Monday, August 31, 2009
This astonishing film is a rare and refreshing gem in the American cinema without the tired cliches that marks the feature debut of writer Nancy Oliver and director Craig Gillespie. The story of Lars, a delusional young man who introduces a doll as his girlfriend to the shock of his family and community. Instead of rejecting him, the community comes together and embraces the situation that leads Lars to return to a normal life. Oliver and Gillespie take you on a wild journey in this comedy/drama without a wrong beat thanks their superb work and the stellar cast that includes the outstanding Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider and Patricia Clarkson.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
One of cinema's greatest masters, the incredible Ingmar Bergman took on marriage and delivered another masterpiece that's universal as it is timeless. The film chronicles a decade in the life of a couple from happiness to the disintegration of their marriage and beyond. Bergman focuses on the couple alone and their relationship to each other without the input of others. Brutally honest look at love and marriage makes it one of the most intimate studies of a relationship and also one of the best in cinema that has influenced every film after, specially most of Woody Allen's films. Brilliantly written and directed with flawless performances by Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Belgian actor Bouli Lanners wrote, directed and stars in this road movie about an odd couple. Lonely vintage car dealer Yvan finds Elie, a burglar and junkie breaking in his home. Instead of turning him to police, he decides to drive him to his parents. It's rather depressing look at lonely people seeking a human connection. The film clearly inspired by American road movies in its stunning cinematography of Belgian landscapes that stand in contrast to its anti cinematic cast that looks more like real people than actors. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Claire Denis wrote and directed this compelling and sensual tale about two estranged teenage siblings, the sex starved Boni who's obsessed with his baker's wife and his pregnant sister who wants to give away her unborn child. Denis shows an authentic and honest look at troubled youth from broken homes. Beautifully filmed by Agnès Godard and a great score by Tindersticks. Grégoire Colin and Alice Houri deliver compelling performances as the leads. The cast includes Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Vincent Gallo. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
This French comedy spoofing spy films, specially James Bond of the 60's where the story is set. The humor is hard to translate but the performance of Jean Dujardin as the clueless secret agent is spot on as is the production using the same techniques used in the 50's and 60's. There are some funny moment in this stylish film that's more admirable for its attempt since the concept is not entirely new and has been done many times before from Casino Royale in the 60's to the Austin Powers films in the 90's and so on. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Writer and director Rakesh Omprakash Mehra's follow up to his smashing "Rang De Basanti" comes short story wise but has the same vibrant energy and visual power along with another great score by the amazing A.R. Rahman that makes this Bollywood feature stand out among the rest. The story about an Indian-American man who takes his dying grand mother back to India where he falls in love with the country and its people. The city of Dehli outshines the all star cast that includes the legends Waheeda Rehman, Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor lending support to the younger generation including Abhishek Bachchan and newcomer Sonam Kapoor along with other familiar faces of Indian cinema with roles they have mastered previously. The timing of the film makes it a notable valentine to India and its people after the smashing global success of "Slumdog Millionaire." YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Japanese master Masaki Kobayashi's only collaboration with the legend Toshirô Mifune is one of the most humane and heartbreaking of the Samurai films. The story set again in feudal Japan concerns an aging Samurai who tries to fight the corrupt lord when he wants his mistress back after she has been married to the Samurai's son. Brilliantly written with outstanding performances by an amazing cast and crew make this film a masterpiece where action and drama shine equally. Yôko Tsukasa is pitch perfect and absolutely stunning as the woman at the center of this story who's the heart while Mifune is the soul of this amazing masterpiece. Takeshi Katô holds his own as the son among the greats while Tatsuya Nakadai provides crucial support to the story. