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Movie Review: Warehoused

An estimated 12 million people are living in refugee camps with only 0.1% being re-integrated into normal society. Directors, Asher Emmanuel and Vincent Vittorio, seek to address this problem through Warehoused: The Forgotten Refugees of Dadaab, an earnest documentary dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of refugees and their need for basic human rights like education, safety, shelter and clean water.

While the film takes a global stance on the issue of refugees, it focuses on those living in the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. The film-makers get up close and personal with several of the reported 500-600k refugees, investigating their situation within the camp and exploring some of the issues surrounding their protracted confinement and seeding in other countries around the world.

Much like God Grew Tired of Us, we're dealing with a group of individuals who have been displaced by the political, social or wartime circumstances affecting their homeland. In a similar vein, the film-makers travel to Willmar in the United States, one of the resettlement towns where a refugee family have been transplanted. While the repatriation is touching and the cultural immersion is fascinating, the encampment is the main focus in Warehoused, identifying intricate issues such as: food being used as a commodity, unchecked crime within the encampment, problems relating to the host country and the sporadic population growth of these long-serving camps.

Warehoused documentary

"What is home?"

Through experts, authors and industry specialists, the filmmakers get a broader understanding of the issues facing the organisations that support these camps and the inner turmoil caused by the growing need for these centres for the displaced. As wars continue, the camps multiply creating a generation of alienated people who are born into a suspended state of captivity. Frustrated by the long waiting lists for resettlement and stunted by the cold hard facts of the situation, some try to escape, finding themselves vulnerable and at the mercy of nationals.

The documentary is a tapestry of real-life accounts, talking heads and on-the-ground footage with simple animation to connect the dots. Warehoused: The Forgotten Refugees of Dadaab is successful in its mission to create awareness around Dadaab and the on-going global crisis. Instead of manipulating the audience, the film-makers take the time to get a practical snapshot of the situation, humanising the affected and delivering the facts with as little distortion as possible. While a little scattershot, it's an eye-opening and important account of life within the camps, resettlement and the hunt for a solution to reverse the rapid growth of refugee camps around the world.

The bottom line: Earnest

Talking Movies with Spling - Free Fire, The Mummy and Allied

Spling reviews Free Fire, The Mummy (2017) and Allied as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Catch Talking Movies on Fridays at 8:20am and Saturdays at 8:15am every week on Fine Music Radio.

Movie Review: The Mummy (2017)

Tom Cruise has come a long way since he converted to Scientology and stopped aging. He may have found the fountain of youth, trail-blazed a comeback and reinstated himself as a Hollywood legend, but as tall as he is on that pedestal... he's far from perfect as evidenced in his latest film, The Mummy. One thing that's missing from Tom's repertoire of talent is comedy... the elusive genre that many actors turn to as they age, maybe it's just Bob De Niro. While he was memorable as Les Grossman in the war spoof Tropical Thunder, he was playing it straight just like he did in Risky Business, Knight and Day, Rock of Ages and Edge of Tomorrow.

"Straight with ice" is his thing, which he plays off quite masterfully in some action vehicles with most of his comedic appeal coming from poking fun at him. Ironically, it took killing Tom Cruise over and over again in Groundhog Day style for people to laugh in Edge of Tomorrow. He's the epitome of steely-eyed determination, making us admire him but never truly warming hearts if you count Jerry Maguire as a fluke. All of this is to say he's been miscast in The Mummy, a big budget reboot, which appears to have been written for Chris Pratt.

So you've caught yourself a big name star like Tom Cruise, a Hollywood tiger who can sell your movie based on his name alone. How do you make him fit? Well, you ensure there's plenty of action recalling the airplane disaster from Edge of Tomorrow and the underwater scene from Mission Impossible... cast a co-lead actress to try emulate the chemistry he had with Emily Blunt and then add a superfluous sidekick for a stab at buddy movie charm. While Cruise is sheer perseverance and managed to sell himself as Jack Reacher, this role as Nick Morton in The Mummy is out of reach.

In much the same way as X-Men: Apocalypse, a long-dormant all-powerful ancient evil is resurrected and terrorises the earth. In this story, the evil embodied by an Egyptian princess inadvertently swipes right on our dear friend Nick, who becomes integral to her fulfilling her dark mission. Through a slow-burning seduction, he becomes locked into a deadly love triangle between Jenny, his archaeologist crush, and Ahmanet, a grown up and tattooed version of The Ring's Samara.

The Mummy 2017

"Nick I want you to know I would've settled for the last Rolo..."

The Mummy series starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz was characterised by a charming, fun-loving blend of treasure hunting romance and epic adventure similar to Jewel of the Nile - supersized by CGI and ancient Egypt horror. In an attempt to be refreshingly different, the latest The Mummy is trying to capture the tricky dark cult comic adventure tone of Army of Darkness. Unfortunately, they don't have Bruce Campbell, his boomstick or the twisted horror comedy balancing act that is Sam Raimi. The script flat lines, veering unexpectedly into the strange territory of Cabin in the Woods and failing to tap into the dark cult comedy of films like Shaun of the Dead and Reanimator.

It's as if they're trying to snare the indie spirit of a low budget horror comedy with a blockbuster budget and 13 rating. The result is devastating. Alex Kurtzman may have a rich history of producing blockbusters, but much like the live-action pantomime, Maleficent, a director transplant can result in serious complications.

The first of these is the miscast lead, Tom Cruise, who seems too dignified and street smart for this dumb tongue-in-cheek role. The second is a lack of chemistry with his picture perfect yet flat co-lead, Annabelle Wallis, who comes across like a bland hybridisation of Emily Blunt and Rosamund Pike. The third bent nail in the sarcophagus is the film's tone, which wavers from stoney-faced action thriller to ridiculous horror comedy on the hunt for epic adventure. What starts like American Sniper Lite turns into a wacky Tomb Raider misadventure that should have been gifted to the more adept genre-benders, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Much like The Mummy 2, the latest The Mummy is overloaded with special effects, which range from epic to irritating. While the preamble to the title is promising, connecting Crusade knight tombs and Egytian mythology as if it was gearing up to become a rip-roaring National Treasure style yarn, it simply begins to crumble. The pacing and eye candy is good enough to keep a cat mildly entertained as you switch your brain to standby mode. Unfortunately, this is where you remain as Russell Crowe talks about being in the business of evil and cheesier one-liners punctuate the dead air.

Going into The Mummy expecting a turkey will soften the blow, but the film's tonal shifts make it bizarre, mustering up a half-wink to signal we're in on the joke only for us to realise it's not winking, it's died. You'd do well to watch the original The Mummy or Romancing the Stone again rather than immersing yourself into this chasm of unfunny and cheesy mayhem that is The Mummy. This is big budget Uwe Boll when they really needed a film-maker like Sam Raimi and a cheeky star like Chris Pratt to truly excavate its true potential.

The bottom line: DOA

Talking Movies with Spling - The Founder, Sachin: A Billion Dreams and It Follows

Spling reviews The Founder, Sachin: A Billion Dreams and It Follows as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Catch Talking Movies on Fridays at 8:20am and Saturdays at 8:15am every week on Fine Music Radio.

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