A different lens on film. No hot takes, lots of long reads. (And now a podcast, too.)
Arizona in a Handbasket | Raising Arizona (1987) Bright Wall/Dark Room
You’re Gonna Give Me Back My Spur | Near Dark (1987) Bright Wall/Dark Room
The BW/DR Podcast, Episode #14: The Conversation (1974) Bright Wall/Dark Room
We Never Leave That Room: A Watcher’s Guide to Videodrome Bright Wall/Dark Room
Mommy Dearest: On the spectatorship of 'Psycho' and 'Santa Sangre' Bright Wall/Dark Room
Watching | Adaptation (2002) Bright Wall/Dark Room
You Think I Can’t See You for Who You Really Are? | Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Bright Wall/Dark Room
Himself, on Purpose | The Color of Money (1986) Bright Wall/Dark Room
Can't Miss Film Recommendations 50 films
Twitter-curated, BW/DR approved: "What’s the movie you have the highest success rate with when recommending to friends?"
(Top 20 in…
A list of the top 20 films from 2021, compiled from overall votes by the BW/DR editorial staff. Full, individual…
Cry Baby Cry 50 films
Twitter-curated, BW/DR approved: A list put together from over 7000 responses to the question, "The hardest you’ve ever cried during…
Don't see your favorite film from 1987 on the list? Drop it in the comments :)
Individual staff lists & words here: www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2019/12/02/best-films-of-the-decade/
"Videodrome is a film that begins as it ends, or ends as it begins. It is a strange, cathode-tubed ouroboros—the ancient symbol for the cycle of destruction and rebirth—in which the film’s ending repeats and then destroys and then possibly rebirths its beginning, a phosphorescent loop of UHF philosophizing, pixelated eroticism, and goregasmed genre Grand Guignolitry.
It begins with a flush of beams exploding across a television screen in a dark living room, cohering into the image of a woman…
"The weight of nonstop surveillance was no mere paranoia: as the film establishes in its opening scenes, the climate of fear, suspicion, and mistrust was deeply embedded in the fabric of what the film’s characters call the “System.” In that way, The Lives of Others resembles a filmic version of the panopticon, a social experiment initially introduced by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century to be used principally as a strategy of surveillance in prisons, schools, and factories.…
"For all the times throughout the film when Margot expresses, clearly and directly—to a husband, a doctor, or a lover—how scared she is, not one person, instance, or image gets close to unearthing what it is she’s scared of. The people around her perceive her fright as another manifestation of her derangement, a symptom to be treated. I kept waiting for a doctor to send her out for a seaside cure, to get some fresh air—and indeed, at one point,…
"If quick world-building is usually key to audience buy-in, rapid-fire world-building like this may actually have the opposite effect. Lynch piles on his signature moves relentlessly: the angled shot of the ceiling, canted just enough to destabilize the viewer; the close-ups on distorted facial expressions; the caricature of the possibly insane mother; the over-the-top violence executed with glee; the actors who have clearly been made to understand that their roles are simultaneously serious and farcical—commedia dell’arte-adjacent. You’d be forgiven for…
"I am not clever but I do love Pirates of the Caribbean. I know these splaying, heaving films won’t rescue us from this most current apocalypse, but I do think they indicate something aching and almost unsayable about the way we live and move and die in this world. I think take what you can/give nothing back is a necessary rephrasing of all for one/one for all. I think it’s how we get out beyond the end."
-Frank Falisi, Over The Edge, Over Again
"In Todd Haynes’ idiosyncratic Bob Dylan biopic, I’m Not There, six different actors—Ben Whishaw, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, and Marcus Carl Franklin—portray the folk legend under various aliases through divergent phases of his career and persona. While the film features several inspired leaps, few other than Blanchett are as audacious as reimagining Dylan as a young African American kid.
Dylan bought into the artistic temptation for rock artists to create new identities—an alter ego guided by…
"There might not be any identity in modern pop culture more disdained or pitied than the one-hit wonder. A paradox, the one-hit wonder is talented enough to produce a hit song that shoots to prominence, but doomed enough never to reproduce that initial success. Often, this is because the initial, successful song totally overshadows everything else they do. In other words, a monkey’s paw—the curse of a song being too good.
The designation of a one-hit wonder doesn’t fall upon…
"And yet, in spite of the Total Request Live and low-cut bootleg pants of it all, Josie and the Pussycats captures—and then eviscerates—the bizarre contours of early-2020s culture with more clarity than any piece of contemporary media to date."
- Kellie Herson, Josie and the Pussycats is the Most Prescient Movie Ever