Friday, April 30, 2010
Swedish director Nina Hedenius also filmed and produced this documentary at a remote farm during a year's cycle. Without any narration or dialogue, she documents the way of nature with the ambient sounds where humans and animals live peacefully in an idyllic landscape that seems like an utopia in the wake of the recent documentary "Food, Inc." This is what most people imagine how farms are but it seems like it's disappearing way of life that makes this documentary more poignant. At one point in the film, we hear the news on the radio that's point all the troubles that are going on in the world while the people and animals live in peace that seems like paradise. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
This mysterious film by Thai writer and director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang reminds of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's much superior "Tropical Malady" in many ways. A woman joins her photographer husband on a trip to the jungle where he disappears but seems like a changed man after his return. Ratanaruang points at mysteries of nature without giving much explanation where a seamless connection exists beyond the knowledge of humans. One of the last films produced by Dutch producer Wouter Barendrecht before his untimely death. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Iranian Mohammad Rasoulof wrote, directed and produced this invented fable about a man who hears people's heartaches and collects their tears at fictional villages around a salt lake. Visually striking but vague on symbolism, it's hard to figure out what Rasoulof's aims are except some kind of criticism of the current regime. Cinematographer Ebrahim Ghafori brings his magic that's the best thing about the film. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) bounces back from a disastrous detour to Hollywood (The Invasion) with this powerful drama set in Northern Ireland. Two men are haunted and damaged by a tragic event in their youth where one killed the brother of the other in front of him. Twenty-five years later, the men are supposed to meet each other for the first time to confront their traumatic past which will affect their future. A thought provoking and compelling study of guilt and forgiveness with powerful performances by Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
After the success of "The Motorcycle Dairies," Brazilian director Walter Salles has been assigned to adapt the classic novel by Jack Kerouac that many directors including Francis Ford Coppola attempted to adapt but remains fruitless. In order to research the possibility of a film, Salles made this documentary which is a work in progress that traces the novel significance to the world with rare interviews and clips of Kerouac and friends as well as other artists who have been influenced by the book. Francis Ford Coppola, Dennis Hopper, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and Peter Coyote give their input and idea how a film version should be. The overwhelming task that lies for Salles who seems to be the right choice for project whether he delivers or not, remains to be seen but there's will be a compelling documentary. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Swiss writer and director Séverine Cornamusaz takes us to a remote and idyllic farm in the Alps where the scenery is as rough and unforgiving as it's breathtaking. A brutish and abusive farmer and his wife perform their daily routines which changes when they are believing to expect a child that makes the farmer hire a Spanish drifter to help out. When the health of the woman deteriorates, the farmer's existence is threatened and comes to realize the importance of his wife. Cornamusaz shows a different side of Europe where the conditions are comparable to the ones in the Third World when it comes to the relationships between men and women. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
German writer, director and producer Maren Ade made this relationship study between a couple who discover on a holiday that they are made for each other. Ade dissects the relationship thoroughly as the couple embark on a holiday far from home in Sardinia where each of them unravels which cracks their relationship at the different situations before its demise at the end. It's an honest and unflinching look at a relationship with powerful performances from Birgit Minichmayr and Lars Eidinger as the leads. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Chinese-American writer and director Christina Yao makes her feature debut with this epic that proves too much for the novice filmmaker. The story of banker family at the end of the last century in China where the burden falls on a young man who's in love with his young and beautiful step-mother. The biggest problem with the film is the screenplay which is too convoluted and lacks a clear focus. The film has the epic feel and look of the films by Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou or Chen Kaige but falls short to enthrall like the work of those masters. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Austrian writer and director Jessica Hausner takes on religious faith and miracles in this compelling drama. A young wheelchair-bound woman makes a pilgrimage to city of Lourdes in the hopes for a miracle like the thousands of believers who travel there. Hausner cleverly shows the world of the believers before asking some tough questions about faith and miracles. Who's worthy of a miracle and what's criteria for it to be accepted as such. Sylvie Testud stars with a subtle and quiet performance that speaks volumes about the agony of a believer. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Japanese writer and director Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with another powerful film about the loneliness and emptiness through the point of view of an air doll who comes to live. Kore-eda manages again to bring an utterly compelling and original work that's full of heart and humor that will resonate with many. An air doll used for sexual pleasure by a lonely waiter comes to life and looks at the humanity and falls in love with a video store clerk. Korean actress Doona Bae is pitch perfect as the air doll with an outstanding performance. Kore-eda makes a rich and satisfying observation about the human condition that's spot on. To give life and substance to a doll is no easy task which only a talent like Kore-eda can achieve. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Palestinian writer and director Kamal Aljafari made this intellectual and poetic study about the conflict in his country that has affected everybody in some way or another. In the film a family's forced to leave their home in the coastal town of Jaffa if they can show the paperwork despite living there for more than four decades. Awaiting imminent eviction, each of them are helpless in a vacuum of time where they are present and absent at the same time. It's a rather subtle and inverted work without any emotions or action given the subject matter. The conflict gives the artists of both sides enough material to address and process the issues. YRCinema's coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Writing and directing duo, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, follow their smash hit "Half Nelson" with another original and compelling drama about a young man's journey to the US. The story of Miguel 'Sugar' Santos who's recruited in the Dominican Republic amongst many others in order to play baseball in the US. Treated like cattle this young men are thrown randomly around the US to keep the billion dollar industry going without any regard to their emotional or psychological needs far from home. The story of Sugar is one of many, some deliver others are sent back home or they escape to become illegal immigrants in the search for the American Dream. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Writer and director Robert Kenner made this shocking documentary about the food industry in the US that's reveals what's going on behind the scenes. How the food production has been hijacked from the farmers by greedy corporates with ties in the US government including the Supreme Court which made some crucial decisions to hide the truth from the public. What's going on is outrageously immoral and criminal that threatens everything from the people and animals to the environment just out of pure greed. The film is a must see for everybody because it affects everybody in order to bring some changes before it's too late. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Swedish writer and director Lukas Moodysson makes a compelling case about misplaced priorities in this drama. The story revolving around a wealthy couple and their nanny who has left her kids in the Philippines in order to make money in the US. When the husband leaves for a business trip to Thailand, his wife, a ER doctor, faces a meltdown as she tries to save the live of a little boy while their daughter spends more time with her nanny than her parents. When tragedy strikes the nanny's children, everybody has to reevaluate their priorities. Moodysson taps into common and universal problem that affects everybody around the world regardless of their economic status from the poor seeking a better life abroad to the rich who are seeking to fulfill their potential, all at the cost of the family. An outstanding cast and crew bring the story to live. Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams star with an equally strong supporting cast that includes Marife Necesito, Thomas McCarthy and Sophie Nyweide. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Filipino director Brillante Mendoza's film traces a family running a run-down adult cinema where they also live. At the center is the matriarch who's seeking to divorce her philandering husband while her children and employees dealing with their own problems. While the story lacks an emotional core, it shows a slice of life in the Philippines. Gina Pareño is perfect as Nanay Flor in a under-written role. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Danish director Anders Østergaard uses video journals from brave journalists who have risked their lives to report what's going on in their country, Burma which has been shut down for more than four decades when the military took over the government and created of the worst dictator regimes in the worlds in a peaceful country of monks, once known as Myanmar. Through the video we witness how the population is kept in fear and every attempt to protest is crashed. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Jonathan Caouette wrote and directed this unique documentary about the tragic story of his family. Using collected material over 19 years including photos, home videos and various voice recordings, Caouette tells the heartbreaking tale of his mother who was misdiagnosed and subjected to shock treatments while he was raised by his grandparents and foster parents. A brave film baring its soul while breaking new ground in the age of digital film making. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Chinese director John Woo's underrated war film is also one of his better film he did in Hollywood. The untold story of Native Americans used for their language as a secret code in the fierce battles of the Pacific in WW II. Nicolas Cage stars along with Adam Beach with strong performances. The supporting cast includes Christian Slater, Mark Ruffalo, Noah Emmerich and Martin Henderson. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directed this action thriller about a petty thief who's used as bait by the FBI to lure a murderer and lead them to the missing gold from an heist. An improbable story which is preposterous to say the least. Jamie Foxx stars in a cliche role about African-Americans. David Morse delivers his usual creepy performance as the determined cop. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
