Sunday, January 31, 2010


The first important festival of the year is the most important one in the US that has a competition and world premieres. The festival started to support the independent films and filmmaker but is now an integrated part of Hollywood.

2010 Winners:

"Restrepo," directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

"Winter's Bone," directed by Debra Granik

"The Red Chapel (Det Rode Kapel)," directed by Mads Brugger

"Animal Kingdom," directed by David Michod

"Waiting for Superman," directed by Davis Guggenheim

"HappyThankYouMorePlease," writtern & directed by Josh Radnor

"Waste Land," directed by Lucy Walker

"Contracorriente (Undertow)," directed by Javier Fuentes-Leon

"Smash His Camera," directed by Leon Gast

"3 Backyards" written and directed by Eric Mendelsohn

"Space Tourists," directed by Christian Frei

"Southern District," written & directed by Juan Carlos Valdivia

Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for "Winter's Bone"

"Southern District," written & directed by Juan Carlos Valdivia

GUILD AWARDS 3: Director's Guild (DGA)

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures:

Avatar (2009): James Cameron
The Hurt Locker (2008): Kathryn Bigelow
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Quentin Tarantino
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Lee Daniels
Up in the Air (2009/I): Jason Reitman

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary:

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008): Sacha Gervasi
The Cove (2009): Louie Psihoyos
The English Surgeon (2007): Geoffrey Smith
Food, Inc. (2008): Robert Kenner
Garbage Dreams (2009): Mai Iskander
Les plages d'Agnès (2008): Agnès Varda

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brother to Brother

Writer and director Rodney Evans made his feature debut with this solid and effective film about a young gay black man who struggles with the society when he bonds with an elderly artist who went through similar issues in the 1920 known as the Harlem Renaissance. Anthony Mackie leads the excellent cast with a nuanced and striking performance. Evans gives an honest depiction of his characters and their issues without sentimentality. He also manages to get the period details and feel right given the low budget thanks to his excellent cast and crew. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Writer and director Lance Hammer makes his feature debut with this somber drama set in the middle of nowhere somewhere in the US. The suicide of a man brings his twin brother and his ex-wife together as they try to help his troubled son. A rather quiet film where the desolate and cold landscape reflect the inner turmoil of these severely damaged people. Hammer makes an assured debut with a cast of non-professional actors who bring much authenticity to the story. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Drag Me to Hell

Director Sam Raimi returns to the horror genre after his Spiderman trilogy with this film which could have been a great if the script was more developed. The story about a young woman who get cursed by a gypsy woman after she refuses her a loan. There are some good thrills and creepy moments in the potent story which could have been scarier if treated more seriously like "Rosemary's Baby" but Raimi goes over the top with everything, specially the visual effects which hurt the film as they did with his Evil Dead films. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Touchez Pas Au Grisbi

The last masterpiece by French master Jacques Becker whose meticulous films are remarkable for their richness in texture with class and style in every aspect of it. The always elegant and dashing Jean Gabin stars an aging gangster who wants to retire after a successful heist when his friend and partner is kidnapped for ransom. While this film is set again in the world of gangsters like Becker's "Casque d'Or", he manages again to take it to another level beyond the basic plot. In "Casque d'Or" the sweeping love story was the core of the film, here it's the true friendship that stands out. The film marks the debut of Lino Ventura in a star making performance and a young Jeanne Moreau in one of her major roles before her iconic performances in New Wave classics. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj (Maqbool, Omkara), one of the most interesting directors in Indian Cinema, returns to the seedy crime world of Mumbai after successfully transferring Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello in that milieu. The story of estranged identical twins whose paths crosses again when the good one falls in love with sister of a powerful and corrupt local politician and bad one steals goods from the mob. While Bhardwaj doesn't break any ground, he gives a visually arresting and coherent film with a kinetic score along with providing a platform to Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, two of the most charismatic stars of Bollywood to shed their glamorous images and shine in their roles. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pépé le Moko

