What I’ve Been Watching: 21/05/19 – 27/05/19

Rapping rabbits, banging beats, Bash Brothers, and redundant remakes.

A couple of Saturdays back, I was driving to Leeds in order to go see CHAI when, as I approached a turn-off, I glimpsed a factory in the distance.  One of those big steel work type factories that spits massive pounds of noxious gasses into the atmosphere.  What caught my eye was not the mere presence of one of those factories, I have lived in Scunthorpe or adjacent to it my entire life so this ain’t exactly new to me, but the visual surrounding it.  Everywhere up to the factory on the drive was bright and blue, a wonderful sunny day, but hovering above the factory was a growing collection of black clouds whose colour was identical to the fumes being spewed out by the factory silo.  In fact, in the way the clouds and the rising gasses were arranged, it looked less like the silo expelling the fumes into the atmosphere and more like the atmosphere was actively sucking the fumes out of the silo itself.  It was one of the most existentially terrifying things I’ve ever seen and I cannot shake it from my brain.

Fairly certain I’ve told this story before somewhere in these bottle messages to myself and no one else, but I was about 14 when my brain first seriously pontificated on the concept of death and how one day everything will just go black for me and that will be it.  Whilst that seems too old by my estimations, I do remember it specifically happening during an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Cookalong which according to Wikipedia aired in late 2008 so there we go.  I had a giant emotional breakdown at this completely unwanted and unwarranted exercise – blubbering, trembling, borderline unintelligible scream-crying, panic attack, the works – and took several hours of being consoled by my Mum, who works at a hospital and is therefore around death all day, to become a functional human being again.  Over a decade later, it still follows me everywhere.  I may not scream-cry at the thought of it anymore, but my horrible little mind will still find any excuse to gently whisper that whole thing into my thought process and reduce me to a barely-functioning panic-stricken mess no matter how quickly I attempt to eject it from my mind.

It’s not morbid fascination because, again, I effectively shut down whenever the thought hits my mind; it legitimately petrifies me.  Part of it I think is that my mind is very logical – and it’s having hysterical breakdowns over the concept of death; I know, you can stop snickering at the back – so anything that has too much mystery or unexplained aspects about it, whose effects or values are not tangible, fills me with anxiety and therefore becomes incomprehensible to me, hence why I’ve always found it so hard to connect with religion.  But largely, I think it’s been exacerbated by my depression, particularly in the past three years since graduating from university.  Largely uneventful days, isolated from the life I had built from myself, failing to find gainful employment in areas that my mind doesn’t immediately catastrophise (again thanks to the Asperger’s); all doing a number on me.  But it sneaks up even when I am distracting my mind with activities I otherwise enjoy – last year, my Dad and I took a trip down to the Science Museum in London and I spent a good half of it trying to stave off a panic attack over the fact that so much of that history was hundreds of years ago in families and bloodlines almost definitely wiped out now and how that’ll be me sooner rather than later and “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE, ASSHOLE?!  HUH?!  YOU’RE 25 SOON!”  (Well, I was coming up on 24 at the time since this was last year, but you get the point.)

If these thoughts don’t penetrate whilst I’m doing the stuff I love, they wait until pretty much the second I’m done and then creep in uninvited to put a massive damper on the experience I just had.  For example, I’ve started volunteering at a record shop in Hull.  It’s kind of perfect for me, being a relaxed retail position in a medium I have knowledge about and can therefore be useful for, easing me into the workplace and satisfying my crave for order and organising things in a productive manner.  I’m really enjoying it, but I can’t live in that enjoyment for long because by the time I get to the car my mind has pounced on my tired self.  “You know that doing this cuts into your finances, right?  You’re not making any money.  You’re wasting petrol.  You’re going to have to drain your parents for more cash.  It’s not even going to lead to an equivalent paying job.  I bet you’ll pack it in after a month, even though you’re only doing it once a week cos that’s the best you can afford.  You’ll not see any of your friends.”  And then all that eventually leads into the whole death thing and the day ends up being a wash.  That’s my mind.  It fixates on the most innocuous things and then twists them into weapons-grade panic fuel, holding them back until the second I let my guard down.  So, that’s why that factory off the motorway terrifies me to my core.  That and climate change, obvs.

Here’s the vast majority of what I’ve been watching this week.  Get yourself a glass of something and perhaps a chair, it’s a long one.

