Events

Mon 22
  • Gawdat & Khedr at Amici Zamalek
    Gawdat & Khedr at Amici Zamalek
    Sep 22 9:00 pm to Sep 23 3:00 am - Amici
    Take a midweek break at Amici Zamalek, as sibling-duo, Gawdat, and DJ Khedr take the decks by storm with some explosive beats. For reservations,...
  • Manic Monday: Baher & Aly Goede at Cairo Jazz Club
    Manic Monday: Baher & Aly Goede at Cairo Jazz Club
    Sep 22 10:00 pm to Sep 23 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    Join CJC for another Manic Monday with Baher and Aly Goede playing back-to-back. Reservations at Cairo Jazz Club are recommended; call...
  •  Private Sessions ft.DJ Misty at The Garden
    Private Sessions ft.DJ Misty at The Garden
    Sep 22 9:00 pm to Sep 23 3:00 am - The Garden
    DJ Misty offers the crowd a night of funky, hard driving house with hints of techno and Nu-disco at another edition of the Garden's Private...
  • Cabaret Night at After Eight
    Cabaret Night at After Eight
    Sep 22 10:00 pm to Sep 23 3:00 am - After Eight
    Belly-dancing queen, Lorna of Cairo, takes to the stage at Downtown Cairo's After Eight for Cabaret Night, after which a surprise DJ hits the...
  • DJ Fat Sam at VENT
    DJ Fat Sam at VENT
    Sep 22 10:00 pm to Sep 23 3:00 am - VENT
    This Monday night, Eslam Ahmed - aka DJ Fat Sam - takes to VENT's stage for some gritty hip-hop mixes. For more information, call 0225747898.
Tue 23
  • Show Whight & the Funk Masters Rubber Band at Cairo Jazz Club
    Show Whight & the Funk Masters Rubber Band at Cairo Jazz Club
    Sep 23 9:00 pm to Sep 24 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    LA musician and performer, Show Whight, retuens to CJC with his soulful indie rock, before The Funk Masters Rubber Band take over with...
  • R&B Night at O Bar
    R&B Night at O Bar
    Sep 23 9:00 pm to Sep 24 3:00 am - O Bar
    Head over to O Bar this evening to catch Cairo's one and only r&b and hip hop master, DJ Feedo, and partner in crime, DJ Hook. DJ Mounir...
  • Ahmed Harfoush at Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Ahmed Harfoush at Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Sep 23 9:30 pm to Sep 24 2:00 am - Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Cairo crooner, Ahmed Harfoush, returns to the Fairmont Nile City's Saigon Restaurant & Lounge for a night of smooth jazz classics. For...
  • DJ Fabric at Graffiti
    DJ Fabric at Graffiti
    Sep 23 9:00 pm to Sep 24 3:00 am - graffiti
    DJ Fabric is locked, cocked and ready to load his funky beats at Four Seasons Nile Plaza's Graffiti. For reservations call 01066677762.
  • Stagnant Nebula & Friends at VENT
    Stagnant Nebula & Friends at VENT
    Sep 23 10:00 pm to Sep 24 3:00 am - VENT
    Catch experimental musician, Omar El Kammar - aka Stagnant Nebula - performs live at VENT, with the help by Steffen Scholl and J!N. For more...
Wed 24
  • Shaima at the Garden
    Shaima at the Garden
    Sep 24 9:00 pm to Sep 25 3:00 am - The Garden
    For the first time, Korba bar, the Garden, welcome's Cairo glamour-puss, Shaima, for a laidback Wednesday evening. Reservations are highly...
  • Dine & Dance with Ahmed Harfoush at Pane Vino
    Dine & Dance with Ahmed Harfoush at Pane Vino
    Sep 24 10:00 pm to Sep 25 1:00 am - Pane Vino
    Cairo crooner, Ahmed Harfoush, is live tonight at the InterContinental Semiramis' Pane Vino for an evening of smooth jazz classics. For more...
