Events

Sat 25
  • BBQ Brunch at Cairo Marriott Hotel
    BBQ Brunch at Cairo Marriott Hotel
    Oct 24 12:00 pm to Oct 25 5:00 pm - Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino, 16 Saray El Gezira St., Zamalek
    Spoil yourself this weekend at the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino with a luxury BBQ brunch at the Garden Promenade...
  • Cairokee at New Generation International School
    Cairokee at New Generation International School
    Oct 25 6:00 pm to Oct 25 9:00 pm - New Generation International School, Km27 Cairo-Ismaillia Desert Rd.
    Popular local band, Cairokee, perform a special gig at New Generation International School hosted by El Sawy Culturewheel. Tickets are 40LE.
  • Dina El Wedidi at Cairo Jazz Club
    Dina El Wedidi at Cairo Jazz Club
    Oct 25 7:00 pm to Oct 26 10:30 pm - Cairo Jazz Club
    Dina El Wedidi combines her original acoustic music with powerful lyrical commentary on social and political issues. Reservations at Cairo Jazz...
  • Salsa Night at El Mojito
    Salsa Night at El Mojito
    Oct 25 9:00 pm to Oct 26 1:00 am - El Mojito
    Get your dancing shoes on and make your way over to Conrad Cairo's El Mojito for another red-hot Salsa Night. For reservations, call...
  • El Ghouri Tannoura Dance Group at Wikalet El Ghouri
    El Ghouri Tannoura Dance Group at Wikalet El Ghouri
    Oct 25 9:00 pm to Oct 25 11:00 pm - Wikalet El Ghouri
    Head over to Wikalet El Ghouri in El Hussein for some magical music combined with traditional dance performed by El Ghouri Tannoura Dance Group...
Sun 26
  • Jazz Gang Ft. Alain Queijan at Cairo Jazz Club
    Jazz Gang Ft. Alain Queijan at Cairo Jazz Club
    Oct 26 10:00 pm to Oct 27 2:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    Cairo Jazz Club welcomes music-lovers for a special performance that will see Egypt's own Ashraf Habashy, Ehab Badr and Amro Salah team up with...
  • Dina El Wedidi at Cairo Jazz Club
    Dina El Wedidi at Cairo Jazz Club
    Oct 25 7:00 pm to Oct 26 10:30 pm - Cairo Jazz Club
    Dina El Wedidi combines her original acoustic music with powerful lyrical commentary on social and political issues. Reservations at Cairo Jazz...
  • 'Alice In Wonderland' at MUST Opera House
    'Alice In Wonderland' at MUST Opera House
    Oct 26 10:30 am to Oct 26 8:15 pm - MUST Opera House
    Fun Factory presents a magical performance of 'Alice In Wonderland' at 6th of October City's MUST Opera House. For more details click...
  • RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Nov 13 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Mashrabia Gallery hosts Qarm Qart's latest work, RESTART; an exhibition through which the enigmatic artist redefines and questions reality as we...
  • 'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Oct 31 9:00 pm - Al Kahila Art Gallery
    Mohandiseen's Al Kahila Art Gallery hosts Mohamed Damarawy exhibition, 'Fantasy'.  The gallery is open daily between 11AM-9PM, except for...
Mon 27
  • Hisham Zahran & Aly Goede at Cairo Jazz Club
    Hisham Zahran & Aly Goede at Cairo Jazz Club
    Oct 27 10:00 pm to Oct 28 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    A huge night of music awaits, as Nacelle residents, Hisham Zahran and Aly Goede, play back-to-back at Cairo Jazz Club. Reservations at Cairo Jazz...
  • Terasena Exhibition at Beit El Sennary
    Terasena Exhibition at Beit El Sennary
    Oct 27 5:00 pm to Oct 29 9:00 pm - Beit El Sennary
    Islamic Cairo's Beit El Sennary host the second perennial exhibition of Port Said-based, all-female art collective, Terasena. For more...
  • RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Nov 13 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Mashrabia Gallery hosts Qarm Qart's latest work, RESTART; an exhibition through which the enigmatic artist redefines and questions reality as we...
  • 'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Oct 31 9:00 pm - Al Kahila Art Gallery
    Mohandiseen's Al Kahila Art Gallery hosts Mohamed Damarawy exhibition, 'Fantasy'.  The gallery is open daily between 11AM-9PM, except for...
  • 'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    Oct 19 6:00 pm to Nov 13 10:00 pm - Sharjah Art Gallery
    As the first on a series of projects that aim to trace the history of design in the Middle East, AUC New Cairo's hosts an eclectic exhibition that...
