Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sunset Gun: Better Know a Blogroll Link, Part 3

Kim Morgan and her Torino

In addition to running the Sunset Gun film and music blog, Kim Morgan frequently contributes posts about film to The Huffington Post and MSN Movies. She was the "DVDuesday" reviewer on The Screen Savers before the program morphed into Attack of the Show (Film Threat's Chris Gore assumed the "DVDuesday" duties after her departure).

Hey Robert Osborne, hire Kim to be your next co-host on TCM's The Essentials. Unlike current Essentials co-host Rose McGowan, she won't annoy me with post-movie commentary about why Seven Samurai, a film recently featured on The Essentials, is inferior to the remake, The Magnificent Seven. McGowan's biggest gripe with Seven Samurai--one of my favorite films--is that it's overlong. WTF? For a film that's "too long," Seven Samurai is one of the least tedious ever made.

So McGowan prefers the good but not great Magnificent's sometimes stilted dialogue and direction (the filmmakers enlisted Elmer Bernstein to spruce up the film's rather lethargic pace, hence Bernstein's fantastic score) and its flat depictions of the peasant characters (they talk like the villager mice in Speedy Gonzales cartoons) over Samurai's more complex characterizations and more intense and mesmerizing action sequences? It's like if someone had to choose between The Wire and CSI: Miami to take along with them as a desert island disc box set and that person went with CSI: Miami. You lost me there, Cherry Darling.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite posts by Kim.

"Sexy Sleaze with Cheese--'70s Cop Shows on DVD":
The show's range in quality but they all reveal a mutual commonality--though a brilliant era for film and probably the last real sleazy FUN anyone had, the '70s were hard. Hard on people's faces. I don't know if it was the drugs, the clothes, the film stock, the lighting, the jaded post '60s malaise or the surge of swingin' Auto-Focus-esque divorced men, but everyone looks tough and sun-damaged. If you assume someone is 30, they're probably in real life, 20. And 40? Who the hell knows? In their polyester double knits, bad toupees, sweaty urine tinted undershirts, crinkled brows and hairy chests, everyone looks about 50. The '70s was a great time to be an unattractive character actor. You're fat, old and like to wear tight red pants? You've got the part!
'I'll be like the Iron Chef of pounding vag.'

"Sunset Gun's Ten Best Movies Of 2007":
This is the movie that the obnoxious, overrated, trying-way-too-hard Juno should have been. Smart teenagers not straining to be quirky and clever -- Jonah Hill and the great Michael Cera simply are clever. And smart. And not pulling quips out of some screen-written arsenal -- they're natural ("honest to blog" they are!). And the soul and funk soundtrack is an absolutely perfect celebration of teenage energy, sexuality and hope. I want to tongue kiss whoever decided to keep the movie devoid of any twee music. Seriously, I do. Preferably with a Curtis Mayfield song blasting.
'Deadly Kiss Me'? Who came up with that title? Yoda?

"Kiss With a Bang--'Kiss Me Deadly'":
There are so many masterful opening shots, some I find works of genius or some I simply love. But the more I thought about it, the more I drifted back to where my mind always manages to drift back to — stark, hard-boiled cruelty, paranoia, insanity and psycho sexual angst — so there it was again, Kiss Me Deadly.
'Hey, you missed the exit to Safeway! I need milk! Turn this car around!'

"Car Power":
Bullitt actually makes me think Mustangs are not the most obvious "muscle" car you can own. Still, the villain's car, the 1968 Dodge Charger was much, much cooler.
'They say all native Californians come from Iowa.'

"One Brilliant Ball Of Fire":
All dolled up in pom-pom heels, creamy sweaters and dramatically lined lips, Stanwyck's Phyllis, who's not as young as she used to be and not quite as lush, can't hide the poison within her. And her chemistry with MacMurray sizzles as they swap barbs and coos (co-written by Raymond Chandler from a James M. Cain crime novella) with sleazy ease. They yearn for more, but Stanwyck, the prototypical noir siren, seems perfectly aware of how fatalistic this kind of dream really is. Sometimes murder really does smell like honeysuckle.
The best film writers do the following: they get you interested in films you're unfamiliar with, they make you see things that you never noticed before in past films you've watched, they leave their egos at the door and they manage to do it all with a sense of humor. The unpretentious and not-so-annoyingly-tweedy Kim Morgan is one such writer.

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