Beats [Tuesday 21st]

Dir: Brian Welsh

Year: 2019

First-time viewing

One of the best films of 2019 so far.  Loved this to bits.  Far more melancholy and thematically heavy than I was expecting, since the film was pitched in a manner akin to Trainspotting and Human Traffic but puts the bitter aftertaste upfront rather than waiting until the comedown in the back half like those films do, yet it’s one of the finest examinations of British working class malaise I’ve seen in a long while.  As previously mentioned, many of these sorts of films go a little overboard on the misery and a little condescending in their attitudes towards their subjects, so desperate as they are to invite audience sympathy and grandstand against societal injustice – stop looking at the floor, Ken Loach, you know for a fact I’m addressing you.  But Welsh’s film, co-scripted by Kieran Hurley from the latter’s own play (a fact which Welsh’s direction largely manages to hide), is all about raging against the dying of the light, of finding something worth doing for even one night because, for many people in this situation, it really might be as good as it gets, a fact which is neither triumphantly romanticised nor depressingly pitied over (although the epilogue is one of the most low-key gutting I’ve experienced in a long while).

Welsh’s film is angry, situated around the soon-to-be-passed (it’s set during the week of the New Labour Party Conference) 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order act which amongst many other things sought to clamp down on rave culture – it passed with the full support of both major political parties and is endemic of governmental attitudes towards the youthful working class, whipped up by scaremongering right-wing tabloids, criminalising with a heavy hand their past-times and lifestyles rather than meaningfully addressing the broken systems underlying their situation to combat poverty and actual crime.  But, unlike (again) Loach, Welsh carries an empathetic character-focussed attitude throughout.  He and Hurley are willing to provide surprising shades to almost every single one of their cast, whether they be best friend protagonists Johnno (Cristian Ortega who nails the mannerisms of a self-hating meek teen trying his best to find his backbone) and Spanner (Lorn Macdonald giving one hell of a breakout performance) or even Officer Robert, Johnno’s latest unofficial stepdad who, in a lesser movie, would likely be a simplistic stand-in for authoritarian government policies yet has a surprisingly complex and subtle progression over the course of the film.

The dialogue snaps constantly, whether through Johnno and Spanner joshing with a trio of dedicated rave girls or the loquacious yet bizarrely-inspiring speechifying given by pirate radio DJ and wannabe revolutionary D-Man.  Welsh’s sense of place and time, rooted tangibly in 1994 yet not belabouring the obvious depressing comparisons to 2019, is so convincing that one might even be convinced this was filmed in 1994 and merely sat in storage until now.  A surprisingly sincere queerness runs throughout the central relationship between Johnno and Spanner which is allowed to just exist without judgement rather than being undercut or played up, a development I personally appreciate.  And the 10 minutes or so when the gang finally make it to the Revolt rave, when they stop talking and worrying and just lose themselves to the music, is not only 10 of the finest minutes of cinema I’ll likely see all-year (since it plays so well to my obsession with music and its communal power) but it’s one of the most loving paeons to rave culture ever made.  Welsh’s filmmaking going skyward into more expressionistic visual styles, paying off the black-and-white grain of the movie in the obvious yet best way possible, and demonstrating precisely why thousands of people nationwide willingly went through the risks and rigamarole weekend in weekend out to rave together.  For that moment of transcendence when everything shit about one’s life melts away under the combined might of great drugs, exceptional music and the then-unbreakable bonds of friendship.

Outstanding movie.  Check it out if it’s still playing near you.

Tucked [Tuesday 21st]

Dir: Jamie Patterson

Year: 2019

First-time viewing

Tucked can be a little too Very Special Episode at points when it addresses gender and sexual identity, and the last third’s rushed and descends into way too much sentimentality, but is largely very enjoyable.  In fact despite how the premise may sound on paper – an aging drag queen named Jackie (Derren Nesbitt) diagnosed with late-stage cancer takes a new homeless non-binary drag queen called Faith (Jordan Stephens) under his wing – Tucked is less about gender and sexual identity (hence why those segments often come off as blunt and surface-level) and more about fear of mortality and a life of regrets.  Consequently, its best sequences are reminiscent of works like Sideways or The Bucket List as Jackie and Faith awkwardly attend a strip club, ineptly buy cocaine, or finally visit the grave of the wife who wanted nothing to do with Jackie by the end; alternately genial but not mirthless comedy and lightweight but not unmoving drama.  In those respects, it’s like a less assured, more tasteful and slightly-condescending partner to Sean Baker’s Tangerine.  What pulls Tucked through the rough patches are its central performances from Nesbitt, a British character actor making the most of one last run in the spotlight with an enjoyably prickly yet soulful turn, and Stephens, who is neither non-binary nor homosexual (as far as I’m aware) yet his turn is a lot more melancholy and subdued than one may have expected from a character as proudly flamboyantly camp as Faith.