Before the French New Wave, there was the Romantic Realism and this film is one of the masterpieces of the period. A dazzling film about a French gangster on the run hiding in the Casbah district of Algiers where the police can't touch him, the women love him and everybody else either fear or admire him. Jean Gabin, one of the greatest actors of French cinema stars in his most famous and iconic role as Pépé le Moko. A great story with flawless performances in stunning locations makes this film a timeless classic, romantic to the core. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Bob le Flambeur

The first masterpiece by French auteur Jean-Pierre Melville is also the first film of French New Wave that changed cinema forever. Taking cinema outside studios on actual locations and mixing professional actors with real people, Melville achieves authenticity to tell the story of a gambler and thief with class and style that remains a timeless classic. Bob, the high-roller is a gentleman gambler with a strict honor code who's lured back for a last score. A riveting story with turns and twists from the beginning till the end with fully developed characters that established Melville as a master who went on to deliver several classic films in an illustrious career. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Fall

Veteran video director Tarsem who made his debut with the stylish but uneven thriller "The Cell" returns after a long hiatus with another visually stunning film. Unfortunately the film remains eye candy with a sentimental story that leaves a bitter after taste. The story about a young girl who befriends a suicidal stuntman in a Los Angeles hospital who lures her to steal morphine in exchange for a fantastical story. Unfortunately Tarsem is more focused to use stunning exotic locations and costumes by Eiko Ishioka in some way no matter how with the story weaves around it that never makes much sense which steals any credibility and sincerity from the already problematic story. The striking visuals would make a great music video or a magazine spread but in a feature film, it feels false and utterly pretentious. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

GUILD AWARDS 2: Producer's Guild (PGA)

Feature Film:
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Star Trek
Up in the Air

Animated Film:
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog

Documentary Film:
Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land
The Cove
Soundtrack for a Revolution

Saturday, January 23, 2010

GUILD AWARDS 1: Screen Actors Guild (SAG)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture





Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dead Man

American writer and director Jim Jarmusch takes on the western genre with this eccentric and quirky film that stars Johnny Depp along with an all star cast. It's a weird film with some interesting moments and ideas that does not all add up into something great but remains a unique film unlike any other western. Jarmusch seems more interested in mood and style than story as it shows with the stunning black and white cinematography by Robby Müller and electronic score by Neil Young. The actors do well with the limited material but Gary Farmer stands out as Nobody to Depp's William Blake. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Notebook

This film proves that good actors can save a poor story that's poorly made thanks to their talents. In this case all the credit should go to Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams and Gena Rowlands amongst others to make this sentimental tearjerker work. The story is nothing new about poor boy falling for rich girl before losing her and finding each other years later. Without the actors who are well cast, the film would be a total disaster. Director Nick Cassavetes never found his voice as a director except maybe for the casting of good actors including his legendary mother who can do no wrong, no matter what. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Casque D'Or

This masterpiece by French writer and director Jacques Becker is a sweeping love story set amongst the gangsters and courtesans of the Belle Epoque at the turn of the century of Paris. When courtesan Marie falls in love with Manda, a reformed gangster who works as a carpenter, it sets in motion a rivalry amongst her gangster lover and his boss who also wants Marie that leads to tragedy for all involved. It's a dazzling piece of a film thanks Becker and the flawless performances of Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani and Claude Dauphin. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

CRITICS AWARDS 6: Golden Globes

Best drama

"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglorious Basterds"
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
"Up in the Air"

Best musical or comedy
"(500) Days of Summer"
"The Hangover"
"It's Complicated"
"Julie & Julia"

Actor in a drama
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Tobey Maguire, "Brothers"

Actress in a drama
Emily Blunt, "The Young Victoria"
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron, "Avatar"
Clint Eastwood, "Invictus"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglorious Basterds"

