Sunday, June 29, 2008


A star studded cast can't save Emilio Estevez's well intentioned but uneven film about the events before the assassination of Robert F Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968. Instead of going deeper about RFK or the time, Estevez line up of movie stars distracts instead of emphasis. There are some interesting parallels to current times that are never explored enough. Also some of the characters are redundant that were better left off screen. It seems Estevez had the burden to find some characters for the stars who wanted a cameo instead of focusing on what matters. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

The Evil Dead

Sam Raimi's classic and controversial horror classic is one of the films that shouts for a remake. Raimi cleverly uses some of deepest phobias of human nature such as isolation, nature, and fear of the unknown to create a horror film that's effective despite an extremely low budget and cheap effects. The story about five friends who travel to a remote log cabin where they find a recording and a book that unravels some demons. Raimi also uses elements of previous horror classics such as "The Exorcist" and "Alien" to his advantage. However the effects are so poor by today's standards that turn the film into a comedy and takes away from the sheer horror. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Singin' in the Rain

One of the greatest musicals of all time if not the greatest. Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds are pitch perfect in this classic under the assured direction of Stanley Donen (Funny Face, Charade and Blame It On Rio). The rest of the cast is perfect as well. The film still holds up and features some of the best dance and song performances ever to graced on the silver screen, specially the title song. What a glorious feeling! Indeed. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Art School Confidential

To make a film about politics of the art world is never an easy task, neither it's about the fashion or film world. Only few films manage to pull it off. Unfortunately the talented Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World) doesn't achieve to pull it off either. It's easier to make art than explain the politics of it. The film manages to makes some valid points but the problem lies in the script, while it has right mix of eccentric characters and actors, it never manages to rise up to the occasion. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

The Secret Life of Words

Isabel Coixet reunites with Sarah Polley after the wonderful "My Life Without Me". However this film fails to live up to the expectations set by the former film. Despite a potent yet unusual love story and a superb cast including Polley, Tim Robbins, Javier Cámara and Julie Christie, the film never takes off as you root for it which is a shame. Never-the-less the film has some powerful moments. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grande École

Robert Salis's supposedly exposé on the elite schools in France never takes off. It's more interested in the character's sexual desires than giving any insights. Wealthy young men from the provinces come to Paris to get educated at a private university before taking over the business from their parents. These include bisexual Paul who develops a secret crush on his dashing roommate Louis-Arnault who in return has an eye for Paul's girlfriend Agnès. When Agnès finds out about Paul's attraction she decides to challenge Paul for a game of seduction that puts the friendship of the two men at risk. While the film get certain points across, it never manages to say anything new or original about the class system. There are also characters introduced in the first act and later abandoned. Alice Taglioni as Agnès and Jocelyn Quivrin as Louis-Arnault are the only one who stand out in the cast. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

The Pleasure of Being Robbed

After being robbed recently, I wanted to see Josh Safdie's feature debut to find out about the pleasure. However I found the title misleading and the more accurate title should be "The Pleasure of Robbing" but it doesn't sound as catchy, does it? Anyway the story of a kleptomaniac who steals random objects from unsuspecting individuals never adds up to much despite the four credited writers which might be the source of the problems. The film is the real thing as far as the look and feel of an independent film go instead of the faux ones that the studios release. There are also some sparks here and there but unfortunately not enough. There's something contrived about the film and its message if it has any but it will divide audiences depending on their taste. The only pleasure of being robbed is to see life in perspective and not getting attached too much to anything if you can. YRCinema's coverage of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Les Chansons d'Amour (Love Songs)

Christophe Honoré should be applauded for his audacity to merge two very different genres such as drama and musical into one that Bollywood has mastered but almost impossible to recreate elsewhere. There's no mistake that this film is as French as it gets with liberal views you would expect to see besides the attractive cast and Parisian locals. Lovers Ismaël and Julie live a perfect life in Paris and engage in a "ménage à trois" with Alice before tragedy strikes out of blue that leaves everybody around them shattered. It's a story you would expect least to have the characters burst into songs. The songs works at times and becomes distracting at others. Since it's a film you don't see often, it's worth watching. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Kontroll (Control)

Nimród Antal's creates an atmospheric dark comedy set in the Hungarian underground metro system that could be anywhere in Europe. The film is reminiscent of Luc Besson's "Subway" that managed to do the same. In this world of misfits where inspectors are out to catch free riders or compete with another for the best position. However the plot is thin and character development non-existent while too many characters added just for the sake of it without contributing anything. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Elite Squad

