Here it is, folks – we’re in the Dark Universe now. And its future is not looking too bright.
With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, everyone’s been trying to build inter-film continuities in their major franchises. 2017’s The Mummy is the flagship film of the ostentatiously-titled Dark Universe, in which all the monsters from Universal’s classic 1930s films – Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man, and so on – are interconnected in one big, synergistic, marketable series
To that end, The Mummy has a lot of groundwork to cover – it has to set up this Universe and its infrastructure, establish the tone of several as-yet-unreleased films, and also serve as a rollicking horror-adventure in its own right. It should serve as no surprise, then, that The Mummy ends up as three different films fighting for screen time, serving none of them well.
After 2012’s 21 Jump Street proved that the formula of “take a cheesy, decades-old TV show and adapt it into a self-aware action comedy” can bear brilliant fruit, studios have been trying – and failing – to replicate its success. (See: CHiPs. Well, don’t see CHiPs.) Baywatch is the latest attempt to slather a layer of comedy lotion on the leathery, sun-baked body of the television of our youth, and the results are just about as flaky and chapped as you’d expect.
Roger Stone couldn’t care less if you hate him.
The agent provocateur and self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness of American politics, Stone has a legacy in Washington that’s pitched somewhere between a Machiavellian mastermind and a rat-fuck political hack. Nonetheless, the results of the 2016 election constituted a victory for the risible, flamboyant political operator, and directors Morgan Pehme, Dylan Bank and Daniel DiMauro chart the rise of the nefarious, notorious figure in their latest documentary Get Me Roger Stone, currently available on Netflix.
In the age of the War on Terror and Call of Duty, modern war films find themselves in a precarious position. To what extent do they address the moral and ethical quandaries of the Iraq War (which, fourteen years later, generally looks like a bad idea), while also taking steps to honor and understand the troops that fought there? Doug Liman’s taut sniper thriller The Wall falls somewhere between The Hurt Locker and Lone Survivor on that scale, offering surface-level critiques of the fog of war while serving as a tense thriller on its own.