Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Norwegian writer and director André Øvredal delivers a knockout with this highly entertaining film. A group of students trying to track down a mysterious hunter find themselves in a great adventure with mythical creatures. Øvredal uses the same story device as "The Blair Witch Project" but takes it to new glorious heights with better writing, performances and production values that makes for a satisfying experience. The talented cast and crew excel with the tricky approach which is an impressive accomplishment. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Brad Pitt, MONEYBALL
Meryl Streep, THE IRON LADY
Best Supporting Actor
Albert Brooks, DRIVE
Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain, TREE OF LIFE
Best Foreign Language Film
CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS
Best First Feature
Steven Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin, MONEYBALL
Emmanuel Lubezki, TREE OF LIFE
For more info: http://www.nyfcc.com/index.php
Monday, November 28, 2011
Writer and director J.J. Abrams' third feature is an homage to his mentor Steven Spielberg who also produced it. It's 1979 and a group of kids are making a zombie movie with their Super 8 camera when they witness a train accident which has dire consequences for their small town. While Abrams aspires to those films of the 70's and 80's, he forgets what made them so special. What starts as a charming coming of age film, quickly derails as a big spectacle with plenty of action and special effects. There are too many plot holes to count. The young cast is solid but they became just props in the greater scheme that makes you want to revisit the real classics. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Director Jennifer Baichwal's third feature follows photographer Edward Burtynsky on his travels in this fascinating documentary. Burtynsky's photography focuses on changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing which Baichwal captures in this dazzling film that shows human made destruction of nature. The scenes in China are quite staggering that shows the consequences of progress on the environment. Baichwal and Burtynsky show rather than tell without taking sides leaving it to the audience to make their opinion which makes the film a profound experience. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Legendary writer and director Errol Morris got his breakthrough with this riveting and groundbreaking documentary. A murder mystery is investigated through interviews with key witnesses, dramatic reenactments and archival footage that proves an innocent man has been convicted. Morris blended the documentary formula with cinematic devices to create a dazzling thriller that changed the genre forever. The haunting score by Philip Glass is one of the highlights of this timeless classic. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Scottish director Kevin Macdonald returns with another fascinating documentary made entirely from footage submitted through YouTube by individuals around the world. The film shows the daily rituals along with unique moments around the world on a single day, July 24th, 2010. Macdonald and his team of editors went through 80,000 submissions, 4500 hours of footage, from 192 countries to show the human experience that shows what unites and divide us. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Canadian writer and director Denis Villeneuve delivered his best work with this drama. In order to fulfill their mother's last wish, two siblings have to travel to the Middle East to uncover their mother's mysterious past in the search for a brother and father with shattering consequences. Based on the play by Wajdi Mouawad, Villeneuve turns the story into mysterious puzzle about war, survival, guilt, identity and generational conflict worth of a Greek tragedy that's timeless and universal. Despite its shortcomings and minor flaws, the film's staggering impact remains intact. Lubna Azabal stars with a powerful performance as a woman who witnesses and survives the horrors of war. 1001 Films's coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Legendary director Martin Scorsese returns with another timeless masterpiece. A young orphan's desire to unlock a mystery leads him to an extraordinary journey. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, Scorsese and his impeccable team of writer John Logan, cinematographer Robert Richardson, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, production designer Dante Ferretti, set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo, costume designer Sandy Powell, composer Howard Shore and producer Graham King amongst others deliver an flawless timepiece that's pure magic on every level. What seemed at first an odd choice for Scorsese makes perfect sense for a master at the top of his game and his love for cinema that's infectious. The stellar cast from Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz in the leads to Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen in the supporting roles, down to the smallest parts are perfectly cast. Last but not least Scorsese takes the 3D technology to new glorious heights that should be the new standard for its use. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Canadian director David Cronenberg returns with another splendid drama about the fathers of psychoanalysis. The friendship and rivalry between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud is examined through their relationship with a Russian patient, Sabina Spielrein who liberated Jung from Freud's spell that almost ended his career. Based on the novel by John Kerr and brilliantly adapted by Christopher Hampton, Cronenberg and his talented cast and crew deliver an intelligent film about compelling characters at the beginning of a modern era. Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley star with Sarah Gadon and Vincent Cassel in the supporting roles. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.