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Akira Kurosawa and Toshirô Mifune, two of world cinema's giants took on Shakespeare's Macbeth and created their own masterpiece. Kurosawa adapts the story of the murderous couple hungry for power into medieval Japan as if it was meant to be. What's lost in terms of language, is made up for visually and in the performance of Mifune. Some may argue that Kurosawa's ghost is better device than the original witches to unleash the tale of terror because war is hell and anything is possible to happen in that hell. The legendary Lady Macbeth is as cold and chilling as any blade in this film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Hiroshi Teshigahara followed his masterpiece "Woman in the Dunes" with this stylish psychological thriller about identity crises of people with disfigured faces. The story of a man who has lost his face in an accident and his refusal of himself in the society who undergoes a controversial treatment with devastating consequences. Teshigahara and writer Kôbô Abe manage again to use cinema to address topics about human nature such as identity and its connection to physical appearance. Along for the ride are cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa and composer Tôru Takemitsu who bring their invaluable contributions to this stunning film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This cinematic masterpiece by Hiroshi Teshigahara was adapted by Kôbô Abe from his novel. The story of an amateur entomologist, on the search for a rare insect in a remote seaside area, who's lured into a trap by the local villagers as a surrogate husband for a widow whose house is swallowed by the surrounding dunes. Teshigahara and Abe examine human nature from its relation to the environment to the interrelation between man, woman and beyond with this beautiful, haunting and nightmarish thriller. It's an astonishing accomplishment what the filmmakers achieve in less than two and half hours but also to the power of cinema when taken to its potential. Glorious cinematography by Hiroshi Segawa from the first frame till the last with powerful performances by Eiji Okada (Hiroshima, Mon Amour) and Kyôko Kishida as the leads make this classic film a treasure. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara uses a ghost story to draws attention to a political and social issue of corruption in the mine industry. While the story is set in the 60's Japan, the issue is universal that's true all over the world where mining and similar industries tries to exploit their workers. A deserter who works the mines is brutally murdered and his ghost wants to find out the reason behind it. Teshigahara achieves his goal with this beautifully shot and acted film that stands the test of time. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
This beautiful, haunting and mysterious film by Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi blends fantasy and reality seamlessly. The tale of two men who are blinded by envy and greed that makes them abandon their families during the civil war of 16Th century Japan. A poor farmer wants to be a samurai so bad that he commits murder to achieve his goal while his wife becomes a prostitute in the process. The other man a potter wants to profit from the war to get rich falls in love with a ghost that almost cost him his life while his wife and son struggle to survive. The great thing about this film is that Mizoguchi takes you on a ride where you have no idea what to expect and are shocked to meet ghost and warrior alike in a world where anything is possible. Mizoguchi manages to move between horrific reality and beautiful dreams without missing a beat. Brilliantly written and conceived with flawless performances and production values that makes this film one of the masterpieces of cinema that has be experienced. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa made this astonishing epic between his masterpieces Dersu Uzala and Ran. The film is grand on scope that Kurosawa that only Kurosawa can pull off but because of the great scope it lacks on intimacy that made his other films so compelling. The story set in 16Th century Japan when a civil war divided the country. The most powerful of the rulers, Shingen Takeda is well aware of the situation and his mortality, arranges for double that should replace him. A thief becomes the Kagemusha or shadow of the great warrior fooling everybody after Shingen dies. The production design and cinematography of this sweeping epic is magnificent and the highlight of this epic by of cinema's great masters. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Ajmal Naqshbandi was one of Afghanistan's best "fixers" -- someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate, translate, and gain access for their stories. In 2007 the Taliban kidnapped him and the Italian journalist he was taking to the Taliban and their driver. While the foreign journalist was freed, Naqshbandi and the driver were left to be butchered by the Taliban. Director Ian Olds tells the heartbreaking story of the fixer whose life was considered less valuable. The film shows the complete failure of the corrupt Karzai government that's being supported the by the Western powers for doing nothing than looting and killing innocent people. Naqshbandi felt he was doing a great service for his country by helping foreign journalists to get their stories to the world. He's one of the thousands of ordinary Afghans who want to help their country but fail because of the corrupt government. It's even more outrageous that the US and European countries support that government because they never cared for the people in the first place. YRCinema's coverage of films on TV.