Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse is a deep dive into madness created by the isolation of Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
In order to actually talk about this movie I feel that we need to go back to the year 2015. The world would be subjected to the incredible directorial debut of Robert Eggers, The Witch. Now The Lighthouse is no The Witch because it is a completely different movie breed of its own. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play these two sailors who are stuck working on this island as Dafoe maintains the lighthouse which seems to have some weird powers. Here is the catch, these two men are slowly going mad and it all happens in an incredibly crafted way.
Now I understand at first glance this probably looks like the most pretentious film of 2019 because it is filmed on 35mm black and white film along with an immersive 4:3 aspect ratio. The thing is that there are films that seem to take these types of aspects and make it more important than the story. That is definitely not the case for this picture. Throughout the film it never feels like Eggers is sacrificing style for substance.
Robert Eggers crafts an incredible piece of art that is heavily supported by two one of a kind performances. The cinematography and creation of the atmosphere amplifies the sense of uneasiness throughout the film. Eggers truly creates a one of a kind film that was not easy to watch to say the least, but leaves you with shivers down your spine until the end. Pattinson absolutely loses himself in this role and along with some disturbing visuals left me speechless. Dafoe also does an incredible job with the several monologues and line delivery.
When I continue thinking about this movie I think about the fact that Eggers really stylized this picture and made it his own by taking influences from Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick to name a few. I cannot wait to see what Eggers does next and how this shapes up at next year’s Academy Awards.
Another movie this year which I chalked up to being “unnecessary”, but in this instance I still believe that. But, did I watch El Camino the second it dropped on Netflix? As Walter White once proclaimed, “You’re goddamn right.” I guess this review has a hint of spoiler territory if you’ve never seen the original six seasons of Breaking Bad. If this is the case, be sure to stop reading here and go watch the series as it is one of the best television moments to ever grace the airwaves.
When we last left off the story of Jesse Pinkman, he was driving off into the sunset in an El Camino stolen off the once living, meth dealing white supremacists whose corpses now littered the very compound they had been keeping Jesse hostage in. This all of course thanks to Walter White’s last minute heroics which included robots and a fully automatic machine gun (Seriously to all the readers, go watch Breaking Bad). Anyways, to me this was the perfect send off to a beloved character who was only supposed to get a very short episode arc, but due to Aaron Paul’s prodigious performance, he became the Oliver Hardy to Bryan Cranston’s Stan Laurel. This ending sees Jesse burst through the locked gate of his previous forced residence as we get a close-up to his face both laughing manically while crying tears of relief and delirium. It left all viewers who watched with the idea that Jesse, a character who had gone through hell during this last season, would have a happily ever-after. Vince Gilligan had capped off one of his greatest achievements with an ending that left most, if not all fans, satisfied.
A little more than six years later we get El Camino, whose existence is more of a love letter from Gilligan to the fans. Was it necessary? Far from it. Was it satisfying? Oh, hell yeah it was. The story starts right at the very ending of Breaking Bad and doesn’t slow down. We find that not all stories are straight forward and sometimes our characters go from the frying pan and into the fire. Fans of Breaking Bad will not lose that feeling of satisfaction by the end of this movie, but will have more details to go with it.
Seeing Aaron Paul back as his titular character is refreshing and getting call backs to conversations he had with his past castmates from Jonathan Banks to Bryan Cranston made me nostalgic for the series. Two characters whose portrayals must be recognized are that of Todd Alquist, played by Jesse Plemons, and Ed Galbraith, played by the now late Robert Forster (who passed away, the same day the movie was released, at the age of 78). These two characters help to provide the details of Jesse’s past and move the story forward into his future. All I can say is that it is a must to have the exact change when purchasing a vacuum.
Can a two hour movie provide the same quality as six seasons? No, but Vince Gilligan has penned a love letter to the fans that allows us to see some of our favorite characters one more time. For that, I am giving El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie a 9.25/10. YoungYoda out.
If life is a comedy, then for Arthur Fleck, no one is laughing. Though I’ve thrown out words to describe this movie previously, such as “unnecessary” or even to go as far as saying “a money grab” I must now eat them with a side of humble pie. Though there is no absolute Joker origin story, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have crafted an unsettling look into madness and what could have easily caused the Clown Prince of Gotham to put on the face paint. No, it wasn’t falling into a vat of chemicals or facial scars that created this Joker, but rather governmental budget cuts and an uncaring society who looked the other way time and again. Joker is eerily realistic in its portrayal of violence which can cause an anxiousness few films could ever attain (Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade being one of those…minus the violence of course). This movie does not shy away on its social commentary either, putting modern society’s gun violence, lack of attention and facilities for those with mental illnesses, and the widening wage gap right in our faces. For a movie about a clown there are no gags, few puns, but just raw manic emotion which will make all audiences wonder, “Where does Joaquin Phoenix go from here?” as he leaves it all on the screen. So, let’s all put on a happy face and be glad DC finally decided to take a risk and birthed a classic. YoungYoda out.
Ad Astra is a riveting melancholic experience through the void of space as Brad Pitt maneuvers the void not just outside of his ship but in his mind too.
In his newest directorial effort since 2016, James Gray ventures into the corners of a man’s psyche as he deals with his mission to rescue his absent father portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones. Brad Pitt plays the main character, Major Roy McBride who is contacted to go and rescue his father who is in the remnants of the “Lima Project.” Now why is this so important? Well, as it seems these surges threatening the Solar System seem to be coming from around that area. After learning about the truth of the history of the project, Major McBride decides that he is the only one who can go for his father.
If you are walking into this film expecting a spectacle like Gravity, Interstellar, or 2001: A Space Odyssey then you are walking into a completely different film from those three. James Gray constructs a film where the characters are at the forefront and the void of space is the backdrop. This distant void is what allows for Major McBride to explore the various feelings that are going through his head as he reaches closer and closer to his father. I am a huge fan of Brad Pitt’s performance in this film that with every word spoken there is an underlying sense of melancholy to Major McBride, and once he does get to his father the both of them work so well off each other.
An aspect of this film that is so interesting is the commercialization of space travel which is an aspect about space colonization that has not been explored. It really gets the mind thinking that maybe this is the most accurate possibility of how space travel will work. Maybe once we colonize the Moon we will throw a McDonald’s up there, and at least the zero gravity will cut construction costs for a play area. Other than the incredible performance, writing, and direction the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema is incredible and I feel like that statement inside of itself is an understatement. I was so blown away by this aspect that I am throwing a lock in for Oscar nominations and Hoyte Van Hoytema will one hundred and ten percent will be nominated for this picture.
Ad Astra is my favorite movie of this year so far and have not been this surprised by a film since 2018’s Hereditary. If you are looking for an incredible psychological space venture then this is the film to see this weekend.