Monday, November 21, 2011
The Australian team of writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan turn the haunted house genre on its head with this effective horror film. A couple with three young kids leave a haunted house only to move into another. Whannell and Wan took inspiration from classic horror films, specially Poltergeist which they could have pushed even further. While there are some scary and chilling moments, there are also some not so scary ghosts and comic relief that takes away from the terror. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne star along with Barabara Hershey and Lin Shaye. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
German writer and director Benjamin Heisenberg made action thriller that could have been more. A tormented man obsessed with running and robbing banks combines his passion for a self-destructive journey. Based on a true story, Heisenberg decides to stay away from any kind of character study which leaves only the action to speak. Heisenberg's attempt to stay away from the traditional narrative shortchanges the character and film. The talented Andreas Lust stars as the severely damaged man on a path of self-destruction. Lust tries his best but his performance is limited since he has to convey everything without dialog or background information. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Writing and directing team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck shift gears with this coming of age comedy/drama. A depressed teenager checks himself into a hospital where he meets various characters that give perspective on life. There's plenty to like about this mostly charming film but it never hits its target as it should have. The main problem lies in the writing that feels contrived which hurts many of its pleasures. The title and presence of Zach Galifianakis hint of a funnier film which short changes the film that could have benefited from discovery of its humor and characters. Keir Gilchrist is perfectly cast with a solid supporting cast that includes Galifianakis, Viola Davis and Jeremy Davies amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Spanish writer and director Daniel Monzón delivered a riveting thriller with this prison drama. A new prison guard finds himself in the middle of a riot where he has to pretend to be an inmate in order to survive with unexpected consequences. Monzón mixes thrills with social commentary about the nature of prisons that makes for a satisfying experiences. Luis Tosar stars along with newcomer Alberto Ammann in compelling performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Director Sally Rowe made her feature debut with this compelling documentary. The rise of a young, talented and controversial chef, Paul Liebrandt, as he tries to find his way into the world of haute cuisine where critics opinion and stars can make or break careers. Rowe's access to Liebrandt provides insight into the mind of an artist whose creative process and dedication to his craft makes for a compelling film. Liebrandt comes across as sincere and brilliant whose rise in the culinary world seems justified as he prepares dishes like a painter. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Director Philip Cox delivers an astonishing documentary full of heart and humor. In Kolkata, private detective Rajesh Ji and his team take any case from adultery to murder while taking dance classes for stress relief or get away from real life tragedies. Cox found the perfect protagonist in Rajesh Ji who's sincere presence is the heart of the film. It's quite a remarkable achievement on Cox and his team. The scenes with Rajesh and his wife are heartbreaking while his dance scenes hilarious. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Legendary director Martin Scorsese took a cinematic journey to Italy with this terrific documentary. Scorsese shares his family roots and cinematic influences through an intimate look of classic Italian cinema by some of its greatest masters including Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni amongst others. It's fascinating film by a master whose love and passion for cinema is evident. Besides being informative, it also shows appreciation for Italian cinema which has changed cinema through its revolutionary neo-realism which Scorsese discusses in depth. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Writer and director Lynn Shelton takes on bromance from a female point of view in this chamber comedy. A happily married man gets a surprise visit from his best friend from college days with unexpected consequences. Shelton's witty observation of male bonding has its charms but overstays its welcome due to the overkill of dialog. The talented cast includes Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard and Alycia Delmore. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig delivered a winning comedy that finally gave the talented Kristen Wiig her first lead which she also co-wrote the screenplay. A down on her luck woman has to fight a competition with another bridesmaid over her best friend which threatens their bond of friendship. Well written and directed with some hilarious moments thanks to the talented cast. Wiig stars with the stellar support of Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Jill Clayburgh, Chris O'Dowd and Jon Hamm. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Writer and director Randall Miller turned a historical moment into a comedy. Based on the true story of Napa Valley wines winning over the French wines in the historical blind tasting of Paris in 1976, Miller went the easy way that opts for comedy and entertainment that undermines the significance of the event. It's poorly written, directed with cliche performances and scenery that resembles a commercial than a feature film. The story, characters and event deserve a better film. The cast includes Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Freddy Rodríguez and Chris Pine in the worst wig ever on screen that's a thorn in the eye. 1001 Films' coverage of the Napa Valley Film Festival.