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Precious Cargo: Bruce Willis Racks Up Another Passionless Performance in Cliched Thriller
Published On: 03/05/2016

There's plenty of action, but little excitement in the latest Bruce Willis-starring thriller, Precious Cargo, whose seemingly unoriginal and cliché-heavy plot offers almost nothing to take it above being just another thoughtless and unmemorable actioner. The film opens with Karen (Meet Joe Black's Forlani); a two-faced thief attempting to pull off a multi-million dollar caper for unforgiving crime-boss, Eddie (the painfully passive Willis). Of course, it all soon goes wrong and Karen is forced to go on the run with Eddie promising to kill her if she doesn't come up with the full amount of the heist. With nowhere else to go and with Eddie's men hot on her tail, Karen decides to turn up at the doorstep of ex-boyfriend Jack (Gosselaar, of Saved by the Bell fame); a fellow criminal referred to as the 'Michelangelo of Thieves'. Claiming that she is pregnant with his child, she asks him for help in pulling off 'one last job' together involving a truck full of diamonds. Reluctantly, Jack agrees to the heist and sets out to collect a multi-million-dollar prize which, of course, Eddie and his men also want to get a piece of. Despite getting top billing, Willis only makes relatively scattered and brief appearances throughout the film, turning in another dispassionate performance as a supposedly evil criminal kingpin with a short fuse. Aside from one decently shot action-sequence involving a jet-ski, there's nothing remotely interesting or thrilling about the script and the plot racks up a bigger body-count than it builds any kind of real tension or excitement. The dialogue is atrocious and the film seems almost unapologetically unimaginative as it embraces every possible heist-thriller trope in the book, while the chemistry between the leads, especially Gosselaar and Forlani, is pretty much non-existent. Unless you are a super hard-core Bruce Willis fan, there's little to gain from Precious Cargo - a piece that serves no more purpose than to be an excercise in how not to make a film. As for Willis, well the less said the better for this once reliable action lead.


The Lady in the Van: Maggie Smith Shines in Quirky British Comedy
Published On: 02/05/2016

Based on writer Alan Bennett's 1989 memoir, the 'mostly true' story of one Margaret Shepherd - an eccentric homeless woman who back in the mid-70's decided to set up camp in Bennett's North London driveway and stay there for fifteen years - is beautifully told in Nicholas Hytner's The Lady in the Van; a humorous and touching tale of an unusual friendship brought to life by an engaging script and one deliciously weird and quirky performance by the forever-great Dame Maggie Smith. Adapted to the screen by Bennett himself – his story was initially turned into a book back in 1989 before taking up stage in London's West End in 1999 - The Lady in the Van begins by introducing Alan Bennett (Jennings); a witty, dry and a seemingly withdrawn playwright who has just moved in to his new home in Camden, London. Thanks to camera trickery, there are two versions of the writer to be witnessed here; one is Bennett the man – a shy and a reserved fellow who deals with the outside world – and Bennett the writer; someone who sits, writes and complains about the lack of intrigue and excitement in their somewhat boring and complicated co-existence. Things take an interesting turn with the appearance of Miss. Shepherd (Smith); a strange, smelly and a particularly single-minded drifter who lives out of the back of a van. After not being able to park her van out on the street anymore, Miss. Shepherd – whose unconventional characteristics have already ignited an interest in the writer – turns to Bennett for help. Taking pity on the poor old lady, he soon agrees for her to temporarily use his driveway which, as it turns out, she stayed on for fifteen years. It's easy to recognise The Lady in the Van's theatrical roots with the movie bearing a somewhat of an artificial and at times, a distractingly stagey feel. However, that should not pose as a problem with the magnificent Maggie Smith at play, whose performance is so engaging that it's easy to forgive the film's tiny drawbacks. Reprising her acclaimed stage performance, Smith is absolutely superb as the wandering oldster whose mysterious past involving a hit-and-run – something that serves as the major subplot in the story – has led her to where she is today. Her interaction with Bennett – a pleasantly reliable Jennings - is where the story's heart lies and it's his never-ending curiosity about his particularly strange squatter that ends up slowly unravelling the mystery behind her suffering existence. Staying clear of unnecessary melodrama and over-sentimentalising its subject, The Lady in the Van is all about Smith's turn and, while its peculiar set up may not appeal to everyone's taste, it's hard to imagine anyone not being taken in by this 80 year old actress' immense talent and her incredible ability of commanding the screen. 