Tue 28
  • Terasena Exhibition at Beit El Sennary
    Terasena Exhibition at Beit El Sennary
    Oct 27 5:00 pm to Oct 29 9:00 pm - Beit El Sennary
    Islamic Cairo's Beit El Sennary host the second perennial exhibition of Port Said-based, all-female art collective, Terasena. For more...
  • RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Nov 13 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Mashrabia Gallery hosts Qarm Qart's latest work, RESTART; an exhibition through which the enigmatic artist redefines and questions reality as we...
  • 'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Oct 31 9:00 pm - Al Kahila Art Gallery
    Mohandiseen's Al Kahila Art Gallery hosts Mohamed Damarawy exhibition, 'Fantasy'.  The gallery is open daily between 11AM-9PM, except for...
  • 'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    Oct 19 6:00 pm to Nov 13 10:00 pm - Sharjah Art Gallery
    As the first on a series of projects that aim to trace the history of design in the Middle East, AUC New Cairo's hosts an eclectic exhibition that...
  • Roznama 3 at Medrar
    Roznama 3 at Medrar
    Oct 12 8:00 am to Oct 30 8:00 pm - Medrar
    Garden City art space, Medrar, hosts the latest edition of perennial exhibition and competition, Roznama, which is set to feature the works of...
Wed 29
  • Ali El Haggar at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Ali El Haggar at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Oct 29 8:00 pm to Oct 29 10:00 pm - El Sawy Culturewheel
    Renowned Egyptian singer, Ali El Haggar, once again takes the stage of El Sawy's Wisdom Hall. Tickets are 45LE for members and 50LE for...
  • Terasena Exhibition at Beit El Sennary
    Terasena Exhibition at Beit El Sennary
    Oct 27 5:00 pm to Oct 29 9:00 pm - Beit El Sennary
    Islamic Cairo's Beit El Sennary host the second perennial exhibition of Port Said-based, all-female art collective, Terasena. For more...
  • RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Nov 13 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Mashrabia Gallery hosts Qarm Qart's latest work, RESTART; an exhibition through which the enigmatic artist redefines and questions reality as we...
  • 'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Oct 31 9:00 pm - Al Kahila Art Gallery
    Mohandiseen's Al Kahila Art Gallery hosts Mohamed Damarawy exhibition, 'Fantasy'.  The gallery is open daily between 11AM-9PM, except for...
  • 'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    Oct 19 6:00 pm to Nov 13 10:00 pm - Sharjah Art Gallery
    As the first on a series of projects that aim to trace the history of design in the Middle East, AUC New Cairo's hosts an eclectic exhibition that...
Thu 30
  • Sandoo2 Khashab at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Sandoo2 Khashab at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Oct 30 8:00 pm to Oct 30 10:00 pm - El Sawy Culturewheel
    Bringing you an evening of relaxing Egyptian tunes, Sandoo2 Khashab (wooden box) will be performing in the River Hall of El Sawy Culturewheel....
  • RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    RESTART by Qarm Qart at Mashrabia Gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Nov 13 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Mashrabia Gallery hosts Qarm Qart's latest work, RESTART; an exhibition through which the enigmatic artist redefines and questions reality as we...
  • 'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    'Fantasy' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art gallery
    Oct 20 11:00 am to Oct 31 9:00 pm - Al Kahila Art Gallery
    Mohandiseen's Al Kahila Art Gallery hosts Mohamed Damarawy exhibition, 'Fantasy'.  The gallery is open daily between 11AM-9PM, except for...
  • 'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    'El-Touni: A Design Retrospective' at Sharja Art Gallery
    Oct 19 6:00 pm to Nov 13 10:00 pm - Sharjah Art Gallery
    As the first on a series of projects that aim to trace the history of design in the Middle East, AUC New Cairo's hosts an eclectic exhibition that...
  • Roznama 3 at Medrar
    Roznama 3 at Medrar
    Oct 12 8:00 am to Oct 30 8:00 pm - Medrar
    Garden City art space, Medrar, hosts the latest edition of perennial exhibition and competition, Roznama, which is set to feature the works of...
Fri 31

