On Demand: ’The Lighthouse’ is dark, distinctive and difficult
Here are some interesting new releases available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title currently available for streaming.
Video on Demand
"The Lighthouse": Set off the New England coast in the 1890s, this stylish new drama from Robert Eggers ("The Witch") stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two remote lighthouse keepers. The two men share the cramped and rustic titular structure as they alternate shifts. For a while, it seems as though they might actually enjoy each other’s company, but the feeling is short-lived after a combination of very heavy drinking and bad weather subsequently wreaks havoc on their living quarters. Shot on 35mm film stock and photographed in black and white in the boxy 1.19:1 aspect ratio of early silent films, cinematographer Jarin Blaschke manages to capture incredible shadows and image levels that look like pure black ink pouring off the screen and frame the imagery as though you are flipping through a turn-of-the-century scrapbook. Far from easy viewing, this is one of the wildest and most distinctive films of 2019. The movie is up for five Independent Spirit Awards including best male lead, best supporting male and best director. (Cable and digital VOD)
"Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood": Quentin Tarantino returns with a sun-kissed nostalgia trip about an aging actor named Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his best friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Set in the late ’60s in Hollywood, their story intersects with a bizarrely fascinating "what if" twist to the life of actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and then-husband Roman Polanski who just so happen to live next door to Dalton. At 161 minutes, the pacing is more than a little meandering, but the overall design and attention to visual detail are simply gorgeous. Shot entirely on film with no CGI, it won three Golden Globes, including best motion picture - musical or comedy, and is certain to earn plenty of Academy Awards attention. (Cable and digital VOD, 4K Ultra HD available)
Also on streaming services
"Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins": Janice Engel's heartfelt documentary takes a deep dive into the life of Texas treasure Molly Ivins. With over three decades of sharp political commentary under her belt, she wrote for many publications including The Texas Observer and The Dallas Morning News before becoming syndicated across the country. Engel covers the good and the bad — from Pultizer Prize nominations to hit books and even her struggles with alcohol. Her writing is put in context by friends and colleagues like Paul Krugman, Rachel Maddow and Dan Rather, but the film rightfully lets Ivins tell her own story through archival footage and television interview clips. (Hulu)