After a smashing comeback with "Broken Flowers," indie writer and director Jim Jarmusch delivered his worst film to date which is shocking given all the talent wasted. Jarmusch is the only one to blame since the problem lies in the screenplay and direction. Isaach De Bankolé stars as an enigmatic assassin who's sent on a secret mission to Spain. The impressive supporting cast includes Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Bill Murray and Hiam Abbass amongst others. Ace cinematographer Christopher Doyle provides the style to the no substance film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Sam Raimi directed this effective drama before he took on the Spider-Man franchise. The story about single mother with a special psychic gift that gets her in trouble when she gets involved in a murder. The always impressive Cate Blanchett stars along with a first rate supporting cast makes the film worthwhile along with solid writing and direction. The supporting cast includes Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Giovanni Ribisi and Greg Kinnear who are all perfectly cast and shine in their roles. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Writer and director David S. Goyer recycles several horror film ingredients that makes for an effective ride that's best enjoyed without further analysis. The story about a girl who's haunted by a demon that has haunted her family for several generations. Goyer mixes nightmares, ghosts, Nazis, demons, insanity, genetic abnormality and religion into a creepy cocktail that's gets going from the first scene with a swift pace that prevents you to analyze anything till its climax that makes for thrilling ride if you are into the horror genre. The beautiful Odette Yustman is rightly cast as the lead with a strong supporting cast that includes Gary Oldman and Jane Alexander amongst others. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
This dreadful sequel to "Twilight" makes the first film look like a masterpiece. Nothing makes sense except for creating room for a bogus love triangle. The replacement of the original director Catherine Hardwicke by Chris Weitz proves another misstep in the wrong direction. The look and feel of the first film that seemed more appropriate has been abandoned for whatever reason that doesn't makes sense like the rest of the film. Even the performances of the Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson suffer in the sequel that saved the first film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Spike Lee's follow up to his brilliant "Inside Man" is a major disappointment. Unlike Rachid Bouchareb who successfully shed a light on the French-Arabs involvement in the WW II in his "Days of Glory", Lee fails to do the same for the African-American. The film starts right with an act of a senseless murder in New York and a stolen sculpture by a veteran with a secret. The problem is with the script that looses focus with too many characters. It should have stayed with characters introduced at the beginning but shifts to different character in the flash backs. The talented cast is at the mercy of the poor script which limits them to make an impression, even though Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso and Omar Benson Miller try their best. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Another misfire from director John Dahl who has found a second career on TV. In this comedy of sorts Ben Kingsley plays an alcoholic hit man who finds love while on the road to recovery in San Francisco. The whole hit man stories have become tiresome and severely over used. The always reliable Kingsley can't save the uninspired and predictable script and direction but tries his best along with Téa Leoni. The supporting cast includes Bill Pullman, the star of Dahl's best film "The Last Seduction." YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Between Borat and Brüno, director Larry Charles took on religion with the help of Bill Maher. Since religion is faith based, it's an easy target and Charles and Maher find enough candidates to attack it in very effective ways that's always intriguing and sometimes hilarious. No religion gets away but the main focus and attack is on Christianity. Maher is the perfect match for Charles in this endeavor which makes its case against religion by taking on the right people who have or using religion for their benefits. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, April 9, 2010