Highlights

Restaurants

Just Falafel: Creative & Customisable Falafel Sandwiches in Cairo Festival City

Just Falafel: Creative & Customisable Falafel Sandwiches in Cairo Festival City

In-between-meal snacks are the best, aren't they? They're light enough for you to enjoy without you feeling the heftiness of a full meal weighing you down. Falafel, our own Egyptian ta'amia's Lebanese sister, is one perfect snack to chow down whilst going out and about in the middle of the day. Hard to miss, with its giant green JF logo, Just Falafel is one amongst the many other fast food outlets in Cairo Festival City mall. Having launched in Egypt last year with its first branch in Maadi - and recieving a mixed review - we were curious to see how this branch measured up. The waiter who greeted us was quite amicable, giving us a menu, pointing to the types of bread offered and letting us know that we can add or remove any toppings, pick the type of falafel we want and totally tailor our sandwiches to our heart's desire. The menu offers set sandwiches, which are all inspired by international flavours, with prices ranging between 9LE to 16LE and meals ranging from 18LE and 25LE. The 'Italian' sounded quite appetising, as did the 'Original', and the 'Greek'. The menu also offers healthier options, with baked instead of fried falafel (add 4 LE to the original price) and brown instead of white tortilla bread (3LE extra). You can also add extra toppings, including mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Some extra sides and dips also caught our eyes, including the Falafel Bites (8LE), the Tzatziki dip (5LE) and the Coleslow Salad (7LE). The final item on there was the only dessert option available: the delicious sounding Just Nutella Toastie (14LE). Our order was up and ready within twenty minutes, and the 'Original', which we had ordered with baked falafel and brown tortilla bread, was bursting with flavour, particularly the hint of mint that ran through every bite. The 'Italian' (16LE) was quite the delight, too; yes, mozzarella cheese does, in fact, go well with falafel. The Ciabatta bread was fresh and the the pesto-mayo sauce was delicious, despite it being a little too scarce. Just Falafel also offers a Toasted Halloumi Sandwich (16LE), which we ordered in brown bread; though it was in no way offensive, it was a little plain tasting and perhaps some herbs could've been added to the cheese to jazz it up a little.  In a nutshell, Just Falafel offered us light, semi-filling options to get through the day amidst meals. The whole internationally-inspired falafel sandwiches concept is a novel approach that works surprisingly well in terms of the slightly random flavour combination.

Cafés

Kahve: Cozy Cafe in Sheikh Zayed

Kahve: Cozy Cafe in Sheikh Zayed

At first glance, some Cairo cafes seem to have it all; good atmosphere, design, location and overall outlook. Then, when you actually decide to give them a go, you end up with unprecedented disappointment. Located in a quiet street in the Sheikh Zayed, Kahve grabs attention with its Turkish name and seemingly chilled atmosphere. The place is adequately-sized, with both outdoor and indoor seating available, and despite being full at the time of our visit, it still retained a relaxing ambiance; perfect for reading a book by yourself, or going on a casual date. We asked a waiter if there were any tables available and he, right away, began arranging one for us. Our menus were laid in front of us and we began our search for something to order. The menu's not huge in terms of variety, but it'll do in a pinch. Kahve offers hot beverages (15.50LE-21LE), mostly coffee-based, of which the Nutella Turkish Coffee (16.50LE) was the most striking. Some cold shakes, cocktails and smoothies were also offered (19LE-29.75LE). As for food, we spotted some savoury items including basic sandwiches, croissants with fillings (11.50LE), pizza and crepes (25.75LE). Some desserts are also offered, including chocolate fondant (29.75LE), waffles (15.75 LE), tarts, muffins, cookies and donuts. The final item on the menu was the shisha, of course, which comes in all sorts of flavours and varieties (20LE-30LE). The true beginning of the end came with us placing our order.  Our waiter, quite surprisingly, did not recognise several items on the menu. He then proceeded to deny our request for Salami pizza claiming that the only pizza toppings available were Hotdog, mushrooms and cheese. Quite baffled, and slightly annoyed, we opted for a Hotdog Pizza and a Cheese Lover's Pizza (27.75LE each), green tea, water and the Chocolate Lover's dessert (30LE). A whopping forty-five minutes later, our table was just as empty as it had been when we first arrived.  Our pizzas and Chocolate Lovers dessert only arrived after we had asked for them three times, and our green tea and water came after we had to remind the waiter that we had, in fact, asked for them two times.  The pizzas were quite small in size, thin, crisp and laden with cheese; totally delicious, but not particularly filling. The same, however, cannot be said for the dessert, as it lacked an adequate amount of ice cream and chocolate sauce, had none of the nuts it claimed to have on the menu, and the brownie itself tasted quite stale. All in all, it's a shame Kahve, with its lovely setting, fell so badly in the service department. Sure the pizzas were scrumptious, but they sure weren't worth the wait.  The Chocolate Lovers dessert was a total disaster and our waiter completely forgetting our order was quite a nuisance.

