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Monday, July 23, 2018

MAMA MIA II EQUALIZER II MERRIMAN II

Day 82 of the Lower Puna Eruption, the usual 5+ earthquake at the summit and the flow continues to mostly emanate from fissure #8 into the ocean. 


By U.S. Geological Society definition, a lava bomb — more commonly called a “volcanic bomb” or simply “bomb,” is a semimolten blob of lava, measuring anywhere from 2-1/2 inches to 20 feet in diameter, projected from a volcano during active eruption. They are different from “blocks,” which are pieces of pre-existing rock propelled into the air by volcanic activity. (That is the hand of lava photographer Demian Barrios.)

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I went to see the two top box office revenue films this weekend.  However, walking up to the Ward Theaters, I saw that Merriman in Anaha was now open for lunch.  

There are five major new towers, and four are open for living and business.  


This is a large restaurant, and brand new, so to orient you, I ordered a prosecco to start, where you can see Waiea in the first photo, and far in the background through the window to my right, Whole Foods:


I then had a Caesar salad with two excellent pieces of fried green tomatoes.  Reminded me of the film, Fried Green Tomatoes, which was some kind of metaphor for a tough life:


I thought that the salad had, perhaps, a tad too much dressing.  I've had several hundred of these in at least 50 cities, including Caesar's restaurant on Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana, where it was invented by Caesar and Alessandro Cardini.  Caesar was born in Italy, but emigrated to the USA with two brothers, and they all became involved with restaurants.  Prohibition forced him to move to Mexico, where in 1924 they concocted, with table service, what became the rage of the Hollywood fashionable.

Next, Merriman's saimin, which, amazingly costs about half the price of saimin at 15 Craigside if you came to dinner and only had this bowl:


I generally liked the combination, but the broth, I thought, was a little too salty.  But that could have been because of the wasabi/shoyu sauce I used on the side.  The spoon should have been larger and shaped like the one they use at Lucky Belly in Chinatown, where the belly bowl (left--note the spoon) remains as my favorite.

All in all, though, I liked the place and service, and will definitely go back.  The cost was about $30.

I remember Peter Merriman on the Big Island.  He started at Mauna Lani and in 1988 opened his first restaurant in Waimea.  He featured regional cuisine and, as much as possible, used local farm products.  In 1994 he opened Hula Grill on Maui, then in 2008 Merriman's Kapalua.  He expanded to Merriman's Fish House on Kauai, with a lower floor of pizza and burgers.  In 2011 came Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea and Kaanapali on Maui and Ko Olina (Oahu).  

If you wondered what is Moku Kitchen in Kakaako, voted as the Best New Restaurant in the 2018 Hale-Aina Awards, that is another Merriman.  Thus, what he now has in the Ward complex is clearly not Merriman II, but to me, that is his second, with Merriman I in Kamuela still operating.

If you like joy and happiness, go see #2 for weekend, Mama Mia II, or Here We Go Again.  This is a prequel and sequel, which made it confusing for me, as the earlier year actors did not really resemble the later set.  

You might recall the first Mama Mia a decade ago, with Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosman, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth and others.  The original version got 54%/66% ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, and this #2 received 79%/77% scores.   

How many remember that the plot was borrowed from a 1968 movie, Buono Sera, Mrs. Campbell, played by Gina Lollobrigida, where the potential fathers were played by Peter Lawford, Phil Silvers and Telly Savalas.    Her name came from a can of Campbell Soup.

So who was the real father?  In those days there was no genetic technique available, but there is today, a simple saliva test.  But did the second film take this path?

If you know anything about my movie reviews, I always give everything away, so leave now if you don't want to know what happened.  The original Mama Mia pregnant character was Meryl Streep, and, why this particular tragedy, but the #2 film has this daughter (Seyfried) returning to run the Greek island hotel because her mother, Meryl Streep, has died.  Thus you never see her (Streep) until the very end when this vision....hey, this is a movie.

And, by the way, the mother (Streep) has a mother, showing up, also at the end, singing Fernando to the Andy Garcia sad soul, really a long lost love, who also sings.  I know, getting much too deviant, but stick with me here.  This grandmother is Cher, who looks fabulous, not far removed from her Sonny Bono days.  They could have made Cher look really old, which is what should have been the case.  As I said, I was confused.  And the actresses/actors all used their original voice, but don't worry, all is fine and enjoyable.

Anyway, the chemistry comes from those ABBA hits.  The first few songs were new to me, and I began to get worried that these were to be all new compositions.  Turns out that ABBA recorded just about 100 songs (all composed by them) and the film began with these lesser known ones.  Where you aware, for example, that the Beatles released more than 300 songs and most of them were downright awful?  However, the big ABBA hits all were eventually used.

My second film was #1 for the weekend, Equalizer 2, Rotten Tomatoes 50%/75%.  There was an original Equalizer (RT: 60%/76%) in 2014, also starring Denzel Washington, which I missed.  In both productions, he plays a retired CIA black ops operative, now driving for Lyft, who helps people in need.  Dark, lot of kills and totally predictable, but entertaining, with a happy ending.

This is really wacky, but opening soon is Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, an animated film with a Rotten Tomatoes reviewers rating of 100%...but only 58% liked it.  Arghhhhh.

Not sure if this one will get to you, but Rotten Tomatoes has another 100 percenter, with 96% audience approval, titled Good Manners, from Brazil.  I think it has to do with a werewolf child.  Weird!

July 26/27 will bring Mission:  Impossible Fallout, RT of 96% and 98%.  Could be the best film of the summer.  Two hours and 27 minutes long.  Tom Cruise, of course, but also Alex Baldwin.

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Still five ocean storms, but none shows any particular potency at this point:


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