Monday, September 25, 2006

Got Salmon?

Simply-Grilled Salmon, -- juicy & plumpy, just perfect -- one of the Island Specialties at Bahama Breeze got me hooked on Salmon. For those who are not fond of fish, you just won't get it; the distinct flavor left in the mouth took me back to the restaurant the next day and again soon after. It's funny; I used to avoid ordering Salmon just because it's usually overdone for my taste, plus I was never big on Salmon unless it was cooked Japanese-style: grilled-salted-Salmon ( With this piece of fish right out of the grill, a bowl of rice or two is easy; this is my 'comfort food'.

If you don't like fish, try the Sun-Drenched Portobello & Char-grilled Vegetable Sandwich. It's filled with zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, tomato, asparagus, pepper-jack cheese, hot-pressed on Cuban bread, and sweet and tangy basil based sauce goes perfectly together with it. After having this savory sandwich, eating only vegetables doesn't sound too bad.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thanks to Cesar Millan ~ Dog Whisperer

Check out the National Geographic series Dog Whisperer on Fridays at 9:00 p.m.

as well as his book, Cesar's Way:

"I rehabilitate dogs and train people.
I am the Dog Whisperer"

Cesar has been a big help since Day 1 of Spaz's arrival to our home.
Spaz, 12-year-old, border collie-lab mix had been unbalanced for
as long as I've known him. Now Spaz is gradually but surely
becoming a 'balanced' - happy dog.

About Spaz's Life, go here ->:

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New restaurant in town

VIN (pronounced ‘vine’)
1 E. Joppa Road Suite 155, Towson, MD 21286 - 410-337-0797

A new 'hip' restaurant just opened in the center of Towson, and my hubby and I decided to try, for a nice relaxing time away from work.

I had 'gazpacho' - a perfect dish for a hot summer day - it was nice & cold, and was a good portion with a nice Maryland touch: lump crabmeat - so sweet-. My hubby's Club Sandwich was humongous but we kept munching on - the bread (Brioche) was so good.

We only took a peek but its "World's Tiniest Dessert Menu" was irresistible [crème brulee, chocolate ganache cake, tempura banana split with chocolate ice cream and sugared walnuts, apple crisp with cardamom ice cream].

This restaurant was entertaining but cozy at the same time. I think the place gets pretty busy on nights & weekends, but lunch hour is perfect for a little escape from your busy day.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

In 2008, The Dark Knight Returns!

Looks like I'm going to have to update my "Batman & Oscar" post!

If you haven't heard already, Acadamy Award-nominated Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) has officially signed on as The Joker in the Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight!

It's an out-of-left-field choice, but I dig it. Casting Ledger as the Joker proves that TDK's take on the Clown Prince of Crime will be different from any other interpretation. I'm already excited and the movie's still two years away!

Speaking of updating the Oscar post, if rumors are to be believed, Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) has been offered the role of Oswald Cobblepot.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Superman Returns Review

Where to start?

So Superman Returns is... interesting. There were some bits that were pretty cool. Unfortunately, there was a lot that was terrible.

And not terrible in a "the actors were stiff" (though Routh as Smallville Clark, as brief as those scenes were, was a bit off). I blame the problems of the movie squarely on the writing team. First of all, one drawback is just how much Singer chained himself to Donner's Superman. This isn't a vague sequel by any means. It is clearly Superman III redux, not an "homage" to Donner's flicks. It's a straight up jack of STM. (The only SII conceit would be the fact that Supes and Lois bumped uglies and that Lex knows where the Fortress is).

Speaking of Smallville, the scenes on the farm have been reduced dramatically (the flashback to young Clark seems horribly out of place). If you're looking forward to seeing Eve Marie Saint as Martha, you've already seen all her scenes in the trailers. Which is unfortunate because a lot could've been explored with the Martha/Clark relationship.

That's problem number two. The pacing seems off. The beginning scenes fly by without much development, and suddenly, you're in Metropolis and Supes is doing his thing. Then, everything bogs down in the middle. And the end is the very definition of anti-climactic.

I must say, the entire saving the plane sequence is fantastic. I will admit that those scenes were well done. And seeing a lot of the Superman doing his thing stuff was really cool. Singer throws in a lot of iconic Superman poses (catching a runaway car, catching the Daily Planet globe, etc.) But I always knew the special effects were going to be good. If anything, seeing all the derring-do actually made me wish Chris Reeve were 26 years old today, so that his Superman could do all things that this Superman could do.

Because there is one thing that Routh's Superman lacks: charisma. With Reeve, he oozed charm, compassion and joy when he was doing his heroic deeds. Routh is monosyllabic and joyless a lot of the time. That being said, I didn't hate him. I hate how he was written and directed. The guy means well, but I believe his passing resemblance to Reeve hurts him more than it helps him. (like I said, each time you see Superman makes you miss the humanity of Reeve's performance).

