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13 must-see movies in 2013

13 must-see movies in 2013


It’s Friday. It’s the last day of November. The holidays are near. In the blink of an eye, we will welcome another new year.

After making my first ever gratitude list on this blog, I discovered the many positive things I’ve got that have shaped my past and who I am today.

Indeed – there are many things to be grateful for, but there are even more things to look forward to…

Like the blockbusters.

As a self-described movie buff, I specifically made this list to remind everyone that we can all expect to embark upon a thrilling cinematic adventure in the coming year.

So, for Pete’s sake, let’s forget about our age for a moment, get some popcorns ready, and hit the theaters often.

Take a look at all the good stuff that’s coming soon:


1. Oz: The Great and Powerful


Release date: March 8, 2013

Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz

Creator behind the blockbuster adaptations of Spider-Man Sam Raimi is back in the director’s seat with composer Danny Elfman. In this rework of L. Frank Baum’s timeless novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), Oz: The Great and Powerful tells the story of how Oscar Wiggs (James Franco), a stage magician in small-town Kansas, is delivered to the magical Land of Oz and forever transformed into the great and powerful wizard as portrayed in the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.


2. The Croods


Release date: March 22, 2013

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Catherine Keener

DreamWorks are literally bringing Plato’s Allegory of the Cave into life by taking us back to the prehistoric era. Plato’s allegory, which appeared in his work The Republic (360 BC) as a dialogue between his brother Glaucon and fellow philosopher Socrates, has been teaching generations of scholars on truth-seeking, or enlightenment. With the Sun’s light as its metaphor, enlightenment is the path to understanding reality and to liberate your minds. “Prisoners” of their own mind are compared to cavemen who receive their education only by sitting in front of their cave wall, watching the shadows from the outside world passing them by.

The Croods animates a conservative father figure named Grug (Nicolas Cage), who preaches to his family on the importance of staying safe inside the cave and never let their curiosity get the better of them … until their tiny home is completely destroyed by a fateful volcanic eruption. The whole family is then forced to venture on every corners of the unsettled world until they find a sound new home.


3. The Host


Release date: March 29, 2013

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Jake Abel, Max Irons, and William Hurt

The Host is adapted from a novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer, bestselling author of the Twilight saga. Star of The Lovely Bones (2009) Saoirse Ronan returns onscreen to play Melanie Stryder, host of an invisible parasite identified as The Wanderer. The rest of the world have succumbed to these ‘Souls’, parasitic aliens who take over human bodies and fully conquer their minds. Strange as it seems that Melanie’s human memories stick around when it shouldn’t after The Wanderer has invaded her body. Though unwilling at first, they eventually bonded and agreed with each other to take on the ultimate quest: Finding Mel’s loved ones and rescue them all from these human raiders.


4. Iron Man 3


Release date: May 3, 2013

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, and Don Cheadle

A long-anticipated sequel to the first two movies, Iron Man 3 reveals much greater depth of the celebrated superhero Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Watching his personal life destroyed, the uh, “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” has to take down his suit and face his most powerful enemy yet.

Movie teasers and posters seem to convey a darker side to the latest installment, yet it’s not so much as a contrast than it is about adding dimensions to Tony Stark’s usually comical character. “It’s not a serious movie, but we seriously dig into exploring more of Tony,” said executive producer Kevin Falge to The West Australia. “The trick is just trying to make great movies. We try to make them all great, all different and all fresh. What you’ll see in Iron Man 3 is some very unique directions that were taken.”


5. Epic

Release date: May 24, 2013

Starring: Beyonce, Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried, and Steven Tyler.

The makers of Ice Age and Rio over at Blue Sky Studios promise to produce something epic. Based on William Joyce’s The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (1997), Epic introduces a teenage girl who is hurled into a magical world of deep forests and wonderful creatures. There she finds an ongoing battle between the forces of good and evil, where she must help her new friends to save their world and her own.

While the storyline is often compared to that of Avatar (2009), director Chris Wedge affirms that “it has its own personality.” He tells USAToday: “It is adventure on the scale of Star Wars. And it does immerse the audience completely in a world like Avatar.”


6. Man of Steel


Release date: June 4, 2013

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Costner

Have great expectations for Superman. For this reboot, Watchmen director Zack Snyder collaborates with Batman producer Christopher Nolan to further expand the franchise. For the first time in history, Clark Kent is no longer an American. Rising British actor Henry Cavill steps out to speak for his latest role: “I don’t mean anything against the movies and TV shows that have come before, because they were of their time, but this is epically cool. People in the past have criticised the character for being a bit chocolate-box, a bit vanilla, and this is not that – at all.”

Speaking of vanilla, the Immortals (2011) hero, Dunhill model, and now an extraordinary man equipped with superhuman abilities, Cavill topped numbers of numerous fan polls to contend for the cast as the rich, the delicious, and the powerful Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, an adaptation of the wildly popular erotica novel of the same name.


