Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Standard Operating Procedure

The great Errol Morris brings the story behind the infamous Abu Gharib photos that are a monumental mark of disgrace of Nazi proportions in the name of the United States in the hands of war criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their conspirators. That the scandal was only the tip of the ice berg was clear from the beginning. Only God knows the countless other horrible crimes against humanity that have been committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's sad that nobody can do anything about it but be outraged. My hands are clean but my conscience is not by being an American. The film will be tough for anybody to see and probably will be seen by those who already believe that the war in Iraq was and will be morally wrong. 4000 official soldiers and countless others doesn't seem to be enough. Maybe 10000 or above will wake somebody do something. Morris manages to make a stunningly beautiful yet disturbing film with most of the people at center of the scandal. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.


Gavin Hood's Hollywood debut after winning the Oscar for TSOTSI is a powerful drama that sheds some light on those innocent people caught in the middle on the war on terror.
Reese Whiterspoon plays a woman who looks for her husband (Omar Metwally) who has been kidnapped by CIA agents and tortured in a foreign country under the supervision of rookie agent played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin and Peter Sarsgaard provide the right support in this morality tale on the current situation in the US. However the project failed to reach the audiences since it's too painful a topic. Those who are affected couldn't bare it while those who should watch it will put their heads in the sand to avoid it. While the story is compelling and current, it might have been to premature to put on screen for it to make any money but morally a right one. An excellent cast with a complex story should please those who dare to watch something beyond mindless entertainment. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cassandra's Dream

Woody Allen returns back to form and explores the themes of crime and punishment as he did with MATCH POINT. This time from the opposite angle where the main characters loose all. London is the setting again in the Greek tragedy tale of two brothers who have big dreams and equally big problems. A chance gives them the opportunity to reach what they always wanted but at a steep price. The eternal question of how far one would go for achieving his dreams is explored through the two very different brothers excellently played by Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell. The excellent supporting cast includes Tom Wilkinson, Sally Hawkins, Hayley Atwell and Clare Higgins. Philip Glass provides the perfect score to highlight the grand themes. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Drillbit Taylor

A somewhat funny film about the revenge of nerds of school bullies that has its proven target audience. Owen is billed as the leading man but is more of a supporting role. He's doing more of the same that he's been known for and doesn't hint of his future after current real life problems. What the film pokes fun at is a serious issue that needs to be addressed more. Ever since Columbine, it seems violence is the only option left for bullied kids. YRCinema's coverage of recent releases.

Millenium Mambo

Veteran director Hou Hsiao-Hsien who's a master of observation shines a light on the disillusioned youth in Taipai in this stylish and poetic film. It traces the memories of a young woman's remembrance of lost lovers around the Millennium. It's a more visual and atmospheric experience than a character study. The cinematography by Mark Lee and the actress Shu Qi are stunning that will a long lasting impression long after the film is finished. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Great Debaters

Denzel Washington's second feature is a class act like the man himself. It's a powerful drama set during a shameful past of the US history where African-Americans were denied basic human rights. The story set around a great debate team from a small Texas town that defeats Harvard's in a historical match in 1935. The film is a noble effort all the way without any sex, drugs and violence. Therefore that the film failed to reach the audience is no wonder but it's and remains an old fashioned classic that will stand the test of time. Powerhouse actors Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker provide supporting muscles to the young and talented lead actors. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

RIP: Paul Scofield 1922 - 2008

88 Minutes

Al Pacino looks old and weary in this film that seems from the 90's rather than 2008. It's one of those films which have been in development for so long that by the time they get released, it's past their expiration date. It's an utterly forgettable film that even Al Pacino can't save. He's plays a character much younger than him that sleeps around with 20 something college girls. It's preposterous casting but we go with it because it's Al Pacino. The film lacks freshness or originality in every department. The film belongs to the TV or DVD not theatres. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Last Legion

An uneven action film that tells the tale of how Excalibur, the legendary sword in the stone that was discovered by King Arthur in the Camelot legend, ended up in England from the Roman Empire. The film often falls into cliches where it could have been more original and magical. The focus is uneven and lacks a strong leading character that's poorly written and played by Colin Firth. Epic films like this need equally epic strong characters as films such as Ben Hur, El Cid, Gladiator and Lord of the Rings have proven. Instead we get an ensemble of characters and none of them stand out. Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai makes her Hollywood debut but remains the damsel that she intended to avoid by choosing an action film instead of a romance or drama. Never-the-less the film is a good prequel to John Boorman's excellent Excalibur. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, March 17, 2008


