Monday, March 31, 2014

Camille Claudel 1915

French writer and director Bruno Dumont delivered another powerful character study about the tragic fate of artist Camille Claudel. 1915, after years of being abandoned and confined to a mental asylum by her family, Camille tries to keep her sanity despite the grim reality but hoping that a visit from her brother will end her suffering. Dumont whose films have a religious angle, shows the tragedy of a female artist wrongfully punished by her religious family represented through her fanatic brother who seems more crazy than her. It's an heartbreaking film about a great artist robbed of most of her life by her own family. Juliette Binoche stars with another terrific performance that shows how Claudel was misunderstood and punished for being a woman and an artist. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


German director Oliver Hirschbiegel took the daunting task for this biographical film. After her separation from Prince Charles, Princess Diana tried to make a new life for herself but another failed love affair sends her life out of control before her tragic death. Hirschbiegel and writer Stephen Jeffreys seem to fill the gaps between the iconic public images to show the drama behind the scenes instead of intimate character study that Stephen Frears brilliantly achieved with "The Queen."Hirschbiegel and company's biggest mistake was to rely on the public perception of the most famous woman in the world instead of a woman dealing with fame and loneliness in the pursuit of love and happiness. Naomi Watts stars with a solid performance hinting at the missed opportunity and is the only saving grace but can't overcome the inherent flaws in the script and direction. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Visionary writer and director Darren Aronofsky reinterprets the classic story in a bold way with mix results. Through visions, Noah finds he's chosen to save his family and the animals before the world is flooded to annihilate the rest of the humanity. Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel took the religious story and turned it into an action film with special effects to please a broad audience beyond the core target who might not agree with this vision. So with the ultimate origin story with a hero worthy of superhero status, add some cautionary tale and environmental issues to the mix, the film should attract a wider audience. Despite its monumental ambitions, Aronofsky and his talented cast and crew deliver a decent epic which its moments that comes in small doses. Russell Crowe stars with a solid performance along a stellar supporting cast that includes Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth. Aronofsky's regular partners in crime cinematographer Matthew Libatique and composer Clint Mansell deliver as expected with impressive images and sounds. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blood Ties

French actor turned director Guillaume Canet made his English language debut with this crime drama. Two brothers on opposite sides of the law loose control of their lives due to their blood ties which forces them to commit actions that will affect each other's life. Based on the novel and French film, Canet and co-writer James Gray set the drama in the 70's New York which evokes the great films of the era and serves as an homage. However due to the high expectations set by the pedigree of the talent involved, the film comes short on several levels despite the solid efforts. Clive Owen and Billy Crudup star as the brothers along a stellar supporting cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Zoe Saldana, James Caan and Matthias Schoenaerts amongst many others. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Indian director Sai Paranjape made this drama about two sisters who professional rivalry tears them apart. Two sisters learn early on of their talent for singing which puts them on life long rivalry that affects their relationship. Despite being fictional, Paranjape's film draws comparisons to real life singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle which many claim inspired the film. Paranjape relies on her actors only since the film lacks any significant style or vision. Shabana Azmi stars with a terrific performance along a fine supporting cast that includes Aruna Irani, Aruna Irani and musician Zakir Hussain who makes his acting debut. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Alex Cross

Director Rob Cohen fails to jump start a new franchise based on the hero of James Patterson's novels. A detective finds himself at crossroads when a vicious killer tests his limits personally and professionally. Based on the first "Alex Cross" novel, Cohen and company lack vision and skill to bring something new to the already exploited genre. The casting of Tyler Perry might seem inspired but he seems bland in the lead as does the rest of the cast which includes Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno and Cicely Tyson. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 21, 2014

28 Hotel Rooms

Actor Matt Ross made his writing and directing debut with this shallow drama. The chronicle of a couple's affair from casual sex to something more over a period of time and hotel rooms. The film seems like modern update or inspiration of the play and film "Same Time, Next Year" by Bernard Slade which is far superior in many regards. Chris Messina and Marin Ireland star and try their best but can't save the film due to the limitations of the script. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Six by Sondheim

Director James Lapine delivered an intimate portrait of legendary composer Stephen Sondheim in this documentary. Through six songs chosen by Sondheim, Lapine chronicles his life from early childhood into adulthood with each song marking an important phase in the composer's life. Lapine seems the perfect choice for the film since he knows Sondheim and collaborated with him. Through archival footage and interviews along with performances of the featured songs, the documentary gives insight into Sondheim with his own approval which makes it more personal. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Afghan writer and director Barmak Akram's second feature fails to deliver the promise of his strong debut. In Kabul a progressive student falls for a waiter but their relationship is quickly caught by the hypocrisy of their culture when she becomes pregnant and he refuses to take responsibility. Despite Akram's noble intentions to shed light on a common problem of women in a male dominated society, the story doesn't show anything new that hasn't been covered in the media. The cast of non-professional actors try their best to rise up to the challenges of the story with only Haji Gul Aser delivering the best performance as the father of Wajma trying to save his honor. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Journey of Hope

