Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The 400 Blows

François Truffaut made his feature debut with this stunning film that also is one of the films that started the French New Wave movement. The story of a troubled boy who's facing problems at school and home that spins out of control. One of the most honest depictions of youths ever captured on film. Truffaut liberated cinema from any theatrical confinements by using actual locations in and out side along with the performances. Jean-Pierre Léaud's astonishing performance made Truffaut to make four more films about Antoine Doinel. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Education

Danish director Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners) delivers with this smashing coming of age film set in 1960's London about a beautiful and smart teenager who has to choose between an education at Oxford or from life with a charming man twice her age. The film seduces with a lot of charm and humor which is refreshing with a stellar cast that includes Carey Mulligan in a star making performance and the excellent Peter Sarsgaard who finally gets his due with a perfect role as the leading man. Beautifully written by novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy) and executed by Sherfig and her impeccable cast and crew. YRCinema's coverage of upcoming releases.

FESTIVAL 8: San Sebastian, Spain

The most important festival in the Spanish speaking world which serves also as the portal to Latin and South America beyond Spain. The festival has competitions and juries which makes it attractive for filmmakers around the world. In the top ten it would come in the sixth spot right after Sundance. This year the jury is presided by French director Laurent Cantet.

Chloe, Atom Egoyan (Opening Film)
Mother and Child, Rodrigo García (Closing Film)
10 TO 11, Pelin Esmer
Blessed, Ana Kokkinos
City of Life and Death, Lu Chuan GOLDEN SHELL FOR BEST FILM
Los Condenados, Isaki Lacuesta
Get Low, Aaron Schneider
Hadewijch, Bruno Dumont
The White Meadows, Mohammad Rasoulof
Making Plans for Lena, Christophe Honoré
La Mujer Sin Piano, Javier Rebollo
Le Refuge, François Ozon SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Juan José Campanella
This Is Love, Matthias Glasner
I Came from Busan, Jeon Soo-il
Yo, También, Álvaro Pastor, Antonio Naharro
El Baile de la Victoria, Fernando Trueba

The Kingdom

This potent thriller set in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia works despite its flaws. A group of FBI agents are sent to the Kingdom to help catch the terrorists responsible for a violent attack on American civilians. Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Justin Bateman play the agents trying to make sense of situation in a strange country but are helped immensely by Ashraf Barhom and Ali Suliman as the local officers. The film opens with very informative opening credits that sets up the setting of the film which is also the most exciting thing in this film. The plot is too simplistic to be credible and the talented cast can't overcome the restrictions of the script. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, September 28, 2009

King of the Hill

It's hard to imagine what attracted the talented Leonardo Sbaraglia and María Valverde to this half baked action thriller with too many plot holes to mention. Two strangers who meet at a remote gas station are viciously hunted by mysterious hunters without any reason. The inherent problems lie in the screenplay from the beginning which only gets worse. It's basically an American film set in Spain that recalls the far superior "Deliverance" by John Boorman without any of its substance. The film is best enjoyed without paying attention to its logic that feeds of common phobias. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Bank Job

Roger Donaldson directed this clever and thrilling heist film based on true events with Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows as the leads. After a criminal blackmails the British government with comprising photos of a member of the Royal family, the British secret service enlists a group of petty criminals to break into the bank where the photos are kept. As with all heist films, nothing goes as planned and the race against time starts where everybody wants to get their hands first on the goods. Cool guy Statham and and the ravishing Burrows bring a lot of charisma to this stylish film set in 1970's London. Donaldson hits all the right notes without missing a beat that makes for satisfying thriller with substance which is rare these days. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, September 25, 2009


This nonsense of a film fails on almost every level. It starts with a promising concept which it never delivers but rather changes gears for cheap and cheesy thrills. The gorgeous Jessica Alba seems to select one disastrous project after another. It's hard to imagine the project attracted the talent involved and proves that a bad film can taint talent while a good one enhance it. The weakest link is of course the screenplay which nobody involved can save. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pride and Glory

A predictable formula thriller that's enhanced and redeemed by the performances of the actors which proves that good actors can save a project. Police corruption and morals is explored through a family of Irish-American family in New York where several members clash with devastating consequences. Jon Voight, Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Noah Emmerich give solid performances as the members of the family. Gavin O'Connor co-wrote and directed the solid film that provides the talent to shine without bringing anything new to the genre. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Age of Stupid

