Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

British writer and director Mark Herman adapted the novel John Boyne that explores an unlikely friendship between two boys during the second world war. The son of a concentration camp commandant befriends a Jewish boy that changes his world views and leads to unexpected consequences. While the story is purely fictional that couldn't have happened in reality, Herman and his team successfully adapt the story that explores innocence in the face of evil. The solid cast includes Asa Butterfield, Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis and Rupert Friend amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

In Darkness

Polish director Agnieszka Holland's returned to feature films with another Holocaust drama after several years on TV. A greedy sewer worker hides several Jewish families in the sewers in order to extort money from the helpless. He eventually discovers his conscience and saves them from the Nazis. Based on a incredible true story but the film doesn't bring anything new or compelling that countless other films covered. Instead Holland and her team opt for the same cliches and stereotypes which takes away from the original with its overall poor adaptation that leaves a bitter aftertaste. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cloud Atlas

The Wachowski Siblings united with German writer and director Tom Tykwer for this ambitious extravaganza about one souls journey and several characters interaction across time and space.

Six different stories set in different times in the past, present and future feature the human quest to rebel against authority in various forms, a lawyer finding his humanity through a slave, a composer his equality to his mentor, a reporter fighting a corrupt system, an old man's fight for freedom, an artificial slave fight for justice and a man's quest for courage against tyranny. Though some stories are better than others, the film suffers because of the mix and match of different styles and genres.

Based on the novel by David Mitchell, the audacity of the filmmakers deserve utmost respect and admiration but the film ultimately fails because of the monumental ambition involved. While there are brilliant parts and magical moments, it doesn't add up altogether with convoluted message works better in the trailer than in the film itself. The tech aspects are first rate but the film's cast equals its ambition where the same actors play several characters with mixed but never-the-less entertaining results.

The ensemble cast includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon amongst others. The actors shine in some sequences but fail in others. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

21 Jump Street

Directing duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller delivered a successful adaptation of the TV series that's utterly entertaining. A pair of rookie undercover cops are sent back to a high school to catch a drug dealer with hilarious consequences. Popular TV shows that are dated can be tricky to adapt to the big screen but Lord and Miller along with their talented team managed to hit the right notes that's a fresh take. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum stars with hilarious performances that's tailor made for their talents. They also produced the film while Hill collaborated on the script with writer Michael Bacall. The supporting cast includes Ice Cube and Dave Franco along with some surprise guests. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Actor turned director Ben Affleck delivers his best film with his third feature in which he also stars. A CIA agent attempts a breathtaking rescue plan to save six escaped embassy employees out of Iran during the hostage crisis. Based on a incredible true story, Affleck assembled a stellar cast and crew to recreate a bygone era with attention to detail that blends seamlessly with the archival footage. The terrific ensemble includes Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Victor Garber,
Tate Donovan, Scoot McNairy and Clea DuVall amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Wish

Japanese writer and director Hirokazu Koreeda returns to the world of children with another keenly observed and profound film. Two brothers separated after the divorce of their parents hope that a new bullet train service will help them to reunite their family. Koreeda has a special gift in creating simple but profound stories about the human condition through universal relationships that will resonate beyond culture and language full of magical moments. There's not one false beat in this film where all the characters and location feel authentic providing a unique insight into the Japanese contemporary culture. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Director Matthew Akers made his feature debut with this fascinating documentary with co-director Jeff Dupre. A portrait of performance artist Marina Abramovic as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Akers and Dupre deliver an effective film with the use of archival footage, interviews and footage of her live performance at MOMA that gives context and insight into the mind of an artist. Abramovic is present throughout the film which makes the film more compelling. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gerhard Richter - Painting

German writer and director Corinna Belz delivers a rare look into the creative process of famed artist Gerhard Richter who's one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Belz follows Richter creating new work while preparing for major exhibitions in New York, London and Cologne amongst others. The films excels the most when observing Richter in his studio creating his work. There's brief passages about his past including archival footage and interviews with his assistants amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Town Called Panic

The Belgian writing and directing team of Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar created an utterly original film with this stop-motion animation. A surprise gift causes unexpected consequences for couple of friends. Aubier and Patar's film is out there in its creativity that it's fun because of its boldness from story to its characters and visuals which are all refreshing and unlike anything in the genre. Besides writing and directing, they also do some of the voices along a talented cast. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chico and Rita

Spanish writer and director Fernando Trueba leads a talented cast and crew for this animated musical drama for adults. The doomed love affair between a piano player and a singer takes them from Cuba to the US before self-destruction tears them apart. The story is inspired by familiar stories echoes "A Star is Born" to others about musicians. The film succeeds with its refreshing take of adult animation with its vibrant music and exotic locations of bygone eras which would have been impossible to recreate. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

Taiwanese writer and director Wei Te-Sheng delivered an uneven film about the resistance of the indigenous tribes against the Japanese occupation. After opening with a bang with a riveting sequence, the film never finds a coherent tone between action adventure or historical drama. The problem lies in the script which can't decide what kind of film it should be with too many characters preaching or fighting sequences that fail to make any kind of impact or provide context to the historical aspect. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

British director John Madden's third reunion with the magnificent Judi Dench proves a blessing for the director who finally delivers after several missteps. A group of British elderly with diminishing options for their twilight years embark on an exotic journey to India with surprising consequences. While the script is formula driven with plenty of recycled cliches about the elderly and India, the film succeeds because of its stellar cast and unbeatable locations. The terrific ensemble includes Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Writer and director Rian Johnson's third feature explores time travel with this Sci-Fi action thriller. Set in a dystopian future where time travel is used for criminal activities, an older assassin returns to his past where he's hunted by his younger self as they race against time to complete a mission. While time travel has been explored before, Johnson infuses as much as logic as it's possible to make an effective film out of it, even though it requires several u-turns with the genres that includes Sci-F-, action, drama and romance. Johnson clearly inspired by other Sci-Fi classics such as Chris Marker's "La Jetée"-"Twelve Monkeys" and "The Terminator" amongst others. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis star playing the younger and older versions of the characters where Gordon-Levitt's face his changed to match Willis'. The solid supporting cast includes Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


