The Best Films of 2016

In our very first episode of 2017, the BW/DR podcasters - Andrew Root, Chad Perman, Lauren Wilford, and Fran Hoepfner - look back at their favorite films of 2016, discussing Arrival, The Witch, La La Land, The Handmaiden, The Lobster, Manchester by the Sea and more. They also make a few movie-based resolutions for the coming year and talk about the films they're most excited for in 2017! 

Friends & Enemies: The Magnificent Seven(s) Samurai

In this episode of the BW/DR Podcast, Senior Editor Andrew Root and magnificent guest Fran Hoepfner discuss Anton Fuqua's 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven (starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio et al). We look at how this new film stacks up against Fuqua's previous film, The Equalizer as well at the original 1960 Magnificent Seven and the "original-original" Seven Samurai. Andrew and Fran also ponder what to do with Chris Pratt, whether friendship plays a part in this type of film, and discuss how people make friends in the first place.

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BW/DR Shorts: Beauty and the Beast

In this edition of BW/DR Shorts, we interview writer/illustrator Sarah J. Shockey about her comic adaptation of Beauty & the Beast, as well as a handful of TV, film and stage adaptations of the classic fairy tale (including Sarah's on-air first impression of *that* publicity photo of Disney's 2017 Lumiere & Cogsworth). What is it about fairy tales that makes them so rich for adaptation? What role does film technology play in telling a story? What precipitated the cancellation of the 1987 TV series starring Linda Hamiton and Ron Perlman? 

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Anna Karenina

In conjunction with our new Literary Adaptations issue, BW/DR editors Andrew Root, Fran Hoepfner and Lauren Wilford take a look at Joe Wright's 2012 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel, Anna Karenina. How does an 800+ page, multi-part book make the transition to a two-hour long film? Is it even possible to adapt Tolstoy in a way that will satisfy audiences? We discuss Wright's directorial flourishes, the casting of Keira Knightley, Aaron Taylor-Johnston, and Jude Law, whether the film works intellectually, emotionally, both or neither—and the often severe critical response to this story of love, longing, betrayal, family, loyalty and "janky attractions" to young cavalry officers. Does this version deserve love, or should it throw itself beneath the wheels of the train? Listen to find out!

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Steven Spielberg

In honor of our July issue, Andrew, Chad, and Karina discuss all things Steven Spielberg, including the director's stylistic hallmarks and signature themes, their favorite (and least favorite) Spielberg films, his contribution to film history (for better or worse), and a trivia game which reveals some truly bizarre facets of Spielberg's life. Where does War Horse fall on the spectrum of good to bad? Can we trust what Shia LaBeouf says about the man? And just what is the deal with Richard Dreyfuss? Answers to all these questions and more on this month's podcast!

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Golden Vanity

In this edition of the Bright Wall/Dark Room Podcast, Senior Editor Andrew Root talks with the creative team behind "the first one-woman feature film," Golden Vanity. Writer/director Max Abram and writer/producer Taylor Minas talk about developing the movie with their independent production company, Occasional Ghosts, over the course of a year and then filming it in five days, the difficult life of Judy Garland, stage parents, why so many actresses fell (and continue to fall) in the Hollywood factories, and what it means to enter into the often-complicated relationships between actor and audience. Their film tells the story of Mabel Montgomery Mayflower (Melora Hardin), an aging actress who storms an awards show, assaults the Best Actress winner and escapes to the Hollywood Hills to drunkenly record her life story before the police can show up to arrest her. 

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BW/DR Debates: Steven Spielberg's A.I.

Misunderstood masterpiece or disappointing cinematic experience? Editor-in-Chief Chad Perman and recently departed Managing Editor Elizabeth Cantwell debate the merits and frustrations of the Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubrick hybrid, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

We'd love to hear your thoughts on our thoughts. Are you an A.I. fan, an A.I. hater, or somewhere in between? Find us on twitter or leave a note in our comments section - we'd love to keep the conversation going. 

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Unloved & Overlooked Movies

We're looking at unloved & overlooked films this month and making a case for why you should care. Elizabeth, Andrew, and Kelsey are joined by a special guest, poet Arielle Greenberg, to discuss some of their favorite unloved movies:

1:54  Cult Films vs. Unloved Films  
9:14  Afternoon Delight, Crooklyn, Human Nature (Arielle's picks)  
19:29  J.J. Abrams' Lens Flares & Lucy (Andrew's picks)  
31:50  Sabrina & The Truth About Cats and Dogs (Kelsey's picks)  
37:53  Burn After Reading (Elizabeth's pick)  
41:22  Overrated/Backlash Films (Life is Beautiful, The Artist, etc)  
46:25  The BW/DR Movie Poster Game

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Scary Movies And Other Things That Freak Us Out

With Halloween just a few short days away, we're looking at our personal scariest movie moments in this month's all new BW/DR podcast. Elizabeth, Chad, and Kelsey are joined by special guest Karina Wolf—who came prepared with her very own "Which Horror Movie Are You?" matrix—for a wide-ranging discussion on movies, fear, anxiety, dreams, theories, and a brand new gameshow-like ending segment from Elizabeth.

Topics include: 

"Too Smart for Strangers, with Winnie the Pooh"I Know My First Name is Steven" (tv miniseries), The Face on the Milk Carton (book), The Jinx, David Lynch/David Cronenberg, Crimson Peak, American Psycho9 to 5In DreamsThe Sixth SenseDesperately Seeking Susan & what to do with Madonna (read Karina's essay in the new issue!), the almost romance between Robert Redford and Brad Pitt in Spy Game, Jaws theories (read Elizabeth's piece from July 2014), a theory about Freddie Prinze Jr. and Michael Cera, The Voyager Golden RecordThe Tree of LifeMargaret, BoyhoodHamlet, and movie posters.

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Coming of Age

Do you remember what it feels like to grow up? Because in this month's episode, we’re here to remind you.

We’re diving headfirst back into adolescence, looking at how movies have tried—successfully and not so successfully—to capture teenagers on screen over the past few decades. Chad, Elizabeth, and Michelle discuss a handful of their favorites, look at what makes for a good "teen" movie in general, and reflect on how glad they are to never have to be teenagers ever again.

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The Paris Heartbreak Edition

This month we go to Paris! Or, more precisely, we reflect on memories of time spent falling in and out of love in The City of Lights. Chad, Andrew, Kelsey, and Michelle discuss their past Parisian adventures and take a look at some of their favorite Paris-based films (predictably, "Amelie" gets plenty of airtime).

Also: how can you accurately capture Paris on film? Is that even possible?

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BW/DR Shorts: Halt and Catch Fire

In this week’s episode, BW/DR’s managing editor Elizabeth Cantwell interviews her husband, Chris, the co-creator of AMC’s "Halt and Catch Fire", about basically everything: the creative process, behind-the-scenes HACF stuff, the critical narrative around Season One vs Season Two, the history of the internet, Gorillas in the Mist, shipping, your Twitter questions, and how being in a relationship with her helped him grow as a writer. Part backstage story, part inside scoop, part couples therapy, and always hilarious–it’s a new kind of BW/DR interview experience.

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Comedy Comfort Food

This month, in honor of our new "Funny Bones"issue, we try valiantly to explain why we like funny things. It's harder than you'd think.

6:55: The Philadelphia Story (Chad)

21:30: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Michelle)

35:00: Tommy Boy (Andrew)

57:00: Twitter's Favorites/Goodbye