Classic Rock Coffee Co.: Hidden American Coffee House at Citystars
Published On: 01/05/2016

Keeping up with Cairo's restaurant scene is as exciting and it is unpredictable and while local restauranteurs compete with new concepts every day, more and more international chains are also trying out their luck on Cairo's restaurant map. One of these venues is Classic Rock Coffee Co.; an American coffee house that takes up a space at a restaurant called the Garage at Citystars. Tucked away beside the tickets office on Citystars' fifth floor, Classic Rock Coffee Co. shares the same venue with the Garage, which dominates with a biking-themed interior – colourful scattered helmets, biking graffiti on the walls, a full bike at the entrance - while Classic Rock introduces subtle rock music theme, which is mostly shown in its guitar themed banners and guitar pick logos on their menu. Eager to find out what both venues have to offer, we decided to order our meals from the Garage and trying Classic Rock's shakes and beverages. Skimming through the Garage menu –which involves a mishmash of international picks including burgers, pizzas, Chinese and Italian food – we were a little concerned with the restaurant's lack of identity but we decided to keep it simple with Ninja Fingers (39 LE) as our appetiser and for the mains, we opted for the Garage Burger (39LE) and the Royal Star Burger (39 LE) with a side of Garage Cocktail Fries (19 LE each). Served as fourbreaded boneless tender chicken strips, the Ninja Fingers had a pleasant golden crunchy outer crust, but as soon as we sliced into it, the breading started to crumble apart or completely fell of as we dipped it into the accompanying honey mustard dip. Shortly after, our burgers and fries arrived. Served in small bowls, the Garage Cocktail Fries – basically chili cheese fries – were covered with a thin layer of cheese that we had to dig to find the minced beef, while the red beans were nonexistent as if the chef was holding back. Overall, it was a mediocre dish. A large burger patty stuffed with mozzarella cheese, covered with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and special garage sauce, The Garage burger had an unpleasant stale taste with no presence of any mozzarella stuffing as promised in the menu while the bun didn't taste special. The Royal Star burger was a double patty burger with essentially the same toppings as the Garage Burger, with an addition of beef bacon which we requested to give the burger an extra punch; only it didn't do much as the burger itself had the same stale taste as the one before. Fortunately, Classic Rock Coffee Co's milkshakes came in to save the day. The Chocolate Peanut Butter (26LE) was a heavenly piece of art, with a delightful taste of melted chocolate ice cream and a magnificent peanut butter aftertaste that was both delicious and exciting. The Purple People Eater (26LE) was incredibly refreshing with an amazing blueberry sourness complimented with bananas which worked so well with the overall flavour of the shake. We sealed the deal with the aptly named Full Tank of Sundae (36 LE); three scoops of vanilla, chcolate and strawberry ice-cream topped which were smooth and quite refreshing even though they were served without the promised chocolate/caramel sauce. Overall, we had a disappointing experience with the Garage burgers and we feel the place needs more time to elevate the quality of its dishes and figure out the type of restaurant it wants to be. But as far as milkshakes and desserts –which is what we actually came for- Classic Rock Coffee Co. introduces great flavours which definitely redeemed the evening and will make us come again soon for some more.


Backtrack: Adrien Brody Tries His Best in Underwhelming Horror
Published On: 30/04/2016

Saddled with an overworked air of mystery that turns into vagueness and a little too much of a sullen atmosphere for its own good, Michael Petroni's Backtrack finds one seemingly committed and haunted-looking Adrien Brody a little lost for guidance in how to bring about this effectively moody, but not at all frightening ghost-fest fiasco to light. Set and shot in Australia, Backtrack tells the story of a troubled psychotherapist, Peter Bower (Brody sporting a relatively decent Aussie accent), who has recently moved to a new town for a fresh start with wife, Carol (Baird), after the loss of their young daughter Elvie (O'Farrell) to an incident caused by his own negligence. Unable to come to terms with her death and still very much haunted by crippling flashbacks, it takes some time for Peter to realise that a large portion of his most recent clientele – who all seem to be believe it's 1987 - are actually ghosts, including one spooky-looking young girl named Elizabeth Valentine. Unsure whether what he is seeing is real or if he's having some sort of a mental breakdown, Peter decides to seek advice from friend and fellow therapist, Duncan Stewart (Neill wasted in his role), who thinks that there is a connection between his own personal tragedy and his latest array of patients, especially young Elizabeth, forcing him to go back to his hometown and investigate the repeated reference to 1987. While the presence of the committed and reliable Oscar-winner, Adrien Brody, adds a note of credibility to proceedings, there is still a deep lack of complexity and originality in Michael Petroni's derivative script which, unlike Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense which clearly is the main source of 'inspiration' here, seems to favour the style-over-substance approach. Predictability and familiarity are also plaguing factors and the fact that the audience can probably work out where the story is headed long before its leading man, doesn't really leave Backtrack with enough storytelling power to pull itself out of the mess. In the end, it's relatively safe to say that Petroni's second feature film – see 2003's Till Human Voices Wake Us - leaves a lot to be desired. There is a decent idea in there somewhere and the air of intensity is somewhat effective, but what might have sounded good on paper doesn't really necessarily translate on the screen. It's as if the film tries so hard to set the mood, that it forgets that in needs the occasional pop.


