Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SMASH UP!: AN INTERVIEW WITH KIM MORGAN


Kim Morgan hashes it out with Richard Roeper

There’s a very good film blog, Nathaniel R’s Film Experience, I visit so often that I just assumed I had it linked on my sidebar. Up through this morning, it wasn’t. Now it is. Nathaniel is a spirited writer—I particularly liked his even-handed take on American Gangster-- and he has a recurring feature where he’ll grab a screenshot from the 20th minute and the 07th second of a random movie, just to see what’s there, that is a surprising amount of fun.

And you gotta get over there before the holiday wraps up just to get a look at the Thanksgiving-themed header he’s got going on at the top of the page.

Yesterday Nathaniel unwrapped a very special holiday treat for us all by sitting down with one of my favorite film writers, Kim Morgan, for 10 Questions. This interview, in addition to being a funny, carbonated look at one writer’s obsessions, gives you some thoughtful insight into the intelligence behind those obsessions, an intelligence swimming upstream against the tide of assumptions about film critics, particularly female film critics, in the polluted river of sensory overload and lack of connection with film history that is Hollywood. Kim has never been too shy about talking about those obsessions either, and her rapid-fire enthusiasm is, as Nathaniel’s interview with her vividly illustrates, contagious as hell. As I wrote in Nathaniel’s comments column, the piece perfectly captures Kim's fevered cinephilia, but also her sly humor, her lack of pretension and her giddy smarts, as well as her disdain about the level of film education that runs through Hollywood like a dry creek bed. If you're lucky enough to spend time with someone who combines all those qualities, you'll come away from a conversation with a definite buzz on. And that's what Nathaniel’s interview with Kim Morgan did for me.

Read and enjoy!

11 comments:

blaaagh said...

Wow, you're right about Ms. Morgan: she's terrific and energizing! Wish I knew her, too, but I will settle for reading her stuff and getting inspired to see some of her recommendations (I already agree with so many of her opinions). Thanks for the introduction!

Bob said...

Goodness and golly gee...and I always thought the Kim Morgan who wrote those capsule reviews at the Weekly was some ugly old dude. (Oh where do those stereotypes about film critics come from? Please don't say, "reality.") And she lives in my old neighborhood. Wow.

I feel safe in saying I've never had a crush on a film critic before. (Sorry, Pauline.)

Big thanks to you and Nathaniel for putting her on my radar screen.

The Mysterious Adr)ia*n B%etam!ax) said...

Yo, man, I thought you said you were gonna be low on posts for a week, then all of a sudden-- big flurry. Nice! I was all excited. So much to take in. Keep it up, nut job!

-The Mysterious Adr)ia*n B%etam!ax)

bill said...

She does seem like my kind of lady. I mean, she loved "Black Snake Moan", and rightly so.

Dennis, do you have plans to write a "Movie of the Moment" post for "No Country for Old Men"? Because holy crap, what a film.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Hi, all, and happy post-Thanksgiving!

I have a feeling Kim enjoyed reading these comments!

Bill: I kinda went movie-mad this weekend. I saw Hairspray and the unrated (otherwise known as the "how they would've released it in 1988" version) Live Free or Die Hard with the family on Thanksgiving. Then, after I finished up my class on Friday, a late-night DVD of Away from Her, the Alzheimer's drama starring Julie Christie, directed with an admirable lack of sentimentality by Sarah Polley. (Strange film to decompress with, perhaps, but it was 2:00 a.m., after all.) Then Saturday I saw The Mist, which now makes Frank Darabont 1-3 in my book-- I thought it was terrifying, about as good an adaptation of that Stephen King story as one could hope for, with a final act worthy of George A. Romero (I'll leave it at that). And right after The Mist I meandered into No Country for Old Men. Then last night the wife and I settled in for Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home, an excellent piece of work and good prep for the Todd Haynes movie. All in all, I don't rememeber such a high-quality holiday movie weekend in quite a while. And now that I have some time, I think I'd like to write about No Country. Jim Emerson and Matt Z. Seitz have been pretty complete on it, but I'd like to try my hand at working out some thoughts before I go back and catch up on what they have to say. I'll say this-- I think you and I will see eye-to-eye on this one.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Oh, and I meant to mention, as of today, Redacted is down to ONE THEATER screening ONCE A DAY in the greater Los Angeles area. Jesus, this has got to be the fastest De Palma has been shown the door since Wise Guys. I really hope to make it to West Hollywood for the 9:50 p.m. show some time this week.

bill said...

