Romanian writer and director Cristi Puiu makes his acting debut with this character study. The daily life of a man's explored before he commits multiple murders. Puiu forces his audience to observe and decipher a man through his behavior without giving much information which makes for fascinating cinema instead of entertainment. Since fulfilling triple duty as a writer, director and actor, Puiu gives a precise look of human behaviour with all of its complexities and mysteries. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Friday, April 29, 2011
German writer and director Isabelle Stever uses a woman's raging hormones as the basis for a character study in this drama. A young woman who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand has a hard time to accept her good fortune when she finds love and support from the father of her child. Everybody knows about a woman's physical and psychological transformation during pregnancy but it has been rarely exposed on the screen in the way Stever and her cast and crew explore which makes for fascinating drama. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Spanish writer and director Agustí Villaronga revisits the Spanish Civil War with this drama. A young boy witnesses a violent crime revealing the complex world of adults which has devastating consequences on him and his family. Villaronga weaves a compelling tale of adults and children caught in the complexity of the war that ravaged Spain. While the political context might be a hurdle, the personal drama of a family is universal which Villaronga and his talented cast and crew bring vividly alive. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Korean writer and director Jo Sung-Hee made his feature debut with this existential Sci-Fi thriller. A young and pregnant woman on her way to her mother in the country find herself stranded and terrorized in a desolate place after an apocalyptic incident. Sung-Hee's strong and spare script plays on the hopes and fears of the young woman and audience counting on their imagination instead of providing any clear answers. The film can either fascinate or bore depending on the audience expectations from the genre. Sung-Hee and his talented cast make the most out of their limited low budget. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Egyptian writer and director Ahmad Abdalla brings a timely look of generational conflict in contemporary Egypt. After a long absence in the US, a man returns home to Alexandria to find the society in turmoil where the old establishment rejects the movement of the youth. Abdalla's focus is on the culture, specially the arts and music. He blurs the line between drama and documentary like Bahman Ghobadi did with his similar themed "No One Knows About Persian Cats" about the underground music culture. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Veteran French director Claude Miller collaborated with his son Nathan on his feature debut with this domestic drama. A young man is haunted by his mother's abandonment which affects his entire life. The Millers and their talented cast and crew take a look at the reality of children coping with the loss of their parents and adapting to their adopted parents which can be a curse or blessing depending on their age when the traumatic separation happens. Vincent Rottiers stars as the troubled young man who could never forget his mother despite a loving adoptive mother and sets out to find her which has devastating consequences. Sophie Cattani and Christine Citti are terrific as the two mothers. The collaboration between father and son in the directing chair works rather well, providing each with solid ground to work with. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Indian actor Aamir Bashir made his feature debut as a writer, director and producer with this compelling drama. A young man returns to his war torn village in Kashmir where death and decay has affected everybody in some way. Bashir gives a glimpse into the bleak existence of the people of Kashmir who are torn a in a war between India and Pakistan. Using non-professional actors and actual locations heightens the authenticity of the drama. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Iranian-American writer and director Maryam Keshavarz made her feature debut with this political drama. Two rebellious teenage girls live a dangerous life in Tehran to escape the oppressive reality of their existence. While Keshavarz has valid concerns, her politically motivated film aims to shock and provoke instead of advancing the cause by inviting dialogue. Poorly written and executed, the film lacks a coherent tone which is all over the place from thought provoking to the absurd which derails the film. The film needed a heavy dose of sincerity and more respect for its characters to advance the issues where the film needs to be shown instead of being banned. The talented cast includes Nikohl Boosheri and Sarah Kazemy, both delivering fearless performances. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Writer and director Miranda July returns with her sophomore effort with another whimsical comedy. A thirty-something couple decide to take another step in their relationship by adopting a homeless cat which leads them to re-examine their life and relationship. July brings another original story about the human condition with plenty of heart and humor that's refreshing. She stars with Hamish Linklater and David Warshofsky who deliver hilarious performances. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Director Kelly Reichardt returns with a meticulous and impressive anti-western period drama. A group of settlers lost in Oregon, 1845 are faced with the dilemma to further trust the guide responsible or an Indian they capture to get them back on track. No other genre has been stylized and bastardized like the western. Reichardt and her talented cast and crew try to set the record straight and show for once the harsh reality of the settler life with the nature as the real enemy. Minimalistic and enigmatic, Reichardt recreates the daily ordeals of the pioneers who literally set out West for a better life against all odds where one false move could have proven fatal, especially following the wrong leader. The moral of the story is timeless and politically relevant. The cast includes unrecognizable Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood and Paul Dano who all could have been replaced with total unknowns if financing would not have an issue. YRCinema's coverage of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Veteran French writer and director Claude Miller adapted and updated Anton Chekov's play "The Seagull" into a solid drama. An ambitious young actress stirs the lives of a family during their stay in the country which has long lasting consequences. Miller and co-writer Julien Boivent effectively bring the Chekov themes of generational conflicts involving family, love and art to screen. Miller focuses on the ingenue Lili who's the trigger for all the events unfolding changing everybody's life in the process. Miller and his talented cast deliver a profound film where life influences art and vice versa. The stellar cast includes Ludivine Sagnier, Nicole Garcia, Bernard Giraudeau, Jean-Pierre Marielle and Julie Depardieu. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Versatile director Doug Liman changed gears to action to kick off the Bourne franchise with this action thriller. A man with amnesia and killer skills sets out to find his identity across Europe. Liman and writer Tony Gilroy hit all the right notes to bring the Robert Ludlum novel to live with a terrific cast and crew. Matt Damon is perfectly cast as Jason Bourne with an equally solid support from Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen and Brian Cox. The Bourne trilogy is one of the few franchises that kept getting better with every installment. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, April 18, 2011
