Double Feature: Astro Boy (2009) & When in Rome (2010)

And we’re back with another double feature!

In the neverending quest to catch up with Netflix and diminish the outstanding titles on my Netflix list before they vanish from selection, I’ve decided to choose movies primarily already on the list whenever I watch something which lead me to trying out a new way than the normal alphabetical approach and that’s to choose a common factor between films, mostly director or actor/actress in whichever role. I honestly don’t know how long this can go for but from the preliminary test, I have at least 20 movies drafted in so we’re in for a ride. I’m liking this new way as it gives variety.

This time will be a lovely Kristen Bell double feature with Astro Boy and When in Rome!

Astro Boy (2009)

Astro Boy

Director: David Bowers

Voice Cast: Freddie Highmore, Charlize Theron, Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy, Kristen Bell

When an android replica of a boy is rejected by his aggrieved creator, he goes off to find his own identity in an adventure that would make him the greatest hero of his time. –IMDB

While I can’t hate on animated films. Astro Boy really is quite average. Back when this was announced, I had my doubts and I was also travelling when it came out so I never caught it in theatres. A lot of the story here is quite generic and its not very exciting. However, the art is quite nice plus the world is very pretty with lots of colors. The characters are brought alive by its immense talent behind the voices. Kristen Bell does a great job but we also have Bill Nighy as the scientist and Nicolas Cage as the dad and of course, Donald Sutherland as the villain. During that time, Freddie Highmore had a lot of these kid roles and he does a fantastic job as Astro Boy. It may be average but in all its generic and predictable moments, it still has a few decent fun and funny moments.

 

With that said, Astro Boy could be a fun movie for a younger audience. It has a lot of science-y fun and brave kids and takes in the parents angle. Plus, its not terribly long running at about 90 minutes which is always nice because it keeps the pacing decent.

When in Rome (2010)

When in Rome

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Cast: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Anjelica Huston, Danny DeVito, Dax Shepherd, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Alexis Dziena, Kate Micucci

Beth is a young, ambitious New Yorker who is completely unlucky in love. However, on a whirlwind trip to Rome, she impulsively steals some coins from a reputed fountain of love, and is then aggressively pursued by a band of suitors. – IMDB

I’m pretty forgiving with romantic comedies. They are really just silly and funny sometimes. There has been widely a shortage of good ones and When in Rome honestly doesn’t do much for itself. Its quite ridiculous in parts and I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes at everything. However, When in Rome has some charming characters. Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel are incredibly fun to watch together and separate. The premise is really where things are a little odd and shaky. Just take a look at the cast, Danny DeVito, Dax Shepherd, Will Arnett are all fantastic as the enchanted lovers chasing after Kristen Bell and they offer some pretty comedic moments. Its always a good time to watch Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell as they always do these roles and can get the whole not into each other thing really well. When in Rome just seems like it doesn’t have anything special about it other than its charming cast. But then, you can always watch this charming cast in other movies they’ve done better roles for making this one seem not so appealing.

Overall, Astro Boy and When in Rome fall in the very average range. I’m still a fan of Kristen Bell and its definitely not her issues that makes for the downfalls of these two selections.

Have you seen Astro Boy and/or When in Rome?
What is your favorite Kristen Bell film?

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Recap: Goodfood #7

Last week, we took had another Goodfood box. Its been quite nice to have these coming in although it makes for some late night cooking sessions since I mostly take these for lunch and my husband has it for dinner. Our working schedules being in the way of actually sitting down and having these meals together. However, it does help cut down especially since I’m slowly getting a little faster. Some meals like one of these actually came rather close to the time they said it would take which made me feel quite good about myself. This box was one that we took quite a few chances on so let’s see how it turned out.

Kicking us off, we start with…

Chef Garnier’s Thai Shrimp Curry with Bell Pepper, Tomatoes & Couscous

goodfood

Chef Garnier’s Thai Shrimp Curry

This box’s highlight menu is Chef Garnier’s recipe for Thai Shrimp Curry. I have to say that this one was a delight. It had a bit of heat but I was okay with it also. The sauce was delicious and we put the couscous as the bed and it meshed so well to give this nice consistency and texture to the whole meal. We’ve made a few curries from these boxes (not always Goodfood) and this one is hands down my favorite. I’d make it again (or order it again if it showed up on the choices). An absolute great start to the week.

