Thursday, December 31, 2009

TOP 10 of 2009

TOP 10 Films & Directors
01. Agora, Alejandro Amenábar
02. A Prophet, Jacques Audiard
03. The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke
04. The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow
05. I Am Love, Luca Guadagnino
06. Broken Embraces, Pedro Almodóvar
07. Up in the Air, Jason Reitman
08. Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold
09. Mother, Bong Joon-ho
10. An Education, Lone Scherfig

TOP 10 Performances, Female
Leading & Supporting in Alphabetical Order

TOP 10 Performances, Male
Leading & Supporting in Alphabetical Order

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Umberto D.

Director Vittorio De Sica's masterpiece is a profound and timeless tale of poverty and loneliness in old age. The story set in post war Italy where Umberto barely lives off his pension. After his hostile landlady wants to evict him if he doesn't pay his rent on time, a desperate Umberto sets out to raise the money along with his beloved dog with devastating results. One of the most humane films in the history of cinema that's just devastating and hasn't lost one bit of its sheer power. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, December 28, 2009

General Della Rovere

Two giants of Italian cinema, director Roberto Rossellini and director/actor Vittorio De Sica collaborated on this film, each proving their worth beyond the neorealist movement with which they revolutionized cinema. They both return to familiar territory of WW II with a riveting portrayal of a fallen man who finds redemption. Vittorio De Sica plays a gambler who swindles his own people to make money which leads him to the Nazis who force him to pretend a resistance fighter in order to bring down the movement. Rossellini proves he can deliver a great conventional film beyond neorealism while De Sica delivers one his best performances. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Far from the Madding Crowd

Much of the human nature complexities and classic themes of Thomas Hardy's classic novel are missing from this epic adaptation by director John Schlesinger which boasts stunning cinematography and a first rate cast that includes the stunning Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates. The story about a beautiful heiress caught between three different suitors, a loyal shepherd, a noble landowner and an arrogant soldier whose pursuit has devastating consequences. The problem lies in the superficial screenplay which struggles with the core issues of the novel that dealt with the ironies of life. The actors try their best to overcome the flaws but are at loss. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lady Chatterley

French writer and director Pascale Ferran transforms D.H. Lawrence's notorious and controversial book into a sensual film about a woman's sexual awakening from a woman's point of view. Ferran stays away from controversy that has plagued the novel and goes to the heart of the matter which is about characters trapped by circumstance. While Lady Chatterley loves her paralyzed husband, her life lacks intimacy. Without seeking a way to escape, she gradually falls in love with the gamekeeper of her husband's estate. All the characters are well developed thanks to Ferran's vision and the performances of actors that includes the radiant Marina Hands and Hippolyte Girardot as Lady and Lord Chatterley. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Clint Eastwood returns with this solid film about true leadership that's inspiring and touching. The story about how South African President Nelson Mandela found an ally in rugby team leader Francois Pienaar to reunite his country when they went to win the World Cup in 1995. The ever reliable Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon are perfect as the leads. Eastwood's no nonsense style lets the story unfold without much interference. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

The title refers to Mandela's favorite poem by English poet William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

A Married Woman

French auteur extraordinaire Jean-Luc Godard takes on ménage à trois in this stunningly beautiful film with a message. A married woman can't decide between her husband and her lover while discovering she's pregnant. Raoul Coutard delivers his usual striking cinematography of sensual close ups of the fetching and ravishing Macha Méril and her attractive men played by Bernard Noël and Philippe Leroy. Godard is on top of his game with this fascinating character study through a woman's point of view. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Last Station

Writer and director Michael Hoffman (Restoration) makes a smashing comeback with this moving film about the last days of celebrated Russian writer Leo Tolstoy and his wife Sofya. A poignant film about the complexities of love that excels because of the performances of Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti and James McAvoy. Hoffman hits all the right notes to give an accurate portrait of one the greatest writers in literature as he deals with his legacy that has come between him and the love of his life. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.

A Perfect Day

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige wrote and directed this drama set in a day where a mother and son who declare their beloved husband and father officially dead after he has been kidnapped 15 years earlier and has been missing ever since. Set in Beirut the mother and son are still haunted by the past who have to leave behind the past in order to face the future. Julia Kassar and Ziad Saad are perfect as the leads and deliver authentic performances as the mother and son crippled with the burden of the past that threatens their relationship. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.