An interesting but ultimately disappointing film by Australian writer and director Rolf de Heer that explores the Aboriginal experience. The story of a man who falls for the third wife of his brother only to be warned of a similar incident happening generations earlier. The story within story structure brings some humor and allows for some striking visuals but the narration gets in the way of the story that's poorly written and executed with the use of non professional actors. The best performance is by veteran actor David Gulpilil (Walkabout, Rabbit-Proof Fence) as the narrator whose input is severely limited. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Writer and director Karen Moncrieff made a compelling drama with her sophomore film that features an outstanding cast. The events before and after the death of a young girl are explored through several woman who are connected to the dead girl that includes her friend, her mother, the wife of her murderer, her sister and the woman who finds her body. Well written story with fully developed characters makes this ensemble drama a delight. The superb cast includes Toni Collette, Brittany Murphy, Rose Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, Kerry Washington amongst others. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
An effective tale of modern day witches finds its perfect location in Los Angeles that adds credibility to the story. A young lawyer finds the woman of his dreams when he rescues a beautiful woman who has run away from a coven of witches. Well written and cleverly plotted stories makes this obscure film immensely entertaining directed by veteran TV director Janet Greek. Kelly Preston stars along with Tim Daly as the leads. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Director Phillip Noyce and Harrison Ford reunited for another chapter of the Jack Ryan novels by Tom Clancy. In this film Jack Ryan finds out the president of the US has misused his powers in order to seek a personal revenge against Colombian drug cartels. The film takes a while to get going but pays off well at the end. Willem Dafoe joins Ford as he sets out to rescue abandoned US soldiers in the jungle. Joaquim de Almeida and Henry Czerny are very effective as the villains that makes this action film worthwhile. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, April 5, 2010
This remake was bound to happen and it succeeds on some levels but falls short on the potential of what could have been with a better director than the French director Louis Leterrier. Leterrier's major flaw is that he focuses too much on the action than the drama behind mythic stories of the Greek mythology. The story of Perseus who finds out that he's son of Zeus while seeking revenge against his uncle Hades responsible for the death of his human parents. In order to defeat Hades and his monster, the Kraken, Perseus has overcome several challenges. Sam Worthington is the right choice as Perseus but doesn't get show his acting skills which he still has to prove. The rest of the cast doesn't fare any better except for Ralph Fiennes who gives a glimpse of the darkness that plagues Hades from the betrayal by his brother Zeus. There's a parallel between Perseus and Jesus that could have been explored and played upon but in this film which is mainly an action film which showcases the latest special effects. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Oliver Stone's third film about US presidents after "JFK" and "Nixon" deals with what drove George W. Bush to become the president. According to Stone and writer Stanley Weiser he was the never well to do son of a former president who refused to be passed on by his father who favored his brother to become next president in the family which lead George W. to be blind sided by obsession and ambition to please his father more than serve the people of his country. Stone surprisingly makes George W. more likable than initially anticipated. Since the focus is the on the father and son relationship, the other issues come short including key players of the Bush administration. Josh Brolin is perfectly cast Goerge W. with the strongest performance in the film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Woody Allen in Ingmar Bergman mode after the success of "Annie Hall" and before "Manhattan" wrote and directed this chamber drama about three sisters dealing with the separation of their parents due to their mother's cold and distant nature is the root of their success but internal turmoil. It's a quiet and devastating film about the intricate bond between parents and their adult children. As always Allen attracts the best actors which includes Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton and Diane Keaton amongst others. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
What could have been a paranoia thriller that taps into the several theories that indicates the end of the world scenario becomes a trashy and silly film thanks to director Roland Emmerich who's more interested in the progress of CGI effects than story telling. A poor script and use of great special effects does not make a good film even if you enlist good actors such as John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The story about how the earth's core heats up from neutrinos released by the sun which leads to melt the crust that will end the world as we know it by 2012. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Australian director Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm) made his Hollywood debut with this smashing thriller which is also the best of the Tom Clancy novel adaptations. Harrison Ford stars as Jack Ryan who on a leave from his CIA duties in London runs into IRA terrorists by saving a member of the Royal family that puts him and his family as a target for the feared terrorists before Al Qaeda replaced them. Noyce keeps the pace going with breath taking action sequences where Ryan and his nemesis played by Sean Bean wage war on each other. The excellent supporting cast includes Anne Archer, James Earl Jones, Richard Harris, Polly Walker and Samuel L. Jackson amongst others. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.