Chicken Piccata with Fresh Gemelli Pasta & Garlic Chives

goodfood

Chicken Piccata with Fresh Gemelli Pasta

If there was a meal that highlighted this box, it would be this one. Chicken Piccata and fresh gemelli pasta. I already like gemelli pasta to start with and I love chicken and the sauce here is fantastic. The cooking process got a little dangerous for me because the oil splashed up and grazed my cheek which was painful but the husband took over and got it all under control. It was so delicious and honestly, if I knew where to get capers, I’m down to make this one again. Well, maybe prep it and have the husband do the actual cooking.

Black Bean Burrito with Mango, Cucumber and Roasted Pepper Salsa

goodfood

Black Bean Burrito

I’m really sorry that this doesn’t look like much. The way to do it would be to take pictures of the salsa, the cooked ingredients before stuffing it up because it turned out to be quite a bit so I ate it pretty deconstructed. The rice was very good for the burrito however, the salsa is great on the side. Having it on the inside had this weird taste. It was fresh and I like mangoes so it didn’t bother me too much but I’d have had a bowl of mangoes on the side and added in the cucumbers and roasted peppers to the rice and black bean blend. It was a nice thought though and it was pretty alright.

Beef Lomo Saltado over Roasted Potatoes with Soy Sauce & Spicy Jalapeno

goodfood

Beef Lomo Saltado

As you can see, the potatoes were a tad overcooked. Not sure why. But my best guess is either the cook time was a little too much (which it obviously was) and that the potatoes were not sliced thick enough. My husband ate both of these ones because I can’t have jalapeno and beef isn’t my favorite type of meat. He only ended up using half of the jalapeno pepper. It seemed decent.

Overall, this box was pretty good. We like two of the meals a lot. The burrito was pretty decent as well. I wouldn’t eat it as a complete burrito but as deconstructed, it was still pretty tasty. The preparation times were all very decent and nothing too crazy. I like the fact that Goodfood uses the oven more with its recent recipes. Ovens are great for multitasking and its something I implement a lot in my everyday cooking as well. If not, its just boiling everything in salted water when I want to eat healthier. Still enjoying these boxes quite a bit.

My Weekly Adventures #54

My Weekly Adventures

November is finally upon us! Christmas is a little over a month away. Daylight Saving Time has kicked in but its always nice to get that extra hour. Montreal had their first little snowfall. Our roof is finally done and over with. Eco logs are ordered and shipping to us soon, luckily we have some leftover from last year. Its all shaping up to some fun times. That is a great thing after all the craziness in October. It also seems that not doing NaNoWriMo was a good call although doing it for the last few years now makes this year feel weird and oddly empty from having that creative outlet.

Anyways, I’ve rambled enough. Its felt busy but apparently not really….

MTL a Table 2017 (aka Battle of Ingredients substitute)

 

Battle of Ingredients takes a break in November as we change our gatherings to dinner outings for MTL a Table 2017. The original plan was for one restaurant which I covered HERE. This past weekend, we went to a second one all thanks to incredibly generous friends. Another great night that I will share later this week.

We are now planning our Christmas December gathering for Battle of ingredients. What do you eat as tradition for the holidays?

Haute Cuisine at Casino de Montreal

My friend’s half marathon season ended with his last race in Oka. Like previous years, he treats me to dinner to thank me for helping out. I am incredibly grateful for this running theme of generous friends. I help people because they are good friends of mine but its nice to feel appreciated as well. He took me to a fine dining French cuisine in the Casino of Montreal called L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Its so incredible that I have to write a post for it so that is coming up.

Wrapping Up and New Segments

Last time I talked about a surge of things sitting in backlog watched and needing to be reviewed and even talked about the immense about of movie reviews and TV binges. All still remains true. I still have a few screeners both short films and full features to review. One has been needing to get released but I can’t seem to word it correctly that I’m happy with. TV Binges are a little better but still wanting to get the Gilmore Girls seasons done. The goal this month is catch up.