British writer and director Stephen Poliakoff returned to theatrical features with this period thriller. Right before the British involvement in the WWII, the adopted daughter of an aristocratic family discovers her entire family is involved in a conspiracy to support Hitler instead of get involved in the war. While Poliakoff and his exceptional cast have the proper intention, the story fails to deliver due to its misguided ambition which the talented cast can't save. The cast of veterans includes an utterly wasted Julie Christie, Bill Nighy, Jenny Agutter, Jeremy Northam, Hugh Bonneville, Christopher Lee supporting rising stars Romola Garai, Eddie Redmayne and Juno Temple. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
French-Swiss writer and director Ursula Meier made her feature debut with this domestic drama about the meaning of home. A family whose house borders an abandoned highway find themselves shockingly surprised when it's suddenly open turning their life into living hell. Meier explores the meaning of home which goes beyond property with this family refusing to give it up. Meier scored to have Isabelle Huppert reuniting her with Belgian actor Olivier Gourmet, known for his films with the Dardenne brothers, to bring much gravitas to the story. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Director Joe Johnston takes on the werewolf story with this horror thriller. A man returns home after a long absence to investigate the disappearance of his brother only to get caught up with his traumatic past again. Johnston and his talented cast and crew try their best to update the classic tale but succeeds in some areas like tone and atmosphere while failing in others specially in the story. Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt should have stayed from this kind of material which is not worthy of their talents. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, April 15, 2011
British director Nigel Cole delivered his best film with this entertaining and moving historical drama. A female worker becomes accidentally the leading force in the 1968 strike against Ford Motor Company that brought equal pay for female workers. Cole and his excellent cast and crew bring the era vividly to live which was not that long ago where women were discriminated in a world run by men. Cole managed to make a moving and relevant film without sacrificing the historical accuracy. Sally Hawkins delivers another stellar performance as Rita O'Grady with an equally terrific support from Bob Hoskins, Andrea Riseborough, Daniel Mays, Rupert Graves and Miranda Richardson. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Director Barry Levinson got to adapt the novel by Michael Crichton for the big screen after he bounced back with the hit "Wag the Dog." In this psychological thriller, a group of scientists are sent under the ocean to examine a mysterious 300 year old spaceship. Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone and Samuel L. Jackson star as the selected crew. Crichton explored the idea whether humans have the capacity to face alien life form. Levinson's film jumps from genre to genre from thriller to drama to science fiction to get the idea across but ends up without satisfy which has been better explored and executed by Andrey Tarkovskiy in his masterpiece "Solaris." YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Indian director Mira Nair seemed like a good match for the biopic of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart but film lacks any excitement associated with her who inspired and intrigued countless people around the world. The film faithfully details all her life up till her disappearance but the writing and directing is uninspired which is a shame. The talented cast includes Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston and Mia Wasikowska but they fail to overcome the inherent hurdles to save the film. Maybe because everything is so well known, it's hard to translate it on screen, at least literally, maybe the film needed a more unconventional approach. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
British director Joe Wright continues to impress as he expands beyond literary adaptations with this spectacular action thriller. A young girl who's raised as a killer in the wilderness is sent to kill a vicious CIA operative who holds the secrets to her mysterious past. Wright along with writers Seth Lochhead and David Farr created a unique and original contemporary fable with outstanding female characters brought alive by the terrific Saoirse Ronan and always amazing Cate Blanchett. The outstanding cast and crew includes Eric Bana, Olivia Williams and Tom Hollander while cinematographer Alwin Küchler and The Chemical Brothers provide smashing visuals and music. YRCinema's coverage of current releases.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Writing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa made their directing debut with this misguided comedy. After a married police officer gets rejected by his birth mother, he realizes he's gay which makes him to become a successful con man through which he finds the love of his life. It's based on a true story but nothing in this film seems credible to suggest so from the tone to the performances. While Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are fearless in their performances, they are also the problem for the film to work, specially Carrey who's outrageous in this preposterous story. Writers and directors Ficarra and Requa seems to be more interested in an outrageous comedy than bringing the human drama of a brilliant con artist. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Writer and director Todd Haynes returns to domestic drama with epic film made for HBO. During the Depression era, a headstrong woman leaves her cheating husband to become an independent business woman but her success comes at a steep personal price involving her spoiled daughter. Haynes assembled a stellar cast and crew for this adaptation which goes back to novel James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice & Double Indemnity) instead of the Hollywood classic. Kate Winslet delivers another astonishing performance with an outstanding support from Brían F. O'Byrne, Guy Pearce, Melissa Leo, James LeGros and Evan Rachel Wood. The A-List team includes cinematographer Edward Lachman, composer Carter Burwell and costume designer Ann Roth. YRCinema's coverage of films on TV.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
French writer and director Mia Hansen-Løve made this moving and heartbreaking drama. A passionate film producer is driven to an unimaginable act despite a loving wife and children. Hansen-Løve hits all the right notes without a false beat in this astonishing portrait of a man whose existence and livelihood hangs on a delicate balance. The terrific cast and crew includes Louis-Do de Lencquesaing and Chiara Caselli in the leads with outstanding performances. YRCinema's coverage of films on DVD.