Friday, 5 August 2022

How to spend the summer in style

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Enterprise Recommends: The best of the summer

It’s summer — and a little less work (hopefully) means a little more time to embrace the good things in life. The news cycle has slowed somewhat, school is out, and a good chunk of us have decamped to the coasts to escape the beyond-scorching temperatures in the capital. We still have a couple more weeks in which to take things a little slower — but if all the relaxation has started to bore you, have no fear. In this month’s edition of Your Wealth, we bring you a bumper edition of our famed Enterprise recommendations to fill the extra downtime with something a little different. Read on to find out what you should be watching, reading, listening to, eating, and experiencing while the summer lasts.

MOVIE GUIDE

This could be a better summer for film after a long, pandemic-induced winter for new releases. Cast your mind back around two years and cinema-going seemed under serious threat of extinction. Now big new releases are driving footfall back to movie theaters — and with studios looking for a sure thing at the box office, sequels are key to this summer’s blockbuster roster. Here’s the best of what to watch on the big screen this summer.

The worst first: The final film in the Jurassic World trilogy — the second trilogy in the Jurassic Park franchise — has been widely panned (try “overwhelmingly mediocre” and “a sign of imaginative exhaustion”). But a sneery critic or ten won’t deter many of us from flocking to see Jurassic World Dominion (watch, runtime: 2:51). This is essential viewing for those with dino-loving kids who need entertaining through the long summer holidays, those who remain nostalgic for the brilliant original movies, and we who refuse to miss anything featuring Laura Dern (yes, she’s back — and with Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum, too.) The plot doesn’t matter, but in a nutshell, the dinosaurs are no longer confined to the park and now roam the Earth. That means the monsters and the heroes must negotiate an uneasy coexistence — but which is which?

Not-so-controversial opinion: Few can beat Tom Cruise for action. We don’t know if the real Tom Cruise is the man who never owns up to his mistakes or the guy who can’t stop sending people his favorite cake. What we do know: Cruise is peak action hero, and Top Gun is peak Cruise. So it’s no surprise that remake Top Gun: Maverick (watch, runtime: 2:30), has become the highest earning movie of 2022 so far. Cruise is back as US fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, doing everything that made the film a hypersonic hit back in 1986. This time, Maverick confronts the ghosts of his past as he trains fresh Top Gun pilots, including the son of his late best friend.

Hot on Cruise’s heels, another all-time action superstar is out with a big hitter: In Bullet Train (watch, runtime: 2:43), Brad Pitt plays a hitman who boards a train in Japan for an assignment, only to discover that there are four other assassins on the job for other clients. Deadpool: 2 and Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch brings us more pacey action-comedy fare in this. It’s just out in cinemas.

More Thor: Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder (watch, runtime: 2:15) promises to deliver at least as much as 2017’s solid Thor: Ragnarok. This time around, god of thunder Chris Hemsworth has hung up his hammer and retired — until he finds dragged back into battle with a villainous Christian Bale, who is set on bringing about the extinction of all the gods. King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) join forces with Thor to bring Bale’s character down.

Let’s speak minionese: We won’t blame this one one on the kids: We are shameless suckers for these loony yellow creatures. Minions: The Rise of Gru (watch, runtime: 2:26) is our recommendation for a slice of silliness this summer. The story gives us the backstory to the Despicable Me franchise’s villain, as an 11-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is starstruck by a supervillain group and enlists the minions to help him become evil enough to join them. It’s stupid and it’s fun.

Going highbrow: Jordan Peele, director of Get Out and Us, brings us his latest supernatural yarn in the form of Nope (watch, runtime: 3:01), which is getting plenty of positive ink from critics ahead of its theater release later this month. The one and only Daniel Kaluuya joins Keke Palmer and Brandon Perea as the keepers of a California ranch where strange things start happening, in a film that traverses Western, indie, horror, thriller, and comedy, all with Peele’s trademark humor and sharp social commentary. It’s out in cinemas toward the end of August.