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Yôji Yamada, one of Japan's most prolific writers and directors, wrote and directed this modern masterpiece that paints an authentic portrait of the Samurai. The story set at the dawn of the Edo period in Japan is about a low ranking Samurai who after years of bad luck has the chance to redeem himself towards the eyes of the society and claim his love. Meticulously written and directed with outstanding performances make this stunning production a classic for the ages. Hiroyuki Sanada stars as the twilight Samurai with a towering performance that makes this film a joy to watch. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Courtney Hunt made her writing and directing debut with this stunning character study of two very different women who are brought together by fate that changes their lives forever. The story of a desperate mother who meets a Native American woman by accident and is lured into the world of human smuggling. Melissa Leo (21 Grams) gives a riveting performance as the mother along with Misty Upham as the young woman with whom she bonds. Hunt delivers an entirely original and compelling story with real characters that's refreshing. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
This epic film in 10 parts is one of the most comprehensive and greatest of all war films. The story of the Easy Company told from their initial training through their participation in some of the key battles of WW II. It's produced by no other than Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and surpasses their "Saving Private Ryan" because of its superb execution in every level from writing, acting, cinematography, production design, editing, sound and all other departments. The excellent cast includes Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Donnie Wahlberg, Scott Grimes, Shane Taylor, Ross McCall, Frank John Hughes, Rick Gomez, Eion Bailey and Matthew Settle amongst others. The stunning production design by Anthony Pratt and breath taking cinematography by Remi Adefarasin takes you to hell and back and then some. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Charlize Theron produced and stars in this somber coming of age drama about a young man played by Nick Stahl who suddenly has to take care of his niece after his troubled sister abandons her which causes him to lose his job and forces him to return to his abusive father, the root for the problems of the dysfunctional family. The strong performances by Stahl, Theron, Dennis Hopper and AnnaSophia Robb make the film worthwhile but the film itself hardly offers anything new. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
French master Claude Chabrol always delivers great character studies and he always excels when he collaborates with the amazing Isabelle Huppert who gives another complex and nuanced performance as a powerful magistrate that tries to fight political and corporate corruption. Chabrol cleverly shows the irony of the power in Western European countries that allows corruption for their greater benefit and applies it only to set examples for the public and media to keep appearances. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, August 10, 2009
French director Jacques Rivette adapts the Honoré de Balzac's novel with the precision of a scalpel that's cold and sharp at the same time. The story of a society woman who plays a dangerous game with the emotions of a war hero, only to fall victim herself that shatters both of them. The beautiful film takes its time to build but pays off well like a good novel. It shows the foolishness of those who underestimate the power and danger of love. Guillaume Depardieu and Jeanne Balibar manage the treacherous waters with their brilliant performances as the arrogant lovers who miscalculate their powers that backfires with devastating consequences. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Swedish director Vilgot Sjöman made a cheap and controversial film that came in two versions, Yellow and Blue, the colors of the Swedish flag. Both films are more or less about the same which a young woman tries to find her country's political, social and sexual views in the late 1960's. The Yellow version has some sex scenes with frontal nudity that became a notorious case in the US judicial system which of course helped the film. The films also created a certain stereo type about Sweden and Europe about their liberal views. Sjöman blurs the lines between documentary and narrative by allowing the actors to appear as themselves and act few scenes out besides having himself and crew appear on film between the two films which is interesting. The films work as a time capsule of a by gone era of innocence more than anything else. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
