Sunday, October 31, 2010
Director Breck Eisner hits all the right notes to keep a perfect balance for a satisfying horror film. A toxic contamination in a small town starts affecting the people in bizarre and deadly ways before all hell breaks loose as the sheriff and his wife fight their way to survive the ordeal when the government forces join the mayhem. Eisner and his writers manage to navigate the story without getting derailed which is quite an accomplishment in this genre. The only problem is the title and marketing which doesn't capture the scope of the film which is unfortunate. The solid cast includes Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell and Joe Anderson. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Swedish director Daniel Alfredson took over the Millennium trilogy with the second story that focuses on Lisbeth Salander's past. After solving their first case Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist have separated their ways where a new threat brings them together. Mikael and his Millennium team are close to expose a sex-trafficking ring when Lisbeth is accused of triple murders with both the police and killers on her trail that endangers her and her friends. Alfredson and his writers keep the story going with sacrificing the pace for another breath taking thriller. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist continue to build on the characters with solid performances. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Visual effects artist Scott Charles Stewart makes his feature debut as a writer and director that has some strong visual effects but fails in the story and execution. An angel defies god to save humanity in a remote diner. There are so many problems with the story filled with a lot of cliches such as a pregnant woman who carries "the one" that saves humanity and so on which is stolen from other films that are far superior in every aspect. Nobody can save a weak story, not a even a talented cast. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Japanese writer and director Nagisa Ôshima made one of the most controversial films of all time with this film about fatal obsession. The true story of Sada Abe who had an affair with her boss in pre-WWII Japan where their sexual obsession crosses all boundaries. Ôshima along with his fearless leads crossed the line of pornography to tell the story of two people who fall in love and beyond. The film is still a landmark in cinema which hasn't lost its power to shock. Tatsuya Fuji & Eiko Matsuda star as the doomed couple. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
French writer and director Marina de Van bends minds with this psychological thriller. A writer undergoes physical and psychological transformations which causes her to reevaluate her life that includes a secret in her childhood. De Van takes the audience inside the head of her character where they can witness the changes that the people around her dismiss. Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci portray the different aspects of the same character. What starts of as a confusing tale makes sense at the end, at least cinematically if not logically. Marceau and Bellucci are extremely easy on the eyes who are the main attraction of this film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Director Taylor Hackford's film following his breakthrough film "An Officer and a Gentleman" holds well against the test of time. The story of a love story between a heiress on the run and a down on his luck football player who can't escape their past that gets them caught in a web of deception and murder. Hackford cleverly re-imagines instead of a simple remake the classic film noir "Out of the Past" by setting it in sun drenched Mexico and Los Angeles without losing any impact. A dashing Jeff Bridges and beautiful Rachel Ward are perfectly cast as the lovers with support of Richard Widmark, James Woods and Jane Greer who was the lead in the original. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The life of prophet Joseph aka Yusuf got an epic treatment from Iranian director Farajullah Salahshur. The story follows in depth and detail the life of Yusuf as the favorite son of Prophet Jakob aka Yaqub who's sold to slavery by his brothers only to become one of the most powerful men in Egypt. It's one of the most spectacular stories in the holy books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The film gives the Islamic aspect of the story which differs from the other books, specially in the treatment of Potiphar's wife Zuleikha whose love for Yusuf is legendary in the Islamic world by ignored in the other books. Despite its shortcomings and flaws due to censorship, length and production values, it's a profound and emotional film that explores themes of love, faith, hope, lust and trust amongst others with a clear understanding of the religious story with the cultural context. The most complex character is Zuleikha which is the beating heart of this epic film. The talented cast includes Mostafa Zamani as Yusuf and Katayoon Riahi as Zuleikha amongst others. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
American writer and director David O. Russell's second film got an all star cast following his breakthrough film "Spanking the Monkey." A young father along with his wife and a case worker travels across the country to find his birth parents that almost ruins his life. Russell takes no prisoners with this smart and hysterical "coming of age" comedy that takes a stab at a popular movement of the 80's and 90's where adopted people set out to find their birth parents. The talented cast includes Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette and Téa Leoni against veterans Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Director Tom Ropelewski proves with this documentary that great artists don't make great parents. It's the story of Daniel Dixon who got the blessing and curse of being one of the two sons by legendary American artists, the photographer Dorothea Lange and the painter Maynard Dixon. The depicts the artists as people consummated by their art which made everything else secondary in their lives including the destruction of their marriage and abandonment of their sons in the care of stranger. Luckily the sons grew up normally and connecting with their parents with their understanding of their calling as artists. The film pays homage to the artists while introducing them to new audiences with the blessing of the children which makes for a powerful experience that will be appreciated by art lovers. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
