Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blame It on Fidel

French writer and director Julie Gavras made her feature debut with this charming drama. A young girl's life is thrown into turmoil when her parents become political activists in Paris of the early 70's where her world views change with every nanny. Gavras follows her famous father' steps by showing great promise with her debut showing the adult world through the eyes of a child. Nina Kervel-Bey makes her debut with a terrific performance as the young girl who seems more mature than her parents who come across as irresponsible. The supporting cast includes Julie Depardieu and Stefano Accorsi as her parents with solid performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Counselor

Legendary director Ridley Scott continues to jump genres with each film and returns with a cautionary tale from Cormac McCarthy. When greed leads a lawyer to get involved in drug trafficking, he's unaware of the deadly complications when a deal goes wrong. Cormac McCarthy wrote his first original screenplay with this unofficial sequel to his "No Country for Old Men"which shows an even more grim view of the world that Scott brings to the screen with a great effect that shows the hero as helpless as any victim ever portrayed in an American crime film. The stellar cast includes Michael FassbenderPenélope CruzCameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt and Bruno Ganz amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Promised Land

Director Gus Van Sant reunited with writer and actor Matt Damon for the third time for this old-fashioned drama. A salesman for a fracking company finds his morals and values challenged when he finds the extent his company is willing to go for a deal. While the story unfolds with a predictable fashion, Van Sant and his talented cast and crew have few trumps in their sleeves which makes for a solid drama. The stellar cast includes Matt DamonFrances McDormandJohn Krasinski, Hal Holbrook and Rosemarie DeWitt with terrific performances. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Indian writer and director Mani Ratnam remade his Tamil film into a Bollywood version with name cast. A notorious bandit kidnaps the wife of a police officer sent to catch him which heightens the stakes where nothing seems as it is. While Ratnam has usual balance of style and substance, the casting of A-list Bollywood couple takes away from a crucial development in the story which is unfortunate. Abhishek Bachchan stars as the bandit which becomes distracting when his real wife, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, appears as his victim. While both have shown real talent in previous films, their presence complicates this particular story and seem out of place with the rest of the cast. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Iceman

Director Ariel Vromen's third feature brings the story of notorious contract killer, Richard Kuklinski, to screen with mixed results. A man lives a double life as a contract killer and family man until his arrest decades later for murder. The problem with films about actual people lies on a delicate balance, one false move and the whole film falls apart which is even harder when it's about a psychopath. While Vromen does a solid job with a great cast, the film fails to go deeper into the psyche of Kuklinski which ultimately derail it. Michael Shannon stars with a chilling performance along a stellar cast that includes Winona Ryder, Chris Evans and Ray Liotta amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Conjuring

Australian director James Wan delivers another effective horror film with this tale based on a true story. A family trapped in a haunted house seek the help from a couple who investigate paranormal activities which becomes a challenging task. While there's little new ground left in the genre, Wan who established his career in the genre takes the old fashioned approach to deliver a terrifying tale which delivers all the thrills with maximum effect without any gimmicks that makes the film stand out above the average of similar material. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star with solid performance along with Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston amongst others in the supporting roles. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What Maisie Knew

Directing duo, Scott McGehee and David Siegel's fifth feature also marks their best work to date. The story of a little girl used in a bitter custody battle between her unfit parents. Based on the novel by Henry James, writers Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne updated the story to contemporary New York which and McGehee and Siegel bring to screen with great effect which is quiet heartbreaking. While the girl comes from an affluent family and is beloved, it shows the world through her eyes which makes the behavior of her parents even more horrendous and kindness of strangers more touching. Newcomer Onata Aprile stars as the title character with a touching performance along with Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan as her parents with terrific performances but the most surprising performances come from Alexander Skarsgård and Joanna Vanderham who are used viciously and become surrogate parents which gives the film its heart. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Cold Light of Day

French director Mabrouk El Mechri made his Hollywood debut with action thriller. A young man finds himself entangled in an international hunt for a brief case that puts his family in danger while on the run from the authorities and criminals. There's nothing new to this story which has been recycled countless times around the world. El Mechri brings an European flair to the action and Hollywood cast which probably was the reason why the film got made. Henry Cavill stars along with Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Roschdy Zem and Verónica Echegui. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Hijacking

Danish writer and director Tobias Lindholm went solo for his second feature which another riveting thriller. When a Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates, it leads to an intense ordeal for the hostages as well as the negotiators trying to end the conflict. Lindholm grabbed a story from the headlines and delivered an intense thriller with sacrificing authenticity which further enhanced with actual locations and people. Pilou Asbæk reunited with Lindholm to star with another terrific performance along with a terrific cast that includes professional and non-professional actors. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Midnight's Children

Indian-Canadian writer and director Deepa Mehta returned to India for this lavish adaptation of the novel by Salman Rushdie who also co-wrote the screenplay. The story of modern India through two different men whose fate is intertwined when a nurse who exchanges the babies of a wealthy and a poor family. Mehta unfortunately choose a wrong format which feels unsuited for the epic scope of the story which is a multi-generational spanning several decades which suffers in a cramped feature format. It would have an ideal material for a longer format or mini series which would allowed the complicated story and themes to be covered extensively. The talented cast suffers for the extreme abbreviation of their characters. The cast includes veteran actors such as Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas, Charles Dance and Kulbhushan Kharbanda in supporting roles along with newcomers Satya Bhabha and Siddharth in the leading roles. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This Is the End

Writer Evan Goldberg and actor Seth Rogen made their directing debut with this fantasy/comedy. A group of Hollywood actors face the end the world during a party where their egos clash with each other. Goldberg and Rogen used their own experiences and their famous friends to make this outrageous comedy which has its moments of hilarity. Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson play a variation of themselves by using their real names with many other celebrities doing the same. The novelty aspect of the film makes it interesting to watch despite its over-the-top elements. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wish You Were Here

