August 01, 2005

REVIEW: Team America, Eternal Sunshine and the Ethiopian House

Before I forget, I wanted to post a few more reviews:

Movie Review #1: Team America

Comments: A satirical movie about a team of American "heros" out to save the world from terrorists -- starring a group of puppets! Very violent, sexually graphic, lots of projectile vomiting. The beginning was funny, where Team America "saved" France from terrorists by destroying landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. And when the Rent puppet underwent reconstructive surgery to look Middle Eastern.... a totally inappropriate, politically incorrect movie. Although the target audience is *probably* male, this was watched by a bunch of girls who thought it was hilarious and "so totally wrong". I watched it after to see what the big brouhaha was about and didn't like it so much -- maybe you have to watch with a large group of people??
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Movie Reivew#2: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet

Comments: A somewhat complicated plot, due to the lack of chronological filming and weird forays into the dream-state mind of Carrey's character, Joel.
Joel and Clementine (Kate Winslet) were an odd couple. Joel was a fairly introverted man, boring. Clementine was a wild woman who changed the colour of her hair on a whim. Together they could offer things to each other that they themselves were lacking: in the simplest sense, Joel offered stability while Clementine offered spontaneity.
Things started off well, but of course their relationship broke down due to mistrust, miscommunication and a feeling of being trapped. One night after Joel accused Clementine of sleeping with other men, Clementine left him. Instead of burning old photos and making voodoo dolls and whatever else angry women might do, she took advantage of a procedure which allowed her to erase all of her memories with Joel. Some confusing scenes ensued where Joel didn't know what was going on, and then he did, and then he tried to have the same procedure performed. Due to the incompetency of the clinic (Kirsten Dunst plays an airhead secretary and Elijah Wood plays a morally-lacking useless assistant), his procedure was incomplete. Aware that he was slowly losing his memories of Clementine, Joel desperately sought ways to save them, because there were a lot of happy memories that he didn't want to lose, epitomizing the saying that it is better to have loved and to have lost, than to never have loved at all.
And then lots of things happen, but I don't want to totally give away the plot.
I thought Jim Carrey was quite good in this movie. Almost unrecognizable from his usual in-your-face, borderline rude humour. Kate Winslet with her awfully-dyed hair was unpredictable. Elijah Wood was annoying and Kirsten Dunst was insignificant.
This is the kind of movie where you might want to watch more than once to try and see what clues you missed the first time around. Weird movie, but I liked it.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Restaurant Review: The Ethiopian House (4 Irwin Avenue, off of Yonge Street, just north of Wellesley)

Comments: I visited this place with some gals from the lab, after hearing so much about it (especially its coffee). The three of us ordered a sampling vegetarian and meat platter with Injera, which is a spongey sourdough bread in the form of a pancake.
It's a small two-level restaurant with a patio that is always full whenever I pass by. Entering the establishment, you get a very warm and cosy feeling. It's dim but the walls are covered with vibrant paintings.
The experience starts off with a "scent"-ual whiff of freshly roasted coffee beans. The Injera arrives on a plate and the vegetarian and meat dishes come out an a large platter, atop a second Injera. Hands are cleansed in the bathroom and/or at the table with wet-naps. There are no utensils, but rather, patrons eat with their hands by breaking the Injera into smaller pieces, which are then used to pick up the stewed vegetables and meats. Although the platter may not seem to be that plentiful on presentation -- trust me, we needed a fourth person to be able to finish everything. I think it was the copious amounts of bread that make it a very filling meal. I liked the vegetarian dishes more than the meats overall, but that is because one of the two meats were too spicy for me (although apparently "not at all spicy").
Our hostess brought out Frankincense to burn at our table -- an exotic, yet familiar and calming smell -- followed by coffee, about 10-15min afterwe declared that we could not eat another bite. The coffee was quite strong, almost syrupy. It wasn't as "good" as I had hoped, but partly because it wasn't what I had been expecting. Apparently coffee originates from the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, so they should know what they are doing! I'm not sure, but although I thought I was putting sugar in my coffee, now I think it might have been salt, which would explain the slightly weird experience. I read somewhere that Ethiopians sometimes like to add a pince of salt or butter to their coffee, so perhaps that is what the little pot contained...
Overall a good experience, and a restaurant that I would visit again! You just need to block off about three hours of your time. The meal allowed for lots of conversation, so go with company you enjoy!

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