Also worth noting: Other big ticket releases this summer include biopic Elvis, Sylvester Stallone superhero flick Samaritan, the adaptation of bestselling novel When the Crawdads Sing, and Ryan Gosling as a CIA agent in The Gray Man.

Closer to home: Kira & El Gin (watch, runtime: 2:50) has shot to the top of the box office this summer to become one of the highest-grossing Egyptian movies of all time. The story follows Karim Abdel Aziz and Ahmed Ezz as they lead the fight against the British occupation during the 1919 revolution. Written by star author and scriptwriter Ahmed Mourad and directed by Marwan Hamed, the film promises heavy doses of action and patriotism.

We’re hearing some mixed reviews of Tamer Hosny’s film Bahebek (watch, runtime: 2:32). The star is the writer, director, protagonist, and all-round creative force behind this apparent love story, in which Hosny’s character faces the dilemma of choosing between two women. We haven’t seen it.

Hesham Maged’s new movie Tasleem Ahaly (watch, runtime: 1:37) just hit cinemas. Featuring Donia Samir Ghanem and written by Sherif Naguib (behind 2010 action-comedy La Taragoa Wala Esteslam), this is sure to bring the laughs this summer.

YOUR TOP 5

Your top 5 pieces of business and economic news in August:

FOOD

Egypt’s dining scene has never been hotter — especially at our go-to getaway spots. New options are popping up nationwide, with offers of cuisines from every corner of the world and dining experiences for every occasion. No matter where you find yourself this summer, here are some of our new and old favorites across the country that are bound to add a bit of calorie-induced happiness to your day.

Mediterranean food truck Mario’s combines three of our favorite things: seafood, burgers, and milkshakes. Mario’s created quite a buzz last year when it made its debut in Sahel’s Marassi, and the food truck now has additional branches in Sheikh Zayed and New Cairo. The owners used to live in Italy and decided to bring along their favorite dish from the Italian coast: pesce fritto al cono — yep, a paper cone filled with fred seafood. We’re upset that we’ve lived so long without this. Among other signature dishes that come highly recommended are the Maple bacon double burger, the shrimp roll, and the Cali crab roll. Whatever you order, make sure you leave room for an inventive shake. Flavors include peanut brownies, lemon pie, and salted crackers.

Malu’s Deli brings charm, comfort, and coziness to Gouna’s dining scene: This colorful little diner is always worth your time when you’re in Gouna. Overlooking the iconic Marina, Malu’s menu is as fresh as it is delicious — perfect for breakfast, brunch, or a midday snack. We especially like their breakfast — the poached eggs are cooked to a tee, the pancakes are light, fluffy, and dripping in sauce, and the coffee is good, too. Sip, sit back, and enjoy the cool Red Sea breeze.

Megumi: A Japanese bar by the crystal waters of the Mediterranean. Brought to our Sahel seashores by the minds behind Sachi, we knew this place would win us over even before we attended the opening in Almaza Bay during Eid break. This cocktail room has already carved out its own special place in the North Coast scene with its strong beats, bites, and a crowd that just wants to have a good time. Trust us, it’s worth the drive.

Staying in the city? Discover a hidden gem in the heart of Sheikh Zayed: Deluca. Away from the bustle of the city a, Deluca in Tara Compound is a well-kept secret. The cafe boasts a stylish outdoor seating area surrounded by greenery and shaded by trees, with jazz tunes on the soundtrack. The place is open from 8-12am, and if you go early in the morning, you’ll find the nursery and school run crowd relaxing after dropoff. Their iced frappuccinos and hot lattes hit all the right notes, and our favorite breakfast is the salmon benedict. For carb lovers, they also do a nice slice of pizza, a very decent chicken parm , and a yummy cheesecake. Deluca is also pet-friendly, so you can enjoy your day out with furry friends.

