The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has finally named a replacement for Elvis Mitchell, the movie critic who left in January to go to The New York Times: Christopher Kelly, a New York writer who has penned essays for Salon.com, Premiere, Out, and Film Comment.
Reached at his apartment in New York, Kelly, 26, says he applied for the gig when he saw an ad for the job on a Web site. He wrote two sample reviews for the paper: one on MI:2 (hated it), the other on Time Code (enjoyed it).
"I was worried, though, that they would think this meant I automatically trashed anything mainstream and loved all indie movies," Kelly says. "So I sent a long note explaining that, even though it looks like I have the usual critical pretensions, I'm not that way. I just like to have fun at the movies, go in with no preconceptions or grandiose philosophy."
If his magazine essays are any indication, though, he can also do the critical heavy lifting when necessary. His pieces show an intelligence, style, and humor that would, scare most papers. A piece for Salon, "Cruising Cruise," examines his attraction to Tom Cruise and the star's "state of almost constant sexual vulnerability." A story he penned for Film Comment takes a nuanced look at the failing of even good gay cinema. "Gay directors in the '90s," Kelly writes, "have focused almost exclusively on stories about gay men chasing after men they cannot have...[And] when this aspect of gay sexuality is the only one being offered on screen with any sort of intelligence...homosexuality starts to seem not so much like a part of one's identity as a bad habit that can't quite be shaken."
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Although he still hopes to do that sort of 3,000-word, long-form essay at the Star-T, Kelly knows he's going to have to keep it shorter most of the time. "I'm going to have to watch my verbosity," he says, laughing, "which isn't always easy for me."
The Dallas Morning News has hired Anne Bothwell, formerly an A&E editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, to be its new music editor. Folks at the News can't comment on the record to the Observer, so here's all I know about Bothwell: 1. She is not the woman of the same name mentioned in the Scottish tune "Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament"; 2. As a cops reporter in the mid-'90s, she became involved in a fairly high-profile open-records case involving the release of police department records on shootings by officers; 3. Her favorite Celestial Seasonings tea is Lemon Zinger. Seriously. I don't make this stuff up.