Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Widow of Saint-Pierre

French writer and director Patrice Leconte delivered another splendid film with this period drama based on a true story. On a remote island, the wife of a military captain takes charge of condemned murderer and rehabilitates him to a good person which has tragic consequences. Leconte masterfully adapted and directed an utterly original film which deals with universal themes of love, trust and redemption amongst others without a false note. Leconte united French stars Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil for the first time who deliver terrific performances along with Serbian director Emir Kusturica who made his acting debut. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jennifer 8

British writer and director Bruce Robinson made his Hollywood debut with this atmospheric but uneven thriller. A former LA detective relocates to a small town where he discovers a serial killer on the loose who's targeting blind women. While there's a great potential in the story, the script fails to deliver despite a talented cast. Andy Garcia and Uma Thurman star along with John Malkovich, Kathy Baker, Lance Henriksen and Graham Beckel. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rock of Ages

Director Adam Shankman returns with another generic musical adaptation. Based on the popular musical that pays tribute to the Heavy Metal bands of the 80's such as Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison and Whitesnake. In the 80's LA, a girl meets a boy and they fall in love before they get separated and finally find each other again. The story is just an excuse for the cast to perform the songs which is the only saving grace in the film cause neither the writing or directing rises to the occasion to deliver something remarkable. Newcomers Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta are decent in the leads. The stellar supporting cast includes Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Alec Baldwin amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Woman in the Fifth

Polish writer and director Pawel Pawlikowski's fourth feature is an uneven psychological thriller. An American writer moves to Paris to be with his estranged wife and daughter but becomes unhinged after meeting a mysterious British woman. Pawlikowski leaves a lot for the audience to figure which can be frustrating or fascinating but not both. While there are clues here and there, the ambiguity in scene after scene leads from one question to another which hurts the film. Ethan Hawke stars with a solid performance along with the always terrific Kristin Scott Thomas and Joanna Kulig amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

GUILD AWARDS 2: Screen Actors Guild (SAG)


Motion Picture Cast
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Misérables
Silver Linings Playbook

Leading Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables 
Denzel Washington, Flight

Leading Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Supporting Actress
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


For more info:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sundance Film Festival

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

2013 Winners:

Grand Jury Prize & Audience Award: FRUITVALE,  Ryan Coogler
Directing Award: Jill Soloway, "Afternoon Delight" 
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Lake Bell, "In a World…"
Cinematography Award: Bradford Young, "Ain’t Them Bodies Saints" & "Mother of George"

Grand Jury Prize  & Audience Award: BLOOD BROTHER, Steve Hoover
Directing Award: Zachary Heinzerling, "Cutie and the Boxer" 
Editing: Matthew Hamachek, "Gideon’s Army" 
Cinematography Award: Richard Rowley, "Dirty Wars" 

Grand Jury Prize: JISEUL (South Korea), Muel O.
Audience Award: METRO MANILA (UK/Philippines),  Sean Ellis 
Directing Award: Sebastian Silva, "Crystal Fairy" (Chile)
Screenwriting Award: Barmak Akram, "Wajma (An Afghan Love Story)" 
Cinematography Award: Michal Englert, "Lasting (Nieulotne)" (Poland)

Grand Jury Prize: A RIVER CHANGES COURS (Cambodia/U.S.),  Kalyanee Mam   
Audience Award: THE SQUARE (Egypt/USA), Jehane Noujaim 
Directing Award: Tinatin Gurchiani, "The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear" (Georgia/Germany) 
Editing: Ben Stark, "The Summit" (Ireland)
Cinematography Award: Marc Silver & Pau Esteve Birba, "Who Is Dayani Cristal?" (UK/Mexico)

GUILD AWARDS 1: Producer's Guild (PGA)

Feature Film

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Animated Film
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

Documentary Film
A People Uncounted
The Gatekeepers
The Island President
The Other Dream Team
Searching For Sugar Man


For more info:


Celebrated Korean director Park Chan-wook made his Hollywood debut with this stylish coming-of-age thriller.  After the sudden death of her father, a young woman and her mother meet her mysterious uncle who's hiding a dark family secret. Chan-wook brings his signature visual flair to an undercooked screenplay which almost saves it due to the heightened visuals that makes for striking looking film. Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman star with solid performances. The weakest link is the script by novice actor turned writer Wentworth Miller that echoes Hitchcock's masterpiece "Shadow of a Doubt." 1001 Films' coverage of the Sundance Film Festival.

