Legendary Chilean director Raúl Ruiz delivered his swan song with hypnotic epic about three generations Portuguese nobility that suffer the bitter consequences of love and betrayal. A young orphan's desire to learn about his parents leads a priest to reveal a long history of misery that affects several characters as they experience misfortune because of love. Based on the novel by Camilo Castelo Branco, Ruiz and writer Carlos Saboga created a sprawling epic that follows and traces several characters and their intricate and complex relations to each other. Ruiz explores the dark side of love and its power to damage people beyond repair which is rarely explored on screen. The stellar cast includes Adriano Luz, Maria João Bastos, Ricardo Pereira and Clotilde Hesme as well as Léa Seydoux, Melvil Poupaud and Malik Zidi in supporting roles. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Legendary Indian director and producer Yash Chopra delivered one of his greatest films with this classic love story. A couple sacrifice their love for the sake of their families in order to marry and move with their lives but their path cross again when their children fall in love which opens old wounds of lost love. Chopra enlisted a stellar cast that includes Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee Gulzar, Shashi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh that represented several generations of star power. The classic soundtrack by Khayyam features the legendary voices of Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar with some of the best songs of popular Hindi cinema. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Iranian writer and director Majid Majidi delivered an heartbreaking tale of love and sacrifice with this this drama. On a construction site in Tehran, a young Kurdish worker stumbles upon a secret of an Afghan refugee that has a profound effect on their lives. Majidi created masterfully a profound and poetic story that's heartbreaking and unforgettable in a film of staggering power. Non-professional actors Hossein Abedini and Zahra Bahrami are pitch perfect in the leads along Majidi's frequent collaborator Mohammad Amir Naji with another terrific performance. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Spanish writer and director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo made his feature debut with this riveting thriller. The lone survivor of a plane crash is recruited for a high stake underground game based on luck. Fresnadillo makes a concept based on luck utterly believable in its own world with an original and compelling film. Leonardo Sbaraglia stars with a solid cast that includes Eusebio Poncela and the legendary Max von Sydow in a chilling performance. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Spanish master Luis Buñuel delivered a masterpiece with this surreal comedy. A group of friends' attempt to have a meal is interrupted for various reasons including dreams and nightmares. Brilliantly written by Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière and executed by a stellar cast and crew makes for an unforgettable film of one kind like many of Buñuel's masterpieces. The stellar cast includes Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Delphine Seyrig and Bulle Ogier amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
German writer and director Gereon Wetzel followed Spanish master chef Ferran Adrià and his team as they prepared for the last season of their legendary restaurant, El Bulli before it closed its doors. A look behind the scenes that shows the creation and preparation of the avant-garde cuisine that takes culinary art to new heights. Some of the creations has to be seen and tasted to be believed. This insightful documentary shows the art and philosophy of a genius with his ground breaking ideas. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski delivered his first masterpiece with this metaphysical exploration of chance and fate. A young man's destiny could change if he catches or misses a train that would change the path of his life. Kieslowski's political film shows actually the options of any young person under the communist regime to join the party, rebel against it or stay neutral. Kieslowski's introduced his signature triangular structure which he masterfully explored in his later masterpieces and used by many other filmmakers, specially by Peter Howitt in his debut "Sliding Doors." 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Black listed American writer and director Jules Dassin made this French language drama set in Italy. A beautiful woman trapped in small town with its own laws and morals has set her eyes onto a handsome and educated man to the dismay of a local gangster who has his own agenda to rule the town. It's a lesser effort by the talented Dassin who managed to have a career in Europe after leaving Hollywood. Legendary Italian sex symbols Gina Lollobrigida and Marcello Mastroianni star along with solid supporting cast that includes Greek actress Melina Mercouri, French stars Pierre Brasseur and Yves Montand playing Italians along Paolo Stoppa amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Writer and director Larysa Kondracki made her feature debut with riveting but disturbing thriller based on the true story of whistle blower Kathryn Bolkovac who exposed the UN. An American cop sent by the UN to educate the local cops in post-war Bosnia discovers that many of UN and foreign contractors are actively involved in human and sex trafficking which the authorities try to hide. It's a shocking film in many ways that shows any organization can become criminal given the right circumstances, specially the United Nations and other companies with government contracts. Kondracki impresses with her debut given the complexity of the film with an international cast. Rachel Weisz stars with another solid performance along with a fine supporting cast that includes Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn, Liam Cunningham and Monica Bellucci amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Writer and director Lena Dunham also stars in this awkward comedy/drama that parallels her life. A young woman has a hard time to adjust to life after returning home from college. Dunham's brave use of her personal life gives credibility to her character including the casting of her family and friends which proves to be a double edged. While the performances are not bad, they are reserved and awkward to say the least, specially the scenes between her mother and sister. The cinematography by Jody Lee Lipes saves the extremely low budget film on a technical level. