Jurassic World

Sunday, June 28, 2015

We all know Hollywood is running out creative juice when there are so many announcements made to reboot movie classics of yesteryears. My worst nightmare began when the Jurassic Park franchise is not spared. I was adamant about watching the new dinosaur-themed movie in the cinema but decided to give it a try anyway.

Titled Jurassic World, also the name of the new theme park, continues 22 years later after the incident in Jurassic Park III. Pressured with the demand for new attraction to keep visitors excited, the research team at the Jurassic World lab has created a genetically modified dinosaur carrying genes from various predatory dinosaurs & modern-day animals.

Little did they realised that the creature turned out to be exceptionally intelligent & managed to break loose from its captivity, causing havoc at the theme park. Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a Velociraptor trainer is called in to save the day. I must say, though the plot is predictable, watching the movie brings back many good childhood memories. The dinosaur CG is so impressive that it provides a breath of fresh air to the new & old audience alike.

Jurassic World is definitely not award-winning material but it does the job well to keep audiences entertained. There are some scenes that pay homage to the old Jurassic Park movies which is great & goes to show the production team acknowledge the fans who supported the earlier films. I'm a little miffed that the female lead, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) was not given enough credits for her outstanding performance. Go watch the movie & you'll know why she deserves more mention & praise.

I'm pretty sure you don't want to miss out on Chris Pratt striking THE pose that has been garnering viral attention on social media. I know you wouldn't...

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Ichiban The Izakaya, 1 Utama

If it wasn't for Groupon, WL & I wouldn't have discovered a hidden gem in 1 Utama. Ichiban The Izakaya is the hidden gem - a Japanese restaurant & bar tucked at the corner near the Rainforest. With a Groupon voucher worth RM200 in hand, we didn't hesitate to order as much as we could. After all, it was my little sister's birthday & she deserved a big treat from us.

WL ordered his usual chicken katsu don that came with a striking balance of meat & vegetables. One spoonful said it all - the dish truly didn't disappoint.

I called for a bowl of garlic rice rather than a main course just so I can reserve some "room" for other treats in the menu. Nom nom...did I mention the rice was incredibly appetizing that I was tempted for another bowl? Guilty pleasures...

Ichiban has a few selection of pork skewers that sound pretty tempting. And we couldn't resist ordering 2 of them to try - asparagus wrapped with pork bacon slices & grilled pork. The juicy pork slice with crunchy asparagus wrapped in between was simply irresistible.

And of course, we wouldn't miss out on tender, no-nonsense pork skewers to satisfy our big appetite.

The restaurant has a wide selection of maki but we picked those that we believe wouldn't go wrong. Not a bad choice, indeed. The ingredients were fresh & seasoned well, even though the sushi rice was slightly mushy.

I ordered a side dish to try - cold tofu in sweet sauce but it wasn't as good as the earlier dishes.

My sister went home with a happy tummy, so did WL & I. Groupon is certainly the right place to discover good restaurants that might have missed our radar. Izakaya is one of those places...Rating: 4 out of 5.

G362, Ground Floor
Rainforest Zone
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Bandar Utama
47800 Petaling Jaya

03-7732 1686

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Sundays 10:00am - 10:00pm

Pho Vietz, Atria Shopping Gallery

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The newly renovated Atria Shopping Gallery has finally open its doors to the public & it's now back, bigger than before. I could barely recognize the exterior when our car approached closer to the building. Atria seemed so vast next to the old shops that stood longer than the mall itself.

Just barely months after its soft opening, Atria is already 80% occupied with majority food & beverages tenants. It's a pity that it didn't have a cinema but on 2nd thoughts, it wouldn't have worked anyhow because there are already malls nearby with cineplexes ie Tropicana City Mall & 1 Utama. At least Atria has assures its shoppers will not go hungry after a long day of shopping.

Most of the restaurants are situated on the lowest floor but there are a select few taking space on the upper floors. Pho Vietz occupies a spacious lot on the 3rd floor & what's surprising to see that the restaurant already has a good crowd. Without further ado, WL & I quickly settled to order some food.

I picked their house specialty - pho, loosely translated as beef noodles.

The pho came in a generous bowl of beef slices & rice noodles. Broth was flavourful, well seasoned with herbs & spices to bring out the Vietnamese taste. Slurping in the rice noodles was a joy as the it was thin & smooth in texture. The beef slices have a pungent taste which makes every bite a little difficult to take in. Otherwise, the pho would have been excellent.

WL ordered claypot pork belly stew that came with a bowl of rice, soup & an appetizer.

I took a sip of the gravy for tasting & it turned out a little salty for me but WL seemed to take a liking for stronger flavours. It was tasty, nonetheless. Plus the fat from the pork belly helps elevate the aroma & in the gravy. Another plus point for Pho Vietz!

For the price averaging around RM18, the food is quite worth every cent you pay for. Portion is good, in fact, quite generous to some extent. Taste wise, it fits the generally picky Malaysian palate who is pampered with a plethora of food choices. Definitely a place to worth several visits each time you happen to make a trip to Atria. Rating: 4.2 out of 5.

T08 & T09, 3rd Floor
Atria Shopping Gallery
Jalan SS22/23
Damansara Jaya
47400 Petaling Jaya

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Sundays 10:00am - 10:00pm

San Andreas

It's been a while since we last saw natural disaster or end-of-the-world related movie themes since 2012. I could clearly recall during my schooling days those movies were common because the themes were trending at that time. Seeing the trailer of San Andreas brings back familiar feelings of nostalgia.

Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the plot follows a fomulaic script - a man with a decent job possibly going through a separation/divorce, disaster strikes & the man reunites with his family to brace through tough times. The movie is very predictable & corny, it's no surprise that you'll roll eyes more than you can count. Or barf at the sudden outburst of the cheesiest statement.

CG is amazing, a no surprise these days considering the vast improvement in technology. The old disaster movies were obviously no match for San Andreas. Albeit impressive CG, the depiction of a tsunami hitting San Francisco in that scale does seem unrealistic.

And to ride a boat over the rising tsunami is even more exaggerated. How can this be possible? Only in the movies.

Whatever it is, San Andreas is quite an enjoyable movie if you put aside all the illogical stuff in the movie. Just don't expect too much out of it. Somehow, Dwayne Johnson does kick ass in this kind of movie, which is a plus point.

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