Kendra Bean – Movie Blogger Interviews
This week’s guest on Critical Juncture is Kendra Bean, the lovely and talented lady behind Viv and Larry (and all its many permutations). Kendra Bean graduated with a BA in film and media studies from the University of California Irvine in 2006 and will start studying for her MA in film studies at King’s College in London this September. She is a lover of classic and foreign cinema, and loves researching and writing about movies. In 2007, she designed and launched www.vivandlarry.com, an online tribute to British stage and screen stars Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. Her other hobbies include traveling, photography, reading, and collecting vintage Hollywood memorabilia. She hopes to be a film historian after she finishes school.
In addition to her primary Viv and Larry site, you can also check out the following:
- Viv and Larry blog
- Vivien Leigh & Laurence Olivier Cinema Archive
- The Oliviers Facebook page
- Kendra’s personal blog
But what does Kendra Bean think about films that don’t feature Laurence Olivier or his lovely bride? Let’s find out…
Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Kendra Bean: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. This was my favorite movie until I was about 6 years old. I would make my mom rent it from the video store (along with a VCR) every weekend.
OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
KB: Shutter Island in the theatre–I liked it, but probably not as much as many other people did. The ending reminded me a lot of Identity with John Cusack, and that was disappointing. The last movie I watched on DVD was Bright Star, a beautiful film.
OGM: Is there a particular film that you feel is criminally underrated?
KB: Wuthering Heights (1939). It was one of the most acclaimed films of cinema’s greatest year, 1939, and now it’s not even on DVD here in the US. It’s a lovely film, and it seems like the only people who really show any occasional love for it are the good people at TCM.
OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
KB: Federico Fellini, and the Coen Brothers.
OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
KB: I think there are a lot of films that are important from an artistic standpoint. As I’m currently very much interested in classic British cinema, I’ll say Laurence Olivier’s Henry V (1945). This was his first venture as actor/director, and it was an entirely new way of presenting Shakespeare on screen. It also established Olivier as a strong representative voice for wartime Britain.
OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
KB: My personal favorite is Gone with the Wind. I will always credit it for helping me discover the world of classic films, and for making me want to pursue film in college and beyond.
OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
KB: Citizen Kane. It’s not that I don’t respect it, and I love Gregg Toland, the cinematographer, but I suppose any film that’s hailed as “the greatest American film of all time” is bound to annoy someone. It’s a good film (especially technically), but I don’t think it’s the “best” film, and it’s certainly not my favorite film.
OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
KB: I don’t think I have, although I’m sure I’ve wanted to on occasion.
OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
KB: Aside from feeding their personal opinions to the masses, I think it’s to educate viewers on how to watch films; how to take notice of certain things that may make a film better or worse, how to see things with a critical eye.
OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
KB: If things continue as they are now, I predict the death of cinema. Just kidding, but I do hope we can somehow go back to writing quality screenplays instead of always trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes with an overabundance of CGI. CGI and new technology are great, but I like to be engaged in the actual story. I like good dialog, good acting, and movies that actually have plots. Every time I run across an aspiring screenwriter, I always tell them to write good scripts. Right now, it really seems like mainstream Hollywood is scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to interesting material.
OGM: Here’s another chance to predict the future. Name a relatively unknown actor or actress who’ll be a huge star within five years.
KB: I’m a fan of Ben Whishaw. He was lovely as Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited and brilliant as John Keats in Jane Campion’s Bright Star. I think he’s really talented, and I hope he continues to get quality roles.
OGM: Who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
KB: Roger Ebert. I think he’s a great critic and a courageous person, as well. It’s obvious he loves cinema and I find him very inspiring. My other favorite is Peter Travers from Rolling Stone.
That’s all for this edition of Critical Juncture, but I want to thank Kendra Bean for taking the time to share her opinions on the art of cinema with us. I’ll be back next week with another movie critic or movie blogger, so be sure to join us here. Until then…
- Derek Miller of Bad Movie Realm
- Tim Buel from We Are Movie Geeks
- Matt Overstreet from The 8th Circuit