Wednesday, December 31, 2008

TOP 10 of 2008

01. Slumdog Millionaire
02. The Reader
03. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
04. Hunger

05. Waltz with Bashir
06. The Visitor
07. Man on Wire
08. The Class
09. Revanche
10. The Secret of the Grain

Le Cercle Rouge

Writer and Director Jean-Pierre Melville reunited with Alain Delon, the star of his masterpiece "Le Samouraï" for another classic masterpiece. This thriller is breath taking from the beginning till to the end where you never guess what will happen next. Two criminals joined by fate attempt a jewelery heist while the police is looking for them. It features one the best heists in cinema. Besides Delon, the great cast includes Yves Montand and Gian Maria Volontè in key roles. While influenced by American film noir Melville paved his own way and created some of the best French gangster films. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Robert Bresson's follow up to his masterpiece "Au Hasard Balthazar " is less impressive due to the performances of the non-professional actors, specially Nadine Nortier who plays the title character. Bresson's sparse and simple style that worked wonders with the previous film, seems less powerful. As with the previous film, Bresson shows through the title character her entrapment by the circumstances of life. The teenage Mouchette doesn't have an easy life with a sick mother, abusive father and is constantly plagued by problems in her daily life. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Triumph of the Will

This infamous propaganda film for Hitler gives a glimpse into the psyche of Nazi Germany. The brilliant documentary by the equally infamous director Leni Riefenstahl features breathtaking cinematography and shows the power of images. Looking at the film, there's nothing that hints at the atrocities later committed by these people. Riefenstahl lets the images speak for themselves, the beauty of the country and the strength of it people. The film remains as warning for humanity that what happened in Germany can and will happen again because there's fine line between good and evil in human nature. It is also testimony to the power of art, specially cinema that it can be used for either good or evil purposes. It's a shame that talents of Riefenstahl fell victim to the powers of evil. However nobody can deny her brilliance as an artist. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.


Writer and director Matthias Luthardt makes his solid debut with this nuanced drama about a troubled teen who appears uninvited at the home of his uncle and his family. Aware of Paul's troubled past which involves his father's suicide and distant mother, the family welcomes him where he spends few happy days before he shakes up the balance of the ideal family. Superb performances and confident film making makes this German a stand out. YRFilms coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cloud 9

There's something exploitative about this film that deals with the sexuality and love among the elderly. Inge is a woman in her 60's and apparently happily married with children and grandchildren. After a carnal affair with a client, she leaves her husband with devastating consequences. The attempt is something noteworthy given the subject matter but the problem lies in the script which never goes beyond the surface why an elderly woman leaves her husband of thirty years for another man she barely knows and is based mostly on sex. There's nothing special about the story itself if the characters were any younger. Most of the credit goes to the actors, specially Ursula Werner who risks everything for this non-plausible story. YRCinema's coverage of upcoming releases.


Writer and director Christian Petzold and his frequent actress Nina Hoss return with another psychological thriller. This time around on a reinvention of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" but as usual Petzold reaches beyond the genre conventions to make a comment about its characters morals. The disillusioned Thomas is a veteran of the Afghan war who moves into his deceased mother house for a new start in life. Soon afterwards he's lured into the life of Turkish businessman and his beautiful German wife with each having their own agenda for him. Nina Hoss disappears in the role and hard to believe she's the same actress from Petzold's "Yella". 1001 Films' coverage of upcoming releases.


This one of a kind classic film brings you up close and personal to the common bugs of your backyard. Special cameras were invented that allows common ants to appear like a giant and water droplet like a huge ball. Meticulously filmed and edited documentary still enthralls young and old. One of the delights that technology can bring to everybody. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Battle of Algiers

An unequalled and unparalleled masterpiece of world cinema has not lost one bit of its power or relevance in its fourth decade. Writer and director Gillo Pontecorvo's staggering film is so authentic that it feels more like a documentary than a drama. Anybody curious about how terrorists/liberators and military/oppressors operate should watch this film. The film set during the French occupation of Algiers (1954-57) where the locals start to organize and defy the oppressors that ended with France's withdrawal of Algiers in 1962. This important film still inspires and warns of dangers in any country where there's a thin line between appearing to be liberators such as in Afghanistan or oppressors such as in Iraq. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Office Space

This classic comedy will resonate with most who work or worked in a cubicle. The film features some great performances that makes it a joy to watch again. Writer and director Mike Judge captures the office environment well and hits certain aspects head on which makes it a timeless classic. An excellent cast featuring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston makes the film stand out. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Death Proof

Quentin Tarantino's contribution to the two part film billed as "Grindhouse" is the better part and works best in the short form instead of the extended version. Tarantino's homage to the exploitation cinema of the 60's and 70's is better than any of those films is also a tribute stuntmen and women. The film's highlights are the chase scenes which ranks amongst some of the best in recent memory. The film will delight many of his fans as he exercises his style and gives credit where its due. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.


