RMB: Faster


The Rock, sorry Dwayne Johnson, goes back to his roots in this revenge flick without a twist. After a couple of shaky offerings from the big man, Faster delivers everything you would expect from the ex-professional wrestler, and banishes the memories of The Game Plan and The Tooth Fairy to the long forgotten past.

Far too often these days, action movies are sullied by the ill-conceived notion that they need a detailed plot and complex character development. But these are mistakes that director George Tillman Jr doesn’t fall into. He understood the project and its limitations and made a film that worked with them.

The ‘plot’ follows ‘Driver’ (Dwayne Johnson) as he carves a bloody path towards the man responsible for his brother’s death. Beyond that there isn’t really a story involved. Instead the director has wisely chosen to present a series of awesome set pieces that are reminiscent of the classic action movies of the 80s.

Ultimately, despite a ropey script and some occasionally shoddy acting, Faster offers what you expect and nothing more. If you like guns, car chases and aren’t fussed by dodgy dialogue this movie is right up your street. If not, don’t bother.



RMB: The Green Hornet


Hollywood has finally reached the bottom of the barrel when it comes to superhero fodder with the first (and hopefully last) instalment of The Green Hornet. Based on the 1930s radio program, the film was dragged kicking and screaming from the days of yore and unceremoniously plunked on to the silver screen in a desperate ploy to boost Sony’s bottom line with another slap-up comic book franchise.

Written by and starring Seth Rogen, The Green Hornet starts like most others: rich boy with more money than he can spend decides to turn into a caped crusader, but this time he’s posing as a bad guy to get to the vilest villain (played disappointingly one-dimensionally by Christoph Waltz). Clueless without the help of his tech genius sidekick Kato (Jay Chou), Rogen as the hornet buzzes about aimlessly and delivers flimsy one-liners underscored by explosions and one cool ride. Chou seems to struggle with his English lines and emoting in general, making it unlikely The Green Hornet will serve as The King Of Mando-Pop’s vehicle to superstardom in the west. As the unamused love interest, Cameron Diaz was a wasted afterthought. Come to that, so were plot, dialogue, character development and, apparently, comedic appeal.

Not even adequate for a hungover Sunday on the couch, The Green Hornet is an all-around failure – although what can you expect from a film that rests the fate of the world on a sushi-shaped USB? 



Dining Out: Prime Rib Dinner


Since taking over Avalon’s kitchen back in January, Chef Sean Jorgeson has helped steer the restaurant back to its wood grill roots. The latest from the former chef of Maya, The Apartment and the dearly-departed Finestre is the March Prime Rib Dinner. Available every Friday this month for the very reasonable price of RMB 250, you can tuck into (deep breath) 230g of smoke roasted prime rib, family style sides, soup or salad and a bacon brownie.

Reservation is recommended.

2F, 139-19 Changle Lu, near Ruijin Lu. Tel: 5382 0862


Join the TALK Team: Editorial Assistant Wanted


Shanghai TALK is looking for a new Editorial Assistant. We’re looking for someone with great organizational skills, comfortable writing in English, detail-oriented and personable. It’s a full-time entry-level position suited for a recent, local college graduate who is looking to start a career in lifestyle journalism.


Manage events and listings for the magazine each month under a tight deadline.

Assist foreign editors/freelancers in fulfilling various editorial assignments.

Help build up and maintain good communication with various contacts and venues around the city.

Represent the magazine to attend events in public.

Contribute certain editorial topics related to Shanghai


Fluent English and Chinese (written and spoken)

Familiar with Shanghai

Ability to balance multiple tasks, work independently and act as a team-player under pressure

Creativity, hard work and enthusiasm are a must!

Please send your resume, cover letter and writing samples to [email protected] A full job description is available upon request.


Art & Stage TALK: Poetry Out Loud!!


The Literary Fest is almost upon us, and with it comes all sorts of opportunities to learn about, or partake in some pretty erudite events. One such opportunity is the upcoming poetry slam “Poetry Out Loud!!”

Taking place at 7pm on 15 March at Glamour Bar the first “Poetry Out Loud!!” will feature the David McKirdy, Hong Kong’s most famous poet, as well as four other local poets.

A wiser man than most once said that all bad poetry comes from genuine feelings and so regardless of whether you’re the next Wilfred Owen (or god forbid William Shatner), there’s nothing stopping you from getting over your stage fright and submitting a piece of your work.

Submission Guidelines

Featured Readers:  To be a featured reader at the Shanghai International Literary Festival “Poetry Out Loud!! session on Tuesday, 15 March, please submit one to two poems (max).

Your submission should be self-inclusive--it can be part of a longer piece, but should stand on its own.

The submission deadline is Saturday, 5 March. Chosen readers will be notified by 8 March.

Send submissions to: [email protected]

Glamour Bar: 6F, Five on the Bund, 20 Guangdong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu. Tel: 6329 3751. Web:


Dining Out: Lunch at Jade on 36


Jade on 36 at the Shangri-La Pudong has always been considered a fine dining experience. The food, atmosphere, location – it’s pretty darn classy. Until recently it was only open at night, but from 28 February the restaurant will open their doors for lunch….Excited? Of course you are.