American documentarian Don Argott made this riveting film about the heist of one of the world's greatest art collections. The film introduces American eccentric millionaire Dr. Albert C. Barnes who was ahead of his time by acquiring some of the most import work by modern and post-impressionist artists including Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso amongst many others. Barnes wanted to ensure that his collection's fate with a detailed will which prevented the sale or loan of the collection. However a 30 billion dollar art collection is not safe from greedy people who have seized its control and using it for their benefits that includes many politicians and former enemies of Barnes who are destroying the proper intention of one of the greatest treasures of art for money. Argott and friends of Barnes point finger at all the culprits without hesitation which includes the city of Philadelphia who will get infamy for its involvement in the sacrilege to steal the collection. A powerful and emotional film that will resonate with art lovers around the world. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
French director Safy Nebbou explores the relationship between French author Alexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet, his assistant who might have helped the author on many of his world famous novels including "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" among others. The story unfolds as Maquet is mistaken for Dumas by the beautiful daughter of a political prisoner who wants his help which starts a rift between the two men that endangers their dependence on each other. Of course Gérard Depardieu is cast as Dumas but the film belongs to Benoît Poelvoorde who delivers a powerful performance as Maquet, a man insecure to stand his own ground and forced to stand in the shadows of a literary giant. The cast includes Dominique Blanc and Mélanie Thierry in crucial roles. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
American director Joseph Losey made his last masterpiece with this French thriller produced by Alain Delon who also stars. The story of an art dealer who makes money buying art off Jews during the Nazi occupation of Paris. When a Jewish namesake crosses his path, his whole life is jeopardized when he sets out to find him. Gripping from the first frame till the last, Losey delivers a sublime film that touches on many levels without losing focus for a second. Alain Delon gives one of his best performances as the Kafkaesque character of the title. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, October 18, 2010
British director John Madden returns with the remake of the Israeli thriller about three Mossad agents whose assignment to track a Nazi war criminal has left its marks on their personal and professional lives. Three young agents meet and fall in love in East Berlin in 1965 while hunting for a notorious criminal. Thirty years later they are forced to examine the past that might change their future. Madden seems to struggle to fit three films into one, a thriller, a love triangle and historical drama. He succeeds in many parts, specially in the thriller department with riveting set-pieces but becomes heavy handed with the three characters in two periods in the context of the the bigger political picture. Although fictional, the story seems credible enough to be true. The solid cast includes Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain and Marton Csokas playing the younger versions of Ciarán Hinds, Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
After examining the survival instincts of Eastern man in "Slumdog Millionaire," writer and director Danny Boyle returns with another powerful and inspiring film that examines the survival instincts of Western man. Based on the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston who becomes trapped in a remote canyon and is forced to desperate measures in order to survive. Boyle brings his kinetic visual style to the incredible story with breathtaking visuals and sounds thanks to his superb collaborators, writer Simon Beaufoy, cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, composer A. R. Rahman along with James Franco with a pitch-perfect performance. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Veteran Swedish documentarian Stefan Jarl wrote and directed this disturbing but important film about the consequences of chemicals that has been drastically affecting humans and the environment. In the film Jarl submits his blood to find out what's in there. What he finds out is shocking and terrifying that open a window into the chemical society we are living with 500 million tonnes of use yearly that includes pesticides, softeners (phthalates), flame retardants (PBDE), surfactants (PFOS, PFOA) amongst others. The frightening aspect is that nobody knows the exact consequences with little research under the radar of the governments that has the chemical industry laughing their way all the way to the bank. This is that has to been seen by everybody because the fate of human race is at stake before it's too late. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Korean writer and director Im Sang-Soo remakes and updates a Korean classic that's part drama and part thriller. A poor young woman becomes a housemaid to a wealthy family where she's seduced by their lifestyle. However when she starts an affair with the husband, she gets to see their true faces which leads to devastating consequences for all involved. Sang-Soo blends style with social commentary that shows the gap that exists between the rich and the poor on almost all levels. Jeon Do-yeon stars as the lead and delivers another outstanding performance. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Greek writer and director Vardis Marinakis made his feature debut with this poetic period drama set in Greece during the Ottoman Empire in 17th century. A wounded Turkish warrior is taken care of by a Greek hermaphrodite nun who helps him escape when they fall in love. A visually stunning film with haunting images and atmosphere that's original and compelling because of its unusual story and setting. Marinakis focuses on a dark period in Greek history through its characters who suffer their own identity crises whether being Greek or Turkish, man or woman. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
