Tuesday, July 19, 2005

List of Last Things 2

Last Movie Watched - The Fantastic Four. Highly enjoyable, if you don't expect too much from it. As a comics-based movie with an ensemble cast, it's not a bad origin tale. It does well enough as a springboard for an entire franchise. Granted, Spiderman had a better human interest story, but Ben Grimm's development from muscleman to The Thing is compelling enough drama. As for Reed Richards, I guess what really makes him a superhero is his native high intelligence and not his elasticity as Mr. Fantastic. If you didn't realize this early enough, you'd think he was the wimpiest in the group. There are some scenes that made me laugh out loud: Johnny Storm bursting into flames while skiing, and ending up naked, melting enough snow to make a hot tub for him and his "hot" nurse; and Sue Storm having to strip down in public (twice!) and run away, invisible. The story and the action are equally engaging and fast-paced. It's definitely worth its ticket price, as long as you aren't seated next to annoying kids and people who haven't turned off their cell phones.

Last DVD's Watched - Asterix and Obelix Take On Caesar, and Six-Stringed Samurai.

My friends Dondi and Esmi invited me to their place for a sandwich-bar dinner while watching DVD's newly added to Dondi's collection. Asterix and Obelix Take on Caesar (1999) features Gerard Depardieu as Obelix, with Roberto Benigni (Life Is Beautiful) as the villain Lucius Detritus and Laetitia Casta as Obelix's love Panacea. Most of us had read the comic books by Goscinny and Uderzo as children, so we were pleased to discover that the movie had an English dub translation by Terry Jones. The film is funny, although not as funny as, say, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (still my standard for rib-tickling humor). The dog that plays Dogmatix is adorable. As for Laetitia Casta (who is currently Marianne, or the Face of France), she is easy on the eyes, for as long as you pay no attention to her distracting teeth.

If you enjoy Kurosawa samurai movies, plus Mad Max, Kill Bill, El Mariachi, music and all, you'll enjoy Six-Stringed Samurai (1998). This campy low-budget film features Buddy, our bespectacled hero with a katana sheathed behind his 1957 guitar. He ventures across a wasteland to get to his gig in Lost Vegas, pursued by Death and his minions, and along the way picks up a little boy who later becomes his sidekick. It's like a long music video with a surreal script full of allusions to the death of rock and roll. If you're the kind of person who gets peeved because you can't find a plot in this movie, skip it. But if you watched Kill Bill over and over just for The Bride vs. Crazy 88 samurai sword-frenzy with rockabilly music in the background, this would be more your thing. I enjoyed it, but I guess not enough to buy me a copy.

Last MP3 Downloaded - Gavin DeGraw's "Chariot". Great song, the kind you want to listen to on a rainy day when you're stuck indoors.

Last Book Read - Haruki Murakami's "Norwegian Wood" (English translation by Jay Rubin). Murakami's protagonist Watanabe hears his first love Naoko's favorite Beatles song and goes twenty years back down memory's highway to hip 1960s Tokyo. Along the way a girl named Midori comes into his life and makes him choose between the past and the future. Rather good read.

Last Restaurant Visited - Cafe Mediterranean Podium, last Sunday. Had a Kofta Kebab with buttered rice. Kofta are little meatballs made of ground lamb and beef (I think) mixed with chopped onions and herbs, slid on a kebab and grilled. Kofta are good with their yoghurt-based sauce. They also serve really good Kofta Burger, if you're bored with the usual patty-on-a-bun. Their food is on the healthy side, grilled rather than fried, with South Beach Diet versions of most popular dishes. They also have a very good Lamb Stew and Lamb Kebabs. Service is quick and everything is reasonably priced.