Arts & Culture

Lost Art: Artist Leaves Paintings in Cairo Streets as Part of Interactive Project

Lost Art: Artist Leaves Paintings in Cairo Streets as Part of Interactive Project

If you put a painting up on the wall of a museum, does that necessarily make it art? American artist Leslie McAllister wants people to explore that question in her latest project, Lost Art. McAllister takes pieces of trash from the street and takes the 'rubbish' home to prepare it so it can be painted on. She then returns to the same place after a week or so and paints the scene. The finished painting then comes home with her again to dry and about a week later she goes back again to leave the painting behind. Finders, keepers: whoever finds the painting is free to take it home and do whatever they want with it. "I want to challenge the notion that something must be art and it's must be good because it is in a gallery or a museum" she explains. "I want people to decide for themselves whether something is art and not have galleries or museums decide that for them. If they like my painting, they can take it with them, if they don't they're free to leave it behind." The project is also somewhat of a personal challenge for McAllister. "I'm a bit of a hoarder; I have trouble parting with possessions. So I guess you could say in a way this is therapeutic", she laughs. McAllister started her project in Paris, France, where she lives. "The gallery-scene here is a very exclusive – a closed community that is hard to get into. If you know the right people you'll get to exhibit your art, but if your art is great and you don't have those connections it's very hard to be noticed. By leaving my paintings in the street I turn the public space into a gallery." The artist explains Lost Art could also be seen as the opposite of the Found Art movement, where artists put everyday objects in an art-setting so those objects themselves become 'art- like Marcel Duchamp famously did with a toilet. "I take art and put it out on the street; they took everyday objects and put them in a museum." When McAllister came to Egypt for a 3-month artist residenct at art centre, Artellewa, she was keen to continue her project. The first place she picked to do a Lost Art piece in Cairo was the iconic Tahrir square. "It seemed like the perfect place to start because of its obvious relevance. Pretty much everybody told me not to go though, because I would get in trouble with the police or people would harass me. So I decided to go early on a Friday morning and thankfully it was totally fine. A few people came up to me wanting to take a picture with me, but that was it. I sat on the grass in the middle of the roundabout looking towards the museum. It was a lovely morning and a great experience." McAllister leaves a small note on the back of the painting with the title of the painting - Lost Art #? - her website address and a message briefly explaining the concept. She also asked to please let her know if somebody finds one of her artworks. "So far only three people have contacted me saying they found a painting. I guess some people are afraid to contact me once they find a piece because they are afraid I might charge them money or something." If you're interested to hear McAllister talk about her Lost Art project and would like to see her paint a piece in real life, she is giving a workshop on the subject at Artellewwa, Wednesday 8th at noon.  Photo courtesy of Leslie McAllister.

