Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath

Legendary director John Ford delivered a heartbreaking film with the adaptation of the classic novel by John Steinbeck. During the Great Depression, an impoverished family is forced out of their land and embark on a arduous journey to the promised land, California where they face new problems. Ford along with his legendary cast and crew captured the Great Depression that the images still shocks. The times might have changed but the human condition and struggle continues around the world more than ever before. Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell delivered towering performances as the leads while Gregg Toland captured the images worthy of Dorthea Lange. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Women in Love

British director Ken Russell delivered a dazzling adaptation of the classic novel by D.H. Lawrence. Two sisters fall in love with two best friends as they explore the nature of love and commitment that has a different outcome for each couple. Russell and his stellar cast along with the stunning cinematography by Billy Williams made a one of a kind film that still stands the test of time with its bold and lyrical interpretation. Glenda Jackson, Alan Bates, Oliver Reed and Jennie Linden star the leads with superb performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Director Morgan Spurlock takes on advertising and product placement in movies with this entertaining documentary. In order to finance this film, Spurlock sought out a professional team to help him define his brand in order to find the right companies who would invest in his film. Spurlock is a well aware of his brand which makes him the right filmmaker for this documentary that shows the process. Unfortunately advertising and product placement is a reality in the film industry, specially all blockbusters which makes them the right target for it. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

GUILD AWARDS 3: Screen Actors Guild (SAG)

Motion Picture Cast

The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris

Leading Actor
Demián Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin,The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Leading Actress
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help


GUILD AWARDS 2: Director's Guild (DGA)

Feature Film

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
David Fincher, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Documentary Film
Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Steve James,The Interrupters
James Marsh, Project Nim
Richard Press, Bill Cunningham New York
Martin Scorsese, George Harrison: Living in the Material World


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sundance Film Festival

The first important festival of the year is the most important one in the US that has a competition and world premieres. The festival started to support the independent films and filmmakers but is now an integrated part of Hollywood.

2012 Winners:


Best Film, Jury Prize - "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Best Film, Audience Award - "The Surrogate"

Directing - Ava DuVernay, "Middle of Nowhere"

Screenwriting - Derek Connolly, "Safety Not Guaranteed"

Cinematography - Ben Richardson, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Special Jury Prize, ensemble acting - "The Surrogate"

Special Jury Prize, producing - Jonathan Schwartz, Andrea Sperling, "Smashed"


Best Documentary, Jury Prize - "The House I Live In"

Best Documentary, Audience Award - "The Invisible War"

Directing - Lauren Greenfield, "The Queen of Versailles"

Editing - Enat Sidi, "Detropia"

Cinematography - Jeff Orlowski, "Chasing Ice"

Special Jury Prize - "Love Free Or Die" (Tied)

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" (Tied)


Best Film, Jury Prize - "Violeta Went To Heaven"

Best Film, Audience Award - "Valley of Saints"

Directing - Mads Matthiesen, "Teddy Bear"

Screenwriting - Marialy Rivas, Camila Gutierrez, Pedro Peirano, Sebastian Sepulveda , "Young & Wild"

Cinematography - David Raedeker, "My Brother the Devil"

Special Jury Prize, artistic vision - "Can"


Best Film, Jury Prize - "The Law In These Parts"

Best Film, Audience Award - "Searching for Sugar Man"

Directing - Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi, "5 Broken Cameras"

Editing - Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky , "Indie Game: The Movie"

Cinematography - Lars Skree, "Putin's Kiss"

Special Jury Prize, film - "Searching For Sugar Man"

RIP: Eiko Ishioka 1939 -2012

The Sessions

Writer and director Ben Lewin gets his breakthrough with this inspiring drama about the sexual awakening of poet Mark O'Brian. A severely handicapped poet gets the blessing of his priest to loose his virginity with the help of a surrogate which affects all three in profound ways. Lewin hits the jackpot with a profound true story that allows its stellar cast and crew to shine. The tremendously talented John Hawkes continues to impress with another terrific performance as the lead with an equally stellar support cast that includes Helen Hunt and William H. Macy amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wuthering Heights

British writer and director Andrea Arnold takes on the classic novel by Emily Brontë in her third feature with a new and bold interpretation. After a young orphan is adopted by a family, he develops an intense relationship with his foster sister which paves the way for tragedy. Since the novel has been adapted several times since the beginning of cinema, it justifies Arnold to bring her raw vision which succeeds more often than it fails with its color blind casting of non professional actors, stunning cinematography and void of music. While Arnold brings authenticity that comes with brutality and sensuality, the romance suffers which might affect its core audience. 1001 Films' coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