I really hate the "if-you-don't-like-this-you-don't-like-movies" attitude, which seems popular among a certain segment of internet critics. But I honestly am completely baffled by the fact some people -- some of them serious film lovers -- do not completely love "No Country for Old Men".

And correct me if I'm wrong, but you're a Coen fan from way back, aren't you? So no matter what other differences we have, we'll always have that.

Looking forward to "The Mist". It's amazing that it took that story so long to make it to the screen. And I continue to root for Thomas Jane to have a break-out hit.

PS - Is "Live Free or Die Hard" worth my time? I think I'll probably end up seeing it anyway, but I'm not very enthusiastic about the prospect.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Just thinking about my Thanksgiving bounty of movies has made me decide to write about the whole group of them. Which is not a way to evade your questions:

1) I can understand an incomplete love for it, but No Country for Old Men seems infused with the best of the Coen's technique and intelligence cross-wired with a mournful inevitability straight out of McCarthy, and Sam Peckinpah.

2) Yes, I've liked the Coens from Miller's Crossing on (even The Hudsucker Proxy). It took me a couple of times to "get" Raising Arizona. And I haven't seen Blood Simple since it was released, but I didn't think it was completely wonderful (though who could argue with M. Emmett Walsh?)

3) The house was packed for The Mist Saturday night. It certainly worked for the crowd. I hope this gets the boxoffice he should've had for that keen smart shark movie, the title of which escapes me now.

4) Yes. It's a lot of fun, very much in the mold of the first one, and gets increasingly funny as it goes on. Plus a good turn by Timothy Olyphant.

bill said...

Oh, see "Blood Simple" again! It's terrific, and probably the best work Walsh has ever done. The extended corpse-disposal sequence is a masterpiece in itself.

I'm also quite fond of "The Hudsucker Proxy". I've cooled on it slightly over the years, because some of the super-broad performances grate on me, but how can you not love that ending?

I was exaggerating to make a point, in regards to "No Country for Old Men", but I think it is so exquisite a piece of filmmaking on just about any level you care to mention (maybe not so much on the script/story level, as it is extremely faithful to McCarthy's book) that I simply have trouble understanding a differing opinion. I'm trying, but I can't get there yet.

I guess I'll save anything more specific until you actually write about it.

The Thomas Jane movie whose title was eluding you is, I believe, called "Smart Shark!: Attack of the Super Sharks". Something like that, anyway. Samuel L. Jackson is in it.

The Mysterious A|dri)an B;eta*max said...

A good turn by Timothy Olyphant?? He's the weak link that brings the film down, the lamest villain of the series. Turning my attention to the writers, his character's motivation for doing what he does is piss-poor! Anyway, I watched that film about 12 times at work, so I hope you enjoyed the captions and subtitles! But at work I noticed the UNRATED version is inferior to the theatrical version. You may notice they even snuck in extra "motherfucker"s whenever Bruce's head is turned (and once even when it isn't and his lips aren't moving) just to get the "UNRATED" feeling they were going for. Some lines have been replaced with really bad replacement lines. For instance, when he kills the helicopter with the police car, the line in the theatrical is "I ran out of bullets", but the UNRATED has replaced that with some weak line about automobile accident deaths and how that's just one more. I would personally recommend always watching the theatrical, and I'd be interested to hear anyone else's opinion who watched both. Oh, wait, you watched both! 'Cause you saw it in the theater I remember now. So maybe let me know what ya think, dude. Related topic: I am annoyed that Netflix always forces us to watch the UNRATED versions and doesn't make the theatrical versions available, because I'm finding in most cases the theatrical is the better one to watch.

-The Mysterious A|dri)an B;eta*max

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