Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ode to Kung Fu (Panda)

Before, when I am asked about my favorite animated movie, I would automatically say Shrek. I love Shrek so much. He makes me happy. But now, I would like to announce that I have a new love. He's also big, but much more cuddly. He's a panda. PO.

I was able to watch Kung Fu Panda last weekend, and the movie was no doubt the best animated movie I have ever seen. The story line was refreshing, and the script (and their delivery) was beautifully written -- so funny and crackling with wit. The adorable Jack Black starts the movie off with a bit of story-telling in a dream sequence:

Po: Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.It is said that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness!

Hahaha, 'awesomeness' made me laugh (so Jack Black, think Pick of Destiny), and it was a propitious omen that only more good stuff can come out of this movie.

But even the body movements, the sequence and timing of events, were so funny that several times I had tears in my eyes from laughing too hard. At the top of my head, the funniest scene I could recall is the acupuncture scene, where Tigress (played by Angelina Jolie) was talking to Po --

Tigress: This is just a big joke to you. [Po makes weird face -- tongue hanging out and eyes through the roof -- and Tigress goes to slap him with claws]
Mantis: Wait, wait, my fault! I tweaked his facial nerves! And may have also stopped his heart.

And there is so much more!!! Got this from imdb --

Po: There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness.


Tai Lung: The Wuxi finger hold!

Po: Oh, you know this hold?

Tai Lung: You're bluffing. You're bluffing! Shifu didn't teach you that. Po: Nope. I figured it out.Skadoosh!


Mr. Ping: We are noodle folk. Broth runs through our veins.


Tigress: It is said that the Dragon Warrior can go for months without eating, surviving on the dew of a single ginko leaf and the energy of the universe.

Po: Then I guess my body doesn't know I'm the Dragon Warrior yet. It's gonna take a lot more than dew, and, uh, universe juice.


as Po bounces down the palace steps] Tigress: If he's smart, he won't come back up those steps.

Monkey: But he will.

Viper: He's not gonna quit is he?

Mantis: He's not gonna quit bouncing, I'll tell you that.


Tigress: You would think that Master Oogway would choose someone who knows kung fu.

Crane: Or be able to touch his toes.

Monkey:Or see his toes.



Oogway: [walking towards Po] Ah! It seems that you have found the peach tree of wisdom! Po: [Po turns around with a lot of peaches stuffed in his mouth] Oh! Is that what this is? I'm so sorry! I just thought it was a regular peach tree!


Po: I just ate... so my kung fu may not be as good as later on.

DEAR PO: I wanna hug you, and squeeze you, and call you mine.... :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gordon Ramsay Rocks!

Yesterday, I was able to catch 4 episodes of The US version of Kitchen Nightmares, starring (as himself) renowned and award-winning Chef and Restaurateur Gordon Ramsay. I know, I know, the first season came out last year, and I am, as they say, huli sa balita, but hey, better late than never.
I cannot cook to save my life (though my experiments in the kitchen were thankfully not total disasters [read: the people I cooked for are still alive and well]), but I do have strong opinions about what I eat, the restaurants I go to--from the menu options, to the decor of the place, down to the general atmosphere of a restaurant. I love watching cooking shows, and so far, my hands down favorite is iron chef Mario Batali. This is why, last year, I just closed my eyes to prevent myself from looking at the bill, and got out my credit card to pay for a really expensive dinner in one of Mario's restaurants in Vegas. It was such a wonderful experience that I literally had tears in my eyes after (I also tried Wolfgang Puck but my dining experience in Mario's resto was just more memorable overall).
Anyway, I never really got to watching Hell's Kitchen and so my impression of Chef Ramsay was based largely on word-of-mouth. One thing I was sure of, he's a much meaner and more brutal version of Simon Cowell, and I would not willingly subject myself to one of his honest appraisals.
So I watched Kitchen Nightmares (which I understand has an earlier UK version which is much tamer and deletes most of the scenes with profanities) and was hooked from the get-go. The concept is relatively simple: Chef Ramsay searches for struggling restaurants all over the US and tries to rescue them in one week. What follows is a melodramatic display of emotions, alternating between hapless resignation and hysterics, as owners and chefs bristle at criticisms, and resist much-needed change. Like ANTM, there are makeovers -- the decor of the resto is changed, the menus are modified, some chefs are fired -- and in the end, the resto is saved.
The show is an eye-opener for those who are in the food business. Chef Ramsay's passion for restaurants and his adherence to strict safety and hygiene measures, is admirable, and his love for food and commitment to giving customers a great dining experience resonates with simple viewers like me. Customers should always be treated right, and should always be served yummy food that comply with stringent safety and health standards. It is but our right, and the owner's concomitant duty, to get our money's worth, whether we choose to eat in a hole-in-the-wall family diner or a fine dining resto.
Chef Ramsay, you are, as Kimora (eeew) says -- fabulosity personified.