Shopping

FitNuts: Healthy Delivery-Only Nut Butters in Cairo

FitNuts: Healthy Delivery-Only Nut Butters in Cairo

Fit Cairenes won't let the health craze die anytime soon, we can assure you, and the market for guilt-free snacks is ever expanding in the city.  FitNuts is one of the latest brands offering healthy treats and their new take on (pe)nut butters. We've always known nothing but the conventional nut butters sold at supermarkets and so the concept of all-natural, just plain crushed nuts intrigued us into ringing them up to inquire about their selection and prices. FitNuts offers seven different types of nut butters, each for a set price per jar, including Peanut Butter (2 LE), Almond (35LE), Hazelnut (35LE), Cinnamon Raisin Almond (40LE), Cinnamon Raisin Peanut (40LE), Chocolate Peanut (40LE) and Chocolate Hazelnut (50LE). We asked them what the butters are sweetened with and, much to our surprise and delight, the answer was nothing. Excited by the prospect of indulging in some tasty goodies without having to worry too much about consuming lots of sugar, we placed our order right away. FitNuts offers a delivery service that delivers the order, previously made over Whatsapp, right to your doorstep for an additional 10LE, or you can just pick it up from their headquarters in Dokki. Upon receiving our order just a couple of days after placing it, we couldn't wait to experiment with the butters. They were packaged in medium-sized jars, decorated with colourful stickers which, fortunately, stated all their nutritional information. The Peanut Butter tasted totally different than the store-bought ones we're used to, but in a good way; you could actually taste the strong raw flavour of peanuts without it being camouflaged by added oils and sugar. The Almond butter was decadent yet somehow light, probably due to the usually more subtle flavour Almonds carry in comparison to other nuts. The true star of the bunch, however, was definitely the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, which we're considering our official guilt-free dessert from now on. It's made with chocolate whey protein powder, which definitely adds to its nutritional benefits, and it tastes almost too good for something that healthy. All in all, we are definitely willing to swear off our unhealthy ways if a healthy diet contains treats that are as delicious as FitNuts' butters. Sure they're not as sweet in taste as the the usual, but the strong taste of the nuts themselves and the health benefits the butters carry make up for the lack of sweetness. The service they offer is also quite stellar, with our order being ready on time and their all-around prompt and informative replies to our inquiries.

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.

City Life

Horreya Garden: Quiet & Serene Sanctuary in Zamalek

Horreya Garden: Quiet & Serene Sanctuary in Zamalek

Visitors and locals have always lamented the lack of green areas in Cairo and, though there are a few, they're uncommon enough that we have all given up hope of easy, accessible public parks and gardens. However, Zamalek's Horrey Garden, stands as one of the most underappreciated and even unknown. This beautiful and tranquil environment offers what the majority of places in Cairo don't- a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere amongst natural creation.  Situated just off of Gezira Square, this calm green location is a must visit.  Many people today still know Horreya Park as 'Mahmoud Mukhtar Park' as it was once connected to the Mahmoud Mukhtar Museum over two decades ago. However, in 1991 all of this changed and it became a separate exhibition and given the new name of 'Horreya Garden'. So, what's inside Horreya Garden? Well, contained within these grounds are eleven statues in total, each inscribed with a name, date of birth and death, and exactly who this person was or what he did.   Amongst the eleven statues is the 'Prince of Poetry', Ahmed Shawky.  Another is inscribed with the name, Ramon Castilla, who abolished slavery in Peru in 1854 – this statue was a gift to Egypt from Peru.  Each of these statues is of a highly important figure who made significant and positive changes in his country and has aided the freedom of his people.  Much like the statue of Ramon Castilla, most of these statues were gifts to Egypt from countries in Latin America including Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador. In fact, the focus of Horreya Park is actually on the relationship between Egypt and Latin America. Horreya Garden, which means 'freedom' garden, costs just 3LE to enter and you can spend as much time inside as you wish between the hours of 9AM and midnight.  It really is beautiful inside with a red-bricked footpath running throughout the garden amongst tall palm trees, bushes and fresh green grass.  During the summer months, the night time is the most stunning time to visit as you will walk beneath the velvety starlit sky and dotted around there are several street lamps to light the way.  It's quite romantic and great for couples, providing many wonderful photo opportunities, so be sure to take a camera along.  Also depending where you are it is possible to see Cairo Tower which is also beautiful at night time. Horreya Garden is a great area to enjoy a picnic on the grass, or a drink in the park café sat on the chairs beneath an umbrella providing comforting shelter from the sun. So whether it's to learn a bit of history or just to escape the hustle and bustle of Cairo's noisy streets, Horreya Park is a great little sanctuary day or night.