Avengers: Endgame [Tuesday 21st]

Dirs: Joe & Anthony Russo

Year: 2019


All the stuff that worked the first time around did just as much so the second time around, all the stuff that didn’t work the first time around failed equally as much on the second go-around.  It’s a wildly-ambitious self-indulgent mess of a thing that nevertheless functions as a supremely satisfying conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the time its original cast have signed off for, in some cases, the last time.  For now, I don’t have anything more to add so go re-read my little piece on Endgame that I pumped out the Monday after viewing and meet me back here at year’s end when I’ll have to put substantial words together on the thing regardless of whether it ends up on my Top 20 or not.  I mainly wanted to bring up my rewatch as a rejoinder to anyone thinking Endgame now means the MCU is going to finally whither and die, that much-ballyhooed nonsense about “SUPERHERO FATIGUE” coming home to roost.  Whilst I have no doubt that these movies and their financial takings are going to recede in a post-Endgame world – and if anyone believes otherwise, particularly at Disney and Marvel themselves, then they are damn fools – let it be known that I was sat near a young boy for this 181 minute film and not only did he at no point run off to the toilet he was enraptured from start to finish and was about ready to burst in glee whenever Spider-Man or Captain Marvel showed up.  This franchise is going to be fine for a while longer.

Rocketman [Tuesday 21st]

Dir: Dexter Fletcher

Year: 2019

First-time viewing

It gives me absolutely no pleasure to report that Dexter Fletcher’s Elton John biopic is not only Not Good, it also makes all of the same substantial mistakes as the justly-maligned Bohemian RhapsodyRocketman is a surface-level, uninspired, by-the-numbers music biopic with, sing along if you know the words, nothing to say about its subject.  Taron Egerton does a fantastic imitation of Elton, uncannily channelling the legendary and outsized personality in many an instance – he does a far better job than Rami Malek did with Freddie Mercury and he sings the songs which puts him above Malek’s bored lip-syncing – but he’s unable to find a character underneath that skin.  Which, to be fair, is not wholly his fault since the screenplay from Lee Hall (Billy Elliott, War Horse, the upcoming Cats adaptation by Tom Hooper WHY GOD) loses sight of any potential emotional centre the precise second that John and Bernie Taupin (a wasted Jamie Bell) achieve the slightest level of fame, whisked away at lightning speed through a succession of expository info dumps which tick all the rock biopic cliché boxes with characters entering and leaving the narrative in a fashion akin to a revolving door.  If the screenplay weren’t so surface-level and cavalier about everything else in its narrative, I’d find the montage where Elton meets, marries, and then limply separates from wife Renate Baluel to be a clever and affecting way of dramatizing his misguided effort to deny his homosexuality in the wake of ditching John Reid.  In practice, it feels like an aforementioned box tick.

The timeline is all over the shop and ill-defined which, coupled with the lack of a true emotional or thematic centre, means Rocketman never actually feels like it’s building to anything despite rocketing along at 10,000MPH, a feeling I got after the first hour which was unfortunately confirmed by the limp non-ending.  Most damningly of all, in the cartoonish relationship Elton has with his emotionally abusive parents, the spectre of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story quickly made its presence known – there’s a brief moment where Elton has an emotional breakdown in front of a sink and I spent it mentally screaming “TEAR OUT THE SINK!”  Also, it must be said, even with Hall and Fletcher having Elton’s homosexuality come up long before he gets famous with him reconciling that fact in conversation with other characters beforehand, the film still inadvertently taints his burgeoning homosexuality and relationship with the abusive Reid as the start of his downfall much like Bohemian Rhapsody did, including a theatrical dance montage of Elton passionlessly throwing himself into a group gay orgy at a nightclub which is painted as one of his lowest points.  The sex scene is appreciated (mainstream representation is important), but it rings hollow when the rest of the presentation is regrettably (and perhaps inadvertently) retrograde.

