review

Hello My Name Is Doris

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I don’t remember everything from my writing classes at University but I do remember some things and those some things are these: have a likable protagonist, subvert the audiences’ expectations yet at the same time, do give em what they’re expecting. Hello My Name is Doris nails all three. I don’t believe I have watched a more likable lead. Doris (Sally Field) is so charming. And adorable and sweet. So much so that I yearned to lunch with her all movie. What pleasant company she would be! Also, her mother passes away at the beginning of the movie, so, unless we’re stones or cacti or some other dispassionate thing, we can’t help but feel sympathy. And, when we find out she has sacrificed both education and love among other things to take care of her old lady, we feel even more sorry. So, she’s likable and she induces sympathy. Is that how you say it? Can you say it like that? Sorry. English is my second language, you see. Then this delightful little lady starts acting in ways I haven’t seen women her age act in any other movie and just when I almost give up on her and thus life in general (because I’m just that sucked in!) I’m given my happy ending. Feel good, human and quirky. A must must must see.

PS must mean yogurt in Farsi.

Sweet Bean (An): A Movie Review

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Before I say anything about this movie, I want to tell you something. But before I do, I want to apologize in advance if I offend anybody. Basically, In my mother tongue of Persian/Farsi, “an” is the word for, put politely, feces. Which by the way, came as a real shock when my family and I left Iran and met numerous Annes and Annies. Again, I’m real sorry for even talking about this but the “ie” downgrades shit to shitty. I am so sorry. But it’s kind of funny, right? Languages, I mean. The Japanese word for persimmon 柿 (kaki) is also the Hebrew word for feces. Okay, enough poop talk, An (the movie not the other) is a must-see.

I watched four movies on the plane to and back from NZ and this one was by far my favorite. An is the story of an uncommon threesome: a middle-aged and troubled male confectioner, an elderly woman and a schoolgirl. Directed by Naomi Kawase, it is a simple story told with plenty of heart. The film explores the power of life’s simple joys, in relieving burdens and uniting souls and the need to hand down skills from generation to generation. That, and some serious, simmering bean foodporn.

By the way, an in Japan is everywhere. As in, EVERYWHERE. And dorayaki (the product of the troubled confectioner; a Japanese red-bean pancake consisting of two small pancake-like patties wrapped around a filling of sweet Azuki red bean paste) is super popular. So, it’s a great movie to see for Japan dwellers seeing as they’ll surely relate but also a great watch for lovers of Japan and/or artsy films.

Chick Flicks On A Plane

Not snakes on a plane – much less frightening. Or corn flakes on a plane – much less delicious. Sorry! Don’t leave. I promise to get out of my head. OK, so I watched three chick flicks on the plane, on a plane and they were all well, a pretty nice way to spend a couple hours.

1. How To Be Single: the one with Rebel Wilson

2. 5 to 7: the one with the main dude from Like Crazy

3. Sisters: the one with Tina Fey and that blonde lady she does comedy with.

Aren’t I a great reviewer?

5 to 7 was my favorite. It got me listening to French music which for some reason I find overly romantic. Damn, I wish my life had some romance in it. Yeah yeah, it’ll happen when you least expect it. Whatever.



MISH MASH Christchurch Restaurant Review

Mish Mash Eatery and Bar
Corner Manchester Street and St Asaph Street
Telephone: 03 968 4607

A mish mash of different cuisines, cooking styles and cultures. Where else can you enjoy tartare (apparently originally Polish), gnocchi (Italian) and couscous (North African? Middle Eastern?) in one go? That’s right, no where but Mish Mash of course. Though the food itself is no jumble. In fact, I will go as far as to say, it was one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of eating and trust me, I have almost eaten the entire globe. Foodies, prepare your tastebuds to explode!

The menu, by chef Kerry Collins is divided into four parts. There are nine small plates (such as venison tartare with crispy kale, egg yolk, pickled carrot, aioli and warm wholemeal toast and cured salmon with beetroot crisp, cream cheese mousse, pickled onion and capers), eight large plates (pumpkin gnocchi with coriander, chilli, lime and feta); and seven sharing sides, including mint tomato couscous. For dessert, delicacies such a spiced pear filo.

The cultural fusion is also reflected throughout Mish Mash’s decor, with its stunning gold world map feature wall. And also, through the variety of mismatched (yet gorgeous) crockery used.