  • House Obsession at Cairo Jazz Club
    House Obsession at Cairo Jazz Club
    Sep 24 10:00 pm to Sep 25 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    DJ's Aguizi & Fahim, Hady Tarek and Zalat will be hitting the decks at CJC for a night of nothing but house. Reservations at Cairo Jazz Club...
  • Mazaher Ensemble at Makan
    Mazaher Ensemble at Makan
    Sep 24 8:30 pm to Sep 24 11:00 pm - Makan
    The musicians of Mazaher, Umm Sameh, Umm Hassan and Nour El Sabah, are among the last remaining Zar practitioners in Egypt and will once again...
  • Camera Band at After Eight
    Camera Band at After Eight
    Sep 24 9:00 pm to Sep 25 3:00 am - After Eight
    Catch local Egyptian group, Camera Band, performing their distinctly enthusiastic brand of Oriental fusion music for the first time at Downtown...
Thu 25
  • Ladies' Night at Buddha Bar
    Ladies' Night at Buddha Bar
    Sep 25 10:00 pm to Sep 26 3:00 am - Buddha Bar
    Buddha Bar welcomes all for a night fit for a princess at its glamorous Nile-side location at the Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah. Cocktails are...
  • Noha Taha at Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Noha Taha at Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Sep 25 9:00 pm to Sep 27 3:00 am - Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Egyptian singer, Noha Taha, takes centre-stage at Fairmont Nile City's Saigon Restaurant & Lounge for two consecutive evenings. For...
  • A Tequila Tale of Silver & Gold at Alchemy
    A Tequila Tale of Silver & Gold at Alchemy
    Sep 25 8:00 pm to Sep 26 3:00 am - Alchemy
    Tonight, Alchemy celebrates Mexico's favourite tipple - Tequila - by mixing it into Cairo's favourite cocktails. For reservations, call...
  • 1127 (DJ set) at VENT
    1127 (DJ set) at VENT
    Sep 25 11:00 pm to Sep 26 3:00 am - VENT
    VENT let's its newest resident 1127 - better known to many as Cellar Door - run wild this Thursday. For more information, call 0225747898.
  • Screwdriver 'The Reunion' at Cairo Jazz Club
    Screwdriver 'The Reunion' at Cairo Jazz Club
    Sep 25 9:00 pm to Sep 26 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    After a brief hiatus, CJC favourites, Screwdriver, return for a special performance - new set-list, same electric performance. Reservations...
Fri 26
  • DJ Feedo at Venue Lounge & Bar
    DJ Feedo at Venue Lounge & Bar
    Sep 26 9:00 pm to Sep 27 3:00 am - Venue Lounge & Bar
    The one and only DJ Feedo rocks the best r&b and hip-hop tunes every Friday at Zamalek's Venue Lounge & Bar. For reservations, call...
  • Eating Contest at the Tipsy Teapot
    Eating Contest at the Tipsy Teapot
    Sep 26 6:00 pm to Sep 26 10:00 pm - The Tipsy Teapot
    Maadi's Tipsy Teapot invites Cairo's most ravenous to stuff their faces and eat too much in the name of fun. For more details, click here.
  • Cairo Celebration Choir at Cairo Opera House
    Cairo Celebration Choir at Cairo Opera House
    Sep 26 8:00 pm to Sep 26 11:00 pm - Cairo Opera House
    Founded by esteemed director, Nayer Nagui, the Cairo Celebration Choir will be performing in the Open Air Theatre of the Cairo Opera House this...
  • Noha Taha at Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Noha Taha at Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Sep 25 9:00 pm to Sep 27 3:00 am - Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
