Patrick is a young filmmaker investigating a group of vigilante vegans. At first, they seem harmless, but when their de facto leader Steven faces a leadership challenge from hardliner Julie, the group starts to head down a much darker path.
In the wake of the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, studios saw the huge amounts of money it was making, then went through their back catalogues to see what they could make their own shared universe out of. Soon, everyone had a shared universe. The MCU, The DCEU, the Monsterverse, and The Dark Universe.
The Dark Universe was to feature characters from Universal’s classic library of monsters, such as the Frankenstein, the Invisible Man and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. The first entry was The Mummy (After a failed start in 2014). It is also the only entry to have been released. 5.5 IMDb rating too harsh? Grab your map, get your notebook and ask whether The Mummy was really that bad…
“A new world of Gods and monsters”
This version of the Mummy switches out Brendan Fraiser for Tom Cruise, which, while not a bad thing on paper, turns this from a fun Indiana Jones- lite adventure flick, into Mission Impossible: Ancient Egypt. Cruise is playing Tom Cruise and all of the charm that comes with it. His character is amusingly outmatched, ill-prepared and mostly disinterested in the history and lore the film attempts to set up.
Sofia Boutella is also great as the eponymous mummy, and gives a stellar performance despite all the prosthetics and dodgy CGI surrounding her. Cast after her role in Kingsman, she is clearly the star of the show here. It’s a genuine shame she is sidelined as much as she is.
The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t really make much of an impression. Even Russel Crowe, as Dr Jekyll (yes that one) looks like he’s confused and bored by most of the exposition he gives. Crowe’s character is arguably the biggest problem, as his character bears little weight on the actual story, and exists simply to set up other films. What Marvel did in a post credits scene is instead done halfway through the action. It’s almost the cinematic equivalent of pausing the film, looking up the next few films, then pressing play again.
As some more generous reviews point out, there are some good points. The film sets up the protagonists as morally ambiguous originally, with no one entirely trusting each other, but this never really goes anywhere.
The film is largely a Frankenstein of several different ideas wrapped together. It’s horror routes are acknowledged, but not present enough to actually scare. It’s not as campy as the 90’s version, but the action is serviceable if uninspired.
Really That Bad? Yes
Cruise is game as always, and The Mummy herself is great, but there’s nothing here that is particularly memorable or noteworthy. The whole thing just feels rather soulless. It’s best ideas are used either in the first thirty minutes or not explored enough.
The pop-up film festival will project a bitesize film programme, every lunch hour, at 1pm from Tuesday 22nd October to 1st November at the Bridewell Theatre (St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ – Tuesday – Friday – For audiences aged 18+ only).
[TUE 22 OCT] BETTER UNITED: At a time of national disunity, these short films explore the value of community to find common ground, work together & get stuff done (or simply have a good natter over a decent pint!).
[WED 23 OCT] ABOUT US: The stories we tell about people & places reveal a lot about us. But how do our stories get out there & who gets to tell them? These shorts show how stories can both define us & set us free.
[THU 24 OCT] FRAME BY FRAME: There’s more to animation than princesses & talking animals (well, we’ve got a cute ninja deer, but you know what we mean?). These animated shorts tell bold stories of both fact & fiction.
[FRI 25 OCT] UNCONVENTIONAL U: A celebration of difference for everyone who has ever come out, come of age or simply come alive. These shorts channel the fierce spirit to be yourself in an age of increasing conformity.
[TUE 29 OCT] SMARTPHONE: These shorts were all made on smartphones, showcasing the potential of the camera in your pocket to create a mini-masterpiece (& we don’t mean your cat “playing” the piano…).
[WED 30 OCT] LONDON STORIES: Life in London is a collage of constant choice & change. These shorts look at how the city is evolving & how the choices we make affect our lives & (possible) futures.
[THU 31 OCT] HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Join us this Halloween for a lunchtime lineup of short films with extra bite. These twisted tales will send shivers down your spine…
[FRI 01 NOV] THAT FRIDAY FEELING: Start your weekend early – & celebrate the end of our first pop-up! – with a flip-out fantastic programme of joyous shorts that will lift your spirits & send you back out with a smile.
Tickets are available now at sbf.org.uk/whats-on or they can be booked over the phone (020 7353 3331 MON – FRI) and in person at the Bridewell Theatre box office.
Tickets cost £8 in advance or £10 on the door. Every ticket comes with some free popcorn and a limited edition movie zine (while stocks last).
LUNCHTIME FILM SOCIETY pops up at the Bridewell Theatre in the City Of London (St. Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8EQ) from Tuesday 22nd October OCT to Friday 1st November. Film programmes screen on Tuesday – Friday at 1pm and last 50 minutes.
Bring your own lunch and / or buy a drink and snacks at the venue bar 30 minutes before each film begins. Please note that latecomers cannot be admitted.
All audience members must be aged 18 or over as some of the films address adult themes. Audience members are encouraged to bring some photo ID if they look younger than 20, just to be sure.
Now in its sixth year, B3 Media is looking for artists for its 2019 edition of TalentLab – an innovative creative development programme aimed at BAME artists, writers, creative producers, and filmmakers in the UK who are ready to take their careers to the next level.
They are calling for applications from individuals with a strong story to tell, and a track record in film, visual arts, theatre and digital storytelling. B3 Media is hoping to find 20 candidates with ideas to participate in a series of development labs in September 2019. From this initial group, up to 6 projects will be commissioned. The selected filmmakers and artists will receive mentorship and development support between October – November 2019 with an opportunity to present their work at B3 Futures creative showcase in central London in November 2019.