Actor in a musical or comedy
Matt Damon, "The Informant!"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Nine"
Robert Downey Jr., "Sherlock Holmes"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "(500) Days of Summer"
Michael Stuhlbarg, "A Serious Man"

Actress in a musical or comedy
Sandra Bullock, "The Proposal"
Marion Cotillard, "Nine"
Julia Roberts, "Duplicity"
Meryl Streep, "It's Complicated"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"

Supporting actor
Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglorious Basterds"

Supporting actress
Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Julianne Moore, "A Single Man"

Foreign language
"Broken Embraces"
"The Maid (La Nana)"
"A Prophet"
"The White Ribbon"

Animated film
"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"The Princess and the Frog"

Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, "District 9"
Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker"
Nancy Meyers, "It's Complicated"
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglorious Basterds"

Original score
Michael Giacchino, "Up"
Marvin Hamlisch, "The Informant!"
James Horner, "Avatar"
Abel Korzeniowski, "A Single Man"
Karen O, Carter Burwell, "Where the Wild Things Are"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sin Nombre

American writer and director Cary Fukunaga makes a promising debut with this gritty but beautiful film about illegal immigrants on their journey to the promised land, USA. A young girl from Honduras and a boy escaping his former gang in South Mexico cross paths as they board trains to reach the US border. Fukunaga starts with a riveting tale that looses its path when he focuses too much on the gangs instead of the immigrants. The locations, actors and cinematography are all spectacular, only to fall victim to cheap plot contrivances of the screenplay that tries to tie loose ends which cheats the film and the audience of a greatness which is a shame. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Writer and director Brad Anderson's follow up to "The Machinist" is one thrilling ride about an American couple who cross paths with drug dealers and corrupt police officers on a Trans-Siberian train journey from Beijing to Moscow. Anderson gets high marks for the original setting alone which you don't see often in films but he has created a potent thriller with a great pace and ends with a high not. The excellent cast includes Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley and Eduardo Noriega with only Thomas Kretschmann is wasted. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Billy Liar

Director John Schlesinger's first major film is social comedy about a young clerk who dreams of breaking away from his working class life but he's afraid to do anything about it. Tom Courtenay gives a flawless performance as Billy who's too consumed with his fantasy world to pay attention to the real world that leads to confrontations with his parents, bosses and girlfriends. Julie Christie in her first major role is dazzling as a free spirited girl that Billy admires for her courage to break away. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

The first masterpiece of several in a decade by the writing and director duo of Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell is an astonishing epic about the life of an career soldier where he finds love and friendship in the most unlikely places. It's a rich film full of texture in a glorious canvas that touches on many universal themes such as war, friendship, love and changing times between generations. A daring film to portray a sympathetic character of a German soldier at the height of WWII. Superb screenplay by Pressburger with terrific performances by Roger Livesey and Anton Walbrook along with Deborah Kerr who dazzles in three different roles. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lorna's Silence

Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne return with another gripping drama about a relevant social issue which they are known for. This time it's about Lorna, an Albanian woman who's married to the junkie Claudy in order to obtain citizenship thanks to cabdriver Fabio, who specializes in the deals to make money. When Claudy decides to become clean while Fabio plans to have him OD, it threatens Lorna's plans of happiness. The Dardennes' prove again that there's plenty of original and compelling stories in the society as they have proved many times. It's an astounding testament to the humanity of their films that's compelling and astonishing. Jérémie Renier and Fabrizio Rongione complete their third collaboration with the brothers who have become regulars in the Dardenne territory. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Baader Meinhof Complex

Prolific German producer Bernd Eichinger (Downfall) reunites with director Uli Edel (Last Exit to Brooklyn) to bring the story of the RAF (Red Army Faction) who terrorized Germany from the late 60's till the 90's. Given the long history that involved many members, the filmmakers focus on the three main members that involved Ulrike Meinhoff, Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin. The film starts with a bang with a riveting pace but looses steam later on when it turns too confusing with too many characters and events are added while the main characters are locked up. The stellar cast includes Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu and Bruno Ganz while Johanna Wokalek holds her own making a strong impression. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

