss this film as being a loser too. But don't let the title put you off!

"The Losers" is based on the comic book of the same name published by DC/Vertigo and apparently, the film makers wanted it (the film) to have the same feel as the comic book...which we see similarities of in the opening sequence! So, what's the story with these 5 dudes and a hot chick? The hot chick comes a bit later, but the 5 dudes are actually military soldiers (I think they're commandos but there was no explanation on what they REALLY are, so my opinion works for me...haha!) who are accused of some murders in Bolivia after their 'job' there got horrendously wrong. They became fugitives after making themselves appear to be deceased in that incident. After a while we learn that they are framed by some weird dude named Max (Jason Patric) and Aisha (Zoe Saldana) gets in to help them exact revenge on Max and clear their names at the same time.

The action in the film is certainly something to look at. From the get go, we already can see lots of explosions, fist fighting, adrenaline pumping racing (cars or humans) and even 'telepathic killing' (which is so cute and funny at the same time, it needs to be watched to be understood!). And it does in a way feel like an action-packed video game (a la Counter Strike if I may say so!) where the characters are all bombarded with 'stuff' they had to do. Plus, the whole bad-guy-good-guy thing works rather well. I mean, it's from the comics, no?

The Losers arriving in the US of A with style!

The cast were quite commendable in their performances. I especially liked Jeffrey Dean Morgan's turn as Clay, the leader of the whole gang. He was more towards the rom-com movies where he played the rough but romantic leading man, but as the tough leader with a soft heart he proved his mettle too! Chris Evans (aka Johnny Storm in "Fantastic Four") also did a great job playing the geeky but every funny Jensen. Even though he's a techie in the group, he is no less of a out for his running and scaling building scenes in the film. Oh, and let's not forget his 'changing in the elevator' scene too, where he boogies and sings to that famous Glee song! *wink* Special mention also is in order for Oscar Jaenada for his solid portrayal of Cougar. Even though he has the least lines amongst the five, he has a great presence and is very likeable as the Latino sniper!

I also liked how the film makers took a dig at some recent 'issues' that we have in the world. One of my favourite quotes from the film (paraphrased):
"....for the 'green' terrorists in the world. Maximum damage, no pollution!"

Some movie critics didn't really like the film that much (read Rotten Tomatoes for it) saying that there is no character development or if there's any logic to the way they get things done in the film. Some even find it suitable only for people with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)! *gasp* Would it mean that I have ADD if I liked the film? For me, I liked how even though it was not the best movie I've ever watched, it kept me entertained. And since it was based on a comic book, what's there to talk about accuracy or logic? Most comic books don't really follow the rules on that...why should the film be? Let's not all be hoity-toity and pretend that we don't enjoy a funny, fast paced movie that doesn't require a lot of digesting in terms of the plot. *wink* 

Julie & Julia

I have recently come to appreciate Meryl Streep's acting more and more...she really does bring so much to each character that she portrays! Add that to a movie about food (French food nonetheless!!), some other cool actors too and you get "Julie & Julia"!

There really isn't much of a continuous plot if you asked me...the film is more on the lives of Julie Powell (Amy Adams) and Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and some similarities between these two personalities. Not that they are both alike in any way....Julie is a writer who is also a big fan of Julia Child. In an attempt to spice up her life, she decides to cook through Julia Child's French cookbook and blogging about it (isn't that a great idea?!). The film then sort of intertwines that with Julia Child's life (back in the 50's) when she was struggling to find things to do...and ended up cooking!

It is definitely a wordy film...there's lots of talking involved, but I guess with a movie that is made based on Julie Powell's blog (which is still there!!) and Julia Child's letters to a friend, it has to be talked out. But the talking is made bearable with commendable performances by Amy Adams (I think she was more known as the Princess in Disney's 'Enchanted') and Meryl Streep. The only thing I didn't get was that why Julia had this weird voice when she's talking...only later on did I find out that the real Julia Child actually sounded something like that! And it just goes to show how dedicated one can get with their work...=) 

Julia Child & her husband, Paul Child (played by the cool Stanley Tucci)

Stanley Tucci also pulled off a great performance in the film...if we remembered him all too eerily in "The Lovely Bones", here he is affable and rather suave as Julia Child's high-flying husband. These two definitely are great partners in acting! 