The lunch starts with an egg timer and explanation. The people at Jade on 36 believe that a great lunch can, and should, be enjoyed within an hour – that’s what the egg-timer is for. A gimmick yes, but its kind of cool and charming despite its gimmicky roots.

Then it’s off to the kitchen where you can fill your plate with as much food as you want. From sushi and gravlax, to cold cuts and antipasti, there is something for everyone.

The main course is chosen from a small, but comprehensive menu. There are no wrong turns here and from what TALK tasted they all deserve to be tried at some point. Cheese is next, and with a variety of European hard and soft cheeses there’s going to be some tight belts in the afternoons from now on.

With the cheese course over, it’s on to the pudding. Arriving on a display trolley, it really should have a neon sign hanging over it warning of the risk to your health taken by eating a fourth course. But again TALK can assure you that the pros definitely out weigh the cons.

While the food is great and the service is as good as faultless, the deal doesn’t break the bank. The lunch menu comes in at the very reasonable price point of RMB 288 +15% for the lot (excluding drinks).

36F, Tower 2, Shangri-La Pudong, 33 Fucheng Lu, near Lujiazui Xi Lu.. Tel: 6882 8888 x 280. Web:


Around Town: Best Bye Bye


Best Buy? Apparently not. The American brand has decided to cut its losses in Shanghai and close up shop for good after failing to crack the market in China.

To be honest it has hardly surprising the brand was doomed from the start. There are far better options available and the flawed business plan didn’t help either. With uncompetitive pricing, unhelpful staff and a limited at best selection it was always going to struggle.

Also, opening your flagship store in Xujiahui is a recipe for disaster. It was an undoubted mistake to take on the technology markets of the city on their own turf. In China price is king, and as it turns out Best Buy has suffered the same fate as those it undercut and put out of business in the USA. The sense of irony is palpable.

If you were worried about a purchase you made at one of their outlets then click the link below and read the statement by the people running the place. It seems as if while they will no longer be serving Shanghai’s public they will still remain true to their words and provide all the aftercare promised to their customers.

Media Markt next?



Dining Out: Isola


The IFC's Isola has relaunched itself with a brand new menu, and before you start wondering if Shanghai really needs another import from the Apennine peninsula, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Isola is in a class of itself, combining fine cuisine with a stunning location and a modern stylish interior to make for true luxury dinning. As you enter the restaurant's primary dinning area you are struck by a clear view of Shanghai’s iconic Pearl Tower, just 300 short metres away. Equally impressive is the restaurant’s décor, which was designed by world renowned interior designer Hugh Zimmer.

Isola’s Italian cuisine takes luxury dinning to another level. The restaurant offers a selection of mouthwatering dishes. Don’t miss the seared scallops wrapped in pancetta with sautéed spinach and artichokes or rigatoni with Boston lobster in a fresh tomato sauce. Like any self respecting Italian restaurant, Isola also offers a fine antipasti spread, traditional Italian salads, homemade pasta, stone baked pizzas, roasted meats and an exquisite selection of seafood. To conclude your meal, Isola invites you to sample its own cannoli ice cream with candied fruits and a multi flavour desert platter.

If the restaurant's stunning location, fine décor and fantastic cuisine are not enough to tempt a visit, Isola has two cracking deals beginning in March. Tuesday is Caipirinha Night, offering a Caipirinha inspired menu and six flavours of the classic drink for a buy-one-get-one deal. Also, enjoy two glasses of Prosecco along with a free run of Italian nibbles on “Isolapertif Wednesdays” from 6 – 8pm.

Live TALK: Shinichi Osawa


The Shelter consistently brings great DJs to Shanghai. From Roni Size to LTJ Bukem, the decks in the converted bomb shelter have played host to some of the best spinners of our time, and this weekend is no exception. 

This Saturday, The Shelter will play host to the man voted Japan’s most popular DJ for two consecutive years: the one, the only, Shinichi Osawa. He will be supported by fellow Japanese DJ Masa and the STD crew, so expect lots of well crafted electro-house and acid-jazz.

Having featured on the playlists of established Western acts like Fat Boy Slim and Boys Noize, Osawa clearly has his credentials in order and is sure to put on a good show. Tickets cost RMB 80 at the door and the show starts at 10pm. 

The Shelter. Basement of 5 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu


Night TALK: Free Beer


Sometimes when deciding where to go out in the evening some chump will suggest a bar in Pudong. Inevitably, a chorus of ‘it’s too far’, ‘no one goes to Pudong’, and ‘the taxi will cost a fortune’ rings out around the Puxi-centric group. But the people over at the newly opened Kerry Hotel are trying to fight these uninformed impressions.

The deal is as simple as they come. Go to newly-opened The BREW bar, bring your taxi fapiao and get a free beer. And that, as they say, is that. One caveat though, you’re limited to one free beer per person and they check to see whether the receipt was from today. Which is fair enough, bearing in mind many people generate several tax slips everyday.

The deal lasts until 18 March, so what are you waiting for? Get down there now and have a taste of Pudong has to offer…and TALK can assure you that it tastes pretty good.

The BREW, Kerry Hotel, 1388 Huamu Lu, near Fangdian Lu.


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