Soul of a Banquet (2014)10K
Soul of a Banquet: Directed by Wayne Wang. With Cecilia Chiang, Ruth Reichl, Alice Waters. A documentary on Cecilia Chiang, the woman who introduced America to authentic Chinese food. Chiang opened her internationally renowned restaurant The Mandarin in 1961 in San Francisco and went on to change the course of cuisine in America. The film is equal parts a delectable showcase of gastronomy and a touching portrait of Chiang’s journey from a childhood in Beijing before the Cultural Revolution to accidental restaurateur on the west coast of the United States.
“u0026quot;The Mummyu0026quot; is an adventurous yarn in the vein of u0026quot;Indiana Jones.u0026quot; Itu0026#39;s a lot of fun, very charming, and never tries to be more than what it is. What is it? An entertaining summer flick which is not only worth seeing, but perhaps even owning. Itu0026#39;s one of those fun movies you can return to over and over again and never grow tired of doing so.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eItu0026#39;s hardly a remake of the Universal classic of the same name. Itu0026#39;s merely a new way to tell the story with the same basic idea – a murderous mummy is brought back from the dead. This time we have a hero and heroine who must stop him before he takes over the world, or something along the line of world domination.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe hero is Rick (Brendan Fraser), a thief thriving off the very basics out in Egypt circa 1930. Arrested and to be hanged, he is saved by the heroine (Rachel Weisz), who believes he may hold the key to helping them find an ancient Egyptian kingdom buried under the sand, if I recall correctly (though it has been a while since Iu0026#39;ve seen this). Little does she know what lurks beneath the sand near that old kingdom is none other than the remains of a man who was caught cheating on the kingu0026#39;s wife years ago and mummified.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eNow, after unearthing the remains of the kingdom, the expedition led by our heroes come upon an ancient u0026quot;Book of the Dead,u0026quot; which, when read from, brings the ancient mummy back to life. Now he is out to kill, regenerate and bring back his old lover – pretty neat, huh?u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI own u0026quot;Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy,u0026quot; a great movie spoofing the classic film. u0026quot;The Mummyu0026quot; isnu0026#39;t exactly a spoof but itu0026#39;s very tongue-in-cheek. It knows it isnu0026#39;t an Oscar-winner, it knows it stands nothing against the older film, and so it goes for pulp thrills. I actually believe that this film is a bit classy in execution – compared to many other entertainments floating around nowadays it stands as one of the only films to return to the roots of the pure adventure films like u0026quot;Raiders of the Lost Arku0026quot; (1981) so successfully did.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBrendan Fraser is a perfect choice for the lead star. Calm, but with ironic and sarcastic humor; cool, but a strong lead. I wondered what it would have been like if they had casted an actor in his role who would have taken it all more seriously. I bet the results would have been disastrous. Fraser knows that this is all good fun, and heu0026#39;s having a good time playing his role with comedy. Every once and a while you can catch a wink at the screen that lets us know that he knows what heu0026#39;s doing.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003e2001 brought a sequel to u0026quot;The Mummyu0026quot; named, of all things, u0026quot;The Mummy Returns.u0026quot; I found it just as fun as this film though some critics begged to differ. Summer 2002 brought yet another u0026quot;Mummyu0026quot; film, this one a prequel called u0026quot;The Scorpion Kingu0026quot; – it was a following of a co-star of the first sequel. The Mummy was not in it at all. It was a horrible film that wasnu0026#39;t near as fun as this one. So I recommend you see u0026quot;The Mummyu0026quot; as soon as humanly possible. After that, see u0026quot;The Mummy Returns.u0026quot;u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eEither way, you simply canu0026#39;t go wrong.”