In the spectrum of what I’ve done this past two weeks, I have decided the general rundown for the holidays marathon with a featured franchise, alt christmas movies and probably holiday movies (Hallmark and others depending on Netflix availability). Also, I have started a new segment for Sundays called Sunday Lists which are essentially lists of faves or best to worst. If theres something you would like me to rank, just comment below or shoot me an email. These lists will be updated whenever there is something to new to add.

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • Restaurant recaps
  • Movies and shorts reviews
  • Book reviews

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures! 🙂
What have you been up to? 

TV Binge: Once Upon A Time (Season 4, 2014)

It has been WAY too long since the last time I watched Once Upon A Time. I watched Season 3 at least 2 years ago. Look at them now, its Season 7 and apparently the whole cast has changed. Anyways, I finally decided it was time so here we are. Hopping into Season 4 knowing only that Frozen princesses are included in the mix.

Once Upon a Time (Season 4)

Creator: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

Cast: Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Colin O’ Donoghue, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Carlyle, Rebecca Mader, Sean Maguire, Victoria Smurfit, Georgina Haig, Kristin Bauer van Straten Elizabeth Lail, Merrin Dungey

I’ve always like how people use the fairy tale characters and twist their stories or their nature. That is exactly what Once Upon a Time has always excelled at. Jumping back in, it feels like I never left with the exception of a few details that I needed to read up to remind myself or most that came naturally through the characters’ conversations. Season 4 is an all around fun time. Its pretty much split into a few plots. The first is how Elsa is stuck in Storybrooke and then Anna and Kristoff also get there and they realize that its the Snow Queen that has been behind this the whole time. The second being of Rumpelstiltskin who wants to get his bond broken from the dagger so he can have his happy ending and this leads us to the hunt for the writer of Henry’s Storybook and also bringing in three villainesses: Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella de Vil.

once upon a time

These three plot lines were all great. For one, Elsa and Anna when this series aired was probably riding the wave from Disney’s Frozen. Its costume and characters are also inspired by it. All factors that work well. They do brings in how the Snow Queen factors into all of this. We will discuss villains later. Elsa and Anna’s tale factors into the whole Prince Charming link and its really nice to see how everyone works together. Putting that one aside, the hunt for the author started out for Regina and a little secret project she had with Henry. Its incredible to see that Regina having a lot of growth here even in one dangerous moments somewhat mocking her old self. Emma and Hook also have the center stage which I love to death. If only they could have just one moment of peace and be together, that would be so great.

once upon a time

The villains here are quite inspired. The Snow Queen’s final showdown was pretty great as it brought a lot of quarrel which in some part was more comedic than anything. Another plan going awry send Rumpelstiltskin to his depths as he searches for his happy ending and its pretty fun to watch them get pulled back into another story and get back out then proving that no matter what villains come into the picture, and how competent they could be like Cruella de Vil, Ursula and Maleficent, Rumpelstiltskin is still the most powerful enemy they could have. Is that more a compliment on how great of a character they’ve created or that the writers are out of ideas on how to create better villains? I choose the former because I’m a fan of the show and this season still was pretty good.

once upon a time

Season 4 was a jam-packed affair though. There were tons of plots and tangents. It had so many characters enter the scene and they tried to give them all a backstory while also dealing with the going ons of Storybrooke. It might have been a slight overkill but at least it never gets boring and thats all good for me.

Thats it this TV binge! Its time for Season 5! 

Short Film: Morning After (2017)

Morning After (2017)

Morning After

Director: Patricia Chica

Cast: Thomas Vallieres, Kristian Hodko, Jordana Lajoie, Joey Scarpellino, Zoe De Grand Maison

Michael is faced with a dilemma, when a night of drinking with friends, turns into a sensual exploration of sexual identity. – IMDB

Morning After is the prequel for a full length feature film that is currently in the works. In the fifteen minutes runtime of Morning After, there is so much to love. The shots are framed well and being from the beautiful city of Montreal, it makes for a great setting for the story it wants to tell as well. As for the story, Morning After aims to tell one that evolves into a sexual fluidity and have the freedom from having labels. Its quite an accomplishment to achieve that simply from a short film but this short film does it very well especially when centering around a friendly gathering that takes a turn for a much more sensual and eye-opening experience.