French writer and director Philippe Lioret delivered a heartbreaking film about the plight of a teenage refugee. After an arduous journey a Kurdish teenager finds himself stranded in a coastal town and attempts a desperate move to cross the Channel with the help of local swim teacher. Lioret shows the desperate situation of refugees caught in the French coastal town hoping to cross to England and their inhuman treatment of by the government prohibiting the locals to help or showing them compassion which is shocking and devastating. Vincent Lindon and Firat Ayverdi star with nuanced and heartfelt performances which makes this drama stand out. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Very Long Engagement

French writer and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's fifth feature reunited him with Audrey Tautou for this impeccable romantic drama. A young woman starts a relentless journey looking for her missing fiancee during World War One. Jeunet delivered another meticulously made film that's full of detail and wonder that has to be experienced. Audrey Tautou stars with another tailor made performance along with stellar supporting cast that includes Jodie Foster, Marion Cotillard, Gaspard Ulliel, Denis Lavant and André Dussollier amongst many others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Icelandic writer and director Óskar Jónasson's third feature is a riveting action thriller. A security guard returns to smuggling again on behalf of his best friend who has other motives. Jónasson created an tense thriller that's original with strong characters and unique settings which makes it stand out. Baltasar Kormákur stars and delivers a solid performance along with a strong supporting cast that includes Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson and Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ip Man

Hong Kong director Wilson Yip gave a history lesson with this entertaining film which blends history and fantasy to mixed results. A fictional account on the life of Ip Man who was the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun, one of whose disciples was the legendary Bruce Lee. In the 1930's martial art schools floorished in the city of Foshon where people traveled to learn the various forms of martial art but their livelihood were cut short by the Japanese occupation. Yip aware of the historical aspect which was more dark and serious, opted for an entertaining and feel good version which will please its target audience who want to see action anyway. Donnie Yen stars as the Ip Man with a solid performance. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

John Carter

After three terrific animated films for Pixar, writer and director Andrew Stanton made his live action debut with this ambitious adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs story. A civil war veteran accidentally finds a portal that transports him to Mars where he experiences an epic journey while falling in love with a beautiful princess. Due to the restrictions of the graphic novel, the film succeeds and fails on several levels. While the story is a fantasy of a bygone era, Stanton fails to find a balance to update the story for a modern audience and staying true to its source which was an impossible task to begin with. He could have pulled it off with severe editing of the script by focusing more on the characters instead of the visual effects. Where he succeeded in the animation format, Stanton shows weakness with the actors whose performances are all over the place. Newcomer Taylor Kitsch stars along with Lynn Collins in the leads with a solid but wasted supporting cast including Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe and Mark Strong amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I Saw the Devil

Korean director Kim Jee-woon delivered a bloody masterpiece with this disturbing thriller that explores the dark side of revenge. After his wife is killed by a serial killer, a special agent blurs the line between good and evil to find him at the cost of losing his humanity. Perhaps one of the most violent films ever but Jee-woon and his talented cast and crew go beyond the genre conventions to explore the nature of evil in this dark odyssey. Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) and Lee Byung-hun (The Good, the Bad, the Weird) star with terrific performances that makes this thriller a riveting experience. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Battle Royale

Veteran Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku delivered his final masterpiece with this groundbreaking controversial film. Set in a dystopian Japan, each year the government selects a class to send on a remote island where they have to fight and kill each other till only one survives. While extremely violent and provocative, Fukasaku and his talented team show human nature by going to the extreme with plenty of humor. A definite precursor to "The Hunger Games" which it must have inspired due to similar themes. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Darkest Hour

Director Chris Gorak's second feature misses its potential despite a talented cast. A group of Americans finds themselves stranded in Moscow when mysterious aliens attack the Earth. The story had a great potential which was not properly explored instead follows a familiar formula which derails the film. The inspired cast includes Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella and Olivia Thirlby who are the mercy of the weak script as the exotic Moscow locations and special effects which is a shame given the talent involved. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Writer and director Roko Belic explores the concept of happiness with this documentary. What makes people happy differs from culture to culture around the world from the material West to the spiritual East. The road to happiness is paved with misconceptions about it which is unfortunately sending many people on the wrong path. Belic successfully gives a great perspective on the bigger picture that should affect anybody who will watch this film. Belic finds a lot of happy people in the most unlikely places which makes this documentary an entertaining film as well as it thought provoking. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Declarition of War

French writer and director Valérie Donzelli's sophomore effort is an accomplished film on every level. After a young couple fall in love and marry, their worst nightmare comes when their son is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Based on their actual ordeal, actors Valérie Donzelli and Jérémie Elkaïm wrote this remarkable film and star as well making an uplifting film with plenty of heart and humor which could have been a straight drama. Donzelli's original and refreshing vision makes her one of the few filmmakers who can seamlessly blend comedy and drama. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Queen of Hearts

French actress Valérie Donzelli made her writing and directing debut with this comedy of manners. After a woman is abandoned by her fiancee, her heartbreak leads her to meet several guys until she falls for another wrong guy which completes the vicious cycle. Donzelli's refreshing take on romance and heartbreak is hilarious while also making a point. Donzelli also stars with solid performance along Jérémie Elkaïm who plays all the guys she meets. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.