BREVIEW: Alien: Covenant @ The Mockingbird – midnight 11/12.05.17

Words by Ed King

I thought there’d be more people here. I thought there’d be more Aliens; apart from a beautiful but woefully unsupported bust on the counter, this could have been any other bar on any other night – complete with the ‘80’s New York drunk’ that staggered by the pumps. Where’s a murderous Xenomorph when you need one. But it’s a shame; this was a pat on the back idea. I thought more people would have shown up to agree.

I loved Alien, and, as teenage appreciation took hold, Aliens. Tonight is my Star Wars. I’ll probably say something similar when the new Blade Runner is played on screen, but for tonight I’m childish with excitement. Plus the writer and professional (excuse) hat I wear gives me carte blanche to pick, this, to, fuck (did I say, ‘excuse’?). And with pen in my hand that’s what I set out to do.

I don’t. At least, I don’t step by step. My overriding response is ‘job well done’; they give the studio what they want in the last twenty minutes, but my knee jerk is ‘good save’. It brings the de facto blue collar slaughter in line with an elevated premise, or question at least. Like a Scotameron baby ran away with the notebook. I watched Prometheus on Sunday, for the second time, and the infantile handling of any even remotely acceptable narrative (let alone the garrulous approach to inter-planetary anthropology) made me curse. And made me curse Ridley Scott. Which just felt wrong, and a little like an overzealous school teacher. But also right, like an overzealous school teacher. And whilst I enjoyed it more than the first time, when you sit down you to write Covenant

So, bog standard, everyone dies – quicker than you’d think, later than you’d think, and eventually as you’d think. Good luck with that. The Engineers get a satisfactory, albeit a film in itself, explanation. And the beauty of twisted morphology gets a lovely slide by slide. Although various crisp fucking audience members (it’s all I can imagine they were doing to create such a sound) were apparently less than impressed. But they stimulate snacks; not my bastion of reasoned opinion.

Better script writers tie up some of the fumbled loose ends from Prometheus, whilst allowing for a (possibly self defeating) start to the final in this triptych. Whilst Michael Fassbender takes what Ian Holm started and marches one more step down the macabre, bleeding Lawrence of Arabia into the mind of a genocidal killer. Like Lawrence of Arabia. There’s also a warm nod to the first ship’s overriding/controlling computer, as well as the ship drops in the second. Not overdone, but a handshake to homage.

We are given a starting point. We are given an end. Alien: Covenant delivers a well carried, and narrative following, plot. And I promise you Charlize Theron won’t say “…father”.

I’m re-engaged with the franchise now, but when you’ve sent the body blows that were Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection you’ve still got some apologies to make. But Alien: Covenant serves as the film Prometheus wanted to be, but for some reason wasn’t. If they nail Round Three we’ll all be golden.

So feel safe, go and watch Alien: Covenant – you’ve got just under two weeks to see it at The Mockingbird. There are some great set pieces and Michael Fassbender does his work, twice, with aplomb. Just switch yourself down during the penultimate twenty minutes. But back up for the last five. Enjoy.

DROP IN T MINS 20… 19…

Alien: Covenant (official trailer)

Alien: Covenant (extended trailer)

Alien: Covenant will be screened daily, except on Sunday, at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen until Thursday 25th May, For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more on Alien: Covenant, visit

BPREVIEW: Alien: Covenant @ The Mockingbird – midnight 11/12.05.17

BPREVIEW: Alien: Covenant @ The Mockingbird – midnight 11/12.05.17Words by Ed King

At one minute past midnight on Friday 12th May, Alien: Covenant will be screened at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, in The Custard Factory.

Out on general UK release from 12th May, this special late night/early morning screening will be Birmingham’s first chance to see the latest film in the Alien franchise.

The ‘build up’ will start in The Mockingbird front bar from 10pm on Thursday 11th May, with people taking their seats to watch Alien: Covenant as the clock strikes twelve. Tickets are priced at £9.50 – available for advance purchase from 26th April.

Alien: Covenant will be further shown at The Mockingbird from 12th to 18th May, with four daily screenings at 12:40pm, 3:15pm, 5:50pm, 8:25pm. For direct event information, including full venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Something’s are a good idea. Whoever decided to schedule a screening of ‘the latest Alien film’ at midnight, as we enter the first minute the UK is licensed to see it, deserves a hearty pat on the back.

Seldom does a sci-fi franchise accumulate such a polarised audience; from the brooding genius of the 1979 Alan Dean Foster adaptation, to the fast pace farce that was Alien Vs Predator, the H.R. Giger inspired Xenomorph has been talked about for nearly forty years. So come and see the new film before anyone else in England, a week before the USA/Canada, then walk home through a pitch black empty city. And at 3am on a weekday in Digbeth, no one can hear you scream…

Although technically Alien: Covenant (or Prometheus 2, as it was called before a working title was attributed) is not a direct descendant of the original Alien. It’s the side spin-off from the Alan Dean Foster narrative, BPREVIEW: Alien: Covenant @ The Mockingbird – midnight 11/12.05.17which focused on the zenith of evolution’s apex predators, human hubris and why the two should stay pretty well away from each other.