This groundbreaking masterpiece by the Japanese master Akira Kurosawa is one the best action films ever made, often imitated never equalled. Kurosawa regular and superstar Toshirô Mifune in one his legendary roles as the Samurai Sanjuro who uses the rivalry between of two evil clans to clean up a small town. Outstanding screenplay, amazing action sequences and great performances make this visually stunning film a timeless classic. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The legendary Akira Kurosawa directed this riveting masterpiece that reunited him with Toshirô Mifune in another outstanding performance. The film is part chamber drama and part action thriller about a cold blooded kidnapper asking a wealthy industrialist for ransom and the police race-against-time trying to catch him. Kurosawa masterfully tackles the drama as well as the action from the first frame till the last one with a superb cast and crew. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Visually stunning and haunting film from Sri Lanka by writer and director Vimukthi Jayasundara about people trapped in a remote and forsaken land in the middle of long standing civil war that has ravaged the land and its people. The story revolves around a guard, his wife and his sister longing for escape but unable to do anything about their destiny. The only things moving are the military trucks and tanks that dominates the lives of the people. Jayasundara through painting like compositions gives insight to inner plight of these people from a young girl to an old man that's captivating. The outstanding cinematography is absolutely astonishing. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
This film proves that if you have two attractive leads with great chemistry, then you can get away almost with anything, in this case an annoying and contrived fable about destined lovers. The modern fairy tale about two kids bonding by playing a game of dares that continues into their adulthood where it becomes more dangerous and annoying. Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet capably sell the tale because of their talents and chemistry along with the stunning visuals that could have been a disaster otherwise. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
This touching coming of age drama from French writer and director Eric Guirado is about a young man who's forced to return to countryside to help his parents with their grocery business where he finally mends his relationship with his family while realizing that life there is not as bad as he thought. Guirado's roots as a documentary filmmaker are evident as he mixes real people with professional actors in this universal and timeless tale that at its core is about relationships. Stunning locations provide a great backdrop for this powerful film. Nicolas Cazalé is excellent as the lead with a great cast that includes the beautiful Clotilde Hesme. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Whatever you thought to be true in the US mid-west such as racism and segregation are proved to be true as this shocking documentary proves that in Charleston, Mississippi, there's two proms for white and black students because the white folks do not want their children to mix. Actor Morgan Freeman was shocked to hear it about his hometown, so he decided to change it by offering to sponsor a mixed prom. As we find out most of the students do not want a segregated prom but can't do anything about it since the mighty and racist white folks rule the town and nobody can do anything about it. It's specially heartbreaking to hear it from the students about the reality of their daily lives. Even some of the white kids are punished who have black friends. Writer and director Paul Saltzman exposes the issue through Freeman and some of the people affected that's touching and unbelievable that such places still exists in the US. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Ed Harris co-wrote, produced, directed and stars in this solid Western that's probably closest to what the wild West actually was than the Hollywood and European interpretations of one of the most stylized genres. Harris manages to bring some fresh strokes to the usual formula that you would encounter in a Western such as scared, small towns, evil rancher and good and bad tough guys that roamed the West. The story two friends hired to bring back law and order in a small town from the powerful rancher. The guys do their job well when a sophisticated woman comes to town that stirs things around including the friendship between the two men. Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons and Renée Zellweger are solid as usual along with the rest of cast and crew. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
After the smashing success of "Interview with the Vampire," it seemed impossible to lure back the A-list cast, specially Tom Cruise who played Lestat, the main character of Anne Rice's "The Vampire Chronicles." Cruise was replaced by Stuart Townsend who does a fine job as Lestat, who's a rock star when he awakens Akasha, the ancient Egyptian queen, the mother of all vampires. The second and third book by Anne Rice were butchered to make this mediocre thriller that suffers from poor writing, directing and miscasting of key roles with the exception of Townsend and the late singer/actress Aaliyah in her last performance. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Actor Stuart Townsend made his directing, writing and producing debut with this solid drama set during the 1999 riots in Seattle that stopped the World Trade Organization's meeting where demonstrators and police clashed violently. Using archival footage and adding fictional characters Townsend gives insight to what went on during the days when the protesters and city officials prepared themselves for the annual WTO meeting. An all star cast came together to tell this powerful story including Charlize Theron, Martin Henderson, Michelle Rodriguez, Connie Nielson, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta, Channing Tatum, Rade Serbedzija, Isaach De Bankolé and André Benjamin.