Iranian writer and director Abolfazl Jalili's poignant film about an Afghan boy caught in between political turmoil at the Iran-Afghanistan border of the title. It shows the heartbreaking condition of children who try their best to cope with their situation caused by war. Most of Afghan refugees tried to escape the war to Iran and Pakistan where more trouble awaited them. Jalili manages through poetic images to show the resilience of a young boy. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Director James Cameron returns after a long absence and delivers a spectacular extravaganza with mind blowing 3D effects that has come here to stay. The story about a paraplegic marine is sent to a distant planet to bond with the natives, so that a big corporation and its military can exploit the natural resources at the cost of destroying everything that comes in their way. Nothing new on the story front which is simple enough that has been done before and better but the story's just an excuse to get on the ride which is the film all about. What Cameron lacks as a writer, he makes it up with his usual finesse as a director who has always been ahead of everybody else in Hollywood by opening the Pandora's Box of visual effects that will become the new standard for Hollywood big blockbusters that has dominated the global box office. The cast and crew help Cameron with his vision that allows him to reunite with his "Aliens" star Sigourney Weaver who's a welcome sight and Sam Worthington has everything to become the next big action star. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.


Motion Picture, Drama
The Hurt Locker

Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical

Motion Picture, Foreign Language
Broken Embraces & The Maid

Motion Picture Documentary
Every Little Step

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Actor In A Drama
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Actress In A Drama

Shohreh Aghdashloo, The Stoning of Soraya M.

Actor In A Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical
Michael Stuhlberg, A Serious Man

Actress In A Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Actress In A Supporting Role
Mo'nique, Precious

Actor In A Supporting Role
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Screenplay, Original
(500) Days of Summer

Screenplay, Adapted
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

For more info:


French writer and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet established himself as master with this meticulous and fabulous fable that's utterly original and inventive in every frame. The story of a girl who wants to help the people in her life with her own sense of justice and discovers the love of her life along the way. Audrey Tautou is pitch perfect as the heroine that also marked the arrival of a major talent since Audrey Hepburn. Jeunet's wildly imaginative vision to say the least along with the help of his cast and crew makes great use of Paris that enthralling. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Emanuele Crialese wrote and directed this delightful and magical film set in an idyllic Italian island about a bipolar woman whose antics upsets her family and the villagers. Valeria Golino gives a soaring performance as the loving mother of three along with the entire cast. Crialese and crew use the stunning locations to glorious effects to show the emotional state of the people. Vincenzo Amato, Francesco Casisa and Filippo Pucillo are pitch perfect as the men to Galino's Grazia. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, December 18, 2009

White Dog

Legendary writer and director Samuel Fuller who was one of true mavericks in American cinema always managed to make interesting films that stand the test of time. This classic film about white German Shepherd who's lovable and friendly to white people but is trained to attack and kill black people. Kristy McNichol stars at the actress who finds the dog and tries to cure it with the help of a black trainer played by Paul Winfield. Fuller makes his pessimistic case in Los Angeles, in one of the most liberal places in America, where racism has always been present and shows the roots of it by exposing a problem that has haunted this country more than any other. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Human Condition

A towering achievement by Japanese master Masaki Kobayashi who made one of the greatest anti-war films that exposes war as it is in all of its shades that's timeless as it is relevant. The three part epic examines the war through the eyes of one man who experiences the war as a civilian, soldier and prisoner. Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai gives his best performance as the idealistic Kaji who accepts a position in Japanese occupied Manchuria to avoid military and improve the conditions of the workers. When the war reaches with its inhumane machinery where Kaji is caught between the forces that causes his failure, he's sent to military service where he has to experience the harshest treatment and humiliation. After the war, Kaji shatters when he finds out that the Russians or Chinese are not much better than the Japanese when it comes to war. Kobayashi's razor sharp focus with pitch perfect cast and crew makes this film one of the greatest films on human nature and condition. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, December 14, 2009

CRITICS AWARDS 3: NY Film Critics Circle

The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

In The Loop

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

George Clooney, Up In The Air

Mo'Nique, Precious

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Of Time and the City

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Summer Hours

Christian Berger, The White Ribbon


For more info:


A towering achievement by writer Shinobu Hashimoto (Seven Samurai, Rashomon) and director Masaki Kobayashi who take one of the most profound and brutal rituals of the Samurai that of suicide to tell a profound human story that digs deep beyond the surface of the Samurai legend. An aging Samurai with a mission seeks to commit harakiri in the court of a powerful clan. A riveting tale from the begin to its powerful end thanks to Kobayashi and team and the performance of its star Tatsuya Nakadai makes the film a timeless classic. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CRITICS AWARDS 2: LA Film Critics Association

The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Yolande Moreau, Séraphine

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Mo'Nique, Precious

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

The Beaches of Agnès & The Cove

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Summer Hours

Philip Ivey, District 9

Christian Berger, The White Ribbon

T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton, Crazy Heart

Friday, December 11, 2009

Last Year At Marienbad

French master Alain Resnais followed his masterpiece "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" with this mysterious film that leaves any kind of interpretation to the viewer. Resnais made an elegant film set in a stunning chateau with a beautiful cast with a story that's an enigma through and through. A man persuades beautiful woman to be the woman he had an affair the year before only to be rejected by her. The actors are used as facades like the opulent settings without giving any clues to the mystery. Resnais and writer Alain Robbe-Grillet are more interested in the audience's reaction to their puzzle than anything else which is one the main attractions of the film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Swann in Love

