Director Andrew Jarecki made his feature debut with this riveting documentary. The life of an apparently normal family is shown before and after two family members are arrested and convicted of shocking and horrible crimes. Through home videos and interviews, Jarecki created a complex portrait of a family torn apart when the father is exposed as a pedophile. There are many shades of grey concerning the crime that destroyed a family and shocked their community to the core. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
British director Duncan Jones chose this Hollywood sci-fi thriller after his stunning debut. A government unit uses a war veteran in an experiment to gather information in a terror attack on a train. The story is rather far fetched where "Groundhog Day" meets "Minority Report" via some excursions but it works because Jones and writer Ben Ripley manage to keep the narrative coherent that could have been easily derailed by confusion. The talented cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Michele Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov delivered another stunning film with this lost masterpiece. The story of Cuba before the Revolution where the decadence of the rich leads to the exploitation of the poor. Conceived as an anti-American propaganda film for Castro's Cuba before it was buried in the archives for several decades until it was discovered by Americans in an ironic twist. The dazzling cinematography by Sergei Urusevsky is one of the greatest ever captured on film. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Legendary Italian writer and director Federico Fellini delivered his definitive film with this masterpiece. A journalist gets seduced by the sweet life of the celebrities he covers until he sees past the superficial appearance. Fellini delivered one of the most influential films in cinema that has been copied many times but never equalled. It was also the first collaboration between Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni in a career defining performance. The stellar supporting cast includes the iconic Anita Ekberg and stunning Anouk Aimée amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Veteran Israeli writer and director Amos Gitai delivered another political film with this drama. The death of their father reunites an Israeli brother and French sister in France. When the sister returns to visit her abandoned daughter in the Israeli occupied Gaza where her brother is part of the military to remove the settlers, their relationship is tested. Gitai was always an outspoken filmmaker who called for peace and criticized Israel in his films. Despite some flaws, the film addresses two critical points on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. First that both the Israelis and Palestinians have much more in common than they realize or would like to admit which is brilliantly shown in the first scene. Second the political conflict tears apart families regardless on which side they are standing. While the brother and sister easily bond in France after years being apart, they are instantly torn apart upon their arrival in Israel. The stellar cast includes Juliette Binoche and Liron Levo in the leads with the support of Jeanne Moreau and Hiam Abbass. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Canadian writer and director David Cronenberg revived his career with this riveting thriller. After a random act of violence, a small town man becomes a national hero which makes him the target of the mob who are looking for a notorious killer. Brilliantly written by Josh Olson and directed by Cronenberg the film breathes new life into a genre full of cliches while exploring different kinds of violence from daily school bullying to organized crime. Cronenberg and his stellar cast and crew kick ass and then some with this lean and mean thriller. Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris and William Hurt deliver top notch performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, July 22, 2011
American writer and director Todd Haynes made his feature debut with this experimental drama. Three different stories about outsiders and their relationship to society with sexual dark undertones. Inspired by the writing of controversial French writer Jean Genet, Haynes explores themes of alienation and violence in various social circles such a suburban neighborhood, an entire city and a prison. Shot in different styles, TV mock-documentary, 50's horror black & white and gritty and stylized color, each story has a different feel that marked the arrival of a major talent in the American independent cinema. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Legendary Australian director Peter Weir delivered his first masterpiece with this haunting tale. A group of school girls disappear during a picnic in the Australian outback. Weir made a film full of mystery and haunting sensuality that's more an experience than just a film. It's an experience that lingers for years in the memory which is quite an accomplishment for a film. Along with Nicolas Roeg's "Walkabout," this film put Australian cinema on the map which continues to deliver outstanding films. Weir and his talented cast and crew made a classic film for the ages that's utterly original and enchanting. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Legendary French writer and director Jean-Luc Godard took a stab at cinema and himself with this political film. An American journalist and her French filmmaker husband are taken hostage at a meat factory where the workers take a stand against the authorities. Godard doesn't shy away to use every tool possible to get across his political message even if he has to deconstruct his take on cinema or use movie stars. Politically active Jane Fonda and Yves Montand don't seem to mind for being used by Godard. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
After a decade and seven films, the Harry Potter story reaches its conclusion with this final film. The stage is set for Harry Potter and Voldemort to come face to face for a final confrontation. Harry finds out more about Voldemort and himself before the ultimate fight as he meets old and new friends who provide him crucial support. Director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves bring the franchise to its conclusion which is predictable but satisfactory nonetheless. Ralph Fiennes continues to shine as Voldemort which is a crucial element of the success of the films. The film marks the end of an epic journey for actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint who played the roles for a decade with some of the greatest British actors to support them. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.