    Egyptian singer, Noha Taha, takes centre-stage at Fairmont Nile City's Saigon Restaurant & Lounge for two consecutive evenings. For...
  • Ahmed Samy at VENT
    Ahmed Samy at VENT
    Sep 26 11:00 pm to Sep 27 3:00 am - VENT
    VENT resident and general musical madman, Ahmed Samy, lets loose at the Downtown bar.  For more information, call 0225747898.
Sat 27
  • Retro Lounge at Graffiti
    Retro Lounge at Graffiti
    Sep 27 8:00 pm to Sep 28 12:00 am - Graffiti
    Take a walk down musical memory lane with Hisham Tiba at Grafitti's Retro Lounge. For reservations, call 010066677762.
  • Ibrahim El Mogy at Cairo Opera House
    Ibrahim El Mogy at Cairo Opera House
    Sep 27 8:00 pm to Sep 27 10:00 pm - Cairo Opera House
    Egyptian cellist, Ibrahim El Mogy, takes to the stage for an intimate performance at Cairo Opera House's Open Air Theatre. Tickets are 25LE. For...
  • Cairo Symphony Orchestra at Cairo Opera House
    Cairo Symphony Orchestra at Cairo Opera House
    Sep 27 8:00 pm to Sep 27 11:00 pm - Cairo Opera House
    Conducted by Ahmed El Saedi, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in the Main Hall of Cairo Opera House....
  • Gazaga at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Gazaga at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Sep 27 8:00 pm to Sep 27 10:00 pm - El Sawy Culturewheel
    Unique local band, Gazaga, bring a night of traditional Egyptian music with a 21st century twist to the Wisdom Hall at El Sawy Culturwheel....
  • Comics Manga & Co. Exhibition at Viennoise Hotel
    Comics Manga & Co. Exhibition at Viennoise Hotel
    Sep 23 5:00 pm to Sep 27 10:00 pm - Viennoise Hotel
    Organised by the Goethe Institut, Viennoise Hotel hosts a unique exhibition featuring the works of thirteen issued illustrators and artists from...
Sun 28
  • Youssef Abbas at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Youssef Abbas at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Sep 28 7:30 pm to Sep 28 9:00 pm - El Sawy Culturewheel
    Join Youssef Abbas at El Sawy Culturewheel's Wisdom Hall for a night of contemporary Oriental music. Tickets are 20LE. For more information,...
  • Karakeeb at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Karakeeb at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Sep 28 8:00 pm to Sep 28 10:00 pm - El Sawy Culturewheel
    Performing humorous and satirical political songs, catch Karakeeb as they take over the River Hall at El Sawy Culturewheel. Tickets are 20LE. For...
  • Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project at Darb 1718
    Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project at Darb 1718
    Sep 19 9:00 am to Nov 22 10:00 pm - Darb 1718
    Addressing the issue of plastic garbage through an educational museum, Darb 1718 and the Drosos Foundation present the Out to Sea project which is...
  • 'R.G.B.' by Bassem Yousri at Mashrabia Gallery
    'R.G.B.' by Bassem Yousri at Mashrabia Gallery
    Sep 14 11:00 am to Oct 13 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Downtown Cairo's Mashrabia Gallery hosts Bassem Yousri's 'R.G.B.'; an instillation that sees the artist and independent filmmaker...
  • Art at Alchemy: Gehad El Shaikh Exhibition at Alchemy
    Art at Alchemy: Gehad El Shaikh Exhibition at Alchemy
    Sep 14 7:00 pm to Oct 11 2:00 am - Alchemy
    Catch contemporary artist Gehad El Shaikh's latest art exhibition at Dokki nightspot, Alchemy. El Shaikh explores mystical concepts, intertwining...