More on the food, tartare (a savoury dish made from raw meat and a raw egg yolk) is the “trust fall” of the culinary world. If its ingredients are not flawless, it can go very very wrong. But done right, oh boy! When it comes to tartare, texture plays a big roll. The slipperiness of raw meat can feel borderline immoral, almost dangerous yet at the same time, SO good. And by good I mean, melt-in-your-mouth, gimme-gimme-more. At Mish Mash, this silky sensation is enhanced by the gooeyness of the broken yolk and the crunch of the crispy kale, which in my opinion, beets (get it?) every other vegetable in chip form. Mish Mash’s tartare is incredible with the best your taste buds have never experienced, found in each mouthful. You must must must order it if you go. And everything else I ordered, because it was all SAH GUD.

Healthy Living In C City

C city. Not sin city. Well, it’s up to you really. Anyway, I had the most wonderful day. Coming home is really something else. I can’t even explain it. Just feel so happy and so blessed. It really is true, you don’t know what you have until you don’t have it. Also, Christchurch is seriously booming after the earthquakes. Which to me, only solidifies that everything happens for a reason. First, breakfast and not just any breakfast but THE BREKKIE OF A LIFETIME at Little Pom’s. Grilled halloumi, sugar snap peas, smashes peas, avocado, broccolini, smoked almonds, poached eggs, multigrain toast, olive oil ($24nzd) which I shared with my mama. I loved this place. How could I not with such floral wallpaper?! Next, a walk around Hagley Park. For all my overseas followers, this is a very gorgeous and very large park right in the middle of our city and is beautiful at every season. Next, a wholesome lunch: roast veggie salad and green smoothie at Pure Cafe.
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Dux Central: A Restaurant Review

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WORDS AND IMAGES BY MELISSA LIN

Looking for a new snazzy place to grab some drinks while chowing down on some delicious grub? Look no further Christchurch, the CBD has welcomed back an old flame to the hospitality scene. Dux de Lux, lost in the 2011 earthquakes has reincarnated and morphed into the new Dux Central, the newest and hottest place to meet, eat and drink.

The massive, teal coloured, two-storey multi-bar space, houses four different interior spaces; a craft beer bar, a wine and spirits bar, a speak-easy, and a function room. From rustic and industrial styling to classy and sophisticated, each area has been born with its own personality and vibe.

In addition, they have a perfect-for-any-season outdoor courtyard. Rain? Never fear, It’s fully covered. Snow? no problem, it’s heated. And if you’re still cold, you can grab a comfy cushion or snug blanket to instantly feel at home. Oh and the area is draped with giant dangling globe lights, so eccentric!

So far, I’ve been to Dux Central twice and my number of visits definitely won’t stop there! The first time I went was with my partner, for lunch and we went for gold, ordering way too much for only two people (#foodiefirstworldproblems). Our lunch spread consisted of their duck croquettes, pulled pork sliders, battered market fish tacos and a cheeky side of cajun curly fries.

My second time was for a family dinner where I got the chance to try their slow roasted pork belly and braised beef short ribs as well as a selection of some of their pizzas. Everything was super yum, with portions and quality decent for the price paid. And, with such a variety of menu options, something’s sure to satisfy even the fussiest taste buds.

Dux Central is super neat. Its venue is great for social gatherings with family and friends, their staff are bubbly and nice and the food is absolutely bomb! What more in a restaurant could you ask for?

Go go go!

Spotlight: A Movie Review

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Spotlight is a must-see. Even without its two 2015 Oscars: Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Why? Because, here I go again, it means something. It’s based on the true story of the year-long investigation by Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team headed by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) and his crew Mike Rezendez (Mark Ruffalo) Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) of child molestation by Priests. Wow, I have goosebumps just writing that. With such a dynamite topic and a talented cast giving much realistic performances, we as an audience can’t help but watch with good nervousness and hopeful longing as the four labor to uncover secrets and publicize the unbelievable case.

After watching this movie, I started thinking about religion and in particular the affect human beings have on religion. This concept, of people’s actions tarnishing Religion’s good name is not a new phenomenon. It has been around since the very day said religions originated and has unfortunately continued through to this day. The terrorist group Isis, acting in the name of “Islam” is one example, for instance. Because of such individuals, the word “religion” has acquired negative connotations. Connotations of war, disunity and injustice. Which is so utterly unfortunate as true religion is the very opposite with its sole purpose being unity and togetherness.