Monday, July 18, 2011
British director David Yates returns for the last two chapters in the Harry Potter franchise. The race is on for Harry Potter and friends to find a way to defeat Voldemort while evil is closer to destroy them. As Harry gets closer to Voldemort, he finds out about the Deathly Hallows, three of the most powerful objects that are essential for victory. As the franchise reaches its end, it proves a smart move on the part of the film makers to split the last book into two films. Both Yates and writer Steve Kloves give the film the right pace without rushing it. There's an epic scope to the film which serves the story and characters. Ace cinematographer Eduardo Serra and composer Alexandre Desplat join the franchise for the final chapters which continues to improves with its stellar cast. 1001 Film's coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
German director Georg Wilhelm Pabst delivered another masterpiece with this silent classic. A beautiful and naive girl with a dubious past brings ruin and destruction to all men around her. Pabst masterful direction makes this timeless classic a milestone in the history of cinema. He found a natural in actress Louise Brooks who's dazzling as the tragic heroine in an iconic role. Considering the age of the film, Brooks never was or will be out of date with her iconic looks. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Prolific Japanese director Seijun Suzuki delivered a knockout in style with this crime drama. A gangster who tries to leave behind his criminal past is forced back when his former rivals trying to kill him. Suzuki blends several genres such crime, drama and musical to create a unique and stylish world where East meets West in a dazzling way. Tetsuya Watari stars as the elegant gangster who can sing and fight without missing a beat. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanovic returned to the war zone for this harrowing tale of loss and redemption. A British photo journalist returns home without any memory to the whereabouts of his best friend with whom he witnessed the plight of the Kurdish rebels at the Turkish and Iraqi border. Based on the novel by Scott Anderson, Tanovic made an utterly compelling drama about brave men willing to travel to hell that often cost them their lives or leaves them scarred for live. Colin Farrell delivers powerful performance in the lead with a solid supporting cast including Paz Vega, Kelly Reilly, Christopher Lee and Branko Djuric. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Director James Ivory returned with another literary adaptation, his first film without his longtime producer, the late Ismail Merchant. Based on the novel by Peter Cameron and adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the journey of an Iranian-American man to Uruguay to obtain the permission of the elusive family of a novelist to write his biography. Upon his arrival, he becomes entangled in the domestic drama of the eccentric family which includes the wife, the mistress and the brother. As usual, Ivory and his team attracted a stellar cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney and Charlotte Gainsbourg amongst others. The relatively unknown Omar Metwally fits the role of the lead but is easily overshadowed by the far superior and colorful supporting cast. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Legendary writer and director Martin Scorsese delivered his definitive film with this riveting masterpiece. A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran becomes a taxi driver in New York where he develops a dangerous obsession to save a teenage prostitute. Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader tap into the soul of a man on the edge, lost in the city that never sleeps. Robert DeNiro delivered a career defining performance with an equally stellar supporting cast including Jodie Foster, Peter Boyle and Cybill Shepherd amongst others. The film serves as a time capsule for New York in the 70's which is a unique view of a different era. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Legendary writer and director Steven Spielberg delivered the most realistic approach to the alien encounter with this classic sci-fi drama. A man and woman are independently drawn to a mysterious location after an encounter with UFOs and find out they are the only ones as the government tries to cover it up. Spielberg approaches the story in a realistic way without sacrificing the spectacle and wonder which makes this film a timeless classic. Richard Dreyfuss stars while legendary French director François Truffaut is featured prominently. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, July 11, 2011
British writer and director Sally Potter turned the classic novel by Virginia Woolf into a dazzling masterpiece. After meeting Queen Elizabeth I, Orlando experiences the full scope of humanity during four centuries, first as a nobleman then as a woman. Brilliantly written and directed by Potter who turned the gender bending novel into a visually stunning film with a terrific and inspired cast. Tilda Swinton stars and delivered an iconic performance that remains one of the highlights of her distinguished career. The supporting cast includes Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp, John Wood and Lothaire Bluteau. The production design by Ben Van Os and Jan Roelfs and costumes by Sandy Powell and Dien van Straalen add visual grandeur to this breathtaking classic. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