José Padilha's hyper kinetic and ultra violent film on Brazil's elite squad is good companion piece to "City of God" where the latter film focused on the criminal side, this one focuses on law enforcement's side. The elite squad known as BOPE steps in when the police fail are the most experienced and the only means to fight a losing battle to criminal elements that are out of control in the slums where innocent civilians are collateral damage in the never ending battle. The BOPE makes LAPD look like nice guys but they are the product of their environment where survival of the fittest rule and the slightest mistake can cost you your life. Through a burn-out BOPE captain and two idealistic rookies, Padilha paints a pessimistic portrait of a society out of control where idealism is crashed by violence on a daily basis. 1001 Films' coverage of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Friday, June 20, 2008


If there ever was a director that Hollywood should have imported, it's Timur Bekmambetov who made two films (Night Watch, Day Watch) that Hollywood should have made. He makes his debut in this adrenaline infused, action packed, entertaining blockbuster with a superb A-list cast and mind-bending story that makes it the best action film Hollywood produced since "The Matrix". His signature trademark evident in his previous work is present here along with the edginess. James McAvoy shines in a role that would have gone to Keanu Reeves a decade ago. He gets some kick-ass support from Angelina Jolie who has a stellar year by two hits along with the upcoming "The Changeling" films and twin babies. Morgan Freeman and Thomas Kretschmann are also much wanted in this film. YRCinema's coverage of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Santosh Sivan's latest film is well meant and executed, however it's a mixed bag by bringing together a children's tale with a political one. The story of a boy named Tahaan who lives in the troubled Kashmir, at the border of India and Pakistan, with his grandfather Victor Banerjee (A Passage to India) and mute mother Sarika (80's Bollywood star). After Tahaan loses his beloved donkey, he goes to every length to get it back, even if he has to help terrorists who shamelessly use children in their war. Sivan captures the troubled region beautifully and gets beautiful performances. To mix two very diverse genres is a challenge into itself but to get away with it is impossible. Sivan and his team try their best but the heavy drama takes away from the beautiful tale of the boy and his donkey which is the heart of the film. YRCinema's coverage of upcoming releases.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nuovomondo (Golden Door)

Emanuele Crialese's (Respiro) splendid film captures the immigrant journey from Italy to Ellis Island, USA perfectly with wit and intelligence that's rare. The film portrays one of the most accurate and detailed view of the people who made that courageous but harrowing journey from the old world in the late 1900 century to the new world. The film is told through a peasant family from Sicily who dare the dream at a high price. The way the tales of the new world captured the imagination of the people of its time, Crialese manages to capture ours with this beautifully realized and executed film that reminds of Mike Leigh's superb period film "Topsy-Turvy" for its authentic period feel and detail. Charlotte Gainsbourg co-stars with a cast of excellent actors that add to the rich canvas. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Eagle vs Shark

A stylish and offbeat comedy from New Zealand that's pretentious and insincere. The love story between two misfits rings false from the beginning till the end. Instead of getting an accurate point of view, we are getting stylized stereo-types. Where it could have been poignant and heartfelt, instead it's contrived and dishonest at the cost of substance for style. While the concept and visuals are arresting, the writing and casting flawed. Writer & director Taika Waititi has the right vision, however lost the heart of the story by focusing too much on the style. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Saraswati Chandra

This classic musical with legendary songs from Bollywood was the last great success in black and white before color films took over. Saraswati and Kumud fall in love through letters after their marriage is arranged. However fate causes the lovers heartbreak after heartbreak when the society and its traditions comes in between them which they are not able to defy it. It's a well directed by Govind Saraiya and beautifully shot featuring a great performance by legendary actress Nutan in the lead. It's an old fashioned film, more belonging to the 50's than late 60's. However the music composed by the Kalyanji & Anandji team with the voices of Lata & Mukesh made sure the film became a huge hit with the songs that are amongst the best of Indian Cinema or Bollywood. 1001 Films coverage of films on DVD.

Yihe Yuan (Summer Place)

Lou Ye's controversial but stunning film about true love found and lost over a decade in China at the end of the last century. Young students in Beijing experience a time of intellectual and sexual awakening before they are crashed down by the government in the infamous Tiananmen Square protests. Amids the students are the young country girl Yu Hong whose love for follow student Zhou Wei leaves them both scarred for the rest of their lives after they get separated after the protests. Ye's poetic and lyrical film features a breakthrough performance by Lei Hao as Yu Hong. The film has been improved since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival 2006. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