Joe's Diner: American Diner in Heliopolis Looks the Part, But Falls Down on Food
Published On: 28/04/2016

It's never been easier to keep up-to-date with what's happening in food scenes around the world and one concept that seems to be becoming popular again is the concept of a traditional American diner. Diners offer a great variety of American comfort food in a casual ambiance with a cheerful interior – something that we found with Joe's Diner in Heliopolis. Despite the gloomy black painted walls, purple lighting and mainstream industrial-style ceiling, Joe's Diner captured everything we imagined a diner to be; from the black and white chess-like flooring and the cheerful red and white furniture, to the cartoony neon signs and retro posters. The ambiance was just remarkable – all that was missing was a jukebox. We started our meal with Joe's Sloppy Cheese Fries (39LE) as an appetiser, and as our main we opted for Louisiana Fried Chicken Plate (69LE) and Joe's Special Burger (59LE). Starting with Joe's Sloppy Cheese Fries, the fries themselves were perfectly cooked, but sadly the scant amount of cheese and flavourful sauce and chilli was disappointing, while the bacon needed to be crispier. In addition, scallions were used instead of chives, but they added great pop to the flavour regardless. Overall, the fries stayed crispy because the appetiser was far from sloppy. Moving to the mains, the Louisiana Fried Chicken was the star of the meal; two pieces of tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside fried chicken with a mouth-watering crunch, topped with simple gravy made of cream and peppercorn. The dish is served with smooth mashed potato topped with the same gravy as the chicken and Mexican rice which was bursting with flavours, but a bit watery. We were keener, however, to try the burgers at Joe's Diner – because what's a diner without outstanding burger? The Joe's Special Burger came in the form of a juicy patty cooked perfectly to the requested medium-well and topped with processed cheddar cheese, soft bacon, and crispy onion rings. Aside from the fact that the cheese hadn't melted at all, burger patty was ruined by the noticeably un-fresh bun and the carelessly thrown-together toppings, as well as the fact that the fresh mushroom and the BBQ sauce promised in the menu that didn't make it to the sandwich. The burger is served with coleslaw mixed with apple cider vinegar that added a unique flavour, and French fries which confused us because it was cold and soft unlike the fries in the appetiser. We finished our meal in true diner style, with Vanilla Milkshake (25LE), Strawberry Milkshake (25LE) and Chocolate Chip Pie (39LE). The vanilla milkshake had a perfect consistency and a spot-on amount of sugar, while the strawberry milkshake tasted closer to artificially flavoured ice cream. As for the chocolate chip pie, it was basically a cookie stuffed with chocolate and topped with ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Flavour-wise, it had an overwhelming taste of flour and the stuffed chocolate was mild in flavour - but the ice cream was good. All in all, Joe's Diner looks the part, but in focusing on the look of the restaurant, our visit suggests that it has come at the expense of the food. 


