“Citizen Kane” – Wow

I’m not sure how it happened this way, but I recently watched Citizen Kane for the first time in about 5 years and was in awe of the whole damn thing. I was pretty much transfixed from the first frame to the last. Every 30 minutes or so I had to pause the DVD so I could turn to Jenny and say, “This is incredible!” She said, “I know, it’s awesome. We should be watching this all the time.” (Not an exact quote, but close enough.)

I could always appreciate it for its technical achievements — it’s difficult to find a movie even today that matches the innovation involved in just about every shot in Citizen Kane — but the story didn’t grab me. It grabs me now, though. And there’s not much I can say about it that hasn’t been said before, so I’ll just say, “Wow.” Citizen Kane is a powerhouse. What a great movie.

(The DVD also contains an audio commentary track by Roger Ebert, whose commentaries are exceptional, well-worth checking out.)

“Star Trek” is Tarantino’s Favourite Movie of 2009

He excludes Avatar, Invictus and The Lovely Bones because he hasn’t seen them yet, and he wants to watch some movies like District 9 again before he makes up his mind. But so far the list of his favourite 2009 movies begins with the new Star Trek movie as #1.

I will eventually write a gushing fanboy review of the movie, too, because I love it. I saw it three times in the theatre and was disappointed I didn’t get to see it a fourth time. It’s an exciting, re-energized Star Trek finally with good actors, good direction, excellent special effects and a story that respects the best aspects of the original Star Trek while elevating it to a whole new level.

(Via Jim Emerson who seems mostly annoyed by the new Star Trek movie.)

“Fanny and Alexander,” by Ingmar Bergman

The 5-hour version of Fanny and Alexander, not the meagre 3-hour theatrical cut. It’s a “slow paced human drama told with an artisan’s voice,” one that isn’t depressing or disturbing — which is a welcomed change for an Ingmar Bergman film.

The story focuses on the lives of a large affluent family in Sweden, particularly the pains and joys of two children in the family. It’s strange, funny, surreal at times, philosophical here and there, entertaining and compelling. (The opening sequence in the trailer is a bit slow, but things pick up once all the characters are introduced.) Definitely one of Bergman’s happier films and one of the few Xmas-time movies I enjoy watching this time of year.

My Take on “The Constant Gardener”

The Constant Gardener tells a somewhat conventional story about a man who tries to track down the people who murdered his wife and uncovers some dirty secrets about the pharmaceutical industry along the way. What could have easily been a ho-hum kind of movie, in the hands of Fernando Meirelles, the director of City of God — it shines.

César Charlone, the director of photography, and Claire Simpson, the editor, should get some credit, too. Altogether, they create a style, a look and feel, that is striking and dramatic on its own. The camera moves nervously and is always just a bit off-centre. The colours are either vibrant or a lifeless grey, often both at the same time. The editing has a strange, uncomfortable rhythm. Throw into the mix some actors like Ralph Fiennes who really know what they’re doing, and you’ve got yourself a pretty damn good movie. Fernando Meirelles has become a director I’ll watch just to see what he does next.