RIP: Eric Rohmer 1920 - 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Headless Woman

Argentinian writer and director, Lucrecia Martel's follow up to her acclaimed "The Holy Girl" is beautiful and fluid film about Veronica, a married dentist whose life unravels after she accidentally hits a dog which shakes her equilibrium of daily grind that involves interaction with her family, servants, employees and patients. For Martel the journey is more important than the destination. Before Veronica returns to her normal daily life, Martel takes the viewer on the journey from the accident and everything that follows without giving any information ahead where lies the pleasure or frustration depending on the viewer. What Martel successfully achieves is a sense of entrapment of social interactions that comes with the daily grind that consumes your total attention. While Veronica experiences mental detachment, everybody around makes sure she attends to her duties as a doctor, wife, mother, sister, daughter and socialite. Martel realizes the irony that while everybody pays attention to Veronica's hairstyle, nobody cares about what goes on inside as long as she fulfills her duties. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stalag 17

This acclaimed war film by the illustrious Billy Wilder has not aged as well as his other classics. Daring for making a WW II comedy set at a POW camp where mostly Americans are held by the Nazis which has influenced later films such as M.A.S.H and others. When two prisoners attempt to flee the camp are killed, everybody suspect a shrewd black marketeer as the informer who sets out to prove his innocence when another soldier's life is in danger. There are some funny moments besides a solid performance by William Holden, much of the film feels dated. Wilder was at the height of his career with "Double Indemnity" and "Sunset Blvd" behind him and many classics to follow such as "Sabrina," "The Seven Year Itch," "Witness for the Prosecution," "Some Like It Hot," and "The Apartment" amongst others. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Warrior

The feature debut of British born Indian writer and director Asif Kapadia is a disappointment that it relies too much on the audience's goodwill to fill the gaps in the story that never makes much sense. Instead it's heavy on atmosphere with beautiful images thanks to cinematographer Roman Osin of stunning locations. The story of a warrior who suddenly realizes that his profession is not a noble one and sets out for a spiritual journey in the Himalayas. The story is underwritten on purpose with too many cliches that even the lead actor, the always solid Irrfan Khan seems lost. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Le Samouraï

This definitive masterpiece by French auteur extraordinaire Jean-Pierre Melville also marks an iconic performance by legendary French actor Alain Delon as the ultimate cool anti-hero that changed his image forever. The story of a lonely hit man who's betrayed by his employer while being chased by the police. This is French cinema at its most cool and stylish which remains a milestone in the careers of Melville and Delon. Melville takes elements from American, European and Asian culture and blends them into a seamless piece of art that's breathtaking in every aspect of the art form. The supporting cast includes the excellent François Périer as the ordinary superintendent, the sultry Nathalie Delon and the stunning Cathy Rosier in a crucial role. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Edge of Heaven

German born Turkish writer and director Fatih Akin follows his acclaimed film "Gegen die Wand" (Head On) with this riveting and intricate tale connecting three single parents through their children that involves chance meetings, love and death across Germany and Turkey. After his father accidentally kills his prostitute girlfriend, a Turkish professor goes to Turkey in search for her missing daughter. Meanwhile the terrorist daughter travels to Germany to track her mother and falls in love with a German girl whose mother disapproves of the relationship that causes the illegal girlfriend back to Turkey and in prison. When the German girl goes to Turkey, tragedy strikes again. The original title "Auf der anderen Seite" means literally "On the other side" which shows the human misconception that while things may seem different, they are basically the same. Akin knows his native roots as well as his adopted country's, makes a profound statement about human condition and connections that's universal regardless of nationality. While the plot is intricate, the characters are not with universal appeal. The outstanding cast includes veteran German actress Hanna Schygulla. Akin proves he's a major talent in both Germany, Turkey and beyond. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.