The Raid

Indonesia based Welsh writer and director Gareth Evans delivers a non-stop knockout action film. A group of elite SWAT team gets trapped in a high rise infested with criminals and have to fight their way to survive. Evans aware of the genre limitations jolts new life by keeping the story clear with a heavy dose of action that will please the fans. While the story maybe simple, the film is anything but full of flawlessly choreographed action set pieces and martial art fights that's jaw dropping to say the least. However the film's violence is nothing for the squeamish. While the bad guy is established at the beginning, it takes a while to realize who the hero is but Indonesian martial art actor Iko Uwais delivers the goods on both levels and should establish him as an international action star like Bruce Lee, Jet Li or Jackie Chan. 1001 Films' coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Valley of Saints

Indian-American writer and director Musa Syeed makes his feature debut with this powerful drama set at the Dal Lake in his native Kashmir. Gulzar, a young boatman and his best friend want to escape their war torn village but their plans are foiled by a curfew which leads Gulzar to meet a young woman who changes his life. Syeed makes a promising debut with a compelling story about a troubled but ignored region where its people are trapped by the wars between India and Pakistan. The cast of mostly non-professional actors and stunning locations provide the authenticity to this universal film about friendship and resilience amid war and despair. 1001 Films' coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Red Lights

Spanish writer and director Rodrigo Cortés returns with this psychological thriller about the paranormal. A psychologist and her physicist assistant study paranormal activities and discover many of them to be fraudulent until a world renowned psychic decides to come out of retirement which has unexpected consequences. Cortés makes an interesting case about the paranormal but can't decide which way to focus which derails the film in the third act. Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy star along with Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen and Toby Jones in the supporting cast. 1001 Films' coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

The Imposter

British director Bart Layton made his feature debut with this riveting documentary based on a fascinating true story. The incredible story of French con man who convinced a grieving Texan family that he's their missing teenage son including fooling the Spanish and US authorities. Layton uses the key people involved along with archival footage and dramatic enactments to tell the story that plays like a thriller with plenty of twists and turns. The story proves that reality is stranger than fiction and if it were fiction, nobody would have believed it. This documentary continues the trend that marks the golden age of documentaries. 1001 Films' coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2012.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

RIP: Theo Angelopoulos 1935 - 2012

My Dinner with Andre

Legendary French director Louis Malle delivered a sublime film with this intellectual masterpiece. A struggling writer reluctantly meets an old friend for dinner where they have an intellectual conversation about life and death amongst others. Malle who consistently pushed himself as a director pushed himself to deliver stunning film in an already illustrious career. Brilliantly written and performed by Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory who appear as themselves as converse about a wide ranging issues and topics that's spellbinding and fascinating. Never has been cinema so captivating as watching two guys talking that's worth listening. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ali Zoua: Prince of the Streets

French-Moroccan writer and director Nabil Ayouch delivered a gritty look at street kids in Casablanca. After a boy dies from an attack from the gang he parted ways with, his three friends try to give him a proper burial while surviving the streets. Instead of analyzing the street kids, Ayouch shows their daily ordeals which is grim and hopeless but each kid has a fantasy or illusion about life which is the heart of the film. The faces of the kids with their scars speaks volumes which is heartbreaking and shattering to watch. French-Moroccan star Saïd Taghmaoui appears in an effective supporting role. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Countess

French actress turned writer and director Julie Delpy took a more ambitious project with her third feature about a notorious 17th century Hungarian countess, Erzebet Bathory. A headstrong and wealthy countess falls in love with a young man which provides his father an opportunity to hatch a devious plan with tragic consequences. While the countess makes for a compelling character, writer and director Delpy fails to find a focus and balance on whether to make the countess a tragic heroine or deranged villain which affects the tone of the film. She tries both going from drama to horror but it derails the film before its conclusion. Delpy the actress is more successful but can't save the film because of its inherent problems. The international cast includes Daniel Brühl, William Hurt and Anamaria Marinca amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

GUILD AWARDS 1: Producer's Guild (PGA)