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Legendary Italian actor and director Vittorio De Sica delivered this heartbreaking tale of friendship and betrayal in post WWII Italy. Two friends working shining shoes in order to purchase a horse are thrown in jail when the brother of one of them gets them involved in a crime which has devastating consequences on the boys. One of the early neo-realism films that changed the way films were made. Non-professional actors Franco Interlenghi and Rinaldo Smordoni gave pitch-perfect performances as the friends whose friendship is tested with tragic consequences. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Director Jonathan Levine's third uneven feature has the audacity for being bold by making a comedy about cancer. Screenwriter Will Reiser based the story on his own experiences when he was diagnosed with cancer and his struggle to overcome it with his family and friend. There's nothing wrong with humor when dealing with tragedy but Levine and Reiser go more for the laughs at the cost of the characters which misses a great opportunity. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars with a solid performance but the characters around him are one note caricatures which ultimately derail the film. The veterans like Anjelica Huston and Philip Baker Hall manage to make an impression in their underwritten roles but Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard recycle familiar performances from their respective better films. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
British director Michael Anderson delivered an audacious film with this classic sci-fi thriller. In an idyllic society where everybody has to die when they turn 30 years old, a group of agents called "the Sandmen" have to trace and kill those who run in order to live longer. While the film reminisces the classic sci-fi films such as "The Time Machine" and "Planet of the Apes," Anderson and his talented cast and crew provide a complete vision that makes for an immensely entertaining film that has become a cult classic. Michael York and Jenny Agutter star along with Richard Jordan and Peter Ustinov in supporting roles. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Legendary Italian actor and director Vittorio De Sica always managed to reinvent himself over four decades as he did with this perfect blend of comedy and drama about the battle of sexes in pure Italian style. A beautiful women suffering from her philandering lover manages to get even when she comes up with a perfect plan. De Sica being an actor knew how to direct actors, specially legends like Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni who dazzle in both comedy and drama in their effortless presence on screen with sizzling chemistry. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Italian writer and director Silvio Soldini delivered an accomplished film with this drama exploring a passionate affair and its repercussions. A harmless flirtation leads to an affair between a woman and a married man which creates turmoil into their apparently happy lives. Soldini's meticulous direction along with a fine cast and crew makes for remarkably nuanced drama with fully developed characters. Alba Rohrwacher shines in the lead with a terrific performance along with superb supporting cast that includes Pierfrancesco Favino, Teresa Saponangelo and Giuseppe Battiston. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Canadian director Jason Reitman reunited with writer Diablo Cody for this keenly observed character study. A writer who seems to have it all returns to her small hometown to win back her high school sweetheart who's happily married with a newborn child. After their breakthrough hit with "Juno" which was about a mature teenager, Reitman and Cody explore the immaturity of an adult with this dark comedy. Charlize Theron bares her soul with another terrific performance opposite Patton Oswalt who also shines as her kindred spirit with his own demons. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, March 16, 2012
The legendary Merchant-Ivory team delivered their last masterpiece with this unrequited love story set in the world of a British country house before the second World War. A repressed butler's misguided loyalty for his job cost him to pursue the love of his life. Based on the novel by Japanese author Kazuo Ishiguro, writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant created another impeccable film with a stellar cast and crew. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson star with pitch-perfect performances. The solid supporting cast includes James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Hugh Grant, Ben Chaplin, Michael Lonsdale and Lena Headey. The rest of the Merchant-Ivory team that includes editor Andrew Marcus, cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts, production designer Luciana Arrighi, composer Richard Robbins and costume designer Jenny Beavan continue to hold up the high standards they set from film to film. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
