REVIEW: Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne, and Joey Curtis
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Faith Wladyka, and Mike Vogel

Forty pounds lighter, with their dreams still in tact,  Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) go for broke on the streets on an unnamed urban setting.  She’s aspiring to be a doctor in a loveless home, and he can’t seem to decide what he wants to do.  But they’re in love, and they think that’s enough.  Flash-forward a few years (and pounds), and these same people would tell a much different story.

Cindy and Dean’s beginning and end are at the bipolar core of Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine. In one instance, we see two hipsters full of youth and verve and in the next, he’s balding with a beer gut and she has kept her pregnancy weight and permanently embedded a scowl.

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REVIEW: Date Night

Date Night
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by: Josh Klausner
Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, and Tariji P. Henson

Modern comedy is often found in the silence, not the punchline.  It’s usually the uttering of a few colorful adjectives followed by an awkward stammer or glare.  When done right, on TV shows like The Office and 30 Rock, it is hilarious.  Date Night plucks its two stars from those two modern TV milestones to try and inject a little bit of comedic energy into a script much in need of it.

Steve Carell and Tina Fey play Phil and Claire Foster, a self-proclaimed boring suburban couple.  They are comatose, floating around like a slapstick version of the Burnham family from American Beauty.  Then, thanks to some blatant plot doctoring, they are forced on a life-or-death journey into a New York that is oozing with corruption and filled with vermin played by famous actors.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Justin Haythe (screenplay), Richard Yates (novel)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, and Kathy Bates

The way cinema portrays it, I’m led to believe absolutely no marriages of the 1950’s ended well.  With all of these shattered dreams and repressed rage foaming to the surface, it’s difficult to see how these people have time for mowing the lawn or raising the kids.

In fact, the children hardly make an appearance in Sam Mendes’ adaptation of Revolutionary Road, originally a cult novel written by Richard Yates.  They are alluded to, yes, but their most prominent function is to make Leonardo DiCaprio’s Frank Wheeler feel guilty about cheating on his wife April (Kate Winslet) on his birthday.  There he is walking into his own house, and here comes a birthday cake, a happy wife, and two smiling kids right after he got done staring ominously at the steering wheel of his car and feeling dreadful.

It’s this dreary mood of hidden secrets and suburban angst that drives much of Revolutionary Road. And though the children rarely appear, the adults do enough childish dreaming of their own.  April and Frank decide to move to Paris, an aspiration they remembered and want to achieve.

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