When I was an even younger girl (wink wink) growing up in NZ, I often felt scared to tell others I was religious. I knew that the very word would connect me with the corupt government of my birth place (Iran). When I attended university, my nervousness remained for a single mention of “God” sparked hateful debates. Today, I like to think I stand strong in my faith. I stand strong because I have realized that it is foolish to let said individuals win. I know what my religion is about and I firmly stand by it. To finish, I’d like to share a quote from the Baha’i Faith in relation to this idea:

Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. -‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Sorry about the tangent. Spotlight is not only entertaining but informative. And as you can see, thought-provoking as well! He-he.

The Revenant: A Movie Review

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WOW just wow just wow finished watching the movie Jack, I mean Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for and oh my freakin’ goodness. It was definitely Oscar worthy.

First off, it stars the finest gentleman in the history of television: Leo and Tom Hardy. Also, the ginger dude form The Vow except he’s all bad ass in this film and the eyebrow dude from Meet The Millers. Hehe sorry, I am as much a film reviewer as I am a chef (i.e. forever winging it). Anyways, apart from the killer (excuse the pun) cast, the film itself is bloody (oops, there I go again) unbelievably great. In cinematography and in content. Though I’m warning you, tis no light shit. I don’t know how I managed to watch the whole thing alone in bed. Am most likely going to have nightmares. Involving animals and death. Especially, seeing as my village pretty much, exactly resembles them forests and BEARS. Seriously, there are so many bears here! Though I haven’t seen one yet… but they are there. Here. ARGH HELP.

100/10

The Little Prince: A Movie Review

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Where to start with this one?! The Little Prince is my favourite book of all time. It is so simple yet so profound. Imaginative, meaningful, intelligent and sweet. All at the same time. No wonder it is a classic and no wonder it can be built upon to make more great art. If you haven’t read The Little Prince then I urge you, with all my heart and soul to go out right now and find it at a bookstore or library near you, and do. Definitely do that before you watch the film.

Welcome back! Now that The Little Prince has forever changed you, you are ready to take on the world. And watch the film. The film which could have easily sucked for attempting to remake a classic but did not.

Seeing as the original tale was too short for a feature film on its own,  The Little Prince, the movie, is framed by the story of an unnamed girl who lives with her strict mother or in Japanese, her Kiyoikumama (a mother who pushes her children to academic achievements). Actually, her strict mom was not the only thing in this movie with a Japanese feel. In particular, the scenes of the grey and monotonous city and the overworked zombified workers screamed Japan (sorry not sorry, someone had to say it). Anyways, their (mother and daughter) story is shot in modern-style 3D stop-motion whilst the story within the story of The Little Prince steps back to a humble 2D animation based on the author’s own elegant watercolors (as seen in the book’s first printing and all editions after).

In my opinion, in addition to the impressive animation, it is the easy-listening narration reiterating the story’s wisdom, the gorgeous soundtrack and the original concept of the story of unnamed girl and cray mother which make this film so spectacular. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. But after you read the book.

5/5

Inside Out: A Movie Review

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If you’ve been following my movie reviews, you may have noticed that I like it when films mean stuff; touch an emotion in my heart, relate to my daily-life…etc. That said, of course, I enjoy entertainment as well. Inside Out has both.

Inside Out is Pixar’s newest animation. Pixar, animation, for kids right? Sort of. You see, this movie is all about the mind. In particular, Riley’s, an 11 year old girl who has just moved with her parents to San Francisco from Minnesota. Though Riley is not the main focus of the film. The main focus is her mind, an entirely other world (aren’t all our minds?) where Riley’s anthropomorphized (given human qualities) emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust control her life. Reminding me of this wonderful quote by ‘Abdu’l-Baha:”The reality of man is his thought.”

I don’t know about you but I really think Pixar hit the nail on the head (excuse the pun) with this one. So often, maybe more than I ought to, I find my mind full (not to be confused with mindful) and my emotions driving my life. It is as if something up there is in conflict with itself or something else or missing, or lost. Which is exactly what happens to Riley. Her driving emotion, Joy goes missing from Headquarters causing her perception and reasoning to distort.

Though in the end (trying not to spoil it too much for you), both the film’s characters and the viewer (adult and child) receive a psychology lesson to cherish for life. Which is, the world ain’t so black and white: there is no joy without sadness and vice versa. In Carl Jung’s words, “the word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”

Thank you for making such a heartwarming, thought-provoking and witty flick, Pixar.

100/5