Lavish nostalgia and consistent quality at Zamalek’s L’asiatique: Before there were hundreds of sushi spots in Cairo, high-end Japanese food meant L’asiatique at the Le Pacha boat in the Nile. The lavish Asian restaurant with its low tables has seen its fair share of first dates, special dinners, and ladies’ nights out, and never fails to deliver. We recently revisited and are happy to report that the food is just as delicious as we remember, and the service just as excellent. The menu boasts mouth-watering specialties from China, India, and Thailand along with a fresh sushi bar. Make sure you try their crispy duck, tuna tataki, and dim sum, and get the nougatine maison for dessert. Word of caution: this place is not easy on the wallet, but the splurge is worth it.

OUT AND ABOUT

There’s loads to do in the capital and on the coasts this summer: As the summer heat creeps in it might be difficult to imagine moving for any reason besides shade and a cold beverage. But trust us: For these events, it’s worth venturing out from under the A/C — and you can always wait until sunset before stepping out.

Arts and culture reign supreme in Cairo as nightlife moves to the coast: Though sweltering during the day, the summer months in Cairo tend to be just a little less crowded — making it a good time to catch some culture. Start by checking out the third edition of Cairopolitan’s annual Cairo Prints exhibition in Garden City for a fun and contemporary window into the world of design. The concept store has pooled over 300 submissions from hundreds of creatives across the country for the event, which runs until August 28.

For more visual arts, make the trip out to TAM Gallery’s Summer Affordable Art Show on the Cairo-Alex road and feast your eyes on scores of artwork from hundreds of talented local artists. The exhibition has been up since late May and runs until the end of August, so give it a look before they close out.

On the literary side of things, check out El Sawy Culture Wheel’s 12th Annual Book Fair this month and pick up a few titles to get lost in over the summer. The fair runs August 12 – 16 from midday until 9pm.

Looking for a taste of some pop extravaganza in Sahel? Catch Ruby on August 12 at the North Square Mall in New Alamein. The iconic pop star will be up on stage for the second edition of the newly launched venue’s Extrasolaire party series, which hosted Amr Diab earlier this summer. The event is tropical-themed, so pack your floral shirts and dresses. You can find tickets here.

If you’re up for a more rave-y party scene, catch Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream Festival at Kiki’s Beach Bar in Hacienda White, also on August 12. The UK producer and DJ will be putting together a performance of his own flavor of melodic techno alongside homegrown acts like Fulltone in this Egypt edition of the international festival that has found a home everywhere from Brooklyn to Ibiza in the decade since its inception.

BOOKS

Summer reads: Whether you’re holed up at home or off on a coastal vacation, a book by your side can keep you company or set you off on a new journey. Here’s a look at some of the reading material we rate this summer.

Build: An unorthodox guide to making things worth making by Tony Fadell. For some of us, beach time means time to buff up on the latest insights on how to do what we do, but better. This isn’t the first time we’ve namechecked iPhone developer Tony Fadell, now a VC investor, and his new book Build, which is all about how to build what you want to build for maximum impact: whether that’s a new piece of tech, a company culture, or a personal career. Fadell weaves in the wisdom he’s earned as a veteran of Silicon Valley with the stories of how some of the best inventions of the past century came to be, for a book that both advises and inspires.

An Immense World by Ed Yong: Ever wondered how animals perceive the world? From your furry friends at home to beetles in the Amazon rainforest, animals communicate and experience the world in stranger ways than you can ever imagine. Pulitzer prizewinner and Atlantic reporter Yong takes a deep dive into the latest science on animal sensory experience in this thought-provoking book about the hidden world of our earthly neighbors. Two major takeaways: Our ideas about the world are severely restricted by the senses through which we experience it — and animals have evolved in incredibly creative ways.

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson: A sci-fi tale based in the near future where the devastating effects of climate change have intensified considerably, Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future offers a measured and hopeful take on how we might manage one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today. Robinson’s book follows the story of a newly formed international organization, dubbed the Ministry for the Future, which has been tasked with mitigating the climate crisis and protecting future generations in bold and imaginative ways. This New York Times bestseller is nearly two years old but we’re still recommending it — especially since its near-future vision of runaway warming only gets more prescient with each summer that passes.