Film

The Maze Runner: Another 'Young-Adult Fiction' Adaptation

The Maze Runner: Another 'Young-Adult Fiction' Adaptation

With films like Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight finding unbridled box office success, adult feature film adaptations have, to some extent begun, to reach saturation and the latest proves exactly that. The Maze Runner builds on a genuinely intriguing dystopian setting that fails to offer anything new to the genre as a film, despites the interesting premise of James Dashner's 2009 book. Directed by first-time filmmaker, Wes Ball, the story follows Thomas (O'Brien); a young man who finds himself waking up with amnesia and surrounded by an army of equally curious young men.  He soon learns that he has woken up in the Glade; a sprawling savannah that is towered off by high – and maze-like –  concrete walls. Just like Thomas, the boys, led by Alby (Ameen) – who has been stuck in the Glade for the past three years – are unable to recall who they are and how they got there. The increasing number of new arrivals eventually led the confused boys to build a functioning mini-society of sorts, that depends on 'runners' – the fittest, fastest and most agile of the group – to race into the maze each day and look for a way out. The task is made all the more daunting by the fact that the gates that guard the maze close buy sundown and no one dares imagine what could happen to anyone who gets stuck there with the large monsters known as Grievers who patrol the maze at night. Thomas initially has a hard time believing the myth, but realises the severity of the situation when one of the boys' life is put into danger. The group is soon thrown into complete chaos when the first girl to arrive at the Glade, Teresa (Scodelario), shows up with a threatening message, making the boys realise that they can no longer wait for a miracle but, that they themselves must find a way to escape – and fast. The Maze Runner marks the first and the opening chapter of a planned three-part series that once again sees a group of teenagers fighting for their lives against a mysterious and much superior force. To its credit, though, the story is fairly engaging, as the plot builds on a similar premise to William Golding's 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies. The film succeeds in projecting a deliciously claustrophobic tone and the characters are likeable, while even the action is pretty solid throughout. However, the film plays out like an intro to the series and those who haven't read the book might feel a little cheated by the fact that the character of Thomas is never really explored and short-changed by the abrupt - and calculated - finale. Overall, The Maze Runner is a decent, if unremarkable, first chapter to the series and now the pressure is really on for the second.

Music

The Kooks: Listen

The Kooks: Listen

Divisive British indie-rock band, the Kooks, are  is back at it with their fourth studio album, Listen. The band's previous album, Junk of the Heart, was ill-received by both fans and critics, and the pressure has very much been on. 'Around Town' opens the album with a ridiculously upbeat, retro tone that you will almost certainly find your feet tapping away to; a quite surprising start that signals an even more surprising pattern for the rest of the album. Though the distinctively different sound is explicit, the band still manages to retain a degree of familiarity, as to not alienate fans. Said retro vibe is very much present throughout the rest of the album, with 'Forgive & Forget' following through with a 70s/80s influence. 'West Side' comes along and changes up the sound of the album to something a bit mellower with a sleeker beat, allowing Luke Pritchard's utterly distinctive vocals to shine. Just as you start to settle get into the nostalgic influences, 'See Me Now' slaps you out of that comfort, with Pritchard's vocals taking a more melancholic tone as he laments about adolescent mistakes to his late father; a touchingly soulful tribute. It Was London, however, sets the album back on the same track and the influences of yesteryear colour the track with the electric guitar dominating its sound, fuelled by political muses as it narrates riots and mayhem. Saying 'Bad Habit' is catchy would be an understatement; it's a typically infesting Kooks sing-along that is likely to follow you for days - whether you like it or not. The catchy tunes continue from here, with 'Down and Electric Heart', while 'Sunrise' sees Pritchard seductively makes an entrance chanting "I want you, to show me the way to your heart." The album closes off with 'Sweet Emotion' - the album's closest encounter with romance whose piano solo provides a fitting finale. While this is far from being a revolutionary album, Listen does signal the Kooks' return to form for fans, offering a clean-cut, freshly rejuvenated twist on their usual sound. Detractors, however, will find plenty to pick at.
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Win! Brunch for Two at Napa Grill's New Friday Jazz Brunch
Win! Brunch for Two at Napa Grill's New Friday Jazz Brunch