That said, and maybe I’m accidentally denigrating the genre of movie musicals when I express the following, it is fascinating how the worst of those Bohemian Rhapsody flaws are mitigated by the decision to make Rocketman a full-blown musical, at least for a while.  Egerton’s singing voice is damn strong, the songs get rearranged in an order that fits beats in the story thematically which in its best moments teases out more personal and recontextualised meanings – the title song arrives at the height of Elton’s checked-out coked-out debauchery, for example, the point where his actions on and off-stage feel more obligatory than fun – and Fletcher’s camera and Adam Murray’s choreography, when both decide to let loose (and aren’t constrained by abysmal computer effects), are suitably dazzling.  There is spectacle and flash and that’s more than one could say for Bohemian Rhapsody or similar such dull biopics.  But, after a while, the hollow core eventually makes itself known and the resprayed lemon quickly falls apart to reveal the rusted-over barely-mobile chassis all that flash and spectacle was attempting to hide.

Also, worth pointing out that I’m fairly certain Cineworld Sheffield played the film out of focus the entire way through so I’m giving Fletcher the benefit of the doubt that his film only looked like a washed-out piece of shit because of inept projection rather than anything else.

Furie [Wednesday 22nd]

Dir: Lê Văn Kiệt

Year: 2019

First-time viewing

Furie reinvents no wheels but it kicks a damn lot of arse and that counts for a lot in a genre which, John Wick movies aside, has proven astoundingly incompetent in recent years at executing even the most basic of mid-budget action movie fundamentals.  Yet here comes the Vietnamese Kiệt in his big international coming out party – this is the first Vietnamese film ever to receive US theatrical distribution, meanwhile Netflix have acquired it for UK streaming – schooling the Europa Corp. and Millennium Films rosters by stripping things back to their basics and executing them with aplomb.  It’s a Taken style actioner in which a struggling single mother Hai (a fiercely commanding Ngô Thanh Vân) who works as a debt collector with a troubled past goes on the warpath when her daughter Mai (Cát Vy) is kidnapped by an international organ trafficking ring.

The screenplay takes the time to build the bond and relationship between Hai and Mai so that the inciting action carries legitimate emotional weight rather than playing on base fears, the fight scenes are clearly shot and properly impactful (highlights involving an interrogation at a chop shop and a climactic showdown on a train), Kiệt has shorn this thing of anything which isn’t immediately relevant to the story (although that’s admittedly not always a good thing as some side characters are too thinly sketched for their involvement to resonate like they’re supposed to), and Vân’s turn as Hai should be star-making for her on the international stage.  In fight scenes, she convinces totally moving with fluidity and rage, but she also invests Hai with a lifetime of regrets and a burning desire to build a better life for Mai which causes her visits to old acquaintances to sting and hurt in all the ways they’re supposed to.  Damn solid film, this; what the Taken movies could have been were they actually any good.  If you have Netflix in the UK, you’ve got no excuse to not give up 95 minutes for this one.

The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience [Thursday 23rd]

Dirs: Mika Diva, Akiva Schaffer

Year: 2019

First-time viewing

No Popstar but then again what is?  The Lonely Island’s visual poem suffers from being a touch too inside baseball for my tastes – literally, it’s about a famous baseball scandal from the 1980s – and even then it doesn’t stick to the conceit despite only running half an hour, this is no Walk Hard where the songs are rooted specifically in the decade the narrative says they’re taking place.  But, crucially, it’s still really bloody funny, the references and pisstakes to visual albums such as Dirty Computer and Endless and especially Lemonade are spot-on, and the songs are still great as always.  “Oakland Nights” is already an instant classic in the trio’s repertoire and the “IHOP Parking Lot” skit especially continues their hilarious habit of legitimately fantastic production being used to soundtrack the dumbest shit – in this case, a West Side Story-type aggressive booty-shaking anthem.  Despite the hullaballoo, Bash Brothers does work best when approached more as a fun surprising minor work than the next great cult American comedy in waiting.