Franny Armstrong has made the most important film of our times. A devastating and riveting documentary looking back from the future when the global warming already has destroyed the earth and how we humans failed to save it knowingly. Through six intimate tales on five continents and several animated sequences the director shows how we have all the necessary resources to make the significant and crucial changes in the race against time to save our planet but so far we have failed miserably. As the film proves we indeed live in an age of stupid, ignorance and pure greed. A film everybody on earth has to see whether they want or not, everybody has been warned and everybody will be guilty of the consequences. Be afraid, very afraid.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Proposal

A predictable formula film that succeeds thanks to the performances of its stars, specially Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock who has mastered this genre. In order to stay in the US, an editor forces her assistant to marry her that changes them with mostly predictable consequences. The solid supporting cast includes Oscar Nuñez and Betty White who brings their talents to the formula. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Angels & Demons

A rather dull film and sequel that completely fails where "The Da Vinci Code" succeeded. Both films are pure entertainment without any real substance that's surprising anybody would take seriously. In this film the Vatican calls Robert Langdon for help to save it from destruction from within. There's some superficial talk about religion and science that lacks any depth. Tom Hanks runs around and talks like an encyclopedia rather than a real person. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

FESTIVAL 7: Toronto, Canada

A relatively new festival compared to the others but has become of the most important festivals in the world due to its perfect timing at the beginning of September when the award season begins and the studios using Toronto as their launching pad. The festivals doesn't have a competition like the top three (Cannes, Berlin & Venice), therefore has the privilege to introduce the best films of the top three in one venue in their North American premiere. The focus is to celebrate cinema and its filmmakers and some of the films will win the big awards in the coming season. Since there's no competition, they have a huge selection of films in the following categories:
For more info: Toronto International Film Festival

Friday, September 18, 2009


Ridley Scott's daughter Jordan continues the family tradition and makes her feature debut with this seductive film set in an all girl boarding school. An influential teacher and her impressionable students get seduced by a new foreign student that cracks the equilibrium with devastating consequences. The stunning Eva Green stars as the teacher in question along with the equally seductive María Valverde as the new student. Beautiful but flawed makes for an interesting debut that should be watched. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

A poorly written and executed film that shamelessly exploits real characters of the title by using their names and some key events of their lives. Anybody who has no information about who Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky are, won't get to know them here and will be at the mercy of the filmmakers to be misinformed. The film is rich on style that's supposed to look authentic and allows the actors to look the parts. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

London River

French writer and director Rachid Bouchareb (Days of Glory) makes a thought provoking and timely film set in the aftermath of the London terrorist bombings of 2005. The story of two parents looking for their missing children shows a personal and painful journey that will resonate with everybody. The outstanding Brenda Blethyn gives another riveting and heart breaking performance along with Sotigui Kouyaté in an equally great performance. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Samson and Delilah

Australian writer and director Warwick Thornton makes his feature debut with this powerful film that gives a grim look on two aboriginal teenagers living on the margin of society with nobody to care for them except for each other. It's heart breaking to see the young couple who lack any kind of survival skills to escape their condition. Thornton shines a light also on the topic of homelessness that's universal. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Mother and Child

Writer and director Rodrigo García finally delivers with this powerful drama about the tie that binds mother and child whether each is present or not. The story focuses on three women whose lives change because they reject, expect and want motherhood. Through intertwined stories García makes a universal statement that will appeal to everybody, specially women. The stellar cast includes Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington as the three leads with outstanding performances. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Young Victoria

Whether historically accurate or not but director Jean-Marc Vallée makes a sweeping romantic epic with this film written by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park). The story set in the years before the young Victoria becomes a queen and after she marries prince Albert. Vallée and Fellowes show insight the lives of royals raised in a golden cage and used for political power. Thanks to perfect casting of Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend along with a stellar supporting cast, the film is very effective and way above expectations for its kind. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Am Love