Swiss writer and director Xavier Koller made this timeless drama about the harrowing journey of a family for better life. A Turkish family leave their village and half of the family for a journey to Switzerland in the hope of a better life which ends in tragedy. Koller's film seems almost tame compared to other stories about immigrants from poor countries to the West that have come to light which seems to get worse with every decade as war and economic devastation forces people for a dangerous journey across the globe. The film focuses on one family whose experience is heartbreaking and sheds light on a human condition that's universal. Necmettin Çobanoglu and Nur Sürer star with terrific performances which makes the film even more powerful. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Open Water

Writer and director Chris Kentis made a terrifying thriller about a horrific tragedy based on a true story. A couple's dream vacation is turned into a deadly nightmare when they are abandoned in the ocean after a scuba diving trip. Kentis made a simple horror film which is far more terrifying because it touches on the phobia being based on a true story which makes it more effective as if it were a fictional one. Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis are fine in the leads as the couple who gradually realize the gravity of their situation. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


British director Danny Boyle delivered his first masterpiece with this groundbreaking film. A heroin addicted man tries to clean up but can't escape it since he's fully immersed in the Edinburgh's drug scene with most of his friends. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, Boyle and writer John Hodge created a vibrant film with a kinetic energy that shows the attraction of the drugs without ignoring the gritty reality and tragedy of addiction which is a remarkable achievement. Ewan McGregor stars with star making performance that marked the beginning of a stellar career along with an impressive supporting cast that includes Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Peter Mullan and Kelly Macdonald amongst others who had a similar success in their respective careers. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Twice Born

Italian writer and director Sergio Castellitto reunited with Penélope Cruz for another family affair by adapting another novel of his wife, Margaret Mazzantini. After falling in love in Bosnia before the war, an Italian woman and American Man find themselves drawn there during the war where they can't escape the devastating tragedy that scars them forever. While Castellitto collaborated with Mazzantini on the script, it remained an impossible task to condense an epic novel into a two hour film which becomes evident in the early scenes. Never-the-less the film has a potent story which shines through thanks to the talented cast. Cruz and Emile Hirsch star with solid performances along with Adnan Haskovic and Saadet Aksoy who are terrific in crucial roles. The supporting cast includes Castellitto, Pietro Castellitto and Jane Birkin amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Notes on a Scandal

British director Richard Eyre delivered a riveting film with this psychological thriller based on the novel by Zoe Heller. An elderly teacher with ulterior motives befriends a novice teacher to escape her lonely existence but when she catches the young woman having an affair with a student, she uses the opportunity for blackmail which has dramatic consequences. Eyre and writer Patrick Marber created a terrific film goes beyond a conventional thriller with two complex character studies about two very different woman whose path crosses and collides with great effect. Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett star with astonishing performances that's the highlight of this film along with fine supporting cast that includes Bill Nighy and Juno Temple amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Writer and director Wes Anderson delivers his best film since Rushmore where he goes full throttle for style over substance which works in his favor. A celebrated writer visits a legendary hotel and meets a man who witnessed the hotel at the height of its glory when its concierge was involved in a scandal. Anderson whose career focused on fables with elaborate characters in colorful and stylized worlds found the perfect material for his latest which fits him like a glove while serving the story. Ralph Fiennes stars with a terrific and hilarious performance which is the highlight of the film along with a stellar supporting cast that includes Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Saoirse Ronan and newcomer Tony Revolori amongst many familiar faces. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Controversial Danish writer and director Lars von Trier continues his provocation with another tale to cause more controversy than address an issue at hand. After a brutally beaten woman is discovered by an elderly man, she tells him the story of her life as a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac which defies the moral codes of society and religion. The work of Trier has become predictable as the notorious "L'enfant terrible" of European cinema. This film seems a clear response to the criticism he caused at the Cannes Film Festival with his controversial remarks. He again applies his skewed and inaccurate views on sex addiction like he did on therapy in Antichrist to create more controversy which he seems to relish. He's less interested in sex addicts and their plight than the controversy the explicit sex scenes will cause in the media. The talented cast is game to play along and give the story more credibility than it deserves. The reliable Charlotte Gainsbourg stars along with Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Closed Circuit