French writer and director Xavier Beauvois delivered a remarkable film based on actual events. A group of Christian monks living peacefully in a remote Algerian village are faced with a dilemma whether to stay or leave as violence spreads across the country. Beauvois along with his terrific cast and crew created a profound film about peace and humanity that faces increasing destruction as violence and hatred spreads around the world. Beauvois allows the audience to engage in the dilemma that makes for a profound experience. The terrific cast includes Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale with subtle and honest performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Writing and directing brothers Chris and Paul Weitz along with co-writer Peter Hedges delivered a stellar adaptation of the novel by Nick Hornby with this coming of age comedy. A self-absorbed bachelor preying on single mothers befriends a lonely boy who teaches him few things about life. Brilliant writing and direction with a superb cast makes this film a joy to watch. A perfectly cast Hugh Grant delivered his best performance with a stellar supporting cast including Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz and Nicholas Hoult. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, July 8, 2011
French writer and director Quentin Dupieux made this horror parody for no reason other than to prove that you can make a film about anything. A discarded tire goes on a killing rampage against humans while a group watches the action through binoculars. Nothing makes sense except that it shows the power of cinema which can attract audiences to almost anything out of curiosity for the medium even to watch nonsense like this. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Greek writer and director Theodoros Angelopoulos delivered a profound and poetic film with this road movie. Two runaway children embark on perilous journey from Greece to Germany in the search of their father where they encounter the good and evil of the world. Angelopoulos uses the innocence of the children to point out the existential odyssey toward the unattainable. After several attempts to board a train without a ticket, the children realize the importance of money. When they finally get the money for a ticket, they realize they need a passport as well which makes their journey even more heartbreaking. Angelopoulos and his talented cast and crew made a universal and timeless film about the human condition. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
British director Oliver Parker who made a career out of adapting the plays of Oscar Wilde, took a bold step with his Gothic novel. A young aristocrat gets corrupted by his hedonistic mentor upon his arrival into the London society when he sells his soul for eternal youth. Parker and writer Toby Finlay take liberties by interpreting the novel by fleshing out all the subtleties Wilde was hinting besides the influences he may have gotten from Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. As usual Parker assembled a talented cast that includes Colin Firth, Ben Barnes, Ben Chaplin and Rebecca Hall amongst others. 1001
Monday, July 4, 2011
Legendary director Sidney Lumet brought the acclaimed play to the screen in this psychological drama. When a psychiatrist takes the case of a teenager who brutally blinded several horses, he faces a psychological meltdown of his own. Peter Shaffer adapted his own play for the screen but Lumet failed to open it up by keeping intact most of the dialogue and monologues which make film more theatrical and claustrophobic. Richard Burton and Peter Firth deliver powerful performances as the tormented men. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Writer and director Cameron Crowe failed at a genre he mastered so well with this romantic comedy. After a colossal failure, a young designer wants to commit suicide when he finds out about his father's death which sends him on a journey of self-discovery. Crowe who should have been in his comfort zone with the material, somehow lost his magic touch. The film gains some momentum towards the end but it's too late. The problem lies with the script and direction which fails to find the right tone and pacing as it tries too hard to be funny and cute which the talented cast can't save. Orlando Bloom is rather bland as the lead which doesn't help the film either. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Belgian writer and director team of brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne delivered one of their best films with this profound drama. The arrival of a new carpenter apprentice brings painful memories to the instructor at the rehab center for juvenile delinquents. With their signature hand held camera and impeccable assured direction, the brothers deliver another profound and astonishing film without a false beat. Olivier Gourmet gives an extraordinary performance as the ordinary man faced with a real dilemma of biblical proportions. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, July 1, 2011
British "avant-garde" writer and director Derek Jarman made an unconventional film about the Baroque painter of the title. At his deathbed, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio reflects on his troubled life from the streets to acclaim as an influential painter. Jarman's film is closer to the rebel spirit of Caravaggio than historical accuracy which he accomplished through visual flair and energy with an stellar cast and crew. The film marks the feature debut of actors Sean Bean and Tilda Swinton who became the muse for the director. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.