Highlights

Restaurants

Bua Khao: Wavering Thai Favourite in Maadi

Bua Khao: Wavering Thai Favourite in Maadi

Some restaurants in Cairo get by just serving good food. They have neither a view, nor a particularly fancy venue. It's just good quality food. Bua Khao is one such restaurant, but the popular Thai eatery has been quite inconsistent with their food as of late. We wanted to see for ourselves how our meal would go so we stopped by the small venue on Road 151 in Maadi. Still ever-so-slightly shabby, the small flight of stairs will take you up to the modest restaurant. While bearing in mind that at Bua Khao the emphasis is on the food, not the aesthetics, we sat at a small table while the waiter showed us the menus. We opted for a Tom Ka Gai soup (32LE) and Vegetable Spring Rolls (20LE) from the appetisers. The soup, consisting of chicken, galangal shoots and coconut milk, was warm and tasty with a certain light creaminess from the coconut milk. The Spring Rolls, unfortunately, weren't as good as we remember them, tasting a little stale, while the accompanying sweet sauce was bland. For the main courses, we tried the Crispy Chicken with Chili and Garlic (48LE) from the conveniently named "Something New You Must Try" section of the menu. Main courses aren't served with rice or noodles, so we opted for a Pad See-Ew Gai (40LE) which is basically fried soya rice noodles with chicken and vegetables. For the second main course we opted for Duck with Pineapple Sauce (75LE) and for the side an order of Jasmine Rice (18LE). The Crispy Chicken was the best dish of thenight. Ordered mildly spicy, the chicken cubes were deep fried with a spicy, crispy layer that hits the sweet spot right between tender and crunchy. The Fried Soya Rice Noodles, although tasty, were a bit of a soggy mess. There was little chicken to be found, but still, together with the Crispy Chicken, we were both full and satisfied. The Duck, however, was a whole other story. Floating in a pungent stew with veggies and pineapples, the duck was greasy, smelly and tasted like it hadn't been cleaned properly - so much so that we had to ask for it to be taken off the table. The Jasmine Rice was decent, but there's little that can salvage the duck experience. It's sad, really; we remember Bua Khao with a nostalgic fondness but it seems quality control over there is failing, and has been for quite some time.

Health & Fitness

EL FIT Fitness Challenge: Egypt's Biggest, Baddest Fitness Event Returns for Season Two

EL FIT Fitness Challenge: Egypt's Biggest, Baddest Fitness Event Returns for Season Two

Now more than ever, Egypt has begun to embrace the idea of healthy living – something that, just fifteen years ago or so, seemed ridiculous. We can sit here all day and hypothesize as to why; greater accessibility to healthy foods and health-conscious restaurants rapidly increasing in numbers is an obvious one that Cairo 360 is all too familiar with. But a possibly bigger reason is the number of health groups and initiatives outside the usual confines of a gym – one of which is the EL FIT Fitness Challenge, powered by Reebok, which is set to return for its second season. Fuelled by a cocktail of greater awareness of health and a seemingly newfound yearning for competitiveness, the EL FIT Fitness Challenge is already a huge date on every fitness freak's calendar. People often talk about the average Cairene's love of sport, but for the majority of those, that love rarely breaks through the TV screen. What EL FIT has done is utilise the new wave of healthy-living and added a very heavy dose of fun. This edition of the challenge has expanded with a new qualification system across six categories, opening up the competition to even more athletes; male open ( 16-34 year olds), female open (16+ year olds), male masters 1 (35-45 year olds) and male masters 2 (45+ year olds), as well as male teams and mixed teams. The challenges range across everything from deadlifting, to med ball runs, to the dreaded '10 Motions' challenge, so this certainly isn't for the weak of heart.   After the qualification rounds in October, the entrees will be sieved down to the absolute best few, who will then go on to the finals in November. Said finals will stretch over two days, with a special fitness expo and a host of mini-challenges also awaiting attendees and athletes. With over 1000 athletes expected to register, and a further 4000 expected to attend the finals this is set to be one of the biggest fitness events Egypt has ever seen. Stay tuned for more details and coverage on Cairo 360 – in the meantime, check out the official EL FIT Facebook page and, if you're feeling brave, maybe even register.

