Blue Valentine

It May Star Gosling As a Stunt Rider, But ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ Is Far Stranger Than ‘Drive’

Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines opens with a long, weary tracking shot through a carnival midway and into a raucous tent, where motorcycles are revved and an announcer cranks up the crowded assemblage of looky-loos. The camera is following Luke (Ryan Gosling), a stunt rider, who proceeds to climb on top of a motorcycle and follow two of his fellow riders into a steel ball, where they cross within inches of each others’ paths. The audience goes nuts. But the camerawork is casual, almost bored; this doesn’t do it for Luke anymore. It’s as dull and uninspiring as working in a cubicle. … Read More

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Director Derek Cianfrance on ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ and the Magic of Ryan Gosling

It’s tricky to talk to Derek Cianfrance about his new film The Place Beyond the Pines, due to a series of bold narrative turnabouts that would fall squarely into the realm of “spoilers.” I explained my hesitancy to him in a recent telephone interview. “It’s challenging for reviewers,” he grants. “You can’t just go and spend two-thirds of your review describing plot – unless you hate the movie. The reviewers that hate the movie have no problem… they’re excited to go out there and crush it for people.” I don’t hate the movie, and I don’t want to crush it for people. Suffice it to say that it starts as one thing, and then unexpectedly becomes another, and then something else entirely. That seems a safe way to put it — and for Cianfrance to explain how he arrived at the picture’s unique “triptych” structure. … Read More

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Big-Screen Romances That Will Rip Your Heart Out

We were warned about Miranda July’s The Future — that it’s darker than her debut feature, Me and You and Everyone We Know, and that we’d leave the theater questioning our own life and choices. All this is true, but it didn’t prepare us for just how devastated we would be by the film’s central couple, Sophie and Jason. We don’t want to spoil the ending for you, so we’ll only say that what becomes of the relationship isn’t simple but absolutely destroyed us. Ten more on-screen romances that left us shaken (and sometimes teary-eyed) are after the jump. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Starting this fall, all of the superhero titles in the DC Comics stable will reboot with issue No. 1, and some major characters will have new origin stories. The overhaul begins with the first issue of “Justice League” No. 1 in September, which will reunite the classic lineup of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the… Read More

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Why Can’t Michelle Williams Ever Star in a Happy Movie?

There’s something about Michelle Williams that makes us want to give her a great big hug. Maybe it’s the delicate Rosemary’s Baby-inspired look that she has been sporting lately. Part of it probably has to do with the tragic way things ended for her ex-husband, Heath Ledger. But then there’s also the fact that Williams seems drawn to some of the saddest roles available to a young actress in Hollywood. And we’re not just talking about her recent Oscar-nominated turn in Blue Valentine; just think about the characters she played in last year’s Shutter Island, Wendy and Lucy, or Brokeback Mountain.

The newly-debuted trailer for Meek’s Cutoff, a film that reunites Williams with her Wendy and Lucy director Kelly Reichardt, is no different. As Vulture notes, the action is set in the free-wheelin’ American frontier of the mid-19th century and “it looks like they’re losing a game of Oregon Trail.” Despite looking like a bit of a downer, the critical buzz from the multiple festivals where it has screened so far has all been positive; the film is set to hit theaters in limited release April 8, 2011. Click through to check it out, and let us know what you think in the comments. … Read More

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The 10 Worst Oscar Nominees (and Winners) of All Time

So, you know what was a great movie? Blue Valentine. Yes, you walk out of it feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut, and it may be one of the worst first-date movies of all time, but good lord, the performances are crushing, the structure is masterful, and there’s just not a moment of it that you don’t believe. Oh, and you know what else is great? Rabbit Hole. Again, not exactly an upbeat, fizzy movie, but wow, it’s so subtle and restrained but it just absolutely breaks your heart. Now, these aren’t the kind of movies that do gangbuster business based on their loglines (“Enjoy this heartbreaking tale of a couple falling to pieces!”), but it’s a good thing they’ve been properly recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, so they can promote all those Oscar nominations, right?

What’s that? They each got only one nomination? Oh dear. Well, still, even getting one Academy Award nomination is a big deal, right? A movie’s got to be pretty exemplary to even be considered for that kind of award recognition. Just take a look at the full list of nominees, and you’ll see some of the other movies that got nominated this year, like… Salt? The Wolfman? Country Strong? Wait, so, at least in terms of the number of nominations, Blue Valentine is somehow comparable to Country freaking Strong? … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Blue Valentine

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams deliver heart-wrenching performances in Blue Valentine, a gritty relationship drama about a crumbling marriage.

Capturing a cinematic realism akin to that of the great John Cassavetes, filmmaker Derek Cianfrance weaves the story of the couple’s impetuous start with its cramped and cheerless present-day reality. Cianfrance shot sequentially and refrained from rehearsing the actors to maximize the element of discovery for the love-found scenes. For the later sequences, which were shot after a month-long hiatus, the filmmaker had Gosling and Williams co-habitating full-time in claustrophobic living quarters. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Bon Jovi — who raked in over $200 million on their global Circle Tour — has beaten AC/DC and U2 to score the highest grossing tour of 2010. Lady Gaga came in fourth, taking in a whopping $133.6 million from her Little Monsters. [via NME]

2. Reese Witherspoon is engaged to her… Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. After Harvey Weinstein personally argued his position at yesterday’s hearing, an MPAA board has unanimously overturned the NC-17 rating on Blue Valentine. The film will be given an R rating instead. [via Deadline]

2. The Winklevoss twins — who already walked away with a $65 million settlement — are suing Mark Zuckerberg… Read More

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10 Films We’re Looking Forward to at Sundance

Sure, there are edgier, more exciting film festivals than Sundance: For young, emerging filmmakers, South by Southwest is our pick. Perhaps the highest quality selections come from the critic-curated New York Film Festival. When we want to watch some seriously out-there fare, we turn to Sundance’s evil twin, Slamdance. But there’s no denying that the movies that make a big splash January 21-31 in Park City are sure to be some of the biggest indie-crossover sensations of next year — which is why we’re poring over the just-released list of films that will be in competition in 2010. And because we never tire of playing amateur studio exec, we’ve chosen the ten Sundance selections that interest us most and tell you why we can’t wait to watch… Read More

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