Ridley Scott, the director who brought Foster’s first novel to the silver screen and who’s been at the helm of the franchise, wanted to move his Alien away from the horror genre –  to explore the existential conundrum of who, what and why? Prometheus was born, no pun intended, with the ill fated crew (a constant throughout all the films) whittled down through their own decisions or predilections, as The Engineers (or ‘Gods’) destroy one of their creations with another. Why are we here…? To get the fuck away from here as quickly as possible. And stop asking questions.

But with any good existential crisis, some questions were left unanswered – enter Alien: Covenant. Scott’s latest film follows a unit of terraformers and colonists, like the unseen mass on LV426 that had been systematically impregnated and ripped apart in Aliens, as they travel a decade in stasis on ‘the first large scale colonization mission’ aboard the good ship Covenant. What is their mission? To recreate the Garden of Eden. Cue a happy collection of blue collar couples adrift in deep space, the obligatory alcohol, hope and excitement, an android who’s a little too quiet for comfort and everyone into suspended animation… Oh look, there’s a planet; trees and everything. What could possibly go wrong..?

BPREVIEW: Alien: Covenant @ The Mockingbird – midnight 11/12.05.17Due to a bit of a high brow backlash from the Prometheus storyline, i.e. not enough blood, Alien: Covenant has reportedly returned to the more slasher based approach to horror. But it’s continuing the tale nonetheless. In Alien: Covenant some of the cast have even resumed their roles from Prometheus – with Michael Fassbender portraying both the solo surviving android (David) from the former and the oh-so-helpful ship’s companion (Walter) from the latter. So there’s a palpable attempt to tie the stories together, with Ridley Scott and crew already in pre-production for Alien: Awakening – the final piece to this dystopian triptych. There’s even talk of three more films to follow, picking up where Alien Resurrection left off.

But for now all we have are garrulous online chat rooms and marketing hyperbole – until the bells chime twelve on Friday 12th May. That and a couple of trailers to start the balls rolling. What’s the Alien like, who will be first for the face huggers, is the new android a goodie or a badie? Questions…

My guess, Occam’s razor, nearly everyone will die.

Alien: Covenant (official trailer)

Alien: Covenant (extended trailer)

Alien: Covenant will be screened at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen at Midnight on 12th May, with a ‘build up’ in the front bar from 10pm on 11th May. For direct gig info and online tickets sales, click here.


For more on Alien: Covenant, visit

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

BPREVIEW: Birmingham Film Festival @ The Mockingbird 25-27.11.16

Birmingham Film Festival @ The Mockingbird 25-27.11.16Words by Helen Knott

On Friday 25th November, the inaugural Birmingham Film Festival (BFF) opens at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen. Events run across the weekend, including screenings, seminars, panel discussions and a special Gala Awards Ceremony at the Park Regis Hotel to close the show.

Film screenings will be shown in ‘blocks’ across the weekend – featuring up to 10 short films, or one feature film, in each block. Admission to each block is priced at £5.00, with Day tickets also available for £20 and a weekend pass priced at £50. For direct festival info, including full programme and online ticket sales, click here.

Historically Birmingham’s relationship with film and TV was largely defined by shows made at Central Studios on Gas Street and at Pebble Mill in Edgbaston: Crossroads, Doctors, Tiswas, BullseyeBirmingham Preview

How things are changing. Earlier this year, Steven Spielberg was spotted shooting scenes from his new movie, Ready Player One, in the Jewellery Quarter and Digbeth, joining a growing number of film and TV production companies shooting work in the city (other recent examples include The Girl With All the Gifts, Hustle and Kingsman: The Golden Circle).

The BBC’s perceived lack of investment in the region continues to ruffle feathers, but it seems that organisations such as Film Birmingham are doing a sterling job of attracting production companies to the city. It’s a fitting time, therefore, for the launch of Birmingham Film Festival – a new festival dedicated to giving local filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their work alongside international contemporaries.

But BFF is also a resurrection of sorts, filling the void left by the annual Birmingham International Film and Television Festival which ran from 1985-2002. Of course, Birmingham still has some brilliant film festivals, such as Flatpack, Shock & Gore, Behind the Curtain, Black International Film Festival, and it seems that BFF aims to work alongside these existing events, creating more opportunities to nurture local talent.

Birmingham Film Festival @ The Mockingbird 25-27.11.16BFF has reportedly attracted features, shorts and documentaries of all genres from over 20 countries. Screenings take place at The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen in The Custard Factory and are open for anyone to attend, though details on the actual films on show are rather sparse at the moment (the BFF’s Twitter and Facebook profiles appear to be the best sources of information). The BFF film programme is accompanied by seminars, Q&As and an awards gala.

But having Oscar-nominated screenwriter, creator of Peaky Blinders, and all around top Brummie Steven Knight as patron is a clear signal of the festival’s ambition. Knight has grand plans to open large new studios in Birmingham; hopefully as Birmingham’s TV and film industry continues to grow in stature, BFF will develop alongside it.

Birmingham Film Festival runs at The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen from 25th to 27th November. For more on the Birmingham Film Festival, including a full festival programme and online tickets sales, visit

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen, visit