French writer and director Anne Fontaine delivered another sophisticated film with this nuanced drama about the battle of the sexes. An uptight Parisian lawyer falls in love with a beautiful and carefree girl in Monaco which could derail his high profile case despite the warnings of his loyal bodyguard. Fontaine's keen eye for complex characters in both her writing and direction proves any conventional scenario can be taken to new heights. The terrific cast includes Fabrice Luchini, Roschdy Zem and the stunning Louise Bourgoin in her debut. The supporting cast includes a welcome appearance by the legendary Stéphane Audran. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Writer, director and producer Galt Niederhoffer adapted her own novel into this uninspired drama. A group of friends gather for the wedding of their friends in New England where unresolved issues threatens the wedding. There several problems with the film including the screenplay, direction and casting amongst others that proves making films isn't easy as it seems. The cast includes Anna Paquin, Katie Holms and Malin Akerman whose talents can't save the film. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Director Jay Roach returns to politics with the behind the scenes of the 2008 Republican presidential campaign. In order to boost the John McCain campaign, his advisor Steve Schmidt suggested Sarah Palin as his running mate whose inexperience ultimately derailed his campaign after initially reviving it. The film is remarkably balanced coming from the liberal left which makes Palin more sympathetic along with McCain and the rest of the characters who tried their best to win the game. Julianne Moore stars with another solid performance which makes Sarah Palin more likable which is quiet a considerable accomplishment. The stellar cast includes Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris and Sarah Paulson amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Chinese writer and director Lu Chuan made feature debut with this impressive thriller. A small town cop wakes up to find his gun missing which starts a desperate search after a murder is committed. Chuan takes the cop thriller out of the big city which pays off without losing any of its style or energy. While the stakes are smaller, it makes the film more intimate with fully developed characters grounded in reality which doesn't mean the film lacks any less thrilling. Jiang Wen stars with a solid cast which is meticulously assembled by a talented director and his equally talented crew. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Director James Foley delivered an uninspired thriller with an all star cast. A group of con men try to pull their biggest con involving the mob and the police. It's a typical formula film with its predictable characters and story that thinks it's a smart and stylish thriller. Edward Burns leads the ensemble that includes Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Andy Garcia. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Writer and director Géla Babluani remade his feature debut with an all star cast. A young man desperate for money assumes the identity of a dead man to enter a deadly underground game of Russian roulette. While his first film was more about style, Babluani focuses on the story and character development in the remake but each film lacks what the other has with the same basic story. Sam Riley leads the ensemble that includes Ray Winstone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Michael Shannon, Alexander Skarsgård and Ben Gazzara in mostly one note performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Swedish director Lasse Hallström made his most generic and uninspired film with this touching and sad story about an incredible dog. The remarkable story about the bond between a college professor and his dog who awaits his deceased owner for ten years at a train station. Based on a true Japanese story that gets lost in translation by the uninspired script and direction that aims at sentimentality with poor choices from beginning to finish. Richard Gere and Joan Allen star but the film belongs to the Akita dogs that make the film worthwhile. It's a dog lovers film that shows that dogs are man's best friend indeed. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
French writer and director Olivier Marchal assembled a stellar cast for his second feature about two different veteran cops at odds with each other. A series of violent robberies puts two veteran cops and former friends at odds which puts promotes one and jailed the other. Marchal's epic crime thriller reminds of Michael Mann's Heat in many ways, specially the casting of Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu in the leads but it's an entirely original film in its own right. The equally impressive supporting cast includes André Dussollier, Valeria Golino,
Roschdy Zem, Anne Consigny and Mylène Demongeot amongst others.
Roschdy Zem, Anne Consigny and Mylène Demongeot amongst others.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Brazilian writer and director José Padilha returned with the sequel to his successful debut which brought him international acclaim. The rookie of the original has become a legend for establishing the elite squad in the charge of the city but he's ousted to an office job where he witnesses corrupt cops and politicians take over and become powerful criminals behind the scenes which sets events in motion with deadly consequences. Padilha has a lot of back story to cover to connect the two films manages to execute an effective thriller for those patient enough to decipher the story with its many characters. While the film is a sequel, it works without its predecessor which is about the corruption of police and politics which is universal around the world. Wagner Moura returns along some of the original cast members. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.