A disappointing adaptation given the source material and cast and crew attached who have done better work elsewhere. The story of a wealthy Jewish man who has managed to reach the high society of 19th century, only to risk everything for the love of a courtesan. The impressive cast of Jeremy Irons, Alain Delon and Fanny Ardent can't save the project that seems lost in the hands of director Volker Schlondorff. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nanook of the North

One of the benefits of the invention of cinema was to allow the audience travel to remote regions of the world as this masterpiece shows. The first documentary to show the life of Eskimos in the remote regions of Alaska as they go through their daily life thanks to the charming family at the center to be captured by Robert J. Flaherty who spent months to film it. An influential film that has inspired generations of filmmakers across the world and remains of the towering achievements of cinema. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Zhou Yu's Train

The stunning Gong Li is the main reason to watch this sensual film by Chinese writer and director Zhou Sun about a woman who takes the train to visit her poet lover. The story doesn't sound very credible neither plausible but that's not the point Sun is interested in. The main attraction is the stunning Gong Li and she makes the story work with her sheer presence along with the beautiful cinematography and music. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Rob Marshall returns to what he does best after the ill fated "Memoirs of a Geisha" with another winning musical that dazzles because of its stellar cast. Based on Fellini's masterpiece "8 1/2", the film is a dazzling homage to Fellini, Italy, cinema and everything it's associated with. The dazzling cast delivers with outstanding performances that's the highlight of the film. Daniel Day-Lewis brings the necessary intensity as a famed director on the verge of a breakdown who's suffering from a writer's block that threatens his world and the women in his life. Marion Cotillard and Penélope Cruz are outstanding as the women in his life with breath taking performances. Sophia Loren and Judi Dench are every bit stellar in their own way as the mother and mother figure. Nicole Kidman and Kate Hudson are perfect in their cameos while Fergie has the most catching tune in the film that's an instant classic. YRCinema's coverage of upcoming releases.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


African writer and director Abderrahmane Sissako makes an ambitious attempt to address some of the problems his continent with this inventive film. The story set in a garden where a court hears witness testimony against Western institutions such as World Bank that exploits the people instead of providing solutions. While the court sessions are taking place, life goes on with the locals going on with their lives which includes a singer who lives in the house with her estranged husband. Sissako avoids Western story structure which is refreshing as it is disorienting but entirely original with a rich tapestry of local characters and flavors. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Shall We Dance?

Japanese writer and director Masayuki Suo successfully uses Western ballroom dancing to tell a very Japanese tale in the this crowd pleasing film about a business man secretly taking dancing lessons that brings some color in his dull routine life. Kôji Yakusho is perfectly cast as the lead in a challenging role that goes from drama to comedy. The colorful supporting cast bring much humor in some outrageously entertaining sequences that's pure delight. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Girl From Paris

French writer and director Christian Carion makes a smashing debut with this beautiful film about a city woman who decides to become a farmer in a remote region of France. He avoids all the cliches you would expect and cuts to the heart of story without wasting much time that enables the actors such as Michel Serrault and Mathilde Seigner shine. Carion hits all the right notes from the begin till the finish besides an effective tale and characters, his spectacular use of stunning location that makes the film a pure delight. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Danish writer and director Natasha Arthy blends two genres perfectly in this powerful film about a young Turkish girl who wants to become a martial art fighter despite the wishes of her family and community. Arthy manages to adapt the "Karate Kid" formula successfully in the immigrant community with a universal appeal with fully realized characters in a stylish film that boasts a vibrant soundtrack. The unknown cast excels and brings the necessary authenticity which makes the film more compelling. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

CRITICS AWARDS 1: National Board of Review

Best Film

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Documentary

Best Actor
George Clooney, UP IN THE AIR
Morgan Freeman, INVICTUS

Best Actress
Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION

Best Supporting Actor
Woody Harrelson, THE MESSENGER

Best Supporting Actress
Anna Kendrick, UP IN THE AIR

Best Director
Clint Eastwood, INVICTUS

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, UP IN THE AIR

Best Original Screenplay
Joel and Ethan Coen, A SERIOUS MAN

Best Animated Feature


For more info:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The first masterpiece by Japanese master animator Hayao Miyazaki remains a timeless classic. The story set in the future where a princess fights for peace while saving her planet. An entirely original story of epic proportions in a fantastic world with captivating characters executed with perfection by the master and his crew as you would expect. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.