Italian writer and director Luca Guadagnino delivers a knockout with this superb film. When a young chef becomes friends with the heir of a wealthy Milanese family, he falls in love with his Russian mother which leads to tragedy. It's hard to simplify the story but it touches on several themes such as culinary passion and forbidden love among others that's spellbinding. The ever amazing Tilda Swinton produced and stars along veteran and newcomers that make the outstanding cast. Beautifully written and executed on every possible level that makes for glorious film making and makes Guadagnino one of most talented directors in Italian cinema. The score by American composer John Adams adds to the glory of this magnificent film. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Up in the Air

Director Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking, Juno) and George Clooney team up for this outstanding comedy that also marks a career highlight for both. A man who travels across the country only to fire people on behalf of their companies reevaluates his existence when he meets two different women. Clever, funny and timely with a potent message, the film will delight everybody. The outstanding cast includes Vera Farmiga and Jason Bateman among others. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.


Jean-Pierre Jeunet returns in top form with this visually stunning comedy that has everything you would expect and more. After a man is injured by a random gun shot, he unites with a group of friends to take revenge on two rival weapon manufacturers. An original script with a superb cast make this film a treasure full of wonders. The film unites Jeunet with comedian Dany Boon (Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis) and it's match made in cinematic heaven. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This clever thriller from Hong Kong proves the Asian Cinema has still fresh and compelling stories to offer. The film about a group of criminals who stage elaborate accidents to commit murder. After one of team is killed during an assignment, suspicion and paranoia derails the team. The high concept promise could have been explored more in depth but makes for an engaging film that will inspire remakes abroad. Director Cheang Pou-Soi and his talented cast and crew deliver an original and unique film that's fresh and intriguing. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.


A simple and beautiful film about a father and son's bonding in a remote seaside on the Mexican coral reef before the son's departure for Italy with his mother. Mexican Pedro González-Rubio wrote, directed, produced, edited and shot the film with a keen and patient eye for non-professional actors and stunning locations. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

A Single Man

Fashion designer Tom Ford makes his writing and directing debut with this impeccably crafted period film that satisfies the expectations as far as style is concerned. The story set in Los Angeles of 1962 during a day in the life of a gay English professor who plans to commit suicide after a series of encounters. Everybody expected that Ford would bring his taste and style but Ford manages to bring some substance as well that makes his debut more compelling and promising. Colin Firth gives a solid performance with the support of a stunning Julianne Moore. Beautifully filmed with a flawless production and costume design. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Life During Wartime

Writer and director Todd Solondz's sequel to his "Happiness" a decade later with entirely new cast. The story focuses mostly on the two sisters a decade later. Beautifully shot and acted in a series of dialogs that allows the talented actors to "act" but the film's too clever for its own good which lacks sincerity. Allison Janney and Shirley Henderson lead the ensemble that also features Ciarán Hinds and Charlotte Rampling. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP: Patrick Swayze 1952 - 2009

White Material

French writer and director Claire Denis comes full circle with this film that marks her return to Africa after her debut in "Chocolat" along with actor Isaach De Bankolé who's featured in both films. The film also unites her with the legendary Isabelle Huppert who stars a French coffee plantation owner who refuses to surrender to the deteriorating political situation that's sweeping the land and its people. Denis and Huppert give an authentic look of a continent in trouble without a false beat that's refreshing and thoughtful. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.


Korean writer and director Bong Joon-ho (The Host) delivers his most mature and best work with this character study about a mother who desperately attempts to save her son framed for murder. Joon-ho continues to amaze as he expands his range with this impeccably crafted film that holds your attention from the first frame till the last and beyond. At the core of the film lies an astonishing performance by actress Kim Hye-ja as the lead who gives one of the best performances in recent memory. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Whip It

Drew Barrymore makes her feature directing debut with this coming of age drama/comedy which she also produced and stars in. The story of girl in a small town who finds her love and herself in an all girl roller derby team. Barrymore and her talented cast overcome the predictable formula and save what could have been a disaster in wrong hands. Instead they deliver a charming film with a lot of girl power which is a rare feat. Ellen Page stars along with Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Stern and Juliette Lewis. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


A powerful and timeless antiwar film from Israel by writer and director duo Samuel Maoz and Maoz Shmulik. The story set entirely in a tank on first day of the first Lebanon war in 1982 shows how the four young men experience the horrors of war. While the setting is specific, the story is universal that could be in any country at any time. Based on Samuel Moaz's own experience, the film gives a singular vision and point of view on how he experienced and seems to be engraved forever. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Soul Kitchen