Even if you aren't too impressed with the talking and all, the visuals just might...the use of color is very cool, especially for Julia's scenes at her homes and Paris...what's not to like about Paris, right? In Julie's scenes, colors are not really striking but the food that she prepares will strike hunger pangs in you *wink* Too many a time I have been 'inspired' (if it can be applied to me!) to go grab a cookbook and start cooking my heart away! It did strike me at one time though that one doesn't really need that many tools to conjure up beautiful dishes as in Julie's case...or maybe it's just what films tell you. After all, the food wasn't actually made on the spot by the actors...they had renowned chefs doing it for them! So, that vision of me doing a Julie Powell goes down the drain pretty quickly. LOL!

Julie throwing a huge dinner party with a splendid looking main course!

Watch this for the gorgeous food shots and the splendid acting from Meryl Streep & Stanley Tucci. Even if you don't cook, you'll be salivating at the sight of them food...makes you want to go dine out at a fine dining restaurant pronto! *grins* Although cooking is not my forte, but this movie definitely sparked more interest in does kind of makes me want to go get a cookbook and start working my way through it. The idea of cooking through a whole cookbook within a certain time frame is quite cool! What an idea for a project! Now, where should I start looking for a cookbook?

Clash Of The Titans

One of my most anticipated movies for 2010...combining Greek mythology (a favourite of mine to watch & read!), great actors (to name a few: Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, and Sam Worthington!!!) and state-of-the-art special effects, it should be a great movie right?? Yes....and no.

"Clash Of The Titans" is about Perseus (the delicious Sam Worthington) who is the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) but raised as a mortal by a fisherman. Something happened  and Perseus lost his earthly family. Enraged by this, he sets out to sort of 'set things right' with the gods and embarks on a journey with a gang of rather curious people. Some include the Djinn (watch it, and you'll know what that is!), another beautiful half-mortal (played by Gemma Arterton), an old soldier with mad swordsman skills (Mads Mikkelsen), and a few others. As with all big 'epic' movies, I guess you would have probably known what would be the end of the story...*wink*

Don't get me wrong...there's quite a few things that one is able to enjoy with this cool remake. Most noticeably: the special effects! All the giant monsters and creatures from the Greek mythologies come to life in the movie, and it's pretty awesome given the fact that technology has come such a long way since stop-motion puppetry (a la the 1981 film which this one is a remake of). One of my favourite scenes involving the effects would probably be the desert scene with the giant scorpions. *grins*

The cast certainly were no second rate actors too...Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes did a great job with their godly characters, bringing much presence and aura to them, though one can't help shake the feeling that Hades is kind of similar (if not the exactly the same) as Voldemort in the Harry Potter series...LOL! Still, it's a delight to watch Hades bring on destruction in his own quiet and deceptive manner. Liam Neeson as Zeus is very commendable too...he plays the 'doting father' role really well (I still remember him from the rather cool movie 'Taken'), trying to earn the love of the people for the gods. And yet, when push comes to shove, Zeus is a formidable power as well....only, I didn't quite like the armour thing that the gods had to wear. I mean, wouldn't they be immune to any attack? After all, they are gods, no? *shrugs*

Sam Worthington is - as usual - cool, but I'm not too sure if it's because the movies that he's acted in so far are these action films. Most of his expressions and even the way he delivers the lines to a certain extent are so similar to his 'Avatar' character, it's uncanny! Maybe he needs more roles in other types of films to show his versatility...he's definitely not showing much as of now! My favourite character of all would probably be Mads Mikkelsen as Draco. Although only a supporting character, he is definitely memorable and plays the unsmiling fearless captain with aplomb! Watch out for his 'training session' with Perseus...funny and awesome at the same time!

Although there is much to be liked about the film, the only stumbling block that this movie faces is the storyline...or lack thereof. Perhaps the film makers thought they can throw enough special effects to dissuade the audience from the non-existent does have a plot, somewhere, but not enough character development to make people emphatise with the characters. Which is kind of sad really, coz it was almost there....just not quite there yet. LOL!

People who have watched the 1981 film all say that the old version was loads better in terms of the storyline...I have yet to watch the old film in its entirety. The only thing I remember was seeing bits and pieces of the movie as my sister was engrossed by it, and going "Err...why is the monster a puppet? So fake!" So yeah, you get my drift on the special effects of that era.

Difference between the old (top) and the new (bottom) Kraken...

