Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blue Valentine (2010)

I saw a trailer for this movie a few months ago and was very excited to see it. It didn't really have the widest release to start so I don't think it came to most theatres. I think it should be out in theatres here now though. That being said, I clearly didn't pay to see and there is a pretty nice screener version you can stream or download. You can buy a copy or find it on Netflix and the like, I'm sure. 

Blue Valentine sounds like your generic rom-com but that's not really the case. It's a pretty powerful movie that takes a pretty realistic look at life in relationships. It shows the not so cliche (okay a little bit cliche) falling in love sequence interlaced with the reality of marriage after the initial infatuation seems to dissipate. A lot of romantic comedies these days enjoy showing only the falling in love, guy gets girl parts of a relationship, which is fine but ultimately inaccurate in most cases. Don't really want to do the research but what like....half...ish...of marriages end in divorce? In any case these days it's not looking too good on the whole 'til death do us part' front. The only movie that seems to come close to the reality of this film, in recent years, is 500 Days of Summer, and that only shows the happy spin on reality. It's a different kind of movie but shows the same sort of frank truth about things. I enjoyed both films but Blue Valentine is a bit darker, a bit more intense, because that is how a relationship is sometimes.

The stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling seem to have great chemistry on-screen and it shows in their performances. They really seem comfortable together so it rubs off in how real their scenes together are. The movie starts with Ryan Gosling's character Dean looking a little worse for wear over the years of a marriage. He means well but somehow kind of lost it and became a little too intense. Williams' Cindy is very much trying to lead a normal life desperately vying to tame Dean's fairy tale behavior. It is a roller coaster ride, as you can probably relate to at least some part of this movie, and you just get sucked in along the way. I was never the biggest Michelle Williams fan since she was one of the co-stars of Dawson's Creek......but I was able to look past my hatred of that show to see a really great performance. She has been nominated for another Academy Award with this spectacular show here and I say it is quite deserving. I've always liked Ryan Gosling and very much enjoyed his acting in this one as well. He didn't get nominated for it but I'm sure there will be more to come.

There is an interesting performance by Cindy's ex-boyfriend Bobby, played by Mike Vogel. You have probably never heard of him as he is just starting to emerge in some bigger roles but he plays the perfect asshole in this movie. His charming good looks make him easy to like but his jerk like behaviour makes it so much easier to hate him. He was pretty funny is another 2010 movie She's Out of My League, starring Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve

Enough of my rambling about nothing of real importance. I would say it's a pretty great film, I would even suggest watching it in theatres buying it if you can. I would be a little against watching it on a first date, it would be a little bit of a mood killer. However, if you are comfortable with your significant other by all means go see it. It is a bit intense so don't expect a Love Actually or Valentine's Day butterfly feeling in your's not going to happen....maybe for like a minute then you'll see a balding Ryan Gosling looking probably as unappealing as DeNiro at the end of Raging Bull or when Jared Leto gained 70 pounds for Chapter 27. All in all a great movie, I strongly recommend it, and surprisingly enough I may actually buy it on DVD someday.

(Update: February 11, 2013)
I did not buy it on DVD, but nothing is stopping you. Looking back I realize that I've gotten pretty lazy with my posts lately and that I really went all out before.

Related/Mentioned Movies
Love Actually (2003) - .....too many to name
Valentine's Day (2010) - though Love Actually was star studded? At least Love Actually was good

Random Facts
- Michelle Williams was previously nominated for an Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Brokeback Mountain.
- Ryan Gosling was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award in Half Nelson (2006)
- Gosling was part of the last new group of Mouseketeers in The Mickey Mouse Club along with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, JC Chasez, and Justin Timberlake
- Williams was engaged to Heath Ledger and they had a daughter, Mathilda Rose, together. They officially separated in September 2007.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Update - Jan 25, 2011

I will probably post updates to the person who may from time to time read this.

I will most likely end up doing quite a few reviews and I am hoping they will alternate between new movies and older movies. We'll see how things go.

The Fighter

So this is my first movie review, critique, whatever you want to call it. I'm not sure how this is going to work exactly but I'll just share my opinion and research out of boredom mostly. The majority of what you'll read here you can probably read on Wikipedia. This will probably contain spoilers so...I don't know, read carefully I guess.

The Fighter (2010) is a film about the true story of trials and tribulations of a not so young "Irish" Micky Ward. This movie has a pretty solid cast. Mark Wahlberg plays the titular character, while Amy Adams plays his love interest Charlene. I think the best performance of the movie comes from Christian Bale who plays Micky's older brother Dick "Dicky" Eklund. Christian Bale usually steals the show in the movies he's in but usually he is the he's supposed to. That being said Marky Mark put on a great show too. I mean Mark and Amy are probably not going to get many acting awards for this movie but that's okay because it's still entertaining.

The majority of rest of the cast in the movie are Micky's family. He apparently has like 7 sisters or something. They are really easy to hate, as well as his mom Alice. Of course the point is to hate them so it came off quite well.

The fighting scenes were pretty good but the build up of fights until Micky's shot for the title is probably the most cliche sequence you could imagine for boxing matches. Another movie that does this is Cinderella Man, also a great movie, in my opinion a stronger movie and Russell Crowe gives a better performance that Mark but that's something for another day.

You can probably guess the ending right now before you've even seen the movie. Micky gets beat up but surprises everyone and wins the championship....didn't see that one coming.

All in all a pretty entertaining movie. Some solid acting by most actors but Christian Bale does another great job, sorry ladies he is looking more like he did in The Machinist and less like he did in The Dark Knight. Fortunately, Mark Wahlberg is looking as fit as ever and has his shirt off most of the movie. For the men, there isn't rampant sex scenes, if you want that just go watch some porn. However, you do get to see Amy Adams in her underwear so that's something to think about.

In my opinion, you should see it. If it's still playing in theatres when you read this then by all means go see it. If you are a poor student like me there are plenty of DVD quality screener versions you can stream and/or download.

Movies that this movie made me think of
- Cinderella Man (2005) - Russell Crowe, Paul Giamatti, Renee Zellweger
- Raging Bull (1980) - Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci
- Rocky 1-...7? Does anyone care how many there are? (1976- I hope he's done with them now) - Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire
- Invincible (2006) - Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks

Random Fun Facts (I got extra bored, sue me) - Probably would only interest movie detail freaks like me.

- Mark Wahlberg hired Freddie Roach as his personal trainer and also worked with world champion boxer Manny Pacquaio
- Wahlberg was attached to the project as early as 2005 but complications halted production
- Christian Bale has already won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, as well as a slew of other awards
- Sugar Ray Leonard makes a himself.
- Dicky Eklund was originally supposed to be played by Brad Pitt (anyone say he can't play a boxer? Fight Club or Snatch.)
- Darren Aronofsky was the original director but pulled out due to his involvement in other films, notably Black Swan
- David O. Russell replaced Aronofsky, providing creative touches like he provided in his films: Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees