Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane

Click here for more Film Jockeys by Derek Bacon

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Welcome to another edition of the Reject Recap, where we highlight the past week’s best news and original features from this very movie site and others around the web. You might notice the format is slightly different this time around. You also might notice that we’ve only selected stuff posted to FSR. Part of this is because I’m at a film festival this weekend and didn’t have as much time to browse our friends’ sites. Part is because our writers banged out a lot of great stuff the past few days. Surely you’ll agree while playing catch up. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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From placing Citizen Kane in a modern, Murdoch-filled context to getting really close up with Joan of Arc, Landon Palmer and I have been re-examining the Sight & Sound Top Ten, and we’re hoping we learned something. Today, we’ll compare notes and see how the list has rewritten history for silent films, elevated “serious” work and acted as a queue-filling reminder that there are always more amazing movies to discover. Download Episode #155

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Apocalypse Now

This content series is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more. It’s widely known that Quentin Tarantino worked at a video store before making it big, but it’s a widely held misconception that he earned his movie education while restocking the shelves of Video Archives. The filmmaker told MSN in 2009: “I want to clear something up about this. People always say I became a movie expert by working in a video store. I was employed by the video store because I was a movie expert. Before I went to Video Archives, I’d get the TV guide every week and read it cover to cover. Look at every movie playing. Circle all the movies I was gonna record. When I first discovered Howard Hawks, I spent a year and a half reading the TV guide and they played about 80 per cent of his entire oeuvre on Los Angeles TV.” Obviously, “Watch as Many Movies as Possible,” isn’t much of a secret, but it’s a more honest, tougher-to-take method for success than our vision of Tarantino soaking up movie knowledge through osmosis in Manhattan Beach. The secret involves a lot more homework. In that same spirit, here are 3 other secret ingredients that made great films as great as they are (and in some cases, possible at all).

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Citizen Kane

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius are using the Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the greatest movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they discuss the fortitude it took to make Citizen Kane with a still-powerful William Randolph Hearst ready to respond with fire; they imagine a modern equivalent taking on a pre-scandal Rupert Murdoch; and they explore the irony inherent in the movie’s treatment of journalism.

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Drinking Games

Last week, Sight & Sound released its latest poll on the greatest films of all time. In a surprising upset, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo unseated Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane as the top film since 1962. This news caused a stir in the film community, and thanks to a suspicious and sizeable donation from the Charles Foster Kane Memorial Fund, we have put together a drinking game to drown your film snob sorrows in while you watch Citizen Kane. It may not be considered the best any more, but it’s still pretty damned good.

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Whoa. After weeks of anticipation, the seventh Sight & Sound Poll has finally revealed the results of its 2012 poll, and those results kick off with one eye-popping surprise. After fifty years of supremacy, Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane has fallen from its top spot on the critics’ poll (with 846 critics voting), with no less than Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo taking the top prize. Citizen Kane has held the number one spot since 1952, but Vertigo has steadily been creeping up the list for years now. It first appeared as a close runner-up in 1972, before moving on to the list in the 7th spot in 1982, followed by a jump to 4th in 1992 and a heel-nipping 2nd in 2002. The critics’ list also includes three new entries – The Searchers, Man With the Movie Camera, and The Passion of Joan of Arc, effectively jettisoning old standbys like Battleship Potemkin, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Godfather.  Meanwhile, the directors’ list (in only its third incarnation, and with 358 directors voting) also booted Citizen Kane from their number one, instead bestowing the honor on Ozu Yasujiro‘s Tokyo Story, with 2001: A Space Odyssey shutting Welles out from even the second spot. The directors also held on to The Godfather and 8 1/2, but changed things up considerably by including new entries like Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, and The Mirror, and leaving off old favorites like Raging Bull, Seven Samurai, and Rashomon (amongst others). The BFI posted the results with comments from […]

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This post is probably not what you think. There are no LOLCats, no Rage Comic stick men bellowing about the superiority of The Dark Knight and Inception. It’s not really a love letter to modernity. But it’s also not Sight & Sound‘s decennial Top Ten List. That prestigious publication has done great work since even before polling critics in 1952 to name the best movies of all time. They’ve recreated the experiment every ten years since (with filmmakers included in 1992), and their 2012 list is due out soon. However, there is certainly overlap. The FSR poll includes only 37 critics (and 4 filmmakers), but we’re young and have moxy, and none of us were even asked by Sight & Sound for our considerable opinion. That’s what’s fascinating here. The films nominated by those invited by S&S have the air of critical and social importance to them. They are, almost all, serious works done by serious filmmakers attempting to make serious statements. This list, by contrast, is the temperature of the online movie community in regards to what movies are the “greatest.” The results might be what you expect. But probably not.

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The Holiday Gift Guide: DVD and Blu-ray

Merry Christmas movie/TV/goat-cheese lovers! As part of our week-long gift guide extravaganza thingamajig we’ve put together a list of Blu-rays, DVD and a few other ideas for you to use when shopping for others or for putting on your own Christmas list. Or both. Some of the films below are from years past, but they all hit Blu-ray and/or DVD this year so they totally count for this gift guide. Click on the links to be magically transported to Amazon, AmazonUK and other places where lovely things can be found.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as holeinmyshower and RepWeiner08 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two wonder whether fans should educate themselves before hopping into a movie. Can the movie-going experience be made better by a little research before getting our ticket ripped or should we be able to go blindly into the darkness and expect great entertainment?