Kerdan Home: Handmade Wall Accessories Inspired by Upper Egypt
Published On: 26/04/2016

Based out of Dokki, Kerdan Home brings together two very different phenomena that have come to define shopping in Cairo – home delivery and drawing inspiration from classical Egyptian culture. As one of the latest retailers to embrace the convenience of online shopping, Kerdan touches on the continuing popularity and celebration of authentic Egyptian design with a range of creative wall accessories based on the kerdan – a type of jewellery or accessory worn in Upper Egypt, but with a modern twist. To call it an accessory would be maybe doing it an injustice – these necklaces are often treated as family heirlooms that are passed down through generations. Largely made out of wood, Kerdan Home's primary product comes in a range of designs that, as mentioned, put a contemporary touch on the pieces without losing the heritage that they have come to embody. One of the first pieces we spotted while browsing the Kerdan Home Facebook page was one of the closest to the traditional Kerdan, shaped like a crescent, with a row of carved triangles sitting above a row of embossed triangles in red and blue. Taking up a span of 50cm, this piece goes for 550LE. Other pieces that caught our attention, meanwhile, moved further away from the traditional kerdan was made out of two main triangular pieces – rather than the crescent shape of the previous piece – that hang on several chains, with smaller triangular shapes in each of them, as well as hanging down from the bases with smaller chains. Despite being a little more complex in design, this piece goes for only 250LE. Other designs include one that uses traditional iconography such as the palm-shaped Arabic hamsa symbol with the traditional symbol of the 'evil eye' in the centre. Hanging of the palm is smaller palms off of chains and the whole piece goes for 150LE. Other notable kerdans include ones that use a more simple, rectangular shape, while one of our favourite pieces had an almost Aztec or Mayan touch, using zigzag patterns alongside more triangles. While some argue that the continuing use of traditional Egyptian culture in fashion and decor is superficial, we beg to differ. The value of 'buying local' is very real and with so much creativity surging through the veins of local designers and retailers these days, Kerdan Home is one such retailer that has, at least, presented something original. It's a niche, yes, an acquired taste, maybe – but then all the best things are.


The Tap East: The Closest Thing in Cairo to a Proper Gastropub
Published On: 26/04/2016

Ever since its opening in Maadi, the Tap has been close to a phenomenon in Cairo, setting new standards for nightlife as a watering hole that serves great bar food and one that has also emerged as a great live music venue. In capitalizing on the Tap's popularity, founder, Galal El Kerdani, revealed in March that the Tap East would be putting more of the focus onto the food, with a brand new, expanded menu – something we were eager to try. Located in New Cairo's Mohamed Naguib Street, inside Stella di Mare Compound, the Tap East is a large, colourful cosmopolitan venue with red brick walls, a large island-bar in the centre and a stage on one corner, with high tables, arcade games and a fantastic retro mural of the iconic Audrey Hepburn and rock star Jim Morrison adding the kinds of casual, playful touches that have become a trademark of the Tap. One of the most talked about features of the Tap East, however, is the outdoor area, which is as close to a traditional beer garden as you'll find in Cairo, boasting something close to a lively, schoolyard atmosphere, with wooden benches, dim lit red parasols and its own bar. Unlike the Tap in Maadi, whose most popular dishes include bar-friendly eats such burgers, nachos and the all important wings, the Tap East's menu is closer to that of a full-out restaurant, but still closer to gastropub food than that of fine-dining. We kicked things off with Fried Cheese Balls (54LE) as a starter to our meal, while opting for Provolone Chicken (84LE and Filet Black Angus (145 LE) as our main dishes. Served in a small rectangular plate, our starter came as five small balls of hot, melted, gooey cheese, with a lovely crunchy breaded exterior, all perfectly complimented by the accompanying sweet chilli sauce. Meanwhile, the provolone chicken dish was a little different from the traditional version, with the chicken being deep fried. The dish came in the form of two chicken breasts topped with mushrooms, provolone cheese, and served on a wooden cutting board with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. The chicken was fried to perfection and well-seasoned, while the provolone cheese had a mildly sharp taste which complimented the chicken rather than overpower it. The mashed potatoes side had a melt-in-your-mouth texture, though the sautéed vegetables were pretty insignificant as they were hidden under the chicken and were more like a garnish rather than an actual side dish. Cooked medium well and served on the same signature cutting board as the chicken dish with the same sides, the 200 gm black angus steak had beautiful black grill marks and was perfectly juicy, delicious and boasted a deep smokey taste. It was a delicious piece of meat which was even greater with the accompanying brown mushroom sauce. Our last stop before we went on our way was to try one of the Tap East's signature burgers – a decision made when we were told that desserts weren't available during the time of our visit. Served with perfectly seasoned and crunchy French fries and some chips, The Western Burger (68LE) came in brioche bread and was topped with beef bacon, lettuce, onions, melted cheese and BBQ sauce.Though the burger was fairly juicy and had all the right ingredients to be a great burger, the patty itself was closer to kofta, suggesting that there wasn't as much fat as there should have been in the meat and that the patty itself was a little too compressed, not allowing what fat there was to trickle in and around it. Despite the disappointment of the burger, the Tap East is by far the best venue of its kind in New Cairo; it takes the best features of the original branch of the Tap – live entertainment most nights, a great atmosphere as both a bar and a casual dining restaurant – and adds an elevated menu to the mix. 