Cafés

Dixie Cream: Donuts Chain Hits Downtown Katameya Mall in New Cairo

Dixie Cream: Donuts Chain Hits Downtown Katameya Mall in New Cairo

The all-American, deep-fried, sugary dessert that is the donut isn't exactly common in Egypt, but sometimes you find yourself yearning for its satisfying taste. Dixie Cream may not be the first or only place to offer them in Cairo, but the American franchise comes with quite a reputation. Sitting pretty in Downtown Katameya Mall, the shop looks like your traditional colourful donut joint with a bright yellow, white and blue theme. It offers an adequate outdoor seating area for those who want to enjoy their treat at the venue. We, however, wanted to take ours to go and so we went in to take our pick. The donuts were placed in a large display behind the cashier's booth which, at the time of our visit, was sadly mostly empty with only a few donuts to flaunt. Our server, however, was quite helpful and cheery, telling us that a fresh-out-the-oven batch was available. The place offers a variety of appetizing options, including icing, powdered sugar, glazing and stuffing. They also serve cinnamon buns, apple fritters, and brownies. We opted for three donuts; one with vanilla icing & sprinkles, another with chocolate icing with sprinkles and a chocolate-stuffed donut (all for 13LE each). The waiter immediately aligned them in a to-go box for us and we were on our way, only to discover later that the donuts were stacked over each other making their toppings stick to one another. The donuts all tasted fresh, sweet and predictably heavy. We thought, however, that they were rather ordinary with no distinctive flavour. The icing, whilst looking pretty, needed a bit of a kick in the taste department; a stronger vanilla flavour and a more unique chocolate flavour would have definitely set them apart. The donuts were still, in the end, quite tasty. To wrap up, Dixie Cream did definitely satisfy our donut cravings. The donuts were not, however, unique in taste and lacked an element of creativity. In a city where the cupcake still very much rules, Dixie Donuts won't break that particular dessert-monopoly any time soon.

Arts & Culture

Cairo Opera House's 2014 Summer Festival

Cairo Opera House's 2014 Summer Festival

Grand by name, grand by nature; Cairo Opera House is one of the few places in Cairo that immerses you in its history and class - they don't do things by the half over there. With Ramadan done and dusted, the Zamalek-located venue are preparing for a month-long, nationwide Summer Festival beginning on Tuesday 5th of August. The festival, which will run till September 5th, will take place at Cairo Opera House's Open Air Theatre, as well as Alexandria Opera House and Damanhour Opera House and will feature some of the best local talent around. Things kick off at the Open Air Theatre on Tuesday with talented violinist, Rasha Yehia, before contemporary Egyptian band, Al Leil We Al Mawal, take to the stage on Wednesday . On Thursday, the immensly talented Dina El Wadidi takes the spotlight for the first time in a while, while Dina Abdel Hamid and Ghassan El Yusuf celebrate classic Oriental instrument, the Oud, with a special evening on Friday. The festival's first week is rounded off by seasoned musician, Mounir Nasr El Din, and his group, Sweet Sound Band.  The rest of the festival is a veritable smogasbord of musical variety, with particular highlights including Adham Roshdy's group, the Wave Jazz Band, on Tuesday 12th of August, jazz musician, Ahmed Rabie, on Wednesday 13th of August, marimba player, Nesma Abdel Aziz - and band - on  Tuesday 19th of August and legendary jazz pioneer, Yehia Khalil, on Tuesday 26th of August. Stay tuned to the Cairo 360 events calendar for details on all the Summer Festival concerts. For more information, call 02-2739-0188 or 02-2739-0299.

Shopping

Cottonball: Simple, Quality Egyptian Cotton T-Shirts in Zamalek

Cottonball: Simple, Quality Egyptian Cotton T-Shirts in Zamalek

Shopping in Cairo isn't always easy. In fact, it can, occasionally, be a nightmare. While many international brands and chain stores are readily available and more arrive by the month, finding quality, reasonably-priced basics can be somewhat of a challenge. Like so many things in Egypt, the difference between the best and the worst is immense. Cottonball in Zamalek, however, has gone some way to fulfilling that need, stocking an extensive range of simple, plain Egyptian cotton-made t-shirts. Having recently opened, the shop's stock is reflected in its decor; simple and unfussy. The light grey and white walls allow the vast amount of colours to standout. At the heart of the shop's concept is supporting local industry and each of Cottonball's lines is named after a different Egyptian governorate; for example, a line of v-neck t-shirts is named Aswan – a very cute touch by the owners. Though there is a healthy amount of men's t-shirts, the ratio definitely swings towards women's, in models, fits and colours – as is the case usually in Cairo. Speaking of which, the colours covered by Cottonball's products are seemingly infinite – you'll find everything from loud neon lemon yellow, to demure rose pink. Though not available for purchase as of yet, Cottonball is currently displaying samples of handmade accessories, too, though no definite date of when the full range will be in store has been locked down as of yet. When it comes to prices, everything about Cottonball suggests that it will be expensive; the focus on the fact that it's all made with Egyptian cotton as a gimmick and its location on the 'high-end', 'upmarket' island of Zamalek being two potential indicators that this place isn't going to be exactly cheap. However, quite refreshingly, prices are rather reasonable. Across both the men's and women's lines, long-sleeved t-shirts are 135LE, regular short-sleeved t-shirts are 125LE and tank-tops are 99LE. In addition, you can by any three t-shirts for 300LE. Despite the simplicity of its product – plain t-shirts – the quality of the merchandise makes it sturdy and comfortable. It's a t-shirt – what could go wrong?