7. Now You See Me


Release date: June 7, 2013

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman

Under the direction of French filmmaker Louis Leterrerier, the man behind The Transporter movies, Clash of the Titans, and The Incredible Hulk, this heist-thriller is certainly something to watch out for. Now You See Me begins with a group of four professional magicians who are simultaneously robbing banks on a different continent during their show. Suspicions lead to the possibility of having disguised assistance outside the group, or perhaps it’s really all done by magic. Story arc follows with FBI squads keeping these tricksters on their radar, determined to chase their trails until they take them down. Complete with the stellar cast, Now You See Me sounds a lot like Ocean’s Eleven to me … added with a dash of magic.


8. Monsters University


Release date: June 21, 2013

Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and Jennifer Tilly

Thrilled to see how monsters are made? Set in their college years, Pixar Animation Studios will show how then-rivals Mike and Sulley underwent their academic training to scare children and eventually, to become the best of friends we’ve known and love. The first movie Monsters, Inc. (2001), among Pixar’s top box office charters, is the studio’s sixth highest-grossing movie worldwide.


9. Despicable Me 2


By now, everybody is familiar with the Banana song.




I also found that in times of stress, it’s a great relieve to take a deep belly breath, dismiss all rational thoughts, and exhale (or exclaim) with a loud “PO-TA-TO-O-O-O!”

You just can’t explain why you find these minions so amusing.

Well, guess what? Universal Pictures announced their plans for a spinoff movie that will specially feature these gibberish yellow creatures! Yippee! With a screenplay written already, the 3D-CG spinoff is set for release on Friday, December 19, 2014.




Release date: July 3, 2013

Starring: Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, and Al Pacino

Obviously you can’t tell a lot about Despicable Me 2”s overall plot from the new teaser, much less tell the kind of villain Al Pacino plays to replace Jason Segel’s Vector. Nevertheless, the worldwide success of Despicable Me (2010) has inspired Gru (Billy Crystal)’s return to, once again, protect the girls and his twiddling-twaddling workers from any harm, or any mysterious abduction, for that matter.


10. The Wolverine

– Image courtesy of The Wolverine Movie via Facebook


Release date: July 26, 2013

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, and Tao Okamoto

Like its predecessor X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Wolverine is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel series of the same name. The project was originally under the hands of Academy Award nominated director Darren Aronofsky, who left due to a tight schedule. Movie production date was further delayed by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, but it wasn’t long until Oscar-winning filmmaker James Mangold secured the director’s seat in June. The film also went under months of script rewrites. Despite the many hurdles following its scheduled release, the story premise remains promising.

Here’s the official synopsis as released by Twentieth Century Fox this month:

“Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine, the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.”


11. 300: Rise of an Empire

– Image courtesy of We Got This Covered


Release date: August 1, 2013

Starring: Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Sullivan Stapleton, and Callan Mulvey

Another Frank Miller graphic novel adaptation and a prequel to Zack Synder’s 300 (2006), 300: Rise of an Empire shows how Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) came about to become the legendary Persian God King.

Considering the original working title 300: Battle of Artemisium, the story centers round the concurrent naval engagement with the Battle of Thermopylae in the first movie, as led by Spartan king Leonidas. With regard to historical significance, one prominent character in the Battle of Artemisium is Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), who commanded the Allied Greek city-states and their fleets to pervade the sea. Holding both land and sea positions was the Greek strategy to slow down the Persian movement inland. Even though the Greeks suffered heavy losses at both battles and were greatly outnumbered, their fortitude and strategy eventually contributed to the Persians’ defeat at the Battle of Salamis.


12. Thor: The Dark World

– Image Courtesy of Spinoff Online


Release date: November 6, 2013

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, and Christopher Eccleston

Under the direction of Game of Thrones‘ Alan Taylor, it looks like Marvel’s next installment is going to be much darker than the first movie Thor (2011). Upheavals in The Avengers (2012) foreshadow the awakening of an enemy that existed even before the universe was born. In the hands of Malekith, leader of the ancient race known as the Dark Elves, all Nine Realms in the universe fall under threat of eternal darkness. Thor must take on his most dangerous battle yet to save every race from every world, and make the greatest sacrifice of all to bring the cosmos back into order.

On a lighter note, there will be more naturalistic landscapes to see in Thor: The Dark World. “There’s a lot more of an organic kind of feel to Asgard now,” says Chris Hemsworth to an interview with Empire magazine. “And that Viking element of the Asgardian people, of Thor’s history, is much more present.” Watch out for an eye-popping CG work on big mountains and waterfalls.


13. Frozen

– Image courtesy of The Disney Wiki

Release date: November 27, 2013

Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s highly-acclaimed children’s book The Snow Queen (1845), Disney’s latest animated-adventure comedy Frozen takes a new spin on the classic tale. According to the studio, Frozen sketches “a prophecy trapping a kingdom in eternal winter. Anna (Kristen Bell) must team up with Kristoff, a daring mountain man, on the grandest of journeys to find the Snow Queen and put an end to the icy spell. Encountering Everest-like extremes, mystical creatures and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.”


