Friday, March 22, 2013

Kill Bill: Vol. 2

Writer and director Quentin Tarantino's second part of the film continues the revenge saga with more focus on the back story. The Bride continues to kill her way to find her former boss and lover to find out why she was targeted and the motivations are revealed. While the first film satisfied the need for action and fight, the second film delivers on story and character development without abandoning the action altogether. The action sequences are darker and more twisted. Uma Thurman delivers a more nuanced performance along with David Carradine, Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah. Much credit has to go to the excellent team that includes amongst others, cinematographer Robert Richardson, production designer David Wasco and editor Sally Menke who took the vision of Tarantino to new heights with their superb work. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Writer and director Quentin Tarantino's homage to the countless martial art films that inspired him is a visual extravaganza. A former assassin awakes from coma to makes her way to seek vengeance on those responsible. The film is not about story or plot which will be familiar to most but the experience on how Tarantino takes his inspirations to another level of execution with a budget that most those originals never had. The first film of two is pure action hinting at the back story. Uma Thurman stars with a solid cast that includes Lucy Liu, David Carradine and Vivica A. Fox amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky made his Hollywood debut with this uneven thriller. Three estranged relationships are tested after a botched heist forces their paths to cross. After an accident, two siblings part ways which leads one of them to a paroled convict on his way for a Thanksgiving dinner that's is interrupted by a female officer struggling to live up to her father's expectations when they all collide with their fates. The problem with the script lies in the implausibility of the plot from the characters relations to the geography of the locations and even the weather which stretches far beyond the suspension of disbelief. The talented cast is the only saving grace which includes Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek, Kate Mara and Kris Kristofferson who all make the film work due to their talents. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Robot and Frank

Director Jake Schreier and writer Christopher D. Ford made their feature debut with this charming film that blends sci-fi and drama. An elderly jewel thief receives a robot caretaker which enables him getting back into business. Schreier and Ford managed to keep their ambition in control which could have easily derailed their efforts. Frank Langella stars with another terrific performance which is the heart and soul of the film and elevates it beyond its minor flaws. The solid supporting cast includes Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden and Liv Tyler. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day of the Falcon

Veteran French writer and director Jean-Jacques Annaud returns with this old-fashioned epic about the early days of oil boom in Arabia. The discovery of oil destroys a peaceful pact between two kingdoms and tears their families apart when their opposite philosophies clash. This Arabian fable feels outdated due to the problematic source novel by Swiss writer Hans Ruesch and its treatment which belongs more to the Hollywood of 50's and 60's than today's cinema where authenticity and realism are the currency. Never-the-less Annaud has assembled a talented international cast that includes Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Intouchables

French writing and directing team of Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano scored their breakthrough film with this inspiring film based on a true story. A quadriplegic aristocrat hires a poor immigrant as his caretaker which improves both of their lives despite their class and cultural gap. Nakache and Toledano created an effective film that seamlessly blends drama with comedy which the talented leads take to another level. François Cluzet and Omar Sy star as the opposite men with stellar performances along with a solid supporting cast. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Story of Film: An Odyssey

Irish writer and director Mark Cousins made this epic documentary about the history of film which is the best to date on the subject matter. The story of film from its birth at the end of 19th century all the way through the 20th century where it matured into a full blown art form outgrowing all the others and becoming the most popular medium breaking new ground from decade to decade around the world. Cousins meticulous film shows influences of various films and filmmakers in chronological order and focusing in detail the evolution of film through the ages all the way into its current state. A must see for all film lovers around the world as it provides the big picture in a glorious canvas. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Writer and director Alison Klayman made her feature debut with inspiring documentary about Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei is one the most important Asian/Chinese contemporary artists whose brilliant art made him an international sensation but uses his art to fight censorship and injustice that got him into hot waters with the Chinese government. Klayman's access to the artist makes this documentary fascinating and inspiring as she chronicles the artist and activist in action. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

17 Girls

French writing and directing team of Delphine & Muriel Coulin made their feature debut with this drama based on a true incident. When a popular girl at a school in small seaside town becomes pregnant, 16 other girls follow her and become pregnant as well much to the shock of the community where the parents and school are clueless how to fight it. The Coulin sisters cleverly tap into the psyche of teenage girls and their rational which clashes with the opposite sex and authority. Louise Grinberg leads a talented ensemble which includes newcomers and veterans such as Noémie Lvovsky amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Summer of Love

Polish born, Britain based writer and director Pawel Pawlikowski made this relationship drama. In the British countryside, a local working class girl befriends an upper class city girl and escape their mundane world but their happiness is short-lived. Pawlikowski explores the class difference of two similar girls where their status ultimately betrays them. Natalie Press and Emily Blunt got their first lead roles with solid performances along with Paddy Considine in the supporting cast. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


British director Peter Glenville served a lesson in British history with this period drama that explored the relationship between King Henry II and his best friend Thomas Becket.  After the King appoints his best friend as the Archbishop of Canterbury, his plans backfires when his friend takes his position seriously and their friendship leads to tragedy. Based on the play by French writer, Jean Anouilh, Glenville and writer Edward Anhalt imagined the historical relationship that's more 1960's than 12 century England. Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole star as the two friends with solid performances along with John Gielgud and Paolo Stoppa. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

5 Branded Women

Veteran Hollywood director Martin Ritt made this unusual war drama set during WWII. Five Yugoslav women accused to had an affair with a Nazi officer are branded by having their heads shaved and thrown out of their town find a chance to redeem themselves by joining the partisans and fight the enemy. Ritt mixed Hollywood and European styles that blended war, melodrama and exploitation in this effective drama about five different women sharing the same fate during the war. Silvana Mangano, Jeanne Moreau and Vera Miles star along with Van Heflin and Richard Basehart. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Legendary actor, writer and director Vittorio De Sica paired two screen legends into three hilarious vignettes about three different couples. Three different Italian women from three different iconic cities such as Naples, Milan and Rome face dilemmas where the men can't keep up with their temperaments. Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni star as the three different couples and show sizzling chemistry with their terrific performances. The always accomplished and versatile De Sica proved he could make comedies as well as dramas in a stellar career before and behind the camera. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

War and Peace (USSR)

Russian writer, director and actor Sergey Bondarchuk delivered the definitive adaptation of the monumental novel by Leo Tolstoy with this dazzling masterpiece. The lives of three aristocrats are explored during peace and war where they experience love, friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, loss and tragedy. Bondarchuk created the greatest of all epics that can take on any epic ever produced by Hollywood in its magnificent scope that has to be seen to believed. The sheer grandeur of this epic film is jaw-dropping and a deserving film for one of the greatest novels ever written. Bondarchuk captured the essence of the novel from the epic canvas of war to the intimate details of its characters caught by the wind of war. Besides writing and directing, Bondarchuk also stars as one of the leads along with Lyudmila Saveleva and Vyacheslav Tikhonov. Bondarchuk and his stellar cast and crew made one of the greatest films ever made that will be never equalled or surpassed and a must see for the lovers of cinema. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 8, 2013

War and Peace (US)

Veteran director King Vidor took on the epic novel by Leo Tolstoy as one of his last films before his retirement. Three aristocratic families are explored during war and peace which changes their destiny as Napoleon wages war on Russia. The novel was simplified and watered down for this epic Hollywood adaptation which couldn't do it justice but pales compared to the masterpiece by Sergey Bondarchuk who delivered the definitive version. The only saving grace in the version is the presence of Audrey Hepburn who shines in the lead. The all star cast included Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer, Vittorio Gassman, Anita Ekberg and Herbert Lom. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Devil's Mistress

British director Marc Munden made this period drama for  British TV. The English Civil War is told through the eyes of a fictional woman and various real characters between the years of 1642 to 1660. Munden blended history with melodrama to recreate a dark period in British history with a talented cast that includes few rising actors. Andrea Riseborough, Dominic West, John Simm and Michael Fassbender star with solid performances that makes this drama worthwhile. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In the Realm of the Senses

Japanese writer and director Nagisa Ôshima delivered one of the most controversial films in cinema with this tale of sexual obsession. In pre-WWII Japan, a brothel owner and one of his servants enter a fatal affair that consumes them to a dangerous level that ends in murder. Based on a true story, Ôshima made this French funded film that brought pornography and drama together that became immediately banned in most countries and remains shocking and controversial while still banned in many countries around the world. Tatsuya Fuji and Eiko Matsuda gave fearless performances in the leads. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Japanese writer and director Nagisa Ôshima took on the cultural clash in a prison camp during WWII. American and British prisoners of war clash with their Japanese captors where the Eastern values clashes with the Western with dire consequences. Ôshima focused on the behaviors of the soldiers where each side perceived them differently that lead to more misunderstanding and rebellion. David Bowie, Ryûichi Sakamoto, Tom Conti and Takeshi Kitano star with nuanced performances with different styles of acting which enhances the cultural divide. Sakamoto also scored the film besides being one of the leads. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lawrence of Arabia

Legendary British director David Lean reached the pinnacle of his career with this dazzling masterpiece. The rise and fall of T.E. Lawrence, an eccentric man with conflicted loyalties who played a key role in uniting Arab tribes to help the British to defeat Ottoman forces in the Arabian desert. Based on the writings of Lawrence, writers Michael Wilson and Robert Bolt delivered a brilliant script along with Lean's masterful direction to create one of the greatest films ever made. To appreciate the true magnificence of this film, it has to be watched on the big screen in glorious 70mm. Peter O'Toole gave his greatest performance in the lead along with superb supporting cast that includes Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins and Claude Rains amongst others. The contribution of cinematographer Freddie Young cannot underestimated whose glorious work remains unparalleled. So is the work of composer Maurice Jarre and the rest of the artists involved. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

Writer and director Derek Cianfrance returns with his third feature which is his most ambitious film to date, an epic drama about fathers and sons. Two young fathers find themselves defined by their choices which pulls them to different sides of the law with long lasting consequences on the lives of their sons. Cianfrance and his talented cast and crew deliver another saga of iconic American characters that's another original film with complex but familiar characters. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper star with terrific performances along with a stellar supporting cast that includes Dane DeHaan, Ray Liotta, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, Harris Yulin, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood and Emory Cohen. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Léon Morin, Priest

French writer and director Jean-Pierre Melville delivered this compelling chamber drama about the relationship between a young priest and a widow during WWII. In a German occupied French town, a young widow finds herself drawn to a young priest where attraction and faith collide. Melville uses his attractive stars to explore faith and sexuality that creates tension and conflict. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva star with terrific performances at the height of their careers. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sound of Noise

Swedish writing and directing team of Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson made their feature debut with this hilarious genre bending comedy. A tone-deaf cop gets assigned to track down a group of guerrilla musicians who terrorize the city with their public avant-garde performances. Simonsson and Nilsson's original film blends drama, comedy, crime and romance into a charming mix that's utterly intoxicating. The musical performances have to be seen to believed, each more outrageous than the other. Sanna Persson and Bengt Nilsson star with charming performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.