Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Veteran French writer and director André Téchiné brought the early days of AIDS to the screen with this drama. After an happy summer in 1984, a group of friends find their happiness shattered when a mysterious disease appears which changes their lives forever. The film fails to live up to Téchiné's best work. However the script is the weakest link despite the noble intentions of the talents involved. The accuracy of the era is also questionable, at least it the timeline depicted. The talented cast includes Michel Blanc, Emmanuelle Béart and Sami Bouajila amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Iranian-American screenwriter Massy Tadjedin made her directing debut with this drama. A young married couple face temptation on a night they are separated from each other where the husband spends it with an attractive co-worker and his wife meets her former lover. Despite a talented young cast, Tadjedin doesn't deliver anything new on the subject. Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington star as the couple who are tempted by Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Director Dominic Sena returned to the big screen with this action film with a unique setting that promises more than it can deliver. A female US Marshal is sent to Antarctica to solve a crime before the sun sets for six months and everybody leaves the South Pole. There's potential in the story and setting which could have been the basis for a terrific thriller but Sena and his writers fail to deliver anything beyond the the mediocre which is a shame. Kate Beckinsale stars along with Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerritt and Columbus Short. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Celebrated music video director Francis Lawrence made his feature debut with this stylish adaptation of the comic book "Hellblazer." A man with special gift to see half-angels and half-demons among humans gets involved in the epic battle between good and evil. Visually striking with a talented cast, Lawrence and his crew make the best of the source material which has to be judged as such. It's a comic book interpretation of religious figures mixed with supernatural ones and humans set in Los Angeles. Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz star with the support of Tilda Swinton and Djimon Hounsou amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Versatile director Neil Burger continues to impress as jumps with ease from genre to genre. A writer discovers his limitless potential in a top-secret drug that drastically changes his lives. A smart thriller that delivers the goods in equal measures. Burger and writer Leslie Dixon keep the story clear and grounded without going overboard with a talented cast and crew. Bradley Cooper comes into his own as a leading man with the solid support of Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
British producer turned writer and director Matthew Vaughn delivered an hilarious and outrageous take on the superhero mania but going places where none of them could. A high school student takes inspiration from comic books to become a super hero which sets in motion a series of unexpected consequences. Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman successfully adapt the comic book by Mark Millar & John Romita Jr. giving it a timely relevance that goes beyond the limits of a comic book without losing its humor and heart. The solid cast includes Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Mark Strong and Nicolas Cage in winning performances. Johnson and Moretz continue to impress in their young careers. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Director Joe Johnston finds the right angle to transfer the Marvel comic into the screen which could have easily misfired. A man unfit for military service undergoes a secret military treatment that transforms him into a superhero to fight evil during the WW II. Johnston and writers Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely cleverly set the story during WW II that fits the story and its characters with a stellar cast and crew. Chris Evans is perfect as Steve Rogers/Captain America with an impressive supporting cast includes Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving and Dominic Cooper amongst others. The film ends with a clear setup for its sequel that makes perfect sense. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Canadian writer and director Kari Skogland made this political thriller set at the height of British and Irish conflict. An Irish criminal with no political inclination becomes entangled in the violent war between the IRA and the British police when he's recruited to become a spy. Based on the book by Martin McGartland who's the central character, the film gives some insight into his mindset but fails to deliver a complete picture. What's missing is the actual details that would have given the film its much needed authenticity. It's one of those real stories that's stranger than fiction which wouldn't be believable if it weren't true. Jim Sturgess is perfectly cast as Martin with the solid support cast including Ben Kingsley amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Writer and director Charles Ferguson delivered another riveting documentary taking a closer look at the 2008 financial meltdown. A look at the history and players responsible for financial meltdown. Ferguson gives a clear and concise focus on the Wall Street players, politicians and institutions responsible for the biggest financial crisis in history that robbed billions of dollars and destroyed lives around the world while the culprits got away with their stolen fortunes or still in power. Ferguson doesn't shy away to name the culprits while having many experts and witnesses testifying what went on and nobody took any action. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Spanish actress turned writer and director Icíar Bollaín delivered her best film with this terrific drama about the exploitation of the poor by the powerful. The cast and crew of movie arrive into a small Bolivian town to shoot a controversial film about Christopher Columbus where they witness the locals fighting the government over their rights to water. Bollaín and writer Paul Laverty created a perfect drama that parallels the exploitation of the Americas where water has replaced gold but not much has changed for the natives. The stellar cast includes Gael García Bernal and Luis Tosar in the lead roles with terrific support cast. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Israeli writer and director Keren Yedaya delivered a profound film with this domestic drama. Despite an apparently happy coexistence between a Jewish family and their Palestinian employees, a forbidden love leads to tragedy tearing both families apart. Yedaya personalizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an effective domestic drama without being preachy or simplifying the issues at the core. A talented cast and crew deliver a profound film that gives insight into the never ending conflict. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
British writer and director Rowan Joffe made his feature debut with this thriller based on the classic novel by Graham Greene. A young woman becomes witness to a crime which puts her in danger. While Joffe effectively updates the setting to the 6o's, he fails to give its characters depth or appeal despite a stellar cast including Helen Mirren, Sam Riley and John Hurt. Newcomer Andrea Riseborough shines in the best performance of the film. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Swedish writer and director Lukas Moodysson got his international breakthrough with this terrific domestic drama. When a married woman and her children leaves her abusive husband to move with her brother in his commune, emotions and relationships stir up with unexpected consequences. Moodysson puts an original twist on the "coming of age" story set in the 70's where various characters of both sexes have to come to terms with adulthood regardless of their age. A stellar cast and crew deliver an outstanding and timeless film about the human rite of passage into maturity. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
British director Rupert Wyatt enters the Hollywood franchise with his third feature that should be the start of a lucrative career. An ambitious scientist's attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer's leads him to the discovery of a miracle medicine which gives apes human intelligence while having devastating consequences for humans. After a disastrous attempt by Tim Burton to revive the Planet of the Apes franchise, Wyatt and his cast and crew hit a home run with this spectacular reboot. Instead of going to the first film, they cleverly start with the origin story which makes total sense and builds anticipation for the sequels. The key success to this film and the franchise is the creation of the apes which is by far the best the technology can deliver. Andy Serkis seems to have created an unique niche with his unique ability to create memorable characters with the help of motion capture and CGI. The talented supporting cast includes James Franco, Freida Pinto and Brian Cox in predictable performances. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.
Monday, August 15, 2011
The writing and directing of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman give another history lesson with this hybrid film based on Allen Ginsberg and his controversial and groundbreaking poem that started the Beat Generation with his contemporaries. Set in the late 50's, the film focuses on Ginsberg writing Howl while interacting with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady as well as the obscenity trial following its release. The poem itself is animated which rounds up the beginning of an era that would change the world. The talented cast includes James Franco, Jon Hamm and David Strathairn amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Director Catherine Hardwicke turned her attention to fables for her latest effort. The familiar children story gets the teenage treatment where the big bad wolf is closer to home. There's a great potential on the twist provided by writer David Johnson which gets lost in the hands of Hardwicke who seems to be more concerned on the teenage angle which derails the film. The solid cast can't save the film because of the misguided direction that includes production design and cinematography. Neil Jordan's "The Company of Wolves" remains the best adaptation on the classic fable. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, August 12, 2011
The directing duo Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini took on the original reality show in this period drama. A documentary producer has a groundbreaking idea in 1973 to feature a real family on television and finds the Loud family to be the perfect candidates. Soon the filmmakers and the family find themselves in uncharted territory that has devastating consequences. Berman and Pulcini deliver an effective drama with a stellar cast that includes Diane Lane and Tim Robbins amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Chinese director Lixin Fan made his feature debut with this powerful documentary. Over 100 million Chinese travel 1000 miles or more home yearly to visit their homes once a year causing the largest human migration on earth. Most of them abandoning their children with their parents in order to work in the distant cities. The film focuses on one couple who travel home to see their two children. It's a heartbreaking film that focuses on the byproduct of China's rise as a world power which provides some great content for the Chinese cinema in both fiction and nonfiction areas. Fan made an extraordinary film that's powerful as it is relevant. 