Friday, January 25, 2013

2 Days in New York

French actress Julie Delpy turned writer and director delivered a worthy sequel to her breakthrough comedy "2 Days in Paris." The visit of her family from France causes strain on a woman and her boyfriend during two days in New York. Delpy delivered another biting comedy filled with honest self-deprecation that shows the ugly side of the French far from the Parisian chic and sophistication. Delpy stars along with Chris Rock in a surprising turn. The supporting cast features her father, Albert Delpy as well as co-writer Alexia Landeau. Many of the film's charms are best discovered thanks to a talented actress, writer and director. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Writer and director Seth MacFarlane made his feature debut with this uneven comedy. A man's childhood wish which brought his teddy bear to live haunts his adult life as he struggles with adulthood. The comedy comes from a toy speaking profanities of a young adult which has its moments but fails to sustain an entire film. Mark Wahlberg stars and is game with whatever MacFarlane throws on him while Mila Kunis is just eye candy for the target audience. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Writer and director Woody Allen explored the world of celebrity with this comedy. A journalist finds himself seduced by the various celebrities which has lead him to divorce his long suffering wife who struggles to find her way back to life. Another of Allen's minor works that attracted major talent to be part of it. Swedish ace cinematographer Sven Nykvist gave the film a timeless look with black & white cinematography which gives the film longevity. Kenneth Branagh stars as Allen's alter-ego along with Judy Davis as his wife. The supporting cast includes Winona Ryder, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron and Joe Mantegna amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


French director André Téchiné gave writer Olivier Assayas and actress Juliette Binoche their first major breaks with this ménage à trois drama. A young actress finds herself torn between two men in Paris which leave her with life lessons. Téchiné and co-writer Assayas show a vivid portrait of tormented youth where emotions clash. Binoche shines in her first leading role which lead to an stellar international career as one of the great actresses of her time. The supporting cast includes Jean-Louis Trintignant, Lambert Wilson and Wadeck Stanczak. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 21, 2013


A group of up and coming directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West and Adam Wingard) united for this horror omnibus which also marks the feature debut of few of them. A group of petty criminals break into a house to steal a VHS tape but find more than they bargained for when they discover a bunch of tapes with terrifying material. The faux-found footage concept is given a new twist that's original and effective. The stories are much scarier in the short film format which works quite well. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Safe House

Swedish director Daniel Espinosa made his Hollywood debut with this surprisingly dull and forgettable action film with an all star cast. A young CIA operative finds himself in crossfire when a former agent turned fugitive appears at the safe house he's in charge with. Poorly written and directed by Espinosa and his team which is a total waste of the talent involved. Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star which is surprising on what could have draw them to the project in the first place. The supporting cast Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson and Sam Shepard in throwaway roles. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Way

Director Emilio Estevez delivered his best film with this drama set in the "El camino de Santiago." After learning of the death of his estranged son during a pilgrimage in Spain, a father continues to complete the pilgrimage for him which leads him reflect on life while he meets several strangers on the way. Estevez adapted the book by Jack Hitt and appears in a supporting role while his father, Martin Sheen stars with a solid performance. The solid supporting cast includes Yorick van Wageningen, James Nesbitt, Deborah Kara Unger, Tchéky Karyo, Ángela Molina and the various locations on the "El camino de Santiago."1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Invisible War

Director Kirby Dick returned with another important documentary about the alarming rate of rape in the military.  Several brave women reveal how they were assaulted and raped while serving in the US military and how the government failed them by protecting the rapists by let them continue or even promoting them to higher ranks. Dick exposes a dark and dirty secret of the military which is disturbing to say the least that shows another crack in the image of the military which has failed again and again by hiding its flaws instead of cleaning the house of murderers and rapists who commit heinous crimes in the name of the country. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Scottish director Kevin Macdonald returned with another fascinating documentary about the man behind the legend of Bob Marley. The life, music and legacy of Bob Marley is explored from his formative years in Jamaica to his international rise and his untimely death. Macdonald created a meticulous and definitive film to honor one of the greatest musicians of the 20's century with rare archival footage and interviews with family and friends. The timeless music of Bob Marley is full of heart and relevant more than ever with its universal message and cherished around the world. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Words

Writing and directing team of Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal made their feature debut with this drama. A struggling writer finds an unpublished novel and uses it as his own which becomes a bestseller but a steep price. There are some interesting aspects to the story within story concept but it can't escape the cliches and its ambition which derails the film. Bradley Cooper stars with a solid performance along with Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons. The supporting cast includes Ben Barnes, Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde whose performances suffer from the underwritten roles which are the weakest in the film. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