German/Turkish writer and director Fatih Akin cooks up an original ensemble comedy that features the city of Hamburg prominently besides reuniting with Moritz Bleibtreu and Birol Ünel. The story about two Greek brothers and their restaurant of the title at the center of their lives. Akin gives an authentic array of characters and locations from his hometown that makes this film work. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

FESTIVAL 6: Venice, Italy

The third of the top three festivals (Cannes & Berlin) is also the oldest festival in the world. It has serious competition from the fourth, Toronto, which right behind it in ranking and timing. However, it does not have to fear anything after all these years besides having one of the most beautiful settings. This year the president of the jury was Ang Lee.

Golden Lion Winner * Levanon (Lebanon), Samuel Maoz - Israel

Silver Lion Winner * Zanan-e-bedun-e mardan (Women Without Men), Shirin Neshat - Germany

Special Jury Prize * Soul Kitchen, Fatih Akin - Germany

Best Actor * Britain's Colin Firth for Tom Ford's "A Single Man"

Best Actress * Russian Ksenia Rappoport for "La Doppia Ora"

Best Screenplay * Life During Wartime, Todd Solondz - US

Best Debut Film * Pepe Diokno for "Engkwentro" (Clash)

Best Set Design * Sylvie Olive for Jaco Van Dormael's "Mr. Nobody"

Best Emerging Performer * Italy's Jasmine Trinca for "Il Grande Sogno"


Baaria - Giuseppe Tornatore - Italy
La Doppia Ora, Giuseppe Capotondi - Italy
Yi ngoi (Accident), Cheang Pou-Soi - China/Hong Kong
Persecution, Patrice Chereau - France
Lo Spazio Bianco (White Space), Francesca Comencini - Italy
White Material - Claire Denis - France
Lourdes, Jessica Hausner - Austria
Bad Lieutenant: Port Of New Orleans, Werner Herzog - US
The Road, John Hillcoat - US
Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds), Vimukhti Jayasundara - Sri Lanka
El Mosafer (The Traveller), Ahmed Maher - Eqypt
Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore - US
36 Vues Du Pic Saint Loup, Jacques Rivette - France
Tetsuo The Bullet Man, Shinya Tsukamoto - Japan
Lei wangzi (Prince of Tears), Yonfan - China/Taiwan/Hong Kong


[Rec] 2 - Paco Plaza, Jaume Balaguero - Spain
Chengdu, Wo Ai Ni (Chengdu, I Love You), Fruit Chan, Cui Jian - China
The Hole, Joe Dante - US
The Men Who Stare At Goats, Grant Heslov - US
Ehky ya Schahrazad (Scheherazade, Tell Me A Story), Yousry Nasrallah - Egypt
Yona Yona Penguin, Rintaro - Japan
The Informant!, Steven Soderbergh - US

For more info: Venice International Film Festival

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Most Dangerous Man in America

The story of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers that eventually lead to end of Nixon the Vietnam war. This documentary shows how Ellsberg who planned the Vietnam war, eventually plagued by his conscience leaked top secret documents to the New York Times in 1971 in the hopes to end the war. The film show a man remarkable transformation from an insider to whistle blower and national hero. There are a lot of disturbing parallels to the Iraq war that makes this film timely and important. Directors Judith Ehrlich & Rick Goldsmith make their debut with this film with a great story and character, Daniel Ellsberg who also narrates the film. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Deliver Us From Evil

An American formula thriller made in Denmark that leaves a bitter aftertaste. Anybody turning to this film to get away from Hollywood films will be disappointed. The film about two different brothers, one a lawyer and the other a truck driver come to confront each other when one accidentally kills somebody and tries to put the blame on his brother's immigrant worker. The pretentious film full of cliches is clearly influenced by Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs." Writer and director Ole Bornedal who made the original "Nightwatch" and its mediocre Hollywood remake doesn't shows any improvement. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The White Ribbon