1001 Film's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Director Aaron Schneider made his feature debut with this period drama. A reclusive man returns to society to organize his own funeral while he's alive which gets the attention of the entire community. The story has not much going for it except for showcasing the talents of its veteran cast. Robert Duvall stars with a solid performance with equal support from Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa made this effective thriller with a perfect blend of horror and drama. A psychic and her husband become entangled in a kidnapping case which they try to use to their advantage with devastating consequences. Instead of staying within the limits of the genre, Kurosawa blends a healthy dose of drama around its characters. The psychic haunted by her gift wants social acceptance and its benefits such as fame and fortune which could turn her existence into an happier one which leads her to make a terrible choice. The talented cast includes Kôji Yakusho and Jun Fubuki. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Veteran Greek writer and director Costa-Gavras made his Hollywood debut with this riveting political thriller. After an idealistic American writer disappears in Chile, his wife and father try to find out what happened to him that leads them to uncover the US government's involvement in the coup d'etat. Costa-Gavras does political thrillers like no other that shows the dark side of politics. It's a bold film that shows the human devastation of political games. It's widely known that the US and Henry Kissinger were responsible for the 1973 coup d'etat in Chile that placed dictator Pinochet in power because Allende was anti-American. The stellar cast includes Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
French writer and director Gilles Mimouni delivered a stunning romantic thriller which remains his only effort. A young woman's obsession with a man has tragic consequences in his life including his girlfriend and best friend. Mimouni created a web of thrills which reminds of Hitchcock's "Vertigo" but is original and haunting on its own. Vincent Cassel stars along with Monica Bellucci and Romane Bohringer. It's a shame that Mimouni didn't make another film after his stellar debut that showed a lot of promise. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
British writer and director Charles Sturridge returned to novelist Evelyn Waugh for another stellar adaptation. The tragic disintegration of an aristocratic couple's marriage which starts harmless before it leads to tragedy. Sturridge captured the spirit of Waugh's novel that drained all the romantic notions of the upper class where boredom triggers a chain of events that leads to death and loss. The stellar cast includes Kristin Scott Thomas, James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Judi Dench, Anjelica Huston and Alec Guinness. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Writer and director Shana Feste continues to explore the tragedy of loss with her second feature. After a tragic loss, a country star is forced by her husband to make a comeback with the help of a newcomer. While the cast is solid, there's nothing new explored or shown that has already exploited by films from "A Star is Born" to the recent "Crazy Heart." Gwyneth Paltrow stars with newcomers Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Director Brad Anderson took a serious misstep with this uninspired film after few effective thrillers. People disappear after a power outage, leaving behind their clothes. The few terrified survivors come together and try looking for answers while being in danger. The story could have worked but fails with this treatment which is more frustrating than exciting or even scary. Nothing works including the uninspired casting which adds up to the list of what's wrong with the film. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Romanian writer and director Cristi Puiu delivered a scathing look at hospital environment with this black comedy. When the lonely elderly, Mr. Lazarescu, falls sick, he has no idea the long and perilous journey into the night might be his last where he's shoved from one hospital into another much to the disappointment of the ambulance nurse on duty. Puiu avoids all cinematic cliches including the confinements of the formula script with his documentary style approach. The story has universal appeal that will resonate with people everywhere. While the topic is dark, Puiu infuses it with dry humor which has become the signature in Romanian cinema, most dealing with grim realities of society. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Spanish writer and director Isabel Coixet took a disastrous turn with this stylish but pointless drama. A female Japanese contract killer who is hired to kill a Spanish man falls in love with her target who might be responsible for the death of his girl friend. The problem with the film lies in the poorly written script full of cliches which even the talented cast including Sergi López and Rinko Kikuchi and crew can't even save. It's a particular disappointment given the fact that Coixet seemed to be on the right track in her career before getting totally lost. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, August 1, 2011
French-Algerian writer and director Rachid Bouchareb returned after the success of "Days of Glory," which dealt about French-Arab's involvement in the effort to liberate France from the Nazi occupation. In the second installment of a trilogy the struggle continues after the WWII when three different brothers are caught in the political struggle that leads to liberation of Algeria from France. Bouchareb managed to simplify the Algerian struggle and personalize it through a fictional family that makes for compelling drama with a terrific cast and crew. Bouchareb reunited with many of his cast and crew from the previous film including his stars Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem and Sami Bouajila. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.