Moving from one genre to another, The Great Buddha+ is a different spiritual product when compared to last week’s All You Can Eat movie. The Victoria Film Festival has unique picks every year. I wanted to challenge myself; this pairing is probably a result of Donovan Aikman, head programmer, than anyone else offering their two-cents worth when deciding in what to show. The only technical fault is whether the print allows tweaking how the subtitles look; white text with thin black outlines against a white image is hard to read unless you have eagle-eyes.
Otherwise, the film is a nicely done Hitchcock style who-will-do-it mystery. It’s presented in black and white for part of the film, and colour for the movie within the movie.
Beginning Feb 12th on VisionTV is a very well-meaning documentary, Ageless Gardens. This five-part series looks at the role of tending to a garden, be it to grow for food or to pretty a front lawn, can affect anyone on many levels. Whether that’s in to stay physically or mentally healthy, to avoid expensive trips to the grocery or to take up as a hobby, the results from the people who tend to them are many. When my doctor is surprised at how well my mom is doing at her age, I said that’s because she’s outside tending to our garden. He responded I should still keep an eye on her but keep at it!
To hear director, producer and cinematographer Ian Toews (Bugs on the Menu) created this series to show that the elderly do not have to be put in care homes. They can be engaged in an outdoor activity from their own comfort zone. For those who can’t move around as much, sons, daughters or special care nurses are around to help as the episode “Therapeutic Gardens” demonstrated. This series feels very personal. He’s spreading the word to encourage others to get off the couch and explore what the outdoors can do to anyone, at any age. This show is intended for the older generation to watch, but even kids like me need hard knocks too.
The 2018 Victoria Film Festival is in full swing and every year, there’s at least one foodie themed piece of cinema for me to look at. This year’s offering is a very curiously named, All You Can Eat, Buddha. Writer / Director Ian Lagarde makes his feature-length debut with this work. According to actor Silvio Arriola who plays Valentino, the manager of the Cuban resort El Palacio — this story was conceived when this filmmaker was vacationing in Mexico, observing life around the resort he was at and having a particular Vedic text on hand to read.
The significance of what food represents to Mike (played to great stoic effect by Ludovic Berthillot) is not what this film is about. This protagonist is often juxtaposed to the backdrop of the sea, giving him a godlike presence, and suggesting he is on a spiritual retreat. The few picturesque moments of exquisite buffets are used to a lesser effect. To understand what both mean requires a second and third helping — a viewing, that is.
Koto Sushi Izakaya
510 Fort St
Phone: (250) 382-1514
Late at night, folks do not have to wait long to get a seat at Koto Sushi Izakaya. Just how they compare to other places depends on what you are wanting to have. I usually go for the sushi rolls, and it was tough to decide on what to get without killing my wallet. Since this place specializes in Izakaya, where you are able to get quick bites (pub-style food), I went for the simple dishes first, hoping they will fill me up. The baked oysters were certainly wonderful, warm and lucid to the tongue. I also ordered deep-fried quail eggs, and could have gone for more. They were the highlight of my meal, given how filling they were over the rest of the items I ordered. The grilled fish was unusual. Sanma is a mackerel which had a distinctively salty taste. It was quite soft and was like eating a sponge cake. The texture took little getting used to, but I found enjoyment after the third piece.
1644 Hillside Ave · (778) 406-2101
228C-1150 Douglas St · (250) 590-1170
El DeBarge’s tune “Who’s Johnny” will come to mind for a few who is not familiar with this burger chain. When I saw the signs by The Bay Centre of another burger chain opening up in this garden city, I was slightly curious. I’m aware of them since I see them nearly everywhere in Los Angeles, California, and I like the 50’s theme. Their first operation opened last year over the early Summer and the other had their grand opening at the start of Autumn. A few months later, I hope their consistency stabilizes, otherwise this franchise is in trouble.
A few of the ideas remain in their international operations — with vintage photos decorating the walls and a few stock furnishings — but the image is not complete. The only holdovers are with the condiments sitting at every table instead of walking up to a center kiosk like in a MacDonald’s or A&W. If I want to the real deal, like visiting Arnold’s from Happy Days, someone needs to develop time travel technology.
1218 Wharf St,
Phone: (250) 590-7370
When the waitresses at Shima admit Victoria, BC has way too many Japanese restaurants, I have to wonder when some will close up shop out of frustration to get a regular clientele or which operation stands out as the best? I’m sure there’s a list out there which locals has voted on as the best. I can’t say I completely agree either.
This operation has been around since 2010. While I have walked by on many an occasion, the desire to try this place out was limited. The menus on display showed prices were above average and they did not offer anything unique when compared to other operations.
For some reason, James Shaw tagged along. As we both settled in a cozy corner, we both eyed the same item on the menu: a clam miso soup. I had to go for my traditional staples, a sunomono salad (perhaps one of the best I’ve had since the chef did not skimp on the octopus) and a deluxe platter of nigiri. To sum up my buddy’s thoughts on the said soup: you get your money’s worth ($6). Not only are the servers very generous in the serving of this mollusk, but also the aroma had feeling I ordered the wrong starter.