A brilliant and visually stunning film is everything you would expect from Japanese Anime. This cautionary tale blends dream and reality, fact and fiction to create some of the most amazing images in animation. The story set in the future where technology has reached the last frontier, dreams. As with all technology it was created for noble cause but it's soon stolen to control the world. Director Satoshi Kon's work can equally stand to the best work of Hayao Miyazaki. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

RIP: Harold Pinter 1930 - 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Au Hasard Balthazar

A profound masterpiece that has not lost one bit of its sheer power. Through a donkey who's condemned to a life or burden and suffering like most its kind in the world, Bresson shows the nobleness of the animal compared to humans who always use and abuse the animal for their benefit while the animal bears it all. It's a heartbreaking film in the light of all the animal abuse that's still going on in the world. Humans may never learn. Bresson's film is an staggering accomplishment in the world of cinema. The beauty of the film is that will mean different things to different people. YRCinema's covering of films on DVD.

The Hidden Fortress

This epic masterpiece of Akira Kurosawa is told through the point of view of two peasants that represent all the good and the bad of humanity not. This two greedy peasants get to see nobility and sacrifice first hand when a general and a princess try to smuggle gold out of the enemy territory. Kurosawa shows that root to most evil lays in the greed of the humankind. Any other filmmaker would have told the film through the general or the princess. Through humor and action Kurosawa shows a timeless tale in this classic. YRCinema coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Classe Tous Risques

Claude Sautet's explosive debut about a gangster on the run is a great character study with a stellar performance by the great Lino Ventura. A notorious gangster returns to Paris with his two young sons and the police close behind him. This riveting thriller starts with a bang and never slows down and also features a young and hot Jean-Paul Belmondo in his follow up to Godard's "À Bout de Souffle". Sautet's film is based on the gritty novel of real life criminal turned author José Giovanni and even cast a real gangster in a crucial role. Everything is right on in the classic film noir made during the French New Wave. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Day I Became a Woman

Marzieh Meshkini's surreal trip-tech about the oppression of women in Iran is a fresh voice in the Iranian cinema that has been dominated by men. The film is written by her husband filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf whose entire family has made films meanwhile. The three short films depict three generation of women, each of them facing dire consequences. The film is a visually stunning poem to women and set in the sun drenched seaside town of Kish that shows a different side of Iran we haven't seen before. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

RIP: Robert Mulligan 1925 - 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kings & Queen

Arnaud Desplechin's astonishingly complex and layered portrait of a woman and the men in her life in this drama that unfolds like a novel. Emmanuelle Devos gives a compelling performance as the on verge of a breakdown but Mathieu Amalric steals every scene as the unstable ex-husband whose help she needs at a crucial time. Fully developed characters and a superb cast makes this film stand out. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Gus Van Sant makes a surprisingly effective and powerful film about the life of Harvey Milk and the gay civil rights movement that still fights strongly. The film is timely in the wake of Proposition 8 that bans gay marriage which makes this film still relevant. Sean Penn delivers a fearless performance along with a fine cast that includes James Franco and Josh Brolin as his lover and nemesis. Van Sant makes a return from his experimental cinema exercises to make this conventional period piece. The film belongs to Sean Penn and ranks him next to Daniel Day-Lewis amongst the best actors in Hollywood. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ben X

A visually stunning and inventive film about a young autistic man's desperate attempt to function in the society while he finds refuge in a video game where he's more advanced than most. The film's a cautionary tale about school bullying that sends many to suicide each year. While the film's intention's are noble and several issues that needs to be addressed, the film always doesn't work specially the pacing and character development. The mixed use of graphics and live action works well along with the score. The documentary like interviews doesn't always work and the happy ending feels false. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.