If you have yet to watch the older version, give this one a go for the special effects. Then watch the old version for the storyline, and combine the two in your head for a more ideal movie...*grins*

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Oh man, it's been so long since I've updated. Here goes my first attempt at a book review. *grins*

The "Diary Of A Wimpy Kid" series actually consists about 4-5 books if I'm not mistaken. I have only read the 3 pictured here thanks to my 7-year-old niece. (I still find it hard to grasp that kids nowadays progress so darn fast! At 7, I think my reading capability was only relegated to maybe nursery rhymes or the "Peter & Jane" books. How times have changed, no?)

Yes, in essence it is kind of a kid's book since it talks about a boy in middle school (which if I remember correctly would be the age around 11 - 14??). Heck, even the writings and illustrations reflect that. But what's great about the books is the humour injected into them. Written in a diary style, we go through the book in the eyes of Greg, who is kind of just a normal kid with the usual stuff that kids get (big brother issues, bullied by other kids, etc etc), only he's kind of a smart aleck too, coming up with 'weird' ideas and smart-but-will-get-you-in-trouble answers. Oh, and let's not forget his big ego when it comes to comparing himself with other kids his's hillarious, especially looking at the way he compares himself to his best friend & sidekick Rowley (my idea of a bumbling but adorable character played to a T! Too cute!)

Accompanying the entries are all these illustrations (also done by the author) that just bring the jokes more humour. Simple as they are, they are effective and summarizes Greg's experiences very well. Somehow, the illustrations remind me a little of Calvin and Hobbes, but this time the main character is 12 and his sidekick is not a stuffed tiger, but a 6-year-old kid stuck in a 12-year-old kid's body. *grins*

One example of the hillarious illustrations in the books

All in all, one cool book that I'm not ashamed to say I've read even though it's a children's book (in a way). And who would have thought kids' books can be so entertaining? I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series...hopefully I'll find more time to do that! The first book is being made into a movie, and tentative release date is in May! Looking at the trailer, it looks about as funny as it was in the books, so I'm hoping it doesn't disappoint!

Brother Yat Restaurant - Sauna Prawns!

This one was a little while back...I had previously been here with a few friends for dinner, and it was so good I raved about it to my parents until they wanted to try it too! Heh! 

Tucked in a (somewhat) secluded lane in USJ at an industrial area, Brother Yat Restaurant is a bit tricky to locate, but for those who do know how to get there, you'll find that the place is always jam packed especially at dinner time! I didn't manage to get the address, but it is somewhere near The Summit and Giant in USJ....They're famous for their 'Sauna Prawns', and here is why:

Live prawns were put in a pot filled with hot stones, and a small glass of beer was poured in as well. The assistant here demonstrates...

After the beer was put in...steam facial, anyone??

Voila!! The end result! The prawns were still alive and kicking when put into the pot so you can guarantee that it's fresh, and when the beer was poured in, it evaporates quickly and seeps into the prawns (especially the heads), so you get the sweet taste of the prawns and just a little hint of beer...yumm! Yeah, I kind of get that it sounds like animal cruelty, but that's how they were cooked here, so...>.<"

We also had this pork dish which was scrumptious! I don't recall the name of this dish, but it's thinly sliced pork belly meat that's deep fried and then stirred with a delectable gravy that will make you go for seconds every time! So you get this crunchy, 'NOM NOM' feeling with every bite...MMMM!!

Vegetables are a must, especially for my Mom...*grins* This is kangkung stir fried with belacan, the Malaysian favourite! The amount of belacan included is just nice; not too salty or overwhelming like others...whets the appetite VERY well!

And this is a simple stir fried dish with the smoky taste to it that one can only get with BIG FIRE at the kitchen! *grins*

This is the XO Sauce tauhu that was ordered as well...don't be fooled by the word "XO" though! It's not made from the XO wine. Rather, it is finely minced dried shrimp, shallots, garlic and a bit of chilly. Not spicy at all, but you get that nice taste...something SIMILAR to belacan I guess, but it's more of a "Chinese" belacan, if you know what I mean...heh! Very nice topping for the golden brown tauhu that's a little crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. *licks lips*

Out of a whim, my sister wanted to order a chicken we got this Smoked Chicken dish. It certainly lived up to its name! Marinated with Chinese herbs, the chicken is first smoked and then steamed (I think), so you get this nice herbal taste in the chicken as well as the broth that came with it! The smoky taste complements the herbs very well too!

In retrospect, it was quite a good dining only qualm with it was the location, as we got lost quite a bit along the way. LOL! Pricing was not bad too...we spent about RM100+ for all those dishes with rice and a big pot of tea for 6-7 people. Not bad eh? *grins*