Directed by Robert Eggers
A two-man chamber piece about a lonely descent into madness, which invites the spectator to join in the descent. Eggers shoots his moody, sometimes horrific, sometimes baffling, film in foggy black-and-white with a 1.19:1 aspect ratio. This means the screen image looks like a square (perhaps with a sailor’s cap tip to early silent German Expressionism). It also constructs a claustrophobic space in which the characters, and the audience watching them, are trapped with each other.
Eggers, who co-wrote the script with his brother Max, delightfully captures 19th century New England seafaring diction, especially in the grizzled character of Thomas Wake, played to snarling brilliance by Willem Dafoe. His assistant, Ephraim Winslow, is a glowering Robert Pattinson. The two are assigned to watch over a lighthouse until they can be relieved in four weeks. But in Waiting for Godot-like frustration, relief doesn’t seem to be coming. Time also becomes more fluid, and less understandable, both for the characters, and for us. And, at times, it is unclear whether we are in objective or subjective space. But all of this creates a powerfully dysphoric film in which you, too, will be afraid to go toward the light.
– Dr. David C. Simmons
Dolemite Is My Name
Directed by Craig Brewer
Eddie Murphy’s funniest since 1999’s Bowfinger, which also focused on a ragtag bunch of low budget filmmakers. As Rudy Ray Moore, Mr. Murphy does his subject justice and then some…if you go back and watch the original Dolemite—currently streaming on Amazon Prime—or listen to any of Mr. Moore’s party records, you’ll come away with an even greater appreciation for Mr. Murphy’s brilliance and unquestionable charisma. Let the great comeback continue…
– Chris Manson