I also don't buy Bosworth's Lois. At. All. In the beginning, she comes off as a whiny teenager and doesn't have any gravitas or any of the sass and spunk of Margot Kidder, Teri Hatcher or Erica Durance. Also, there's absolutely NO chemistry between Lois and Superman or Lois and Clark for that matter. (BTW, Lois and Clark aren't even friends in this movie.) The other problem with her character is her infatuation with Superman. The only reason she's upset with his return is because we're told she is upset. We're supposed to believe these two had a relationship. And that's the problem. They never did. And that's because Margot Kidder and Chris Reeve had the relationship these two are talking about. Part of the reason it's hard to believe they ever had a relationship is due to the actors' lack of chemistry. You know how Reeve & Kidder had that playful, flirtatious conversation on her balcony? Or the sexual tension that instantaneosly sparked between Hatcher and Cain? Or even the playful love/hate banter between Durance and Welling? All non-existant in the movie. We have know idea why these two are pining for each other except for the fact that it's Superman and Lois, and they're supposed to be together. Sorry, don't buy it.

Lex. Despite all the reports to the contrary, Spacey's Lex is a buffoon. Plain and simple. Oh, don't get me wrong. He is an angrier and bitter Lex. But he's also an angrier and bitter buffoon. People are all pumped because this Lex wants to kill "Billions!" of people. Well, I seem to recall Hackman's Lex getting his kicks not by planning the deaths of innocent lives, but by "causing the deaths of innocent lives." That's pretty diabolical too.

Where Hackman was oily, Spacey is sarcastic. The way he attains his fortune in the movie is terrible. It makes Lex into a joke, not the super-villain he's supposed to be. That being said. His brutal confrontation with Supes is great. But I still don't like a Lex who surrounds himself with incompetent thugs. That's not the Lex I know. Although, I actually like Parker Posey's performance as Kitty. She gave nuance to where there wasn't any. She was the most interesting "villain" when she could've been another Miss Tessmacher. Unfortunately, her character's still a joke. From her god-awful name to her ridiculous outfits, it's difficult to take her character seriously. That's why I give props to Parker's performance in the flick. She transcended the stuff she was given.

Speaking of unexpected performances, the other performance I really liked was Marsden's Richard White. He plays Richard how Routh should have played Superman: noble, heroic, compassionate, caring and charming. His scenes with Lois and Jason make him seem like a really good person. Which makes it all the more deplorable that Superman would put the moves on Lois, knowing full well that she had a happy family. I was kind of hoping that Richard would turn out to be a jerk, that way it would make sense for Superman to break them up, but he's such a nice guy that it makes you root against Superman. And that ain't supposed to happen!

There are textures that Marsden puts into Richard that I just love! When he confronts Lois about her feelings for Superman, he doesn't come off as a jealous lover (that would be Superman); instead, he's upset, but understanding. In a later scene, Lois has injured herself and Superman is scanning her for more serious damage. Check out the way Richard is looking at Superman! Even though he knows Supes is checking her vitals, he still doesn't trust the guy. It's so subtle but brilliant!

My biggest issue has always been the movie tying itself to the Donner flicks. The way the movie ends, it doesn't feel like it lends itself to sequels. If nothing else, it feels like the end of a trilogy. The loose ends that it does leave aren't interesting. Will Lois leave Richard? Does Lex get off the island? People are saying the SuperSeed will be explored in future films. God, I hope not. Though he wasn't as irritating as he could've been, he just seemed wrong for the movie. (The final scene between Supes and Jason which is intended to be touching, just comes off creepy.)

If anything, I'd equate Superman Returns with the Phantom Menace. When the lights dimmed and the Superman credits and theme zoomed by, i have to admit, i was a little giddy. Same thing happened in 1999 when the Lucasfilm logo and "a long time ago..." popped on the screen. After nearly two decades without a big screen Superman or Star Wars, nostalgia will instantly blind or deflect you from the flaws. I still got that visceral chill when the S-shield shone on the screen. I just don't think the film that followed holds up as well. Though it's visually more appealing (though I felt the film was very muddy and dark in spots), it lacks the heart of the original. Just like Star Wars, a newer generation might like it, but I suggest that once the hype and dust settles, even hardcore Superman fanboys are going to start realizing 21st century moviemaking technology doesn't trump good old fashioned storytelling.

I give it 5/10 S-shields.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

When We Met Lois Lane...

WizardWorld Philly... June 2006

The Adventures of Superman's Lois Lane -- Noel Neill:

and Smallville's Lois Lane -- Erica Durance:

one more...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Batman and Oscar

As the missus and I watched the Oscars Sunday night (and I'm still apalled that Crash, i.e. Racism for Dummies took the top prize), something struck me when I saw Nicole Kidman hand the evening's first award to George Clooney: By God, these two are Batman alumni!

So I did what any Batfan with an internet connection and access to IMDB would do, I compiled a comprehensive list of all the (movie) Bat-actors who have either won or were nominated for an Academy Award. And it's a long one!

Two things stood out the most when compiling this list. One, shockingly, Gary Oldman (Commisioner Gordon from Batman Begins) has never even been nominated for an Oscar!!! Secondly, Clooney's win marks the first time a Batman's ever won the golden statue (I thought Kilmer had at least a nomination for The Doors). Anyway, here's the list. And yeah, I know I included Catwoman, and even though it's not really a Batman movie (and it sucks), it's still a spin-off of Batman Returns, no matter how bad a movie it is.

Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale -- Batman)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Supporting Actress -- L.A. Confidential (1998)

Halle Berry (Patience Phillips/Catwoman -- Catwoman)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Actress -- Monster’s Ball (2002)

Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth -- Batman Begins)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Supporting Actor -- Hannah and Her Sisters (1987)
Best Supporting Actor -- The Cider House Rules (2000)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Actor -- Alfie (1967)
Best Actor -- Sleuth (1972)
Best Actor -- Educating Rita (1984)
Best Actor -- The Quiet American (2002)

George Clooney (Bruce Wayne/Batman -- Batman & Robin)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Supporting Actor -- Syriana (2006)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Director -- Good Night, and Good Luck (2006)
Best Original Screenplay -- Good Night, and Good Luck (2006)

Danny DeVito (Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin -- Batman Returns)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Picture -- Erin Brockovich

Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox -- Batman Begins)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Supporting Actor -- Million Dollar Baby (2005)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actor -- Street Smart (1988)
Best Actor -- Driving Miss Daisy (1990)
Best Actor -- The Shawshank Redemption (1995)

Tommy Lee Jones (Harvey Dent/Two-Face -- Batman Forever)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Supporting Actor -- The Fugitive (1994)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actor -- JFK (1992)

Nicole Kidman (Dr. Chase Meridian -- Batman Forever)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Actress -- The Hours (2003)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Actress -- Moulin Rouge (2002)

Burgess Meredith (The Penguin -- Batman: The Movie)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actor -- The Day of the Locust (1976)
Best Supporting Actor -- Rocky (1977)

Liam Neeson (Henri Ducard -- Batman Begins)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Actor -- Schindler’s List (1994)

Jack Nicholson (Jack Napier/The Joker -- Batman)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Actor -- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976)
Best Supporting Actor -- Terms of Endearment (1984)
Best Actor -- As Good As it Gets (1998)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actor -- Easy Rider (1970)
Best Actor -- Five Easy Pieces (1971)
Best Actor -- The Last Detail (1974)
Best Actor -- Chinatown (1975)
Best Supporting Actor -- Reds (1982)
Best Actor -- Prizzi’s Honor (1986)
Best Actor -- Ironweed (1988)
Best Supporting Actor -- A Few Good Men (1993)
Best Actor -- About Schmidt (2003)

Jack Palance (Carl Grissom -- Batman)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Supporting Actor -- City Slickers (1992)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actor -- Sudden Fear (1953)
Best Supporting Actor -- Shane (1954)

Michelle Pfeiffer (Selina Kyle/Catwoman -- Batman Returns)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actress -- Dangerous Liasons (1989)
Best Actress -- The Fabulous Baker Boys (1990)
Best Actress -- Love Field (1993)

Sharon Stone (Laurel Hedare -- Catwoman)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Actress -- Casino (1996)

Uma Thurman (Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy -- Batman & Robin)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actress -- Pulp Fiction (1995)

Christopher Walken (Max Shreck -- Batman Returns)
Academy Award Winner:
Best Supporting Actor -- The Deer Hunter (1979)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actor -- Catch Me if You Can (2003)

Ken Watanabe (R’as Al Ghul -- Batman Begins)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Supporting Actor -- The Last Samurai (2004)

Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone -- Batman Begins)
Academy Award Nominee:
Best Actor -- In the Bedroom (2002)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

2006 Food Adventures

Jesse Wong’s Kitchen · Hunt Valley MD (01/10/2006)
A cozy atmosphere! A ‘bento’ box for $8.95 with your choice of main dish
(crispy-orange grouper fillet, BBQ pork with nappa, shrimp tempura, etc.), salad, maki, and self-serve vegetables (stir-fry tofu and cauliflower). Green tea is $2.00 – ouch! I have to say the dinner is very pricy, but they offer a very unique menu.

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant · White Marsh MD (01/09/2006)
On one Saturday afternoon, we had a very nice lunch at this familiar Italian restaurant. A bowl of soup (Zuppa Toscana: Spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens in a creamy broth $4.25) and a house salad ($4.75) will fill you up with complimentary garlic bread sticks. If the first bowl does not fill you up, go for a second or third one.

Oriental East Restaurant ·Silver Spring MD (01/01/2006)
After visiting Tai Shan and a nice long walk at the National zoo, we were hungry for some good dim sum. As usual for dim sum restaurants, we waited in a long line for an hour or maybe more before our table was finally ready. A wide variety of steamed, baked, and fried dishes came by on rolling carts, but we were disappointed from the lack of variety of steamed dishes like Ha Gow and Shu Mai. One plate of Chinese broccoli was $5… but it was VERY tender and good.

Wegman’s Market Café · Hunt Valley MD
My favorites are their muffins (cranberry-orange, blueberry, chocolate chip, etc) & danishes (cheese, apple, chocolate, etc.) $1.25 each – a little pricy but it’s worth it, and oh…. the pastries are so beautifully decorated and they are also delicious. The fun part is that you pick what you want from pizza to sushi, sit in the upstairs café, and enjoy the meal and the nice view of the café and its fragrant aromas.

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