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Charles Foster Kane’s mustache was getting a little gray. Or a little sepia. It’s hard to tell. The immortal film of the fictional man’s life (based on a non-fictional man) will be coming to Blu-ray this September (alongside iTunes, On Demand, VUDU and Amazon Instant Video) as a 70th anniversary edition, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, a ton of work has been done to give it a digital facelift. The money quote comes from Warners Imaging Colorist Janet Wilson: “The work to re-create the original look of the film and to clean up the effects of aging was a painstaking, frame-by-frame process. The source for most of the picture was a 4K scan from a 1941 composite fine grain positive master.” It will no doubt look pristine and no doubt look nothing like the movie we know (which is what happened with Beauty and the Beast recently). Still, it will be fascinating to see Citizen Kane done in such a different way, and any excuse to watch it again is a good one. Also, any excuse to grow a mustache is a good one. Are you looking forward to seeing Kane on Blu-ray and/or growing a sweet ‘stache for the occasion?

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Culture Warrior

You hear the phrase “This movie could never be made today” quite often, and it’s typically a thinly veiled means by which a creative team allows themselves to administer loving pats on their own backs. But in the context of at a 35th anniversary exhibition of the restoration of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver with a justifiably disgruntled Paul Schrader in attendance, such a sentence rings profoundly and depressingly true. Like many of you, I’ve seen Taxi Driver many times before. For many, it’s a formative moment in becoming a cinephile. But I had never until last weekend seen the film outside of a private setting. And in a public screening, on the big screen, I’m happy to say the film still has the potential to shock and profoundly affect viewers so many decades on. For me personally it was the most disturbing of any time I’d ever seen the film, and I was appropriately uncomfortable despite anticipating the film’s every beat. Perhaps it was because I was sharing the film’s stakes with a crowd instead of by myself or with a small group of people, or perhaps the content comes across as so much more subversive when projected onto a giant screen, or perhaps it was because the aura of a room always feels different when the creative talent involved is in attendance. For whatever reason, I found the film to be more upsetting than in any other context of viewing. But one of the most appalling moments of Taxi […]

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Criterion Files

Film noir is a much-debated subject amongst cinephiles. It’s often argued to be a genre or an aesthetic, yet any definition designating it as either typically encounters generality and contradiction. Noir takes on many forms. It’s indefinite, but somehow you know it when you see it. In order to pursue a greater understanding of film noir, Adam and I are devoting the next four weeks to examining films noir from various directors, schools of style, and histories from around the globe. So here, an examination of Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949), is the inaugural entry in a month of analysis we’ve decided to call “Noir-vember.”

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Criterion Files

Every week in October, Criterion Files will be bringing you a horror movie from the archives of classic cinema or the hallways of the arthouse. This week’s entry takes a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s Hollywood debut, Rebecca (1940). While some would argue (and by “some” I mean Cole Abaius) that Hitchcock only made two films that could uncontestably be identified as horror – Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963) – Rebecca is an interesting point of inception for themes covered throughout the auteur’s American career and is a film that engages in literary forms of the horror genre. Especially when seen as a ghost story.

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Culture Warrior

The Social Network is nothing new, but that’s kind of the point. Its structure creates a story of uniquely American ingenuity, individualism, and capital that we’ve seen often, one that follows beat-for-beat the formula of young, ambitious, humble beginnings to meteoric rise toward contested success to the people that really mattered being inevitably pushed out of the way. It is in The Social Network’s belonging to that subgenre which draws apt comparison to films like Citizen Kane, Sweet Smell of Success, or There Will Be Blood – not qualitative comparisons, mind you (the very title of Citizen Kane has become an inescapable and meaningless form of hyperbole in that regard), but comparable in terms of basic narrative structure and genre play. Such narratives are perhaps more common in films depicting less legitimate business practices – gangster films – which also catalog the rise in stature but fall in character of an outcast who uses the system for their own advantage. From starry-eyed associations with questionable made men (Timberlake’s Sean Parker and the debaucheries of success associated with him) to the inevitable “hit” on one’s kin in the best interest of the business (Zuckerberg and Parker firing Eduardo Saverin), The Social Network is something of a Goodfellas for geeks. Why is it that the first major studio film about the phenomenon of social networking feels like such a familiar movie? Why does it resort to well-honed, expertly crafted but familiar cinematic territory instead of pioneering unexplored terrain analogous to the phenomenon […]

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. What’s something you wish had been included in a movie that wasn’t? This is broad, and falls under a large ‘missed-opportunities’ umbrella, but I’m studying Citizen Kane in my film class, and my professor pondered aloud at one point, “Why doesn’t Thompson visit Kane’s first wife? Well,” he continued, answering himself, “it would tell us nothing different from Leland’s flashback.” It’s a big class, and I lacked the courage to speak up, “Um, respected doctor of film? His first wife died in a car accident with his son.” This made me wonder. That little fact is barely noticeable; it’s slipped in in the “News on the March” section and never spoken of again. We never see Kane’s reaction to the disaster. – Reed A

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Since no one calls it over-rated, we might as well take a look at the #2 Movie of All Time.

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Citizen Kane

Landon Palmer takes a look at one of the most hotly debated topics in the history of film — that of the best there ever was, and whether or not Citizen Kane is it.

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All month long we celebrate Best Picture Nominees that didn’t win. This week we take a look at a doomed production that churned out a brilliant film.

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Every Sunday in February, Film School Rejects presents an Oscar Nominee for Best Picture that was made before you were born and tells you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Movies presents Citizen Kane.

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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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