The Ides of March (2011)

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Real Steel (2011)

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I expected this movie to be very mediocre, and after watching it, I’m really glad I didn’t spend money to see it on the big screen.  In my mind, there is no parallel between human fighting and robot fighting.  A fight between people tests their spirit, but a fight between two robots, I feel, is just a test of engineering and programming quality.  A test of engineering quality deserves merit too, but it does not inspire people in the same way.

That is the main flaw with this movie.  It wanted to be inspirational, but it centered around a failure of a father/person as a protagonist who engages in robot boxing.  The whole movie felt like a weak, frail, lost little brother to the original Rocky.

Except Rocky was a good person who was a little mentally slow; traits most viewers empathize with.  But Charlie Kenton, on the other hand, was a man who gambles away his chances and abandons his own son; not the most attractive character.  Even at the end, when he was a better father, I did not like Charlie anymore than in the beginning.

And the flaw with the (not at all) epic final match was that it did remind me exactly of Rocky, with the underdog putting the champion against the ropes, but the final bell saving him.  In fact, I only enjoyed the last fight because, in my head, I was really re-living the first fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed; a fight that actually was inspirational.

In the end, this movie is predictable, and the story played out exactly the way I anticipated it to.  It was okay to watch, but I would recommend playing the movie on the side while you’re doing something else.  The film definitely does not require or deserve a viewer’s full attention.

Bridesmaids (2011)

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This movie was heavily advertised earlier this year, and it attracted my attention a bit.  After seeing the trailer, I thought it would essentially be the girls version of The Hangover.  Oh, how wrong I was.  The Hangover will probably go down in history as a comedic great whereas Bridesmaids will probably be all but forgotten within two years.  The commercials say “critics are calling it the best comedy of the year.”  I get depressed at the thought that they may be right.

This movie had some occasional one-liners that were funny, and there is definitely one line that I anticipate using a lot in the near future.  “Help me, I’m poor!”  Well, I guess I could at least identify with Annie from this perspective.  Still, the movie had far too much pointless bickering  and it just created lots of incredibly long drawn out scenes that annoyed me much more than it entertained me.

I did like the part where her friend came to drag Annie out of her pitiful state of mind.  “I’m trying to get you to fight for your shitty life!” she says to Annie.  I guess all of us have our ups and downs.  Sadly, I think I still haven’t hit the bottom yet, so I’m still bracing myself for impact.

How I felt while watching the movie:  annoyed.  Watchable, but don’t pay any money to watch it.

Vine Sake & Sushi

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I was so lazy today, and I didn’t want to go anywhere far.  After a year of living around Columbia University, I suppose it was about time I gave this joint a try.  Thank you Google Maps for the image, since I couldn’t seem to find one of this place on the internet.  That’s not really a surprise though.  It was a pretty bland place.  It most definitely was not good, but it wasn’t horrible enough for me to really say anything bad about it either.

We ordered Morningside Rolls, Philadelphia Rolls, Chicken Katsu Bento Box, and a Tofu Pad Thai.  Everything tasted exactly the way I would expect it to from a very average quality Asian restaurant.  The pad thai tasted like generic noodles with generic sweet sauce.  The Philly rolls tasted like generic cream cheese (not even Philadelphia cream cheese) and your everyday tuna.  Chicken katsu was a fried piece of chicken that was neither tasteless nor tasty.  The Morningside rolls were, I’m guessing, an innovation of theirs, but it just tasted like fish and veggies rolled together.  Their innovative roll definitely did not leave an impression, especially after I had just tried the Sushi Samba rolls the other day.  but the portions here were “American-sized” and bigger than the average sushi place.  Never in my life have I seen such a big bento box; I think most I’ve encountered are only about half the size of the one at this place.

Well, this restaurant gets points for being close to where I was when I wanted dinner, and it gets points just for not being horrible.  I was sad to say that even on my way out, I did not see a single table with food on it that I thought looked especially interesting or appealing.  But the waitress did yell at us while we were leaving.  Well, we thought they were yelling at us, but they never did get the attention of whoever they were yelling at.  Someone probably forgot something.  The employees were almost nice enough to give some extra effort to return it, almost…

Express Manna Kitchen

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What do I do for lunch now that Restaurant Week is over?  I guess I’ll return to those cheap little shops littered around my office.  Well, I finally mustered up the courage to check out this little Korean place that I’ve had an eye on.  After all, I am a huge fan of some good bibimbap in a hot stone bowl.  Unfortunately, I guess the stone bowl eliminates the possibility of getting it as take-out, but I’ll live.

Upon entering, I found that the place was surprisingly packed, but that might just be how all places restaurants around Union Square are during lunch hour.  I must say, firstly, I was not impressed by the price of their bibimbap that came in a stone bowl, netting me $11.92 including tax.  Maybe it was really good though?  Or maybe they just had no competition within a ten block radius, basically until you reach Korea Town.

I believe bibimbap is, in general, pretty simple to cook.  I think much more important is the freshness and quality of the assorted vegetables they include.  I was not as impressed as I would’ve liked for the money I paid, none of the mushrooms, roots, and stems were nearly as delicious as I wanted.  And though it came with the standard side dishes of kimchi, etc., it also came with mashed potatoes rather than what it really needed, a good side of Korean hot sauce.  As well, just to complain further, I think they could’ve used a more appropriately sized bowl.  The quantity of the food was sufficient, but displayed in the bowl that they used, it looked like a meager little portion that would hardly satisfy even a small child.

With such high prices combined with such average ingredients, they should at least make the dish as presentable as possible.  I probably won’t be back just because I can’t afford something of this quality at such a price.  There are both cheaper and better options in the vicinity.  I’ll stick with my Chinese restaurant around the corner.