Recent Rewatches: Argo, Citizen Kane, and The Master


Since I’ve started reviewing films, I feel like I keep saying something like this in almost all of my reviews: “I’ll have to pay attention to that when I see it again” or “I’ll probably see this in a completely different way once I rewatch it.” With a lot of movies, there’s so much you don’t even notice on the second or third viewing, let alone the first. I’m big on rewatching; if I like a film I will see it over and over again. This is partly just for the fun of it, partly just so I remember the film, and also to see if I can reinterpret anything I noticed the first time.

So I’m going to try to make this type of post a weekly thing around here, where I recap all of the rewatches I’ve done in the past week and see if I notice anything new. I won’t full out review them again, but if I’ve done a review I’ll just expand upon it or correct anything that I’ve changed my mind about. I’ll probably also use it to add in any notable news from the movie world if there is any (can’t really think of any for this week, but there’s bound to be some sometime). So first up I have the rewatches for the past week: Argo, Citizen Kane, and The Master.

Monday, February 25: Argo

Argo2012PosterAs everyone is incredibly tired of hearing by now, Argo just won best picture whether it deserved to or not. On Monday though, I was not yet as tired of hearing it as I am now, and I decided to go back and watch it to see if it still lived up to my memory of it. It did. The only thing that didn’t though, was the editing. I had sort of built that up in my mind I think, I remembered being super impressed with it when I first saw it and either I wasn’t paying as much attention this time around or it wasn’t as obvious as I had remembered it. Not that I thought it was bad or anything, I just didn’t notice it as much. Also I got another Star Wars reference that I had either missed last time or forgotten about since then: the part where one of the guys is explaining to the Iranians in Farsi what their movie is about is strikingly similar to the part in Jedi where 3PO is explaining to the ewoks everything that they’ve been through. Even the sound effects and gestures he makes are similar. Bryan Cranston also really impressed me this time around, and I’m almost wondering why Arkin got nominated over him (other than the Academy liking Arkin better). Other than that, Argo was pretty much just as I had remembered it. Funny but not overly funny, and switching between the Hollywood parts and the Iran parts to create a great balance of tension. Did it deserve to win? Who knows, but I enjoyed myself while I was watching it.

Also on Monday, February 25: Citizen Kane

poster_citizenkaneYeah, I did a bit too much movie watching on Monday and I definitely payed for it by not being able to watch much for the rest of the week. I have not actually reviewed Citizen Kane yet, but I’ve seen it a bunch of times. The funny thing is, I hardly ever watch it in full. The part with his second wife always freaks me out and I usually stop watching right around her flashback. I think I’ve only seen it all the way through a couple of times. We were watching it for film class, which is why it’s here. I don’t have the time to do a full out review of it, besides I’m a little bit afraid to because it’s so legendary. I’ll get around to it one of these days though. For some reason the crazy amount of low angle shots really stood out to me this time through, and in class someone made the point that Susan Alexander is compared to a caged bird throughout the film, something that I hadn’t noticed before. Her singing, the way she is kept in the mansion as if it is her cage, the birds painted all around her room, and the scene transition to her leaving starting out with a bird’s cry all reinforce this idea. No clue why I never got that until now. Also, in reading the textbook chapter on it I realized that Bernard Herrmann, who did a lot of Hitchcock films, was the composer for Citizen Kane. I didn’t realize that before, and it was actually his first film score. I didn’t go with the classic poster because I think it’s ridiculous. It’s so ridiculous in fact that I couldn’t help but comment on it. The “It’s terrific!” thing is possibly the cheesiest tagline I have ever heard, and doesn’t fit the film at all. Citizen Kane is terrific, but in a much more serious way than the original poster would have you believe.

Thursday, February 18: The Master

Image1posterI declared The Master as the best film of 2012. While I still haven’t seen every possible contender, I have seen The Impossible, Zero Dark Thirty, and Beasts of the Southern Wild since claiming The Master as the best of the year. I am happy to say that I can still stand by this decision on a second viewing. It’s the most engrossing of any of the 2012 films I’ve seen. The performances are fantastic across the board. I didn’t really see any need to revise my original power struggle theory, but I may be sort of stuck in that way of thinking since that’s what I though of it as for the whole five to six months since I originally saw it. This time around, I did have a bigger problem with the ending though. Not that I didn’t like it, it just left me more confused about how much autonomy Freddie actually gains by the end of the film and what exactly The Cause did for him. I don’t think I had really thought about the very ending when coming up with my theory in the first place. Looks like I will need another rewatch sometime! The love story between Freddie and Doris hit me like a billion times harder this time around, probably because I was more used to Freddie as a character and didn’t worry about Doris’s personal safety as much (though there was definitely still a reason to). I still think it’s tragically funny that she gets married and her new name is Doris Day.

So to wrap up, all of these movies are still good. I wasn’t quite as blown away with Argo as the first time, but I still enjoyed it. That’s to be expected though, because this time I was watching after knowing that it had won best picture. That probably made my expectations go up quite a bit. I noticed/had pointed out to me some things that I hadn’t realized about Citizen Kane which is still as great as ever. I wouldn’t go back on my declaration of The Master being the best film of 2012, and even though it still was very weird I was able to enjoy it more because I was somewhat more accustomed to the strangeness. I had some great rewatches this week, and luckily they were all still good.

6 responses to “Recent Rewatches: Argo, Citizen Kane, and The Master

  1. Great reviews. I’ve been planning to watch Citizen Kane again since I got the 70th anniversary blu-ray copy and I’m going to order a copy of The Master soon. It’s a film I think I’ll appreciate more than one viewing.

    • Thanks! I bet CK looks great on blu-ray. The Master is definitely a film to see more than once. I didn’t come up with a new way of looking at it, but it made me more confident in what I had already thought about it.

    • Yeah I hope I can keep it going! Not really sure how much rewatching I’ll get in week to week, but I watched Argo and The Master again and I kept wanting to add stuff to my posts… Since I also saw CK again I added it in here. Hopefully going to be seeing Skyfall again next week!

        • Ha ha! Cool. I was actually a little premature in my calculations… it will probably next week from now, which was two weeks ago from when I originally said it… hopefully.

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