Going to see X-Men: Days of Future Past was a no-brainer for a comic-book geek like me. Going across the city on a (rainy) day the Hammersmith & City line tube was down to watch it in Whitechapel? Not so much. Luckily the Genesis cinema was interesting enough to make the trip worthwhile. The first true independent we’ve come across for our blog, this cinema on the Mile End Road has been run as a family business since the late 1990s. The oldest cinema in the East End, the building has gone through a number of refurbishments, but the site has been used for entertainment businesses since 1848.
The Genesis management are trying everything to get the punters in. As well as the main screen (distractingly small for such a massive space) and a smaller ‘luxury’ screen experience, there is an exhibition space for local artists, a pie shop and a cocktail bar showing football on the night we visited. Despite this, and there being no close competition, the place was quieter than I’d have expected for a Saturday night. I hope this was just an unusually slow day, but the slightly worn look of the cinema and toilets seems slightly ominous. Whether the increasing gentrification of the local area does it good or not, it would be a shame not to see such a unique film centre survive and flourish.
If you look online, don’t let the website fool you, it’s the worst we have seen so far but not representative of the actual cinema experience. The Genesis is a one-off and, for that alone in these chain-dominated days, deserves some support. It also offers a full night out at a reasonable price if you live locally, or for anyone willing to battle English spring weather and TFL to get there.
Now, I could write reams about X-Men before I sign off. I’ll try to keep it reasonably short so as not to lose your interest. Bringing Bryan Singer back was clearly a masterstroke, and giving him free reign to eliminate the storyline and memory of the execrable Last Stand (X-Men 3), an even better idea. The last scenes back at Xavier’s School resets most of the major character’s story arcs and leaves everything up for grabs in the scheduled third reboot. Whether that film sticks mainly with the younger iterations, I expect some ongoing discussions for spin offs involving the older generation (not just Wolverine or the mooted Magneto film). Sadly the complicated machinations of the time-shift structure and Singer’s returning preoccupations do not leave enough room for originality of story. I feel like I’ve seen the ‘mutants/super heroes/aliens-are-different-and-scare-the-stupid-humans-so-get attacked-and need-to-prove-they’re-actually-just-like-us-only-a-bit-better’ theme used so many times, it now feels tired and lazy. With such great characters, a brilliant cast and money coming out of their ears, the team behind X-Men should have come up with something more imaginative, more emotionally engaging. There was never any real jeopardy here, not even when Wolverine gets sent down to the depths, as Hugh Jackman has signed a 6 deal contract! Having said all that, I really enjoyed this film. Not a classic, but still some of the best fantasy characters around, played by some excellent actors. And Hugh Jackman in the buff never does a film any harm in my book.
How good were the snacks? 8/10
How nice were the staff? 7/10
How sticky were the floors? 7/10
How great was the ambience? 9/10
How much did we like the film? 8/10
How comfy were the seats? 6/10