Bright Wall/Dark Room

Bright Wall/Dark Room

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A different lens on films. No hot takes, lots of long reads.


-header art by Tony Stella-

Stories

Recent reviews

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is not a horror movie, but it is a scary movie. For children of certain generations, it was equal parts foundational and nightmare-inducing. Its script was wrestled away from Dahl and doctored and rewritten by The Omen writer David Seltzer into a punishing experience. I don’t mean that it is unpleasant to watch—weirdly, as an adult, it is a lurid little pleasure—but it carries what we of an annoying generation would call a “bad vibe.”

- Fran Hoepfner, Wonkavision

"When you are an Australian living in Britain or America, you soon come to accept that nobody—not even the people you know who are film people, the ones who really take the cinema seriously—has seen the films that you consider your country’s masterpieces. Often they haven’t even heard of them. Unless its title comes with the words Mad Max in front of it, it probably doesn’t register even as a name glimpsed once on a Top 100 list. I don’t…

"The Devils is not your edgy-for-the-sake-of-edgy middle finger to the Church many at the time took it to be. It’s, in fact, a very religious film made by a Catholic artist trying to make sense of his own faith."

- Ross Peterson, French History as Fever Dream: The Devils in ‘71

"When I stand in the Atlantic, I am impossibly multitudinal. I am not all here anymore. I am bound by tarsal digits in sand, sure, but I am also over there in that fan of foam water just off the beach, a corsage of chipped sea shell. And I am there, where the floor gets farther away and a body can start to tread or sink. I am in reverie with this great big blue thing, this lunging flower, this…

"If many of Steven Spielberg’s films are marathon novels, Duel is a sonnet—it has room to play because of its formal constraints."

- Elizabeth Cantwell, I Gave You The Road, Why Don’t You Take It?

"In the six-decade and soon-to-be-25 film oeuvre of the series, Diamonds Are Forever stands out as the most peculiar entry in the franchise thanks to its unintentional embrace of the surreal and the challenges it poses to its own pedigree and dogma."

- Kent M. Wilhelm, The Surrealist Bond

"Watching Tales of Beatrix Potter, I’m reminded of nothing so much as Louis Malle’s Black Moon or Jan Švankmajer’s Alice, two other films that take archetypes of children’s literature and give them a good twist of the screw to reveal the uncanny lurking beneath the surface. Adapting beloved children’s classics with such a moody sensibility seems so counterintuitive it approaches the transgressive—and in a lengthy Los Angeles Times profile on the production of Tales of Beatrix Potter, a studio publicist…

"In hindsight, Punishment Park seems both prescient and eternal, as much a part of the zeitgeist now as it was 50 years ago. Much of the liberal West is catching up to what Watkins knew all along: we might one day live up to our ideals of equality, justice, and freedom, ideals inscribed in those sacred documents that we love to invoke. But it will require a hard—and honest—look at the ugliness all around us, especially in our troubling past."

-Jason Christian (read the full essay here)