Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers [2018]

The story here is fascinating at times, but it's pointlessly diluted by the filmmaker's desire to create a new narrative of Bob's history that includes himself. This isn't a matter of a filmmaker putting their experience into a film—that's nothing new—but what's supposed to be compelling about seeing Corbell discussing select talking points over speakerphone from (what's presumably) his brightly lit, luxuriously furnished home when the conversations themselves hardly push a narrative forward? Why choose to focus on Crate and Barrel aesthetic over a more detailed history about who Lazar is (or even the work that's already been done in covering this saga)?

One scene captures Lazar being pushed by Corbell to defend his story, as if the staged tension (inflated by editing choices) adds a valuable sense of drama to the story. It doesn't. Constantly refocusing the camera on subjects is a stylistic choice, but what is it adding here? What does having Mickey Rourke (of all people) do scattered voiceover add? What's it supposed to communicate? I've only seen parts of Lazar and Corbell's podcast with Joe Rogan, but it's curious that a publicity tour spot does a better job at getting to the heart of the conversation than the work, itself, does.

Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

Going in blind, any expectations I had centered around the Bad Times at the El Royale poster, the film's badass title, and a few stray observations I read or heard likening it to a Tarantino film. Cool. But from the set up forward, the entire plot revolved around the device of: and then this other thing happens. That really annoyed me.

From the establishing scene in the hotel, I felt distant from everything that was happening. OK, yes, this is happening, but why do we care? What is the importance of the thing you're detailing? Is there any? Visually well made to the argument of no one, this film is beautifully produced, but at no point did I actually care about the story, its characters (aided in part by incredibly dry acting from just about everyone), or the consequences of the danger that barely registered as tensions were depicted on screen.

And then another thing happened. And then this happened. And what's going on over here? Don't worry, we'll find out an hour from now, because why else would this plot thread consume so much screen time? And then flashback. More and thens. And then this fuckin' guy shows up because vintage aesthetic and abs. And then the characters are connected because of flashback. And then surprise. And then danger. And then that character helps. And then they have money. And then that character sings. And then that character watches. And then the end.