Aladdin [Friday 24th]

Dir: Guy Ritchie

Year: 2019

First-time viewing

I found out this week that Aladdin is actually insanely problematic in ways that don’t just relate to a few HIGHLY-QUESTIONABLE lyrics.  The more you know.  So, with that now in mind, I am a little more understanding of why Disney might want to remake their 1992 Aladdin – bring in some much-needed diversity, downplay the stereotypical exoticism the predominately White creative team of the original threw all over the place, remove the Evil Arab stereotypes in costume designs and mannerisms, not have anyone sing about slaves or “barbarous” countries.  That’s all well and good.  Still doesn’t change the fact that Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin stinks to high heaven.  To be fair, the only outright bad part of the movie is Will Smith’s horrendous miscasting as Genie, he’s vocally pitchy as all fuck during the songs (when he’s even trying at all) and is otherwise notably tired and checked-out in a manner that’s less “interesting reinterpretation” (since this Genie’s spirit has generally been broken by years of service to evil power-hungry men) and more “this man evidently does not want to be here.”  And for all the additional 38 minutes, bonus songs (uniformly bad and akin to rip-offs of Rachel Platten’s turgid “Fight Song”), backstories, and reshuffled character and setpiece beats, it is largely a hyper-faithful retelling of that original movie.  This isn’t the 2017 Beauty and the Beast, thankfully.

BUT… in that case, why wouldn’t I just watch the original again for the 500th time?  Problematic, even outright offensive depending on whose views you read, though it may be, as an engaging narrative the film is damn-near flawless.  Iconic songs, instantly recognisable and lovable characters, gorgeous visual design and usage of the elasticity of animation.  None of this is nostalgia talking, either, I bust out Aladdin at least once a year.  Therefore, why would I ever not choose that one over a version with a more muted colour palette, worse CGI, lifeless choreography shot appallingly – Guy Ritchie is woefully out of his depth shooting a musical, true, but he doesn’t appear to have shown up at any part of the film’s production; this is Spike Lee directing Oldboy levels of anonymous paycheque-cashing – worse performances across the board, nothing fundamentally new being brought to the table, and the sprightly songs all being played at 2/3 their intended speed with bizarre production choices (hands up who thought what “A Whole New World” was missing was a lifeless tinny drum track which makes the showstopper sound like muzak in a dentist’s office) and substantially worse singers – the sole exception being Naomi Scott who is solid but is also saddled exclusively with said terrible new songs.

This new Aladdin is serviceable if you need to experience Aladdin yet somehow don’t have readily available access to the animated version or can’t be bothered to wait for the yearly cinematic re-release as part of Kids A.M. screenings in various cinema chains.  And, to be fair, there are some things I do genuinely like – Jafar this time being less of a menacing malevolent force of pure ambitious evil and instead an insecure former street rat trying to stave off his inferiority complex with toxically macho displays of strength, coupled with Marwan Kenzari’s whiny seething performance, is an interesting place to take one of the most iconic Disney villains and it does work as an alternative interpretation.  But the whole time I found myself asking, “why am I watching the vastly inferior version of an excellent movie I still love today?”  For wokeness points?  I still love 24, I’m excommunicado from progressive circles no matter how much I acknowledge both works’ problematic natures.  Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin stinks, regardless.  Show your kids the original, instead, then boot them through a crash-course of racial sensitivity in problematic media.  I’m being glib, but it genuinely is never too early to teach your kids about these things and they’ll have seen the better film.  Win-win, far as I’m concerned.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 [Friday 24th]

Dir: Chris Renaud

Year: 2019

First-time viewing

If I scored films based entirely on their endings, then Secret Life of Pets 2 would be a zero-star movie subjected to a dropkicking into the motherfucking sun.  The very last scene of the sequel to Illumination’s frustrating-but-not-unenjoyable 2016 hit, after an end credits reel consisting of viral videos of animals doing silly things, involves Kevin Hart (reprising his role as aggressive bunny Snowball) rapping along to Desiigner’s already forgotten 2016 novelty smash “Panda” with a stuffed panda toy.  Friends, I was apoplectic at this turn of events.  Who is this bit meant to be for?!  The kids?  They’re certainly not going to get the reference since Pets’ target audience were probably toddlers when that song first came out!  The adults?  I don’t know any adult who has ever watched an animated kids’ film and laughed at the inherent act of cartoon characters rapping a famous song and, more to the point, nobody has thought of “Panda” since June of 2016!  This song was already in the process of being forgotten when the original Pets movie was gearing up for release!!  So why the hell would you want to make the closing tag of your 2019 movie be a non-sequitur reference to a forgotten song from before the release of your previous film?!  GODDAMMIT, MOTHERFUCKER!  *stomps around throwing anything in his house not nailed down at a wall*