G*mbling on Development by Stefan Dercon: Why do some emerging economies develop and others don’t? If a little time off work has you ready to zoom out and tackle some macro concerns, then this new offering from the director of Oxford University’s Centre for the Study of African Economies is a good option. Dercon argues that for a country to seriously grow its economy and improve quality of life across social classes, elites have to truly get behind and push for development. Those driving the economy must be willing to take risks for growth rather than play things safe to protect the wealth they already have, Dercon says. Food for thought for the businesspeople and entrepreneurs among us.

If An Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga: Alexandrian writer and AUC instructor Noor Naga spins a dark post-January 25 love story between two unnamed protagonists: an Egyptian-American Columbia University graduate who travels from New York to Cairo in search of her “home,” and a photographer from Shobrakheit who’s fallen on hard times in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Naga’s writing is spare and poetic as she examines the tensions in this by turns funny and sad novel about the nature of belonging and the limits of American identity politics.

FOR YOUR EARS

What’s summer without good tunes? Summer demands a playlist. Here are some of the tracks that have been accompanying us so far this vacation season.

Embrace the sound of the 80s: It’s not just a Stranger Things thing — large parts of the music world seem to be in the grip of a 1980s resurgence. German reissue label Habibi Funk earlier this year put out an 11- track compilation of Libyan-Egyptian singer Hamid El Shaeri’s 80s oeuvre. Habibi Funk 018: The SLAM! Years features some of Shaeri’s most danceable, charming, and dreamy songs like Oyoun Houriyat, Dari Demou'ek and Ayonha.

In newer music, playful and theatrical band Kahareb in June released synth-pop influenced single Mesh Asef (watch, runtime 3:33). The song has a distinctly 80s vibe, relying heavily on spacey synthesizers, electronic basslines and sparkly textures to create a fun and uplifting tune that sounds great played with the windows down.

Our local rap scene is still pumping out bangers: It's impossible to overlook our local rap scene, which over the past few years has seen the bar raised on quality and ingenuity from a host of heavyweights and newcomers alike. Wegz’s melancholic afrobeat-inspired hit from earlier this year, El Bakht, is a good place to start. Abyusif’s MAMLAKA is also just catchy enough to slide by on the summer rap playlist, as is Marwan Moussa’s boom bap-sounding Wa7da mn Million. (reflective yet boastful Masafat)

Mainstays of the mainstream: For many of us, no genre can better achieve a sense of sunny joy than pop. Beyoncé is back six years after smash hit Lemonade, with infectious club single Break My Soul leading a new album, Renaissance, that has critics declaring the return of the undisputed queen of the global music scene.

Elsewhere, Dua Lipa has been a mainstay of the pop charts for a couple of years now and it's no mystery why— her music is light, feel good and most definitely suited for a summer break. Recent single Potion, featuring heavyweight collaborators Calvin Harris and Young Thug, is a prime example — combines soft vocals with groovy guitar riffs and a rap interlude to create the perfect summer chart topper.

Puerto Rican pop star (and former WWE wrestler) Bad Bunny is another unavoidable fixture of the pop music landscape right now. His most recent album Un Verano Sin Ti sees him fuse reggaeton with a little bit of rap and even salsa to create this highly emotive and energetic album that works just as well for a crowded apartment as by the beach.

Something a little more experimental: What better way to get into a new groove than by listening to something you’ve never heard before? Our underground electronic music scene is a gold mine of often weird and always forward-thinking musical production. Take Cairo-based producer/DJ Hassan Abou Alam’s most recent release Kesibt, which strikes a challenging balance between danceable and complex. Then there’s local collective Irsh’s new compilation tape, did you mean: irish vol. 2. Some of the stand out tracks include Siteh by Yasseen and featuring Dakn, and Kabbut by ABADIR featuring ZULI & 3Phaz.

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