Yes, my blog has somewhat faltered/sputtered/tottered of late. Blame it on me moving to a new city and starting a new job. You might say DC has me – wait for it – swamped. Anyway, onwards!
Citizen Kane directed by Orson Welles
Curiosity convinced me to watch Citizen Kane and see whether it lived up to all the hype. Citizen Kane is a film about a man who achieved it all – fame, fortune, power – only to lose it all because of his gradual slide into meglomania. On the whole, I found the film adequate. It did an okay job making Kane’s personal and professional journey interesting. And Orson Welles did an okay job playing the role of a great man gone mad. Unfortunately, the plot was a bit sensationalist (did he really have to be the greatest and the best at everything?). As for Welles himself, he didn’t capture Kane’s insanity well enough (a guy who lives alone in a fortress is probably more than a little quirky).
Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen is back and (almost) brilliant as ever. Owen Wilson stars as Gil Pender, a Hollywood screenwriter stuck in a loveless relationship in the City of Love. Thanks to time-travel (or hallucinations?), Pender discovers a way to mingle with the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso in the famed Parisian art salons. I thought the film was okay. As usual, Woody Allen put an interesting spin on the otherwise mundane. The time-travel bit added just enough spice to make this something more than a run-of-the-mill “finding yourself” film. But there were issues with the dialogue (stilted) and acting (sterile) that took away from what was otherwise a good movie.
Tous Les Soleils directed by Philippe Claudel
I fear my fawning review of Tous Les Soleils has unmasked me as the romantic sap that I really am. Yes, I love Amelie and similar Euro romcoms and Tous Les Soleils follows in that heartwarming tradition. The film is about a widowed father who has struggled to fall in love again after the tragic loss of his wife. The film was perfect – music, dialogue, acting, plot, atmosphere – it had it all. What was especially refreshing about Tous Les Soleils was its unique take on two questions: Why people fall in love and what does it mean to be a family. On falling in love, the happy couple are brought together by shared tragedies (the loss of a mother or wife) rather than Hollywood-esque love-at-first-sight. On family structure, the main character here is a widow who shares a small apartment with his brother and daughter, an uncommon arrangement that the director convinces you is as natural as a nuclear family.