Aside from the worst 45 seconds of cinema I have experienced so far this year, Pets 2 is just aggressively fine.  The character animation is still top-notch and the initial splitting of the film into three distinct plots which only barely intersect but are still thematically linked – also allowing the film to cleanly divide the observational comedy, heightened comedy, and reality-straining nonsense strands which otherwise smashed awkwardly into each other in the original; returning screenwriter Brian Lynch getting to have his cake and eat it in the process – is a smart and fitting decision for the series.  But things go off the rails when all three threads converge at the end for an unsatisfying action-packed finale with a pointless bad guy, it peddles some weirdly retrograde ideas about masculinity and mental illnesses (of the “just get over shit you wimp bitch” kind), and worst of all it’s just not very funny.  Most of the good jokes, as is par for the course with Illumination, were given away in better executed form in the trailers since their effects aren’t diluted by Alexandre Desplat’s overbearing score and the rest suffer from shockingly inept timing where beats linger for too long or the extended set-up nullifies the payoff (most scenes with Pops suffer from this).

Not egregiously terrible aside from the aforementioned “Panda” bit, but there’s not a single thing here to enthusiastically recommend.  Illumination’s backslide into contemptuous laziness continues apace.  The opening title cards are done in plain TIMES NEW ROMAN, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!  TRY FOR ONCE IN YOUR MISERABLE LIFE, CHRIS MELEDANDRI!

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum [Friday 24th]

Dir: Chad Stahelski

Year: 2019


It’s taken four years but I think we have finally found the first action movie to seriously cite George Miller’s perfect Mad Max: Fury Road for its structural DNA.  Parabellum GOES from pretty much the instant Thunder Road’s title card disappears and does not stop until the sudden cut to credits, the one knock I have on an otherwise outstanding film.  Aping Fury Road’s relentless forward momentum and inference of worldbuilding in a manner that, despite the 131 minute runtime, never feels exhausting or too much because it’s only upon examining Parabellum in retrospect that you realise the subtle control of peaks and valleys in the pacing.  And for all the flash, all the technically outstanding action sequences and their brilliant micro storytelling, and the goodest pups during the Casablanca shootout, Stahelski and his team of writers (this is the first instalment where Derek Kolstad is not the sole screenwriter) never lose sight of the thematic and emotional core at the series’ centre: grief and what it means to live on grieving, metaphors for the all-encroachment of fame, and most specifically the façades of social niceties and unforgiving vindictiveness of Capitalism.  Unless 2019 starts throwing fastballs like crazy in its second half, I am so glad that I’ll finally get to put a John Wick film on a Best Of list.  Easily the objectively best film of the year so far.

Also, how fucking good is Asia Kate Dillon in this?!  Both times now I’ve seen this movie and they plus their character, an Adjudicator, somehow almost manage to steal the entire thing away for themselves!  In a movie where Keanu Reeves goes 2-on-1 against Raid bosses Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman!

Lords of the Deep [Sunday 26th]

Dir: Mary Ann Fisher

Year: 1989

First-time viewing

I swear that I’m not deliberately holding off on watching episodes of The Gauntlet for whenever I get around to doing another entry in this series, nor is this meant to be an indication of apathy or dislike for the latest season of the revived Mystery Science Theater 3000.  I just need to be in the proper frame of mind to throw an episode on and I don’t always get 90 free minutes in the living room to do so, joys of stereotype embodying.  Anyways, have you ever wanted to know what a stupider, cheaper, slower, pretentious and infinitely more boring version of Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic sci-fi horror Alien would have been like?  Well, friends, have I ever got the movie for you!  It’s called Alien: Covenant and it fucking sucks.  But if you’re still a glutton for punishment after that, then here’s Lords of the Deep which is basically that with a sprinkle of the then-unreleased Abyss by James Cameron on top for good measure.  As befits a Roger Corman production, it has dreadful stilted performances, sparse plotting dragged out by endless sequences of filler, unlikeable characters, and an unmistakable aura of cheapness surrounding the whole thing.  It’s also really bloody dull so thank heavens for Jonah and the Bots.  Ramming SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…

Callie Petch is the landlord, you be the troubadour.

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