Australian actor Kieran Darcy-Smith makes his feature writing and directing debut with this drama. Two Australian couples Asian vacation turns into a nightmare when one of them disappears it leads to secret and lies that tears them apart. Darcy-Smith made a solid debut where he balances style and substance by blending drama and thriller elements. Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer star with capable performances that's not a stretch for them. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Tunisian-French writer and director Abdellatif Kechiche returns with another knockout with this raw and unflinching tale of love found and lost. A teenage girl falls in love with a mature woman which becomes a profound experience for both despite their different class and background leaving a mark on their lives. Based on the graphic novel by Julie Maroh and inspired by Pierre de Marivaux, Kechiche and co-writer Ghalia Lacroix have created a timeless tale of first love and its profound effects in this coming-of-age tale. Kechiche and his two leads, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux bare their souls without taking any prisoners which makes this film unforgettable and hard not to be moved by its sheer fearlessness. The entire talented cast and crew deliver a cinematic masterpiece that sets a new standard for the genre. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

All is Lost

Writer and director J.C. Chandor returns with another powerful drama which surpasses his debut film. An accident leaves a man stranded in the Indian Ocean where he fights for survival despite all odds. Chandor created a riveting film with his second feature which explores a man's fight for survival without hardly any dialog which makes the experience even more intense and powerful. Legendary American icon Robert Redford delivers his best performance with this existential drama. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Israeli director Eran Riklis returns with a period drama exploring an unlikely friendship. A captured Israeli soldier and a Palestinian boy become unlikely allies as they help each other. Despite noble intentions and a powerful message, the film lacks the immediacy of the Riklis previous films due to a contrived story and odd casting of American actor Stephen Dorff which takes away from the authenticity of the story. Newcomer Abdallah El Akal fares better as the boy caught in a conflict beyond his understanding. The supporting cast includes Ali Suliman and Ashraf Barhom amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dallas Buyer Club

Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée returns with a powerful drama set in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. The story of Ron Woodroof who after being diagnosed with HIV defied the doctors and authorities by finding alternative drugs to treat himself and others. Vallée delivers a powerful account of an horrific time where a man fights for survival despite all odds against him. While the film depicts a grim topic, Vallée found a perfect subject in Woodroof whose flamboyant personality gives the film humor to make it accessible. Matthew McConaughey delivers another impressive performance in the lead but an unrecognizable Jared Leto in a supporting performance is even more impressive with a riveting and heartbreaking performance. The solid supporting cast includes Jennifer Garner, Denis O'Hare and Steve Zahn amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Like Father, Like Son

Japanese writer and director Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with his best film yet considering an impressive track record. A well off couple learn that their son was switched at birth which puts them into a heartbreaking dilemma. Kore-eda who established himself as one of the best contemporary directors in Japan, delivers another heart wrenching drama that explores universal themes such as parenthood where nature and nurture becomes a decisive factor. Masaharu Fukuyama stars with a terrific performance leading an impressive ensemble. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Chadian writer and director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun returns with another powerful character study. A young man's hopes for a better future are shattered when tragedy strikes which forces him to get involved in illegal activities. Haroun provides a contemporary look of Chad which is rarely seen and makes for a a unique and compelling experience. Souleymane Démé stars as the title character with a solid performance along with equally solid Anaïs Monory and Cyril Guei in the supporting cast. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Algerian writer and director Djamila Sahraoui explores the war through the lens of a family. A grieving mother is torn by conflict as she buries one son and blames another for his death. Sahraoui's delivers a story that matches a Greek tragedy which makes for a powerful film where a family is torn apart by war and conflict. Sahraoui makes her acting debut as the lead with a powerful performance. The supporting cast includes Ali Zarif and Samir Yahia. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Past

Iranian writer and director Asghar Farhadi returns with another terrific drama that explores the complexity of relationships between adults and children. An Iranian man returns to Paris to finalize his divorce with his estranged French wife which gets him sucked into her life as she faces a crisis involving her teenage daughter. Farhadi creates an astonishingly complex drama where every character is fully developed from main leads to the supporting characters which quite an accomplishment that makes him one of the best directors around. Bérénice Bejo stars with terrific and nuanced performance along with her equally accomplished co-stars, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa as the men in her life. The solid supporting cast includes Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis and Jeanne Jestin as the children caught in the web of adult relations. 1001 Films' coverage of the 36th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival

Friday, October 4, 2013


Mexican writer and director Alfonso Cuarón delivers an unforgettable experience with this dazzling masterpiece. A couple of astronauts trying to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. While the plot is simple and straightforward, the film is an astonishing achievement that sets a new cinematic standard which has to be experienced in 3D and preferably on IMAX. Cuarón along with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and their talented cast and crew created a ground breaking and breathtaking experience that goes beyond cinema unlike any other. It's the closest that most humans will experience space with dazzling and awesome views of the planet. The one of a kind experience factor overrides minor flaws and inaccuraciesSandra Bullock stars with a terrific performance along with the strong support of George Clooney providing a welcome dose of humor. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Canadian director Denis Villeneuve made his Hollywood debut with this riveting thriller. The disappearance of two little girls sets off a chain of events in motion which involves shattered families, dubious suspects and police officer caught in the whirlwind of it. Villeneuve and writer Aaron Guzikowski created a meticulous and dark exploration of the human psyche where the characters are prisoners in all shape and forms, both literally and metaphorically. The sense of dread is paramount throughout the entire film which makes for an intense experience. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal stars with terrific performances as the two opposite men. The stellar cast includes Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano.  Ace cinematographer Roger Deakins brings his magic by capturing the whole spectrum of the dark side with stunning and haunting images. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.