This somber and off beat film about lonely people comes from Uruguay, a country one doesn't get to see or hear much about. Lonely sock factory owner Jacobo and his longtime employee Marta know each other so well that they hardly exchange many words between them. When Jacobo invites his estranged brother to their mother's anniversary, he asks Marta to pretend to be his wife. Marta proves to be the lucky charm and provides a buffer for the brothers to get closer after a long time. It's an interesting if somewhat cold film that take a while to warm up but it avoids the Hollywood formula that makes it stand out. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Asphalt Zahov (Yellow Asphalt)

Israeli writer and director Dan Verete explores the outside influences on Bedouin lives in three excellent short films set in the Judean desert. The first film "Black Spot" is about two Israeli truck drivers hitting and killing a small boy on a highway. After being surrounded by the villagers, the truck drivers trade a spare tire for the dead boy that leaves every body content except for the grieving mother. The second film "Here Is Not There" a European woman who married a Bedouin tries to escape her husband after the village elders denied her to leave with her children. The third and most powerful film "Red Roofs" is about an adulterous affair between an Israeli farmer and his Bedouin maid. When the maid escapes her abusive husband to seek refuge by her lover, she starts a chain of events that causes death and destruction. Verete manages to tell powerful stories about real life in Israel beyond the war where two different cultures clash on daily basis. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)

The versatile director Alejandro Amenábar (Open Your Eyes, The Others) brings the powerful story of Ramón Sampedro who fought for 30 years to die with dignity after an accident left paralyzed. Amenábar manages to bring the story without over doing it and lets his actors tell the story. Javier Bardem gives a tour-de-force performance but the whole cast is absolutely fantastic down to the small but crucial parts. Amenábar goes beyond giving simple answers and asks bigger questions and leave the audience to draw their own conclusion. The film is inspiring and heart breaking. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Man on Wire

A riveting and hugely entertaining documentary about the "artistic crime of the century" by James Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip & The King). Young wire-walker Philippe Petit dreamed of walking on wire between the twin towers the moment he heard they were going be built. While waiting for the construction to end, Philippe managed to walk on wire on other famous structures such as the Notre Dame church in Paris and the bridge in Sydney. Along with strangers as accomplices he planned for eight months before walking and dancing on wire between the tallest buildings in the world on August 7th, 1974. A tale stranger than fiction about the power of dreams is brought to screen to perfection by Marsh by using archival footage, interview with key members and re-enactments that unfolds like a heist film that beats a lot of films of the genre. Another proof that documentaries are king and they don't have to be dry or about a serious subject matter. YRCinema's coverage of upcoming releases.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cidade Baixa (Lower City)

Walter Salles produced Sérgio Machado's steamy drama about a Ménage à trois in Cidade Baixa. Lifelong friends Deco and Naldinho pick up exotic dancer Karinna for a ride in their boat where both men fall in love with her. Karinna's inability to chose one of the men threatens to destroy their friendship and lives. Powerful performances and stunning cinematography are the highlights of this exciting film from Brazil under assured direction of Machado. Alice Braga (City of God, Redbelt & Blindness) delivers her best performance in this film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


A well done genre film for pure entertainment that should be taken as face value. If you looking for more depth or historical accuracy, then the film will fail you. It's above average compared to similar films of the genre. The material has enough potential for greater depth such as the Vikings exploration into the new world or survival of Europeans amongst the Indians but the filmmaker opt for style instead of substance which is fine if that's what you are looking for. Karl Urban who showed great potential in "The Price of Milk" but has chosen action fare instead after he appeared in the "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy makes a fine hero and has everything the role requires for. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis

Actor, writer and director Dany Boon delivers a hilarious comedy that goes beyond the laughs. The film deals with stereotypes and misconceptions, in this case a region of France. While the films true humor and comedy lies in the language, the story is universal enough that non-French speaking audiences will appreciate, specially through the superb performances by Boon and Kad Merad. The French always managed to bring accurate and believable characters that Hollywood most of the time fails due to the use of a predictable formula. Kad Merad plays a postal officer who in order to please his nagging wife, forges forgery to be transferred to a more desirable location in the south of France. However the plan fails and he's sent to the far north of France where everybody seems to have an opinion about without ever been there. Boon's funny script, comedic timing and swift directing proves to be a winning formula. YRCinema's coverage of upcoming releases.

Monday, June 2, 2008

El Orfanato (The Orphanage )

Juan Antonio Bayona takes familiar elements of a horror story and turn it into a psychological thriller with heart that thrills as well. The film has a lot in common with Alejandro Amenábar's "The Others". Belén Rueda gives a powerful performance as a mother who returns to the orphanage of her childhood where she had happy memories. However upon her return she discovers some dark secrets that eluded her as a child. Also her young son makes some friends that she believes to be imaginary. Guillermo del Toro served as a producer to make sure everything goes right and it does indeed. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.