Morning After

I love watching films that explore these open-minded relationships. There is something about watching someone grow from learning/embrace their nature and their sexuality that is very intriguing. The best example is Spanish romance drama, The Sex of the Angels (review here) which takes a similar approach to the characters embracing or accepting a functional relationship with more than two people. We watch films to not only entertain but broaden our views of the world around us and films that break away from the norm offer unique feelings and angles to the traditional romance.

With that said, Morning After is a short film that carries its message very well. Other than some awkward monologues, the film itself shows off a liberating feeling. Perhaps a little simple in the sense of just friends talking and then it starts raining and they all dance in the rain but standing in the rain is a cooling experience and one that works well when people enjoy nature. An example from Morning After of how it does a truly liberating feeling. Its a journey for the main character here in this short film to acknowledge this new view and mindset. It will be interesting to see what the full feature will offer and the story they choose to tell.

Sunday Lists: TV Ships I Love!

A new segment, folks! Hard to imagine how I still want to do these things, right? Sundays are laid back days to just relax so I figured we’ll do some list posts. Most of these posts will be ongoing and added upon if new choices come in. Some will be Best to Worst countdown, others will just be like a little archive for my faves. Kicking it off is the latter as I share some TV Ships I Love. We’re starting on a small scale but TV shows keep happening so the list will expand (as long as I remember to update it).

These aren’t in any particular order…

November 11, 2017: First Five to Kick Off the List

Jess Mariano & Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)

Rory and Jess

For fans of Gilmore Girls, the debate of who Rory should be with is endless. Dean, Jess or Logan: Who is the best fit for Rory? We’ve had seven seasons plus a Netflix mini-series to think about this. After rewatching the series two times in 2017, my idea of Jess being the best for Rory is solidified completely. Why? Because Jess and Rory together make each other better. In Seasons 2 and 3, they were too young and not able to express themselves too well. However, at the point of the Season 7 and the 10 years gap to the mini-series, its obvious that they are made for each other. Jess knows Rory and knows how to motivate her while Rory inspires Jess and believes in him more than he believes in himself.

 Elena Gilbert & Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)

vampire diaries

I think that quote best shows the relationship of Damon and Elena and why it works. Stefan and Elena was vanilla. It wasn’t exciting but it was stable. Damon might not be the perfect guy and always makes bad decisions but together, they are good for each other and pushing Elena to be stronger and facing herself more than running away.

Killian Jones & Emma Swann (Once Upon a Time)

once upon a time

It sure seems like the reformed bad boy is something I love. Killian Jones aka Hook is awesome. Him with Emma is one relationship that has so many obstacles but it keeps them on their toes and in the end, strengthens them. Especially since they both have their love burdens that stops them to commit so much.

Betty Cooper & Jughead Jones (Riverdale)

Riverdale

Its probably a little early to put this here. If Betty and Jughead disappoint me later on in the series, I’ll probably remove it but for the first season and so far the second one, they are a fantastic couple. It just feels so perfect and one of my favorite pairings which makes sure that you know Riverdale is really only based on the Archie Comics characters and gives it a different twist. Betty and Jughead feel so natural to be together.

Hanna Marin & Caleb Rivers (Pretty Little Liars)

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars lasted for seven seasons and for a lot of those seasons, even with some exceptions here and there was Hanna and Caleb. Now, these two are such opposites and yet they both work so well together because they gave each other courage and was supportive. They learned to be honest and Caleb ended up helping them out a lot in many of the A situations with his exceptional tech skills. Hanna and Caleb are just so sweet together that its hard to really hate them despite some iffy decisions.

Here are the ones to start and will be updated regularly!
Which TV ships do you like? Share them in the comments!