TalentLab is supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills programme, and the University of Nottingham’s Horizon / Mixed Reality Lab. B3 Media is a leading media arts network that understands the importance of representative storytelling. TalentLab helps diverse artists take their careers to the next level by transforming raw ideas and stories into outstanding projects capable of garnering widespread acclaim through a programme of workshops and bespoke support. The programme also enables participants to gain greater exposure and recognition in their fields via carefully curated networks with a list of industry mentors.
(closing date for applications is Midday Tuesday 27th August)
Recent industry reports by Directors UK and ScreenSkills have highlighted ongoing challenges with increasing ethnic representation in creative fields, particularly media. Directors UK notes that no major broadcaster made a significant improvement on diversity from 2013 to 2016 while only 2.2% of UK television programs were made by BAME directors. ScreenSkills (formerly Creative Skillset) 2012 Census found that just 5.4% of the creative and cultural workforce come from BAME backgrounds making up over 10% of the population. By nurturing BAME talent, B3 is helping to remove those barriers and create new role models for the next generation.
Big Picture Film Club recently held its latest Big Picture Talks event featuring none other than investigative journalists, Ben Zand ( BBC’s World’s Most Dangerous Cities) & Seyi Rhodes (Channel 4’s Unreported World).
You can watch parts 1-7 of the event where both of our guests discussed a variety of topics, from their biggest challenges to ethics when making a documentary.
“The middle class were invented to give the poor hope; the poor, to make the rich feel special; the rich, to humble the middle class.” ―Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Class – it could be argued that it is still as divisive a topic now as it was 100 years ago. Although there have been momentous breakdowns in barriers, there is still an evident divide between those who have and those who have not.
People often have a skewed perception of those in a ‘class’ outside of their own. People who consider themselves ‘working-class’ often see the more affluent members of society as out of touch snobs. While the upper classes can still look down on those in a much lower socio-economic bracket to themselves; It is important to realise what role the mainstream media has in perpetuating these stereotypes. To see classism in all its glory, you only need to indulge in daytime television.
The Jeremy Kyle Show. It’s air time of 9.25am would make it seem like family friendly viewing. However, just watching one episode will show you a patronising host who sneers at those who cannot get their point across as eloquently as he deems suitable and an audience that revel in the mockery. It’s hardly a healthy starting point for breaking down class divides.
Surely film can offer a more diverse level of representation? That depends entirely on who you ask. Although most offerings have a very limited, primarily white, depiction of class divides, there are still those films which will be analysed and debated for years to come. Sadly, it is often for their realism.
This is England
Shane Meadows’ This is England is now studied at A-level, degree and Masters level. And rightly so. Based a great deal on his own adolescent experience, Meadows is perfectly able to present the multi-faceted aspects of working-class life. Even Combo, the violent, racist thug is shown to be a juxtaposition of the aggressive rhetoric he preaches during brief moments of vulnerability.
This is England sees Shaun Fields (a thinly veiled pseudonym for Shane Meadows) desperately craving a sense of belonging while the death of his father leaves him vulnerable to negative male role models. This microcosm is set within the bigger picture of a town ravaged by the reign of Thatcher, something that many towns – including my own – have never fully recovered from.
While showing the Skinhead subculture in a more favourable light than it had often been presented, Meadows also highlights the bubbling racist undercurrent that was taking hold in these forgotten towns and cities. It is impossible to ignore how pertinent this theme is when we are now leaving the EU because we are apparently overrun with outsiders stealing our jobs and the American President is still hell-bent on building his wall. The agonising scene of Combo beating Milky, the only black character, almost to death while hurling racist slurs is even more uncomfortable due to the fact that this is still happening. While Combo represents a small, albeit dangerous, group there is also a definite sense of community in This Is England; social mobility is resisted rather than strived for. Shaun’s growth and understanding is the primary focus but Meadows does not shy away from how his social class influences this journey.
“While both are about people living in poverty, Loach is didactic, and even propagandist, in a way that Meadows rarely is. His politics can be found not in a straightforward message, but rather in his sympathetic, complex, rounded view of working class lives.” – David Buckingham, This is England: Growing up in Thatcher’s Britain
I, Daniel Blake
I, Daniel Blake is a film that stays with you long after you’ve watched it. Ken Loach’s most successful film at the box office presents social realism at its most harrowing and makes no apologies for it. The idea that it was an example of propaganda was felt by Ian Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Work and Pensions Secretary. This was the same person who was “looking to make it harder for sick and disabled people to claim benefits” according to leaked documents.
Daniel Blake is approaching his 60s and has been deemed unfit to work by his doctor, yet he is forced to go through an uncompromising and often demeaning social system which forces him to look for work. The desperate lengths that both Daniel and single mother Katie are driven to are unbelievable, upsetting and disgraceful. While this is a work of fiction, I, Daniel Blake portrays the everyday reality for many people living in poverty. It is by no means an easy watch but it is a necessary one.
While these are two productions offer an insight into social class in Britain, they can not be seen as sweeping generalisations, much like Downton Abbey cannot be the one true depiction of the wealthy members of society. However, with nepotism still being a huge issue within the film industry, it is unlikely that we will see a more varied, colourful spectrum of experiences until people from those backgrounds are given the opportunity to share them.
Many, more uplifting stories, are out there but have to rely on the support of established film industry members to reach a mainstream audience. Fighting With My Family is just one example. Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, he discussed the theme of social class in this article with The Guardian.