Fan: Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan Plays Celebrity & Fan in Quirky Drama
Published On: 24/04/2016

Regardless of its somewhat bizarre setup and moments of complete absurdity, there;s something strangely inviting about Maneesh Sharma's latest action-thriller Fan, where 'The King of Bollywood' - Mr. Shah Rukh Khan himself - has managed to pull off a rather intriguing and surprisingly entertaining double-performance as both a loved-by-the-masses screen superstar and his creepily-committed young lookalike and fan. The story is cantered on the twenty-five-year-old Guarav (Khan); a young man who has spent his entire life idolising and worshipping mega-superstar, Aryan Khanna (again, Khan), even going as far as putting his physical resemblance to good use by winning a local talent show for his uncanny impersonation act three years running. With Aryan's birthday coming up, Guarav decides to travel down to Mumbai to try to get some face time with the star. Joining in with the crowds outside of Aryan's home, getting his idol's attention, however, is not as easy as Guarav initially thought and it doesn't take long after he is thwarted by Aryan's security, for his love to turn into hate. Angered at the received treatment, Guarav decides to get his own back by putting himself - all the while impersonating Aryan - in an array of embarrassing situations, forcing Aryan on a cat-and-mouse chase around the world in order to stop his betrayed fan from doing any more damage. One of the most important things to note when going in to watch Fan, is not to go in with too many expectations. Having any kind of anticipation - especially if you are not accustomed to the way things are done in Bollywood - is guaranteed to ruin the experience. Written by Habib Faisal, the story is part action-thriller part creepy melodrama, with the first half of the film putting forth an intriguing set-up where we are given an introduction to a celebrity-crazed man whose entire world - a rather strange and unnerving place to be - is dedicated to his idol. The second half is where the film cuts loose in typically loud and colourful Bollywood style, despite there being no music numbers. Jumping from one location to another - Mumbai, Dubrovnik, London - the action is exciting, but overblown with the painfully loud sound-mixing, as if it tries to force the drama. Thanks to the special effects work from renowned makeup artist, Greg Cannon - see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - and 3D scanning technology, the character of young Khan is convincing enough to make you forget that the same actor is playing both roles. The actual performances are equally committed, however, story could have benefitted from being a bit more restrained.


U Bistro & Bar: High-End Dining at its Finest in Zamalek
Published On: 23/04/2016