RIP: Nagisa Ôshima 1932 - 2013

The Girl

British director Julian Jarrold returned with another period drama based on the relationship between legendary director Alfred Hitchcock and the actress Tippi Hedren whom he picked from obscurity to star in two of his films. Hitchcock, who had an obsession with his beautiful blondes leading ladies, found in Hedren, the perfect victim with whom he could dare what he wouldn't with the more famous ones. Jarrold shows the dark side of a genius during the making of "The Birds" and "Marnie" as his obsession grows and Hedren found herself trapped by the master who made her a star but also ruined her career. Sienna Miller and Toby Jones star with solid performance along with Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton in the supporting roles. The film is more successful and darker than recent theatrical version. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to Survive a Plague

Director David France made his feature debut with this powerful documentary. Two grass root movements ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) who stepped in during the early days of the AIDS epidemic to find a treatment while the government was absent. It's a shocking history how the Reagen and Bush Sr administration ignored the epidemic and caused the virus to widespread without funding any effort to find a cure or treatment. The film shows the hero of the movement who fought and succeeded to turn AIDS from death sentence to a manageable condition. Using archival footage and interviews France chronicles the group's evolution. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

CRITICS AWARDS 5: Golden Globes

Best Film - Drama

Best Actor - Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN
Richard Gere, ARBITRAGE
Joaquin Phoenix, THE MASTER
Denzel Washington, FLIGHT

Best Actress - Drama
Jessica Chastain, ZERO DARK THIRTY
Marion Cotillard, RUST AND BONE
Helen Mirren, HITCHCOCK

Best Film - Musical or Comedy


Best Actor - Musical or Comedy
Jack Black, BERNIE

Best Actress - Musical or Comedy
Maggie Smith, QUARTET
Meryl Streep, HOPE SPRINGS

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, ARGO
Philip Seymour Hoffman, THE MASTER
Tommy Lee Jones, LINCOLN

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Field, LINCOLN
Nicole Kidman, THE PAPERBOY

Best Director
Ben Affleck, ARGO
Kathryn Bigelow, ZERO DARK THIRTY
Steven Spielberg, LINCOLN
Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED

Best Screenplay
Tony Kushner, LINCOLN
Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED
Chris Terrio, ARGO

Best Original Score
Mychael Danna, LIFE OF PI
Alexandre Desplat, ARGO
Dario Marianelli, ANNA KARENINA
Tom Tykwer,  CLOUD ATLAS
John Williams, LINCOLN

Best Animated Film

Best Foreign Language Film


For more info:

Zero Dark Thirty

Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal return with another powerful drama about the decade hunt for Osama Bin Laden. A chronicle of the US hunt for OBL with the focus on a female CIA operative who uses every possible option including torture and bureaucracy that eventually leads her to success. While fictionalized the story makes for a powerful film with a stellar cast and crew, but Bigelow and Boal created a controversial film that sheds light into the failures of both Bush and Obama administrations to fight Al Queda. It's a film that will divide audiences around the world specially the use of torture during the Bush years. Jessica Chastain stars with a solid performance along with terrific supporting cast that includes Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Édgar Ramírez, Stephen Dillane, James Gandolfini and Joel Edgerton amongst many others. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Las Acacias

Argentinian writer and director Pablo Giorgelli made his feature debut with this simple yet profound road movie. A lonely truck driver finds his way to life again after he takes a mother and child from Paraguay to Argentina. Giorgelli takes the road movie and turns it into a profound study of humanity in this almost silent film without a false note. It's a quite remarkable film debut on every level which introduced a new talent along with Germán de Silva and Hebe Duarte who deliver outstanding performances in the leads that's real and humane. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Killer Joe

Director William Friedkin reunited with writer Tracy Letts for this crime drama based on his play. A debt ridden man and his father hire a contract killer to murder his mother in order to claim her life insurance but the killer wants his sister as a retainer which proves a fatal mistake for everyone. Friedkin's over-the-top approach infuses some kinetic energy into this study of low lives which is further enhanced by solid performances. Matthew McConaughey leads the strong ensemble cast that includes Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon, all playing despicable characters. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Impossible

Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona brings the incredible true story of a family that survived the deadliest disaster in human history, the 2004 Tsunami that killed 300,000 people. A couple with their three young sons vacationing in Thailand fight for survival as the tsunami hits. Based on a true story of Spanish family, Bayona gives a glimpse into the sheer horror of the catastrophe that's almost impossible to watch. Blending horror and drama with a stellar cast, Bayona delivers a terrific drama about the human spirit during one of the worst disasters. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star with heartbreaking performances but the film belongs to newcomer Tom Holland who's the heart and soul of it in his debut. The outstanding visual effects and production design add to the visceral experience. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Israeli writer and director Joseph Cedar took on academic rivalry with this dark comedy. A father and son, both scholars on opposite sides find themselves rivals for a coveted prize with unexpected consequences. While the story might not seem very appealing in its topic, Cedar managed to create an immensely entertaining film that takes no prisoners in its humor while keeping its humanity in tact. Shlomo Bar-Aba and Lior Ashkenazi deliver outstanding performances as the father and son whose relationship is threatened by their profession. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Versatile director James Mangold took on the thriller genre with this fifth film. A group of strangers find themselves stranded at motel during a storm with a murderer amongst them who has a mysterious connection to all of them. While not entire original or convincing, Mangold keeps the pacing and thrills going till the end. John Cusack leads the ensemble that includes Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, John Hawkes and Alfred Molina amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, January 7, 2013

You Can Count Me

Writer and director Kenneth Lonergan made his feature debut with this powerful drama. A single mother's life spins out of control when her estranged brother shows up and bonds with her young son. Brilliantly written and directed by Lonergan without a false beat that's touching and full of humor. Laura Linney stars in her first leading role with a flawless performance along with equally terrific Mark Ruffalo who got his breakthrough. The strong supporting cast includes Matthew Broderick, Rory Culkin, Jon Tenney, Amy Ryan and Josh Lucas. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Two for the Road

Director Stanley Donen's third collaboration with Audrey Hepburn exploring a couple's relationship over the years. A couple's relationship is explored on the road at three crucial times when they fall in love, having their first child and marital problems that could mark the end. Donen's non-linear approach based on the script by Frederic Raphael works well to tell a universal story that will resonate with many thanks to the flawless performances by the ravishing Hepburn and dashing Albert Finney who capture love and marriage in all of its splendor and agony. The film is also a great time capsule of the late 60's with one of its icons. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Thérèse Raquin

French master Marcel Carné turned the novel by Émile Zola into a film noir by setting it in Lyon of the 50's. An unhappily married woman finds love with a Italian truck driver which has devastating consequences. While the film got lost before arrival of the French New Wave, it still holds up thanks to Carné's direction and Simone Signoret who delivered another terrific performance as the tragic heroine. The supporting cast includes Raf Vallone as the truck driver, Jacques Duby and Sylvie as Thérèse's husband/cousin and aunt/mother-in-law. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

CRITICS AWARDS 4: National Society of Film Critics

Best Film

Best Director
Michael Haneke, AMOUR

Best Screenplay 
Tony Kushner, LINCOLN

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN

Best Actress

Emmanuelle Riva, AMOUR

Best Supporting Actor
Matthew McConaughey, BERNIE & MAGIC MIKE

Best Supporting Actress

Best Documentary

Mihai Malaimare, Jr., THE MASTER


Friday, January 4, 2013

The Blue Angel

Legendary Austrian-American writer and director Josef von Sternberg made his German debut with this classic which marked his first collaboration with Marlene Dietrich in her screen debut. While trying to save his students from straying into the wrong path, an elderly professor falls in love with a beautiful night club singer which causes his downward spiral into ruin and humiliation. Based on the novel by Heinrich Mann, von Sternberg delivered a classic morality tale which remains his definitive masterpiece. Emil Jannings stars with a towering performance along with Dietrich who electrifies as the femme fatale. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Diary of a Lost Girl

Austrian director Georg Wilhelm Pabst reunited with his star Louise Brooks for another silent classic. The tragic story of a young woman who's cast out by her family after she becomes pregnant and refuses to marry her rapist which leads her to escape into a life of prostitution. Pabst and Brooks created one of the most iconic female characters in silent cinema which was ahead of its time and hasn't lost any of its allure and enigma. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Legendary actor, writer and director Buster Keaton delivered another classic with this silent film. A riverboat captain finds to his surprise that his city dwelling son is dating the daughter of his rival and reignites their feud. Keaton's physical and comedic timing is the highlight of this classic which has to be seen to believed. Keaton along with Chaplin and Lloyd revolutionized cinema and made Hollywood the center of cinema. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


German master Fritz Lang's definitive masterpiece is one of the greatest films ever made that has influenced countless films. In a divided dystopian society, the spoiled son of a ruthless tyrant falls for a common woman which revives a feud between the tyrant and his nemesis who wants to destroy him. Thea von Harbou adapted her own novel which echoes Herman Hesse's Siddhartha and Mary Shelly's Frankenstein along with heavy Christian symbolism amongst others that allowed Lang and his talented cast and crew to create one of the most striking films ever made at the height of German expressionism. Groundbreaking production design, visual effects and cinematography allowed Lang's vision to come alive that's full of grandeur and spectacle scene after scene from the first frame till the last. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.