Feature Film







Animated Film




Documentary Film





For more info:http://www.producersguild.org/

Inshallah Sunday

French-Algerian writer and director Yamina Benguigui made her feature debut with drama about an immigrant woman ordeals in France. An Algerian woman along with her children and abusive mother-in-law arrive in France in the early 70's to join her husband. Besides the daily abuses by her husband and his mother, she longs for her family in Algeria while slowly adapting to ways of the West. Benguigui taps into the immigrant experience which is the most powerful aspect of the film; however she loses focus which derails the film long before its unexpected ending. Actress Fejria Deliba delivers a solid performance in the lead with solid supporting cast that includes Mathilde Seigner and Marie-France Pisier amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Life, Above All

German-South African director Oliver Schmitz delivered a powerful and humanistic film with this compelling drama. A teenage girl shows a remarkable resilience when chaos and death surrounds her and her family in a remote village near Johannesburg, South Africa. Schmitz and his talented cast and crew show the daily obstacles people have to endure to fight AIDS and its side effects on society that arise from fear and superstition at the cost of human dignity. Despite its flaws, it's a compelling story that needs to be told with an universal appeal because the story might be set in South Africa but obstacles are universal around the world. Newcomer Khomotso Manyaka gives a heartbreaking performance with a solid cast. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Death at a Funeral

British director Frank Oz returned to England for this comedy. Family and friends gather for funeral where everything goes wrong with unexpected twist and turns. Written by Dean Craig, Oz manages to deliver a winning comedy with some hilarious moments with a talented cast. Matthew Macfadyen and Rupert Graves stars as the estranged brothers who get closer over the course of the funeral with a solid supporting cast that includes Ewan Bremner and Peter Dinklage amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman made their feature debut with this documentary about internet relationships and identity theft. A gullible New York photographer develops a relationship with a family in Michigan that sounds too good to be true which leads to the suspicion of his brother and friend to investigate it. Despite the fact that the documentary feels contrived for obvious reasons, it raises certain issues about cyber romance and the perils of internet. There's no way to makes a film without preparation and setup which hurts its authenticity. 1001 Films coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's third part of the trilogy brings closure to the notorious case with an bittersweet happy ending that came at a great price for the West Memphis Three, Damian Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelly. After 17 years in prison, the WM3 have turned into remarkable men which is astonishing in itself while their supporters have obtained more evidence that proves their innocence with the help of renowned experts and new witnesses the authorities never bothered with. The evidence also sheds light on the actual killer who's still on the loose. The real shame lies in the Arkansas justice system that stood behind the incompetent police department lead by Gary Gitchell and trial judge David Burnett who will bear the stain in their names for the injustice. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Paradise Lost 2: Revelations

Directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky returned to West Memphis, Arkansas in 1999 to follow up on the case in this second part of the trilogy. The teenagers in prison still deny any involvement in the crimes but the justice system denies them a retrial despite new evidence. The first film created outrage around the world which allowed the teenagers to find a support group to help them fight the injustice which is heartbreaking watching the innocent imprisoned while the real killer on the loose. Berlinger and Sinofsky realize that the cause is bigger than the film and use to serve it which makes for a compelling story that will haunt West Memphis, Arkansas forever. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky delivered an astonishing film with this documentary that literally saved the lives of the teenagers accused of a vicious crime. After the horrific killing of three boys in 1993, the West Memphis police in Arkansas rushed to accuse three teenagers of the crime without any evidence because one of them wore black clothes and listened to Heavy Metal music. Berlinger and Sinofsky's access to the accused, the victims' families and authorities make for a riveting film that unfolds like a thriller. There's a lot of material but the filmmakers focus on the hysteria and paranoia that lead to the witch hunt of the accused who were convicted of the crimes they didn't commit. The real tragedy lies that nobody bothered with the evidence and let the real killer get away. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mao's Last Dancer

Australian director Bruce Beresford delivered his best work in more than a decade with this inspiring drama. The story Li Cunxin who was recruited from a remote Chinese village to become a dancer which lead him to travel to the US where he found love and freedom to dance at the cost of being banned from his home country and his family. Based on the autobiography by Cunxin, Beresford and Jan Sardi hit the right notes to bring the remarkable story to the screen with powerful performances. Dancer Chi Cao makes his acting debut with a solid performance along a talented cast that includes Bruce Greenwood and Joan Chen amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CRITICS AWARDS 6: Golden Globes