When the great Zamalek institution that is, La Bodega, closed down last year, speculation quickly followed as to what was to become of the fantastic space. Though it took some a while, U Bistro & Bar stepped forward with the promise of a unique dining experience – a promise that was more than satisfied at the time of our visit. Those that were familiar with La Bodega might be taken aback by how different the space really looks and the obvious amount of effort exerted in forming a unique aesthetic. That's not to say that it's gaudy; in fact, all and any elegance at U Bistro & Bar is subtle and seems lived-in, with blacks and browns defining the chic, sleek appearance, while pieces of artwork and a huge classical mural at one end of the restaurant adding more flamboyant touches. After plenty of indecision – the menu boasts some truly inspired-sounding dishes – we kicked off what transpired to be a top-notch meal with a Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad (80LE) which was a perfectly crisp, cool and light starter on a warm evening. Everything was noticeably fresh, with the lettuce boasting a distinct but subtle sweetness that played as a perfect base for the other ingredients, especially the generous and quality smoked salmon. There are several interesting starters, including a scallop dish served with shrimp, leeks and cream cognac sauce (190LE) and foie fras with a port wine jelly (190LE). We went for a classic of northern Italian cuisine, Vitello Tonato (95LE) – a cold Piedmontese dish that brings together thin slices of roasted veal with tuna sauce as well as olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and pine nuts, all topped with fresh arugula. Tuna sauce is usually made by simmering fresh or canned tuna until cooked, in white wine, cider vinegar, white onion and garlic, before being pureed with olive oil, vegetable oil and egg yolks into a mayonnaise-like consistency. Unfortunately, this tuna sauce was a little more watery than it should have been and lacked the complexity of a combination that brings together many strong, complimentary flavours. However, the veal was of a noticeably good quality and the portion served was very generous. When it comes to mains, again, there are plenty of inspired-sounding dishes, but in testing the kitchen's execution with dishes a little closer to home, we tried the slow-cooked, Moroccan-spiced lamb shank (195LE) which was nothing short of outstanding. Served with incredibly light and fluffy couscous, the lamb was also generous in portion and was cooked to a perfect tenderness. The seasonal vegetables were a nice, safe side but little in number, while the roasted almonds added a little textural touch and a flavourful one, too. We also tried the Rossini beef fillet (275LE), which, in keeping with all other dishes, was surprisingly large in portion. We're not complaining – it's just that high-end dining largely follows the less is more approach. Not U Bistro, though; the beef fillet is huge, and is presented folded up – it's not as peculiar as it sounds – with a small cutlet of foie gras, which was perhaps a little undercooked, as not all of its fat had cooked down. Alongside delicious sliced truffles and small globules of port wine sauce, though, it added a decadent, sweet touch to the dish. The quality fillet, meanwhile, was cooked to a perfect medium as requested and the side of potato gratin served with the dish was deliciously creamy; overall, it brought a huge range of different flavours together effortlessly. As the evening progressed, and more guests arrived, an easy bustle developed around the restaurant, to the backdrop of music that wavered between folksy-inspired lounge music, to higher tempo electronic music that crawled a little too close to a club ambiance at times as dessert beckoned. We ended with a dessert that put a small twist on a French classic. U Bistro's Crème Brûlée (60LE) doesn't feature the traditional rich custard, but a more light, soft cream sitting on a bed of crumbled Italian biscuit. It's a much lighter take on the traditional version and the addition of the biscuits keeps things interesting with what can otherwise be a one-note eat. One thing that U Bistro keeps the same, however, is the hard layer of caramel which is every bit as satisfying in its crackle as you'd want it to be. In addition to the fantastic food, another thing that left a big impression was the level of service. The staff was incredibly and unobtrusively attentive, while the kitchen was impressively prompt, and cocktails and alcoholic options are aplenty. With that in mind, consistency is the key for U Bistro's long term success – it ticks all of the boxes for contemporary high-end dining, but we don't think we're the only ones that wish that it was a just tad more inexpensive.


The Huntsman - Winter's War: Drab & Decidedly Unmagical Fantasy Sequel
Published On: 22/04/2016

Serving as both a prequel and a sequel to the 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman, the visually engaging but otherwise completely lifeless, The Huntsman: Winter's War has arrived in the form of one big icy lump of disappointment. It's a painfully unexciting fantasy adventure which fails to build any sort of intrigue, interest and innovation with it's potentially deep mythology The Huntsman: Winter's War begins with a lengthy prologue - set long before Snow White defeated the Evil Queen, Ravenna (Theron) - where we learn about Ravenna's younger sister, Freya (Blunt) who, is betrayed a secret lover, has managed to awaken her magical powers of controlling ice and has now fled to the North to rule over her own glacial kingdom. Having built an army of Huntsmen to conquer the lands and eventually defend her wintry palace, Freya is soon angered when she learns that two of her very best warriors, Eric (Hemsworth) and Sara (Chastain) have broken the ultimate rule and fallen for one another. She separates the two lovers through an act of dark magic and several years later, with Snow White now in power, Eric is trying to get back to some sort of normality; but when goblins take control of the Magic Mirror, Eric goes on a quest that soon leads him to his long-lost love. Helmed by first-time director, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan - the French filmmaker was in charge of the special effects in the previous film - and scripted by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin of Hercules, Hangover II fame, the film takes itself far too seriously; a characteristic that paints the plot passionless and detached. Fetching visuals and the elaborate costumes keep things interesting, but the rich imagery cannot make up for the fact that the story is flat and painfully uninvolving, despite the film's accomplished cast. Hemsworth and Chastain, whose love affair is the supposed heart of the story, share very little chemistry, whilst both Blunt and Theron offer performances that seem to do no more than go through the motions. It's an unconvincing and a joyless piece of filmmaking which feels empty, forced and most of all, unmagical.


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Win! Tickets to Cairokee’s Gig at the Great Cairo Kidathon!

This May, the folks at Omar Samra's Muricata are hosting a very special day that will see kids from across Cairo flood the streets of Zamalek for an event that sees fitness fun collide – such events and activities do exist, we swear! Said event is the Great Cairo Kidathon – find out more info h