After resisting to watch it, I finally managed to watch Michael Moore's film on the health care in the US. He's the only brave American who dares to keep a mirror to the face of America which made him become Public Enemy #1 to corporate America and the media. No wonder the disgrace he's exposing in his films is so despicable that shows that one of the greatest nations in the world is one the way to become one of the worst. Sure there are worst countries than the US but none of them claim "Home of the free and brave" However it's the individuals like Moore that makes it bearable. Only if more people would start to grasp what's going on in this country. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


If this film was an Hollywood film with big name actors, it would have been contrived. However it works because it's a low budget independent film and new faces that serves the story perfectly. It's the real deal because at the heart of it lies truly outstanding music which the actors wrote and deliver with true candor and heartfelt that sweeps you away. It's a romantic film that works despite the odds. It also proves that if you have a good film it will find its way to the audience. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Sidney Lumet delivers another masterpiece to an already impressive legacy that includes 12 Angry Men, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Serpico, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and The Verdict. His returns to the top shows no sign of slowing down for the master and astonishes that he still can deliver. His strength and forte is character driven drama. He's got an stellar cast and script with this "Greek tragedy" of a story about two desperate brothers whose lives spin out of control after reach out to desperate measures. The disintegration of a family has rarely been so well done on screen and Lumet is a master at that. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Albert Finney deliver outstanding performance along equally supporting performances by Marisa Tomei, Rosemary Harris and Amy Ryan. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Golden Compass

The problem with the film is that it doesn't take enough time to introduce its world to the audience as the first films of LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER did. Rather it feels like the second film in the series and you try to catch up as you go. Otherwise the story is rich and solid with the chosen child at its center with colorful characters and animals enhanced with stunning visual effects. Maybe the book was too complex and had to be more simplified or the film given more time. If any then all the fingers should be pointed out to writer Chris Weitz not the director Chris Weitz who may have been the wrong choice for the material. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Paranoid Park

Gus Van Sant returns with a beautiful and atmospheric film that's more a visual experience like ELEPHANT and LAST DAYS than plot and dialog driven which works just fine since the plot is thin and the acting limited by the non pros. Even the film is contemporary, it has an old fashioned rhythm and romantic feeling, mostly due to the extensive use of Nino Rota scores.
YRCinema's coverage of upcoming releases.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2 Days in Paris

Multi-talented Julie Delpy wrote, directed, produced, edited, composed and starred in this hilarious character study that explores the ugly American and French idiosyncrasies that will be appreciated by both sides who love to hate the other nation. She and Adam Goldberg deliver spot on performances. Delpy who starred in the Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Sunset films goes deeper than both those films and delivers a raw and painfully honest portrayal that's touching and funny. It will resonate with everybody in the West regardless of their nationalities. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

An ill-conceived and executed yarn that's trashy at its best. It's hard to believe the script is from Peter Morgan (The Queen) since it sounds more like Danielle Steele. It was suspicious to see actors like Natalie Portman and Scarlet Johansson in Cate Blanchett/Helen Mirren territory. They burn in the path that Gwyneth Paltrow succeeded so well. The excellent Kristin Scott Thomas is the only one shining through, unfortunately she ended up in the wrong film. One of the worst films of recent memory. YRCinema's coverage of recent releases.

Monday, March 3, 2008


A gloriously black and white animation film that's reminiscent of BLADE RUNNER. It's set in a futuristic Paris of 2054. It's perfect combination of form, style and content that shows animation has great potential to be explored. The story and characters are familiar from many live action films of the genre but it seems new and fresh. Even for animation standards, it stands out for its high contrast black and white that's almost void of any shades of grey. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.


A simple and entertaining film about female soccer fans in Iran. Jafar Panahi (Crimson Gold and The Circle) continues to give glimpses of the contemporary society in Iran. His films are political and criticizes the institution but not the individuals who are trapped in the system. The film has characters that are universal and fully developed. Since the film was shot during an actual soccer game, it has the documentary feel to it. It shows that art can flourish even in the most restricted conditions. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

The Good German

Soderbergh's noble failure is unfortunate because it gets so much right. A stunning homage to films of the 30's and 40's, specially CASABLANCA using archive footage. It looks more authentic than any of the films of that era that blends seamlessly with a great cast including Cate Blanchett, George Clooney and Tobey McGuire. The script is the weakest link here and it could have been great. Soderbergh's audacity and risk tasking is refreshing and welcome. Too bad the audience respond more to his mediocre OCEAN's films than this kind of films. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.