French writer and director Olivier Assayas takes on epic life of notorious terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos, the Jackal. The film depicts the rise and fall of Carlos who fights for the Palestinian cause with support of several countries who sponsor him including Iraq, Syria and USSR amongst others during the 70's and 80's when the Cold War was fought on all fronts. Assayas has the daunting task to illuminate the complex life that spans three decades in several countries in three continents. Édgar Ramírez gives a riveting performance as Carlos in five different languages that's at the epicenter of this epic. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Costa Rican writer and director Hilda Hidalgo adapts the novel by Gabriel García Márquez about the forbidden love between a teenager of noble heritage and a young priest who's sent to take care of her on behalf of the church after she's bitten by a rabid dog. Hidalgo's focuses on the coming of age of a girl who's abandoned and displaced amidst her sexual awakening during the dark ages where the church ruled the world with their black and white view of the world. Beautiful and poetic at the same time with stunning cinematography and understated performances. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Director Julian Schnabel returns with another profound and poetic film with this drama about Palestinian conflict through the eyes of the women. Four women react differently to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The first woman Hind Husseini sacrifices her personal life to devote herself to the creation of an orphanage. The second woman Nadia escapes sexual abuse only to end up in jail for hitting a Israeli woman. The third woman Fatima, a nurse who's drawn to the conflict through violence. The fourth woman, Miral inherits the unsolved problems of the women before her as she finds herself drawn to the conflict where she has to choose her path. Schnabel focuses on Miral because she's a product of the other three women. While the film might be considered pro Palestinian, it's cinematic poem for peace. Schnabel along with his talented cast and crew paint a heartfelt portrait that's compelling and devastating. The talented cast includes Freida Pinto, Yasmine Elmasri, Hiam Abbass and Alexander Siddig in pivotal roles. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Writer and director Julie Taymor comes full circle with her fourth feature with another bold attempt on Shakespeare. The revenge tale about a powerful and exiled magician who plans to lure the culprits into her island to settle scores. Shakespeare's flawless language gets striking visuals with an all star cast including Helen Mirren as Propera, the female version of Prospero. Taymor strikes the right balance between style and substance where they complement each other. Mirren and the talented supporting cast are more than capable that should delight fans everywhere. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Friday, October 8, 2010
In this two part film, we get a rare glimpse of contemporary Iran. In the first and better film directed by veteran Dariush Mehrjui, a middle class family set out to see their town through the tourist's eyes when the roof of their home collapses. It's an optimistic film about several generations as they look at their past, present and future. The second film by Mehdi Karampoor is a more pessimistic take where the authorities stop a rock band from performing a concert which leads the members to self destruct. While both films have noble intentions, they both feel contrived which affects the emotional impact. YRCinema's coverage of the 33rd edition of Mill Valley Film Festival.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Writer and director Lisa Cholodenko delivers her best work with this sophisticated and smashing dramedy. The teenage children of a Lesbian couple seek out the sperm donor which unravels unexpected revelations and realizations that defines their family. Brilliantly written, directed and performed by a top notch cast including Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. Cholodenko along with her superb cast and crew delivers the best film yet about the modern family without one false beat that's refreshing to see. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Veteran video director Mark Romanek took a long break after his debut to return with his sophomore project. He and writer Alex Garland adapt the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro about three childhood friends who come to terms with their love and betrayal for each other before accepting their fates. Romanek and Garland are keen to get the tone right for this delicate and subtle sci-fi thriller set in the recent past about a relevant and moral dilemma that awaits humanity in the near future due to the technological breakthrough in science and medicine. The talented and young cast includes Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley who capably deliver nuanced performances. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.
Monday, October 4, 2010
British director remakes the Italian film by Giuseppe Tornatore about a widower who sets out to reconnect with his adult children after the death of his wife. Robert DeNiro stars along with Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore and Sam Rockwell who are all fine but can't save the film which has a generic feel that comes with the making of formula films, evident in most of the remakes of superior foreign films. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Writer and director John Lee Hancock's fourth feature is his lucky charm. The inspiring true of a wealthy white family adopting a gentle black kid who becomes a professional football player. Hancock scored by having Sandra Bullock in the lead along with a solid cast which could have easily gone into "TV movie of the week" territory with a wrong cast. Bullock nails her performance and proves she can do drama as well as she can do comedy. Hancock hits all the right notes including ending the film with the pictures of the real people that anchors his film. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Italian writer and director Marco Bellocchio brings the untold story of Ida Dalser, the woman who scarified everything to help her lover Benito Mussolini to fulfill his dream, only to betray her in the worst possible way. Bellocchio's operatic treatment of the personal tragedy which lead to a national one where Ida's betrayal reflects Italy's by a charismatic man in the most vicious way through the heart. Giovanna Mezzogiorno gives the performance of a lifetime. Bellocchio hits all the right notes in both one the epic and the intimate scale with a superb cast and crew.YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, October 1, 2010
After the epic "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," director David Fincher returns with a contemporary drama about friendship and betrayal. The story about the creation of facebook by Mark Zuckerberg that was shaped by two of his closest friends. While the break-up of his girl-friend gives him the direction, the support of his best friend makes it a reality before the social network became big business. Writer Aaron Sorkin and Fincher cleverly focus on the human tragedy behind the story that makes their film universal and work on many levels regardless of its accuracy of the events which have been restructured for dramatic effect. Among the talented cast, Andrew Garfield and Rooney Mara stand out. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.