This stylish film is an homage to the New Wave films specially Godard. The film about two friends who aspire to literary success works well only partially. The style gets too much in the way of the substance. It's hard to root for the wealthy and good looking protagonists when the director constantly opts for flashy visuals when you need to see the root of the angst and problems. The film is rather cold and distant but an impressive debut for writer and director Joachim Trier. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

The English Patient

Anthony Minghella wrote and directed this classic masterpiece based on the acclaimed novel by Michael Ondaatje. A cinematic tour de force about love, war and identity amongst many other themes. The film is a complex layered story that's hard to categorize but its power has not diminished since its release in 1996 and features powerful and heart breaking performances by Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas among a solid cast and crew. Legendary producer Saul Zaentz (Amadeus) produced this magnificent film and established the careers of many involved by sweeping 9 Academy Awards.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Reader

After the excellent "The Hours", director Stephen Daldry and writer David Hare deliver another finely tuned, meticulously layered and emotionally devastating film about the powers of love, secrets and guilt on both personal and national level. It's no small feat to pull of but Daldry does it by having an impeccable cast that includes the always reliable Ralph Fiennes and the fearless Kate Winslet who along with Cate Blanchett are one of the few actresses who can do no wrong. The film is first rate from every aspect and is one of the last films produced by the late Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.

Cadillac Records

Writer and director Darnell Martin brings the story of Chess Records and its artists in this musical drama. The legendary and visionary Leonard Chess changed the world by signing legends such as Muddy Waters, Etta James and Chuck Berry amongst others that gave birth to Rock and Roll before it was hijacked by the white men like the Beach Boys and Elvis. Martin found an excellent cast for this ensemble including Adrian Brody, Jeffrey Wright and Beyoncé Knowles who finally delivers the sparks that she was supposed to in "Dreamgirls". The real highlight of the film is the music which is astonishing and performed by the actors. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Talk to Me

Director Kasi Lemmons brings the talents of Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor to tell the true story of Petey Greene and Dewey Hughes who changed the radio broadcast in the 60's Washington DC at a crucial time in the Civil Rights Movement. Cheadle and Ejiofor give riveting performances as the leads along with Taraji P. Henson who gives another stunning performance. The story and performances are a revelation to most who weren't around the 60's and 70's. As you would expect the soundtrack will please everybody and is one of the delights of this intriguing film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Music of the Heart

Horror master Wes Craven stepped out of his genre to direct Meryl Streep in the true inspirational story. Thanks to Streep the film rises above the formula and captures the essence of the story thanks to the writing skills of Pamela Gray (A Walk on the Moon, Betty Anne Waters). The true story of Roberta Guaspari whose live changes after her husband leaves and she goes to Harlem to teach violin to underprivileged children. The film shows the testimonial of the power art and its importance in the society. The story first reported in the New York Times become a world wide sensation that ended as a major motion picture that earned Streep an Academy Award nomination. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Resident Evil: Extinction

Milla Jovovich returns for third film where the virus has wiped the entire planet. A good looking cast and non-stop action brings the trilogy to an satisfying end. The film pays homage to Mad Max, The Road Warrior and The Birds along the way. Jovovich's Alice reminds a lot of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in Alien: Resurrection. Director Russell Mulcahy (Highlander) is the most competent of all the directors in the series. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Baz Luhrman's signature style that served him well on his Red Curtain Trilogy including the smashing "Moulin Rouge" fails him in this debacle of a film even if it's toned down. There's too many flaws in almost every department but mainly the screenplay and treatment of the film that steals every cliché from Hollywood that it's hard to take anything seriously. The film comes alive when the beauty of Australia is shown without any enhancements and the presence of the aborigines, specially the superb David Gulpilil (Walkabout, Rabbit-Proof Fence) and newcomer Brandon Walters who does more than holding up to the big stars. Their presence remind us of all the weaknesses, specially the artificiality of the film that leaves a bad aftertaste. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.


Director Michael Bay delivers in this blockbuster with all the right ingredients. The non-stop action packed sci-fi comedy features the latest visual effects along with Shia LaBeouf providing comic relief while hot babe Megan Fox steams up every scene she's in. The film hits the notes it needs to please everybody who's in just for the fun ride. There's should be sequels as expected with heavy paychecks for everyone involved. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.