City Life

Cairo Weekend Guide: WANAS Folk Music Festival, Indonesian Culture Week and More!

Cairo Weekend Guide: WANAS Folk Music Festival, Indonesian Culture Week and More!

Hello Cairo! This weekend we have a serious variety of events for you to feast on; everything from exhibitions and cultural events to eating contests and techno parties. On Thursday, The Riff Band, led by Ahmed Harfoush and Noha Fekry, kick off the weekend at Cairo Jazz Club, while the Four Seasons Nile Plaza's Graffiti invites you to creative cocktail night, Chemical 101. Hassan Abou Alam blows the lid off VENT with an explosive set, while the WANAS International Folk Music Festival continues at El Sawy Culturewheel with Jerry-Can, Mazameer El Nile and Lo Core De La Plana from France. In cooperation with the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo, Cairo Opera House hosts Yallah Indonesia; a celebration of Indonesian Culture Week, while Abas Abu El Kaleak leads an evening of traditional Sudanese music at El Gomhouria Theatre. Townhouse Gallery celebrates the release of the 12th edition of popular comic, Tok Tok, while Mashrabia Gallery hosts the huge non-linear graphic novel-inspired project, R.G.B, by Bassem Yousri. On Friday, VENT kicks off a new series titled The Quiet Versions with returning act PanSTARRS followed by VENT residents, while Cairo Jazz Club hosts The Project, led by DJ Ramy. Maadi's the Tipsy Teapot invites Cairo's most ravenous for an Eating Contest, while the Beatles tribute band, Glass Onion, take the stage the Cairo Opera House. Darb 1718, in collaboration with the Drosos Foundation, hosts the 'Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project', while newly opened nightlife spot, the Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel's Vintage Bar & Lounge, hosts a Karaoke Night. The WANAS festival continues at El Sawy Culturewheel, this time featuring NubaNour, the Abul Gheit Dervishes and Ross & Jarlath Band from Scotland, while local favourites Wust El Balad take over El Genaina Theatre. On Saturday, Graffiti invites you to take a trip down memory lane with Hisham Tiba and Retro Lounge, while spoken-word artist Chereef Hefnawy hits up 100Copies Music Space. The WANAS line-up at El Sawy Culturewheel tonight features El Rango, El Tanbura and Dutch band Torf, while Amuse hosts the album launch of popular local pop-star Amro El Meligy. Wust El Balad brings their twist of Western and oriental to Nile University, while the Oshak El Nagham Ensemble returns to the Cairo Opera House under the direction of Mohamed Abdel Sattar. For a full list of what's happening this weekend, please check out the Cairo 360 events calendar. Have a great weekend!