Michael Haneke (Funny Games, The Piano Teacher & Caché) returns with this masterpiece to his native German language after a decade working abroad. The story set in a German village shortly before World War I where strange acts of violence are committed that turns the community apart because false suspicion and mutual distrust. Haneke as always explores with different kinds of evil, in this case the collective one that later would taint Germany but without cheap explanations that makes his work always absorbing and interesting. The title gives a clue to the roots of evil when the pastor punishes his children, he ties a white ribbon on their arms that reminds of yellow one the Jews had to wear years later. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

A Serious Man

The Coen brothers are back with another black comedy that has their signature all over it but will be less accessible than their previous efforts. The story set in 1967 about a Jewish professor whose life unravels when he's faced with problems from his family and work. In contrast to their last film "Burn After Reading," the Coens cast virtually unknown but talented actors that gives the film great authenticity that also applies to the Jewish culture which makes some of the humor hard to decipher if you are not Jewish. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Men Who Stare at Goats

George Clooney and Grant Heslov reunite after their smashing "Good Night, and Good Luck." with this outrageous comedy that reminds of Clooney's "Three Kings". The story of journalist who goes to Iraq after a broken heart where he finds the story of a lifetime. The always reliable Ewan McGregor stars with hilarious performances by George Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey make this film a delight that pokes fun at the US military under the Reagan and Bush administrations. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Women Without Men

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat makes her feature debut with this timely political film set in Tehran, 1953 but echoes current political uproars. The film about four different women suffering from oppression seeking refuge in an idyllic garden with each other. At times hypnotic and striking that reminds of Neshat's visually stunning video installations. While the film excels visually, it falls short in the adaptation of the novel that could have been more powerful with a sharper focus on the characters. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.


Danish director Lars von Trier went through depression into some pretty dark places and shares some of it in his latest work which as dark as a film can get. The title is rather misleading since it's not so much about religion as it's lack of it. After a couple loose their young son, they literally fall into a black hole from grief, pain and despair that leads them to retreat into their secluded cabin in the woods where they unleash terror on each other. It's a beautiful and haunting as it's shocking and horrifying film with fearless performances by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe. The problem with the film is von Trier's understanding of psychology which doesn't make much sense that hurts the film the most. YRCinema's coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Star Trek

Director J.J. Abrams has been hired to reinvent the epic franchise. While the films excels on the action and visual effects, it falls short in the character development of the characters. The film mostly focuses on Kirk and Spock, but even their stories lacks inspiration that are predictable that also suffers from the performances of new actors. Eric Bana and Simon Pegg fare better than the rest in their brief roles while original Spock, Leonard Nimoy makes a welcome appearance. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD

Terminator Salvation

This potent action film focuses on the grim future that the Terminator films referred to but never explored in depth. The film starts with the story of new character instead John Connor, the famous freedom fighter of the previous films who saves the world. Director McG and his team make a wise choice with their decision on the new character, Marcus Wright, a murderer who donates his body for research without knowing of the consequences. Even though Christian Bale is the star of the film as John Connor, the film belongs to newcomer Sam Worthington who gives a riveting performance as Wright and redeems the film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Red Beard

Toshirô Mifune gives another towering performance in his last collaboration with the ever versatile master Akira Kurosawa in the shattering film about the goodness of mankind. A young and arrogant doctor is transferred to a hospital for the poor run by a tough but compassionate doctor who teaches the young man few lessons about life and their profession. Kurosawa's moving and touching homage to the human condition is breathtaking in its sincerity without one false beat. As usual a terrific cast and crew makes this film another classic to cherish. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Director Robert Zemeckis always first to jump on the latest technology which always played a major role in his films that also paved the way for others. In this film he takes the classic epic poem of the title to push the envelope in animation and performance capture where he changes the physical look of well known actors. The result is mixed and feels already outdated in such a short time. The visuals look at times amazingly real and fake at the same time which is one of the shortcomings of the film. The story of a legendary hero who slays a demon to become a king but falls in the same trap as the previous king where female psychology overpowers male physicality. Zemeckis enlists a reliable cast to help him deliver his vision including Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Ray Winstone and John Malkovich but they deliver what's expected and loose some of their presence in the animation except for Jolie who appears very much life like in her brief cameo and an unrecognizable Ray Winstone as the dashing lead. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.