British director John Crowley and writer Steven Knight have created an effective thriller that explores some important issues. A high profile terrorism case brings together two former lovers which puts their lives in danger as there's more to the case as it seems. Crowley and Knight channel the great thrillers of the 70's to evoke paranoia and conspiracy that seems logical in current political climates. Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall lead a terrific ensemble that also includes Ciarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Julia Stiles and Jim Broadbent amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

In the House

French writer and director François Ozon explores creativity and imagination again with his latest film. A teacher gets increasingly drawn into a student's obsession with a friend's family where the line is blurred between fiction and reality. Based on the play Juan Mayorga, Ozon weaves a entertaining tale the explores creativity in a cinematic way which fits the medium well. Fabrice Luchini stars with a solid performance as expected along with Kristin Scott Thomas and Emmanuelle Seigner. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Writer and director Laurie Collyer made her feature debut with this powerful character study. A woman with a troubled past tries to put her life together after being released from prison but her quest to get her daughter back derails her plans. Collyer delivered a heartbreaking film that shows the uphill battle to integrate back into society while giving insight to the psychological thought process. Maggie Gyllenhaal stars with a terrific performance as the mother who can't escape her past to make a future for her daughter. The supporting cast includes Danny Trejo, Giancarlo Esposito and Brad William Henke. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Fifth Estate

Director Bill Condon attempted to bring the story of Julian Assange and Wikileaks but fails to capture it since the story is still fresh and unfolding. The rise of Assange who changed the world with his site that exposed powerful establishments from banks to government at a breathtaking pace. Condon's film feels incomplete since the story and main character are still active and haven't reached its course besides a terrific documentary by Alex Gibney already covered the story with the real players and actual footage which makes this thriller redundant. Benedict Cumberbatch stars with solid performance along a talented supporting cast that includes Daniel Brühl, Alicia Vikander and Laura Linney amongst many others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Child's Pose

Romanian writer and director Calin Peter Netzer delivered a powerful with this drama about corruption. When her adult son is charged with a crime killing child, a socialite uses her political and social status to influence the investigation to save him. Netzer brilliantly shows how corruption is deeply rooted in the fabric of society where the rich and powerful can manipulate the system to their favor. Luminita Gheorghiu stars with a towering performance as the mother willing to cross any line for the protection of her child which makes this film a treat. The supporting cast includes solid performances by Bogdan Dumitrache, Natasa Raab and Vlad Ivanov. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ender's Game

South African writer and director Gavin Hood was enlisted to adapt the novel by Orson Scott Card. After an alien race almost destroyed the planet, the search for a leader to fight them leads to a young boy who has to go through a rigorous process to prove he's the one. While novel might have its appeal to teenagers, the adaptation comes to late because it doesn't feel new or original. Hood has assembled a talented and impressive ensemble but the film feels like watching a video game. Asa Butterfield is perfectly cast in the lead with an stellar supporting cast that includes Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley and Abigail Breslin. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Director Alexander Payne delivered another stunning film with this charming road movie. A man takes his elderly father from Montana to Nebraska to claim a cash prize which leads to a journey of discovery for both of them. Payne and writer Bob Nelson have a created a timeless film about a father and son relationship which is also a nostalgic look at the past. Bruce Dern stars with the performance of a lifetime along with an equally terrific Will Forte. The superb supporting cast includes an outstanding June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk and Stacy Keach. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Enough Said

Writer and director Nicole Holofcener delivered another solid film with this drama infused with genuine humor. When a middle aged woman falls for a middle aged man, she finds out he's the ex-husband of her new friend which causes her to lose sight on what matters. Holofcener created a mature drama about adults with real problems which makes for a satisfying experience. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini star with terrific performances that's the core of the this film. The solid supporting cast includes Toni Collette and Catherine Keener amongst others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

GUILD AWARDS 10: 86th Academy Awards (Oscar)

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer, American Hustle
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
Billy Ray, Captain Philips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet From Stardom
Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
Roger A. Deakins, Prisoners
Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers & Alan Baumgarten, American Hustle
Christopher Rouse, Captain Phillips
John Mac McMurphy & Martin Pensa, Dallas Buyers Club
Alfonso Cuarón & Mark Sanger, Gravity
Joe Walker, 12 Years a Slave
John Williams, The Book Thief
Steven Price, Gravity
William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her
Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
Thomas Newman, Saving Mr. Banks
"Happy," Despicable Me 2
"Let It Go," Frozen
"The Moon Song," Her
"Ordinary Love," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years a Slave
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Room on the Broom
That Wasn't Me
Just Before Losing Everything
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?
The Voorman Problem
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

RIP: Alain Resnais 1922 - 2014