Film

As Above, So Below: Weak, Over-Written Horror Flick

As Above, So Below: Weak, Over-Written Horror Flick

Riddled with a long line of groundless and senseless ideas, As Above So Below – the latest entry to the exhausting found-footage horror sub-genre – is heavy on the mood, but short on everything else. Centred on the myths behind the Catacombs of Paris, As Above So Below follows enthusiastic archaeology professor, Scarlett Marlowe (Weeks), who is desperately trying to get her hands on a magical rock, capable of turning metal into gold, called the Philosopher's Stone.  Starting off in Iran, Scarlett soon finds herself on the streets of Paris, convinced that the stone – which she's trying to retrieve in order to honour her late father's wish – lies hidden somewhere in the Catacombs under Paris. Eager to begin her mission, Scarlett soon reaches out to old flame, George (Feldman), for help as well as documentarian, Benji (Hodge), and a random Parisian explorer, Papillion (Civil), who offers assistance with navigation. Going into the Catacombs, the team soon begins its search for a long hidden passage that is supposed to lead them to the mythical stone. However, as they start going deeper underground, strange events begin to take place and if they are ever to reach their destination, the team will need to battle the darkness around them that seems to thicken with every step they take. No matter how sound your idea may look on paper, the key is execution. In the case of this latest found-footage debacle, it is unfortunately, very poor indeed. The power of the mood, although relatively strong and effective, is weakened by the film's crammed premise which sees plenty of random ideas thrown around without any explanation or point. Luckily, the cast manages to weather the faults and offer a few relatively convincing performances. Weeks, as a woman who will stop at nothing until she gets what she wants, is persuasive; Mad Men's Feldman keeps things relatively grounded, and Civil – a somewhat unknown French actor – offers just enough energy to keep things interesting. However, it's the writing that is at fault here. Chilling, but not enough to make your blood run cold, As Above So Below is terribly confusing, contrived and awfully claustrophobic and if it wasn't for its somewhat underwhelming – and seemingly abrupt – finale, things might have turned out differently for this part Tomb Raider part Blair Witch bag of fables and scares.

TV & DVD

Chinese Puzzle: Sincere & Engaging Comedy-Drama

Chinese Puzzle: Sincere & Engaging Comedy-Drama

Set in the bustling streets of New York City – Chinatown mainly – Cedric Klapisch's latest entry reunites the cast from his previous two films - the 2002's L'Auberge Espagnole and the 2005's Russian Dolls – in the outlandish and the delightfully charming comedy-drama, Chinese Puzzle, a.k.a Casse-Tete-Chinois. Chinese Puzzle begins in Paris with the soon-to-turn-forty year-old novelist, Xavier Rousseau (Durais), wondering about how his life has turned out. Convinced that his life is too complicated for words, Xavier soon receives the shock of his life when his long-time British girlfriend – and the mother of his two children – Wendy (Reilly) announces that she will be moving back to Manhattan to move in with another man and, to top things off, she will also be taking their children with her.   Shocked, but not at all surprised, Xavier soon decides that he too will move to the Big Apple in order to be close to his children. There, he moves in with his best-pal, Isabelle (De France) – whom he helped impregnate so she could raise the child with her girlfriend, Ju (Holt). Finding his footing and settling in the big city is not as easy as he had initially hoped, but Xavier is soon drawn in by the city's charm and decides to stay. In order to do so, he must find an American wife; things get even more complicated for the talented writer when his ex-girlfriend, Martine (Tautou), announces that she too is coming over for a visit. Complex relationships and the intricacy of parenting are the story's running themes and subjects and Klapisch manages to skilfully explore them all in a very sincere manner. Viewers shouldn't be concerned if they've missed the director's preceding two films; there is a short recap on the previous events played out in the very beginning. New York is where most of the story is played out and just like other films that use this wonderful city as its backdrop, it is almost portrayed as character in itself, whose hypnotic presence is felt throughout. Confident and with an air of social awkwardness, Durais makes for an extremely likable lead. Instinctively relaxed and laid-back, he is instantly relatable as man who is quiet and charming in his exasperation as a man whose existence is, by and large, dictated by the women in his life. Said women – especially De France as the rebellious best-friend and Jun Li as the up-beat, all-game new American wife - all do wonderful jobs in their supporting roles. Though it is officially part of a trilogy, Chinese Puzzle is more than capable of standing out on its own. Free-spirited, wonderfully shot and driven with Christophe Minck's pumping soundtrack, it's very hard to imagine someone walking away from this without a smile.  
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