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Argentinian director Nicolás Carreras makes his feature debut with this docu-drama that blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction. After a world renowned Sommelier loses his palate during an important wine event, he desperately looks for a remedy that takes him on a journey home. Carreras used the renowned Sommelier, Charlie Arturaola for this fictionalized film who makes for an entertaining and compelling character. There are some pacing issues but otherwise an entertaining film about wine and the people who are passionate about it. 1001 Films' coverage of the Napa Valley Film Festival.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Native American director Chris Eyre returns with his fourth feature which is a poetic meditation on mourning. A recently widowed man purchases a dilapidated boat where he comes to terms with life and loss. Eyre and writer Peter Vanderwall's attempt to explore the nature of loss and mourning in subtle way works to some degree but it's effect is shortchanged by poor editing despite a solid performance by Josh Lucas in the lead. Veteran cinematographer Elliot Davis' striking cinematography also adds to the atmosphere. There's potential in the film with some re-editing that could help the story and the performances of the support cast who are lost without any impact. The solid support cast includes James Cromwell, Ayelet Zurer and Jon Tenney. 1001 Films' coverage of the Napa Valley Film Festival.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Clint Eastwood returns with another powerful film as a director, producer and composer about one of the most powerful and controversial figures in American history. The live of J Edgar Hoover is explored through the three people he trusted while establishing the FBI through unconventional means. It's a fascinating character study about a scrupulous man whose towering contribution to the FBI is overshadowed by his deplorable methods. Eastwood and writer Dustin Lance Black's ambitious attempt is saved by Leonardo DiCaprio's riveting performance. The stellar supporting cast includes Judi Dench, Naomi Watts and Armie Hammer as the mother, secretary and friend/lover with solid performances. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
British director Rupert Murray made his feature debut with this riveting documentary about his friend who suffered total amnesia. The fascinating and strange case of Doug Bruce who suffered a rare kind of retrograde amnesia that wiped off his entire memory. Murray decided to document the journey of Doug as he meets family and friends while adjusting to his new life. Many have doubted the story but Bruce and his family and friends seems entirely credible including the experts. One of the interesting questions the film raises is what are we without our memories? Whether it's a true story or fake one, Murray made a great film that's compelling and fascinating goes beyond its boundaries. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Swedish master Ingmar Bergman explored the human capacity for physical and psychological cruelty to each other and animals in this profound drama. Four tormented souls fight their demons while trying to connect with each other while a violent animal killer looms around them. Bergman's approach is clinical as introduces and dissects each character while getting the input of the actors on their characters. It's a fascinating study rarely addressed in cinema. Bergman got four of his frequent actors in the leads that includes Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson as well as regular crew with Sven Nykvist, Siv Lundgren, P.A. Lundgren and Lars-Owe Carlberg that made this classic. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, November 4, 2011
The fourth collaboration between the writing and directing duo of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is an unabashed romantic film. A headstrong woman who sails through life knowing what she wants gets a lesson in life and love when she meets a naval officer through a chance encounter. Solid performances by Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey along with superbly written and directed by Powell and Pressburger was only the beginning of a legendary collaboration in the history of cinema. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
British director John Schlesinger gave Julie Christie her breakthrough with this smashing social satire. After being plucked from obscurity by a journalist, a beautiful woman finds fame and fortune but love in the swinging 60's when everything seemed possible. Schlesinger and writer Frederic Raphael delivered a timeless existential character study about a woman who finds an empty existence in the material world where superficial values rule. Julie Christie delivered a dazzling performance as the woman who learns too late the value of love. The supporting cast includes Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Harvey with pitch-perfect performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Swedish director Tomas Alfredson follows his breakthrough film "Let the Right One In" with another terrific film that marks his English debut. Based on the classic novel by John le Carré, a veteran spy is forced out of his retirement to expose a Russian mole in the highest echelon of the British secret service. Brilliantly written and directed with terrific performances. Alfredson and his team not only recreated the 70's but also the atmosphere that makes for a impeccable period thriller in the tone and style of the era which is quite a remarkable achievement. Gary Oldman stars as George Smiley leading a stellar cast that includes Colin Firth, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong and Ciarán Hinds amongst others. This film should guarantee Alfredson a lucrative career beyond Sweden. 1001 Films' coverage of upcoming releases.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Writer and director Drake Doremus got his breakthrough with honest film about first love. A British girl falls in love with an American boy but their relationship is tested by the US immigration that turns their lives upside down. Doremus hits all the right notes up till the end about ecstasy and agony of love with intelligent writing and terrific performances. The ending seems forced somewhat that will divide the audiences. Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin star as the lovers with pitch-perfect performances that's the heart of the film. Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley provide solid support the alternatives. 1001 Films' coverage of upcoming releases.