– Image courtesy of The Disney Wiki


As you can see, 2013 will be a great year to get your hopes up. (Unless you suffer from triskaidekaphobia, a.k.a. the fear of the number 13).

Among others in the year’s exciting line-up include crime-packed Gangster Squad (January 11, 2013), fairytale-turned-horror Hansel And Gretel: The Witch Hunters (January 12, 2013), and none other than The Great Gatsby (May 10, 2013).


Leonardo di Caprio as Jay Gatsby

– Image courtesy of Ted-rays




Now you tell me: Which one of these movies you just can’t wait to see? What other movies are you looking forward to watching in the coming year? Do share! :D




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(Closed) Getting cozier with ramen

Macaroni soup: Love the super soft macaroni and the slight viscous consistency of soup. There’s a touch of sweetness to it; its mellow taste offsetting the acrid spam. Bittersweet fried egg and cabbage slices bring every texture and taste to a balanced blend. Worth every slurp.
Baked rice with seafood and mushroom: How can you not love this dish? It’s a heavenly treat for all my fellow cheese devotees. Just imagine tasting a spoonful of fluffy baked rice, snuggling beneath the thickened blanket of warm cheese. You’ll find plenty other supple things in-between the sheets, namely juicy mussels, squishy fish, cushy scallops and many more. A much simpler deviation from the three seasons, a house favorite, yet easier on the tongue. Any taster, not limited to cheese aficionados, will surely enjoy this mushy galore.
Seafood tofu on stone plate: This marks my third time reviewing Cosi. One thing that keeps me coming back for more (other than their late business hours) is their delicious selections of hot plate tofu. Previously we ordered the vegetable tofu, and the other time the seafood tofu. There’s one other selection – the garlic tofu – which I have not reviewed so far. I’m aware that I have faithful food-hunter but whose tongue is sensitive to garlic. So I’m compromising our penchants for tofu by letting garlic go sometimes, and this is one of those times. As you can see, this time Cosi boasts its  seafood tofu with the addition of enoki mushroom stalks swimming throughout the hot plate. Seafood flavors are further enhanced with this addition, providing a clearer contrast that emanates the juicy soy flavors in tofu. I can’t live without tofu.
Marutama Ramen‘s Aka ra-men: Before Jakarta witnessed the recent boom in ramen’s popularity, Marutama Ramen was actually the first authentic Japanese outlets in town. One of their locations happen to share the same roof with Cosi, conjoining their selections of ramen with Cosi’s extensive menu to provide a richer dining experience for visitors. Aside from tofu, I’m nuts about nuts too, so the Aka ra-men was a sumptuous one for me, as it features seven different kinds of nuts. Love the thick, nutty broth and its succulent flavors. Lemon zest really brings out the dash of spiciness to the greens and noodles. The best part? Aka ra-men and other ra-mens on Marutama Ramen’s menu contains no MSG. It’s the perfect meal for the mindful who wants to indulge.





Cosi & Marutama Ramen

Jl. Pluit Putera Raya No. 15A
Jakarta Utara 14450
(021) 669 1166

M-F 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sa-S 11:00am – 12:00am









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For Miitem’s pasta, black is back

Miitem aglio olio: Miitem lends its name to the signature base ingredient for all their featured dishes. An informal transliteration of the Indonesian phrase ‘mie hitam’ (meaning ‘black noodles’), Miitem deviated from the traditional ways Italians have prepared the tagliatelle al nero di sepia, or the squid ink pasta. I can sympathize – skipping the step to slather extra squid ink sauce onto the al dente pasta prevents Miitem-makers from scaring tasters away, lest they leave them walking around the mall with stained teeth and pigmented tongues. In my experience, I personally enjoyed the original version of this classic dish and was willing to sacrifice great taste over self-disgust. The Miitem experience strips away that kind of shame, but sacrifices the rich, iodine flavors of the original version, particularly for its aglio olio. If there’s only one word to describe it, it’s bland. Yes, the aglio olio’s worldwide seduction lies within its simplicity. However, the verdict remains that tiny chicken cutlets, barely-there chili flakes, and the abundant toasted garlic are not enough to bring the whole dish into one coherent centerpiece. There’s a scattered feel to each bite. Perhaps it’s not how much or how little ingredients the dish contains per se; it’s more about the thought behind how everything was put together. But hey, if they have to do it like the Italians do it, with the squid ink sauce and all, Miitem wouldn’t be able to prepare pasta in so many different ways.
Miitem with light cream and seafood: I really enjoyed this one, though I’d request a bit more generosity on both seafood quality and quantity, just because seafood is part of the dish’s main ingredients. However, good Alfredo-inspired sauce – not too buttery but creamy enough to enjoy, while extra cheese is always a great idea. Perhaps it’s just me, but the squid-ink infusion really came through evidently for this palate, especially as you take your big, black-noodle bites with those tiny bits of shrimps and scallops. So go on – relinquish yourself to the briny flavors of the sea.





Plaza Indonesia, 3rd Floor
Jl. MH. Thamrin Kav 28-30
Jakarta Pusat 10350
(021) 3983 8786, 398 8787