The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
An incessantly chatty young Spanish woman, who is lucky enough to be among the 30 diners invited to the closing night of a hyper-exclusive Catalan restaurant, explains to her visiting Japanese table mates that the natives of her homeland "are a relaxed people."
However, judging by how little of consequence actually happens during each course of "Tasting Menu," the natives could actually stand to be a little more restless.
The only element that proves to be truly inviting on screen is the breathtaking coastal locale of Costa Brava in northeastern Spain, which is indeed a mecca for food lovers. But instead of focusing on gastronomic nirvana, this listless culinary drama feels and looks more like a glossy European travel commercial. You half expect the Travelocity gnome to show up in a corner with a glass of wine in his hand.
It’s not that director Roger Gual doesn’t make an effort to set a tempting table. There is, at least, what proves to be a too-brief-yet-tantalizing peek at the preparation of high-end cuisine before it is served to an international ensemble of actors (Ireland’s Stephen Rea and Fionnula Flanagan are the best-known headliners) as their characters become enmeshed in sundry interwoven personal stories during the momentous meal.