Showing posts with label Citizen Kane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Citizen Kane. Show all posts

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Six of the Best... First Films

Some film directors are able to maintain success over several decades and get bums on seats or haul awards for almost every film. A select few are able to do both. Whether successful or not, every director has to start somewhere. Steven Spielberg started promisingly with Duel in 1971 and Martin Scorsese’s debut Who’s That Knocking at My Door has its charms but neither film set the world alight. Some director’s though burst onto the scene with critically acclaimed works in what is their debut feature. With often minimal experience, little support and tight budgets, several directors have created debut films which astound audiences and critics alike. Here are Six of the Best…

1. Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Although he had shot the amateur My Best Friend’s Birthday in the mid to late 1980s, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was his first real feature. A dialogue driven heist movie, the film was a hit on its initial release and has since gained cult status. Many of the tropes that have come to define the director’s career are evident in the movie and a lot of people, including myself, still consider it amongst his best work. Its bold, violent approach set it apart from the action heavy thrillers of the time and an impeccably neat script not only impressed audiences but also the actor Harvey Keitel who liked it so much that he co-funded, produced and agreed to star in the movie. The direction is slightly more conventional than in his later work but is still recognisably ‘Tarantino’ with long, slow dialogue heavy scenes interspersed with frantic action and innovative camera movement. Reservoir Dogs was released independent of the major studios and as such it afforded the director the freedom rarely found in modern cinema to follow his ideas through to completion unmolested.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Citizen Kane

If you were to talk about the best video game ever made, you might describe it as ‘The Citizen Kane of video games’. You might describe New York City as ‘The Citizen Kane of cities’. Personally I mentioned in my review of The Room that it’s known as ‘The Citizen Kane of bad movies’ Citizen Kane has come to be used as a bench mark for all that is great. The best of the best. The top ‘thing’ in any particular field. This of course arose due to the 1941 films’ long held standing of being the greatest motion picture ever made. For fifty years it topped Sight and Sound’s poll of the ten best movies of all time, it is listed as the AFI’s top movie and is currently battling for top spot with one other on my Ultimate Greatest Films of All Time list which is under construction at time of writing.

To my great shame I’d never seen the movie until today. I’m twenty-seven, have been interested in film for nearly a decade and have been writing about the medium for over a year yet I’d never seen the ‘greatest of them all’. If I’m honest I can’t put my finger on why. The movie wasn’t difficult to track down; I have no issue with the black and white, the time period or the subject matter. I think I’ve narrowed down my reasons to two things. The first is the title. Citizen Kane doesn’t do anything for me and as titles go I don’t think it’s particularly strong but I think the main reason was that I was afraid of disappointment. So many times since I began to write my thoughts on film I have been let down and then let down my readers when I didn’t get or didn’t like classic, highly rated films. I think The Lion King is poor, I gave North by Northwest 6/10 and much of 8 ½ was lost on me. It was with great trepidation then that I recently took the plunge and bought Citizen Kane on Blu-ray. And was I disappointed? The short answer to that question is, no. A slightly longer answer is No, I wasn’t and for a longer answer still, you can read the next 1,110 words.