MTL a Table 2017: Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

MTL a Table is upon Montreal again!! It runs from November 2 to 16. The amount of restaurants seems to have increased quite a bit and has expanded the geography spread a little more to restaurants located a little further than the downtown, Old Montreal and Plateau Mont-Royal area which is the popular spots for restaurants. The menus however were quite a challenge to figure out with less that works for us. With that said, we ended up deciding on going to check out Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises for dinner. Last year, we checked it out for their brunch menu and it was incredibly delicious so we have high hopes for this one. You can check out last year’s post HERE.

Let’s see what their dinner menu looks like!

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises
MTL a Table Dinner Menu

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises has a really nice ambiance and is located a quieter part of Old Montreal.

Cocktails

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Bloody Caesar

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Sangria Blanche

Being a brasserie definitely gives this place at least some guarantees of making a decent drink and for both of these, they were really good. My husband had the Bloody Caesar which he orders whenever he goes out to a restaurant and my typical is white sangria. What is so great about sangria is the fruity taste of it all and how essentially every restaurant can have their own twist. This one is a little stronger with a more obvious taste of the triple sec however, still a very good one.

First Course

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Smoked Duck Carpaccio, candied orange, spicy mesclun

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Chickpea and beetroot hummus, basil pesto, roasted pepper, grilled pita bread

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Smoked red peppers cream, mini grilled cheese au fromage Louis d’Or de Sainte- Elisabeth de Warwick

I’m fairly certain Phoebe will hop on here at some point to check out the post and she will tell you all about the Duck Carpaccio in the comments (along with her choice of the confit duck leg and waffles in the second course). I had the hummus and OMG, was it scrumptious!! The grilled pita was great and it went well with the hummus which was so unique. My husband had the soup and the grilled cheese. The grilled cheese was kind of a tease being so little but he liked it however, him being not a soup person, he did give higher compliments to the roasted pepper cream.

Second Course 

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Smoked salmon filet, smoked potato salad, dried sausages with cheese, maple virgin sauce

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Grilled waffle with confit duck leg from Brome Lake, onion jam, salad of the day, maple caramel and homemade beer

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Poultry, sweetbread pistachio blood sausage, roasted potatoes, crispy onions, balsamic reduction, sauerkraut with wild boar bacon

I had the sausage dish for the second course. Since these foodie adventures, I’ve gained a liking for sweetbread and in this sausage mixture oddly with pieces of pistachio poking out, it was the absolute highlight of the dish. The roasted potatoes were slightly mushy but it tasted really good. My only issue with this one was the sauerkraut however, it isn’t the fault of it and more mine since I have days that I am more in the mood for it and I just wasn’t feeling like it complimented the dish that much. My husband had the salmon and he gave it all a thumbs up. I remember a praise for the roasted potatoes salad.

Third Course

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Beeramisu and milk jam with fleur de sel

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Pouding Chomeur with maple syrup from “Les Sucres de Mont-Megantic”

Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Dates stuffed with goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts

Finally, we are at the third course. Most of you know about my lactose intolerance so many times, my dessert option is limited. The only option here was the dates. I’m not a fan of dates and goat cheese (which is the only cheese I can have barring the lactose-free variety). With that said, this dessert option was over the top sweet and made me feel really bad afterwards and I just ate one of the dates. Normally, I have a sweet tooth but the sweetness of the dates actually overpowered the goat cheese making it decent tasting but adding in some extra syrup and not even cranberries to balance the acidity and then the walnuts was just too much for me. However, being too sweet seems to be a big comment on our table even for my friends who took the Pouding Chomeur. However, it seems the star of the desserts goes to the twist on Tiramisu called Beeramisu which my husband said was quite good except it was leaning on the very sweet side at the end.

Overall..I’d say Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises was pretty good. Sure, the desserts weren’t to our liking but thats just probably because we’re not all immensely in love with extreme sweetness. However, the food was pretty decent and wins for both me and my husband. Definitely someplace we’d consider going out for a date night if we ever have the urge to go downtown (which is almost never unless its festival season).