Best Film - Drama

The Descendants
The Help


The Ides Of March


War Horse

Best Actor - Drama
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar

Michael Fassbender, Shame

Ryan Gosling, The Ides Of March

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Actress - Drama
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, Iron Lady

Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Best Film - Musical or Comedy
The Artist


Midnight In Paris
My Week With Marilyn

Best Actor - Musical or Comedy
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50

Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Owen Wilson, Midnight In Paris

Best Actress - Musical or Comedy
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult

Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Kate Winslet, Carnage

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive

Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer, The Help

Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Director
Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris
George Clooney, The Ides Of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Screenplay
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Grant Heslov & Beau Willimon, The Ides Of March
Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris

Aaron Sorkin & Steven Zaillian, Moneyball

Best Original Score
Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Abel Korzeniowski, W.E.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Howard Shore, Hugo

John Williams, War Horse

Best Animated Film
The Adventures Of Tintin
Arthur Christmas

Cars 2

Puss In Boots


Best Foreign Language Film
The Flowers Of War (China)
In The Land Of Blood And Honey (Bosnia, USA)

The Kid With A Bike (Belgium)

A Separation (Iran)

The Skin I Live In (Spain)


For more info: http://www.goldenglobes.org


French writing and directing team, Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern made this uneven blend of comedy and drama. A retired worker is forced to revisit his previous jobs in order to obtain proof for his retirement benefits; on the road he meets several characters from his past and some new one. The script and tone of the film all over the place from the bleak to the whimsical. Gérard Depardieu and Yolande Moreau star with solid performances while Isabelle Adjani and Benoît Poelvoorde provide support in cameo roles. The film proves that a great cast doesn't make a great film. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

Swedish director Göran Olsson made this fascinating documentary about the Black Power Movement with contemporary commentaries. Made entirely out of archival footage shot by Swedish journalists between 1967 to 1975, it shows never before seen footage of political climate during the time and the rise of civil rights movements and its key figures including Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael amongst others. It's a part of US history that was never covered by any of the US media but thankfully to the Swedes to have stepped in and saved a crucial time capsule. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's epic about the Egyptian queen and her Roman lovers remains as the most expensive film of all times. The rise and fall of Cleopatra is chronicled along with her love affairs with emperor Julius Caesar and warrior Mark Antony. The original vision of Mankiewicz may have been lost forever and what remains is an overlong film with some spectacular production values and fine actors chewing through the scenery. Elizabeth Taylor stars with Richard Burton and Rex Harrison whose performances are lost in the epic production. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Canadian director Troy Nixey made his feature debut with this thriller written and produced by Guillermo del Toro based on the teleplay by Nigel McKeand. A young girl sent to live with her father and his girlfriend finds mysterious creatures hiding in mansion which she mistakes as friendly. The original film terrified a young Guillermo del Toro which lead him to remake it. While the film has some effective moments, it can't escape the limitations of the genre formula. Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes waste their talents with thankless roles. 1001 Films coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


British director Asif Kapadia delivered his best work with this terrific documentary about the legendary Brazilian race car driver Ayrton Senna. Through his talent and skills combined with charisma and humility, Senna captured the imagination and heart of fans around the world until his untimely death. Kapadia tells the story entirely through archival footage and voices of his family, friends and journalists who saw his rise in the Formula One, his rivalry with Alain Prost and key moments in Senna's life including his winning the F1 world championship three times. Kapadia and his talented team avoid the pratfalls that plagues documentaries and deliver a compelling film that pays tribute to a legend. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bill Cunningham New York

Director Richard Press made his feature debut with this moving documentary about the legendary photo journalist Bill Cunningham who has been a fixture on the streets of New York for five decades to capture fashion trends. Press followed Cunningham doing his business interwoven with interviews with subjects, admirers and friends who have nothing but praise for a remarkable individual who's hiding a tragic story behind the humble facade. Besides giving insight to who Bill Cunningham is, Press shows the history of New York how it changed in the decades while Cunningham was able to remain the same with his unparalleled ethic and integrity that makes this documentary remarkably moving and profound. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Another Earth

Writer and director Mike Cahill made his feature debut with this Sci-Fi infused drama. A tragic accident shatters the lives of an ambitious student and a composer which coincides with the discovery of a planet. Despite its flaws, Cahill and co-writer and star Brit Marling created an original and thought provoking drama about redemption and recovery of two people whose lives are devastated in an instant. Marling and William Mapother deliver powerful performances that drives the story and make the film work. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.