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Tag: Blue Valentine (1-10 of 11)

Ryan Gosling is that rarity: a great, totally serious actor who is also a yummy sex-god movie star

The moment that Ryan Gosling shows up in Crazy, Stupid, Love, playing a ladykiller so practiced and confident that he presents himself as a pickup artist as a way of disarming any woman who thinks that she’s immune to pickup artists, we know just who he is — and also that we want to keep watching him do what he does, because he’s so damn good at it. Actually, what he does is a great many things at once. It’s being totally charming, caustically funny, and sexy as hell: Gosling, tall and sleepy-eyed, in three-piece suits and frosted hair, shows you how impeccably he has all of that down the moment he glances at some leggy designer princess and begins to make his move. In Crazy, Stupid, Love, he’s all nonchalant insinuation, all laidback erotic signals, all vibe.

But he’s also a quick, incisive talker who, playing a master of “the Game,” reveals just enough of himself that we want to see more of him. As the movie illustrates (it’s what he teaches Steve Carell, playing a jilted suburban schlub who needs to get in touch with his inner alpha male), a successful pickup artist today needs to be aggressively sincere about what a liar he is. Gosling makes the audience eager to see the person beneath the lie beneath the I may be a jerk but you know you want me! come-on. And that’s because Gosling knows exactly who this person is. He’s the rare actor who can play a pickup-bar stud and also turn his performance into a pinpoint study of just that sort of dude. In every movie he makes, Ryan Gosling treats acting deadly seriously, as a game that is also an art. And that’s why he’s great at it. READ FULL STORY

Oscars Luncheon: James Franco, Nicole Kidman and other nominees prep for the main event

jesse-eisenbergImage Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage.comOnce a year for the last 30, the current crop of Academy Awards nominees come together to break grilled shrimp on focaccia bread at the Beverly Hilton, smile for the class photo, and turn a deaf ear to demands for 45-second acceptance speeches and promises of a three-hour running time. But before the 151 contenders  (out of 190, which is a nominees luncheon record) could eat, drink and be merry yesterday, the most recognizable of their ranks fielded questions in the interview room, which yielded the following pearls of Oscar race wisdom.

“When I was 13, I had to go to bar mitzvahs every weekend and this is the same feeling. I have to put a suit on every weekend to go meet with a lot of Jews. The alternative where no one likes your movie is worse. I’ve experienced both and this is better.” — Jesse Eisenberg, Best Actor nominee, The Social Network READ FULL STORY

Writers Guild nominees announced

I-Love-You-Phillip-MorrisImage Credit: Patti PerretUnlike the Producers and Directors Guild awards, the Writers Guild nominees never match up too closely with the Academy Awards since several top Oscar contenders usually aren’t eligible for the WGA prize. (Entries must be filmed under guild jurisdictions to qualify.) That’s why we don’t see The King’s Speech, Another Year, Winter’s Bone, Blue Valentine, or Toy Story 3 in the just-announced WGA lists. So which screenplays took advantage of the extra spaces? Clearly, it’s Please Give and I Love You Phillip Morris, two films that haven’t made much of an impression in the overall awards hunt so far. The only surprise omission in my mind is Rabbit Hole in the adapted category. I’m also shocked that Oscar front-runner Waiting for “Superman” didn’t make it into the documentary list, though Superman director Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth didn’t get a WGA nod either and it went on to win the Oscar. Here are the nominees:  READ FULL STORY

'Blue Valentine' and 'Somewhere': The return of the American art film -- and, yes, that's a good thing

Ryan-Gosling-DorffImage Credit: Davi Russo; Merrick MortonThe term art film probably should have been retired about two decades ago — and when you think about, it kind of was. On the rare occasions that something now gets tagged as an “art film,” it’s generally meant in a vaguely dismissive and even pejorative way. It means not art but arty: high-minded and self-conscious, precious and austere. It means art less as pleasure than as medicine (which, in my book, tends to mean third-rate art, like the pseudo-Euro hitman-with-angst dud The American). Yet I’m tempted, out of a fresh wave of nostalgia, to haul out the old scarlet A for Art Film in connection to two quietly exciting new American features, Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine and Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, if only because both films take you back to the best of the early ’70s, that much-revered era of American filmmaking when the spirit of European cinema had spread to Hollywood and had given rise to a liberating new hybrid: the raw, loose, reality-based American art movie — films that were out to capture “the truth” in front of your eyes, even if it was a little like catching lightning in a bottle.

Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, tells the story of a deeply imperfect, at times violently angry, yet also disarmingly tender six-year marriage that is rapidly hitting the skids, and the movie is staged with a breathtakingly close-up, warts-and-all intimacy that isn’t so far removed from the train-wreck voyeurism of certain reality-TV shows. Somewhere, starring Stephen Dorff as a sexy, jaded Hollywood movie star who is working his way through an existential crisis of fame (he’s so beloved for his image that he no longer knows who he is), often reminded me of Entourage without the entourage. So what makes these movies art films? Simple: In each case, the filmmakers capture whatever it is they’re portraying — a working-class family in a rural Pennsylvania suburb, a movie idol crashing out in the anonymous luxe sterility of the Chateau Marmont — with an incisive, almost journalistic detail; they get the surfaces exactly right. Yet we’re also invited, in nearly every scene, to look beyond the surface, to enter the troubled hearts and minds, the fascinatingly messed-up interior spaces, of all these characters. The approach is nothing if not novelistic: These movies may have “stories,” but once you get onto their wavelength, the real story they’re telling is spiritual and psychological. It’s the story of what you can’t see. READ FULL STORY

Writers Guild Awards: 'Toy Story 3,' 'Blue Valentine,' and others ineligible

Nominations for the Writers Guild Awards won’t be announced until Jan. 4, but the nomination ballot is missing some noticeable titles. Variety reports Another Year, Biutiful, Blue Valentine, The Ghost Writer, The King’s Speech, Made in Dagenham, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Toy Story 3 and Winter’s Bone are among those deemed ineligible because they were not formally submitted for consideration and/or were not produced under WGA jurisdiction. As the trade notes, the WGA’s picks for original and adapted screenplay have each won an Oscar 11 of the last 16 years. Winners are announced Feb. 5.

'Blue Valentine' release date moved up

Blue Valentine, The Weinstein Company’s sober romantic drama that initially received an NC-17 rating, will be released in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dec. 29 — two days earlier than planned — and then expand to 10 markets on January 7. TWC confirmed the move, first reported by Deadline. Even with the two-day jump on the weekend, this still marks nearly a year since Valentine made a splash at Sundance.

Read more:
‘Blue Valentine’ wins MPAA appeal for R rating
The Weinstein Company challenges ‘Blue Valentine’ rating
‘Blue Valentine': Harvey Weinstein rails against NC-17 rating
Michelle Williams talks ‘Blue Valentine’ and its NC-17 rating
MPAA gives ‘Blue Valentine’ an NC-17

'Black Swan' leads Critics' Choice nominations

Black-SwanImage Credit: Niko TaverniseBlack Swan received a record 12 Critics’ Choice Movie Award nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, including nods for Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and director Darren Aronofsky. True Grit and The King’s Speech followed with 11 nominations each, while Inception received 10 and The Social Network nabbed nine. The 16th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards ceremony will take place on Jan. 14, on VH1. Read below for all the nominations: READ FULL STORY

Parents Television Council rips MPAA for 'Blue Valentine' rating change

Blue-ValentineImage Credit: Davi RussoThe Parents Television Council criticized the MPAA’s decision-making process that led them to downgrade the rating for The Weinstein Company’s Blue Valentine from the financially-damning NC-17 to an R. In a statement, PTC president Tim Winter said, “Ostensibly because the producers of the film would not earn as much money at the box office with an accurate rating, the MPAA buckled under intense pressure and lowered the age rating of the film. The new rating may be correct or it may be incorrect. We don’t know because we haven’t screened the film. What we do know is this: the entire integrity and legitimacy of the MPAA ratings system has been compromised. There is no transparency; there is no consistency; and there is no accountability — unless you are a wealthy producer who can afford to hire the biggest legal guns in the nation and wage a massive PR campaign … The entire point of the film ratings system is to protect children and guide parents as they make informed choices for their families. Clearly, the motion picture industry’s system has failed at that task.”

More on Blue Valentine:
The Weinstein Company challenges ‘Blue Valentine’ rating
‘Blue Valentine': Harvey Weinstein rails against NC-17 rating
Michelle Williams talks ‘Blue Valentine’ and its NC-17 rating
MPAA gives ‘Blue Valentine’ an NC-17

'Blue Valentine' wins MPAA appeal for R rating

Blue-ValentineImage Credit: Davi RussoGood news for Blue Valentine! EW has confirmed that the MPAA has changed the gritty indie’s dreaded NC-17 rating to a much-friendlier R after Harvey Weinstein himself appeared at today’s appeal hearing.

“I am so appreciative that the MPAA was gracious enough to reconsider their rating of the film,” star Ryan Gosling said in a statement. “I can’t express how grateful I am to those in the media who stood up for the film and put their reputations on the line in using their voices to support something they believed in. This is a film that was created for the audience, to reflect how complex they are and to involve them in a dialogue that [director] Derek Cianfrance has been trying to engage them in for 12 years.  We’re over the moon to have the opportunity to finally be able to share it with those for whom it was intended.”

When EW spoke to Weinstein last month, he said he had already assembled lawyers to appeal the rating, including Alan Friedman, who helped TWC win an R rating for Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore and teamed with former Solicitor General Theodore Olson this year to challenge California Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage.

More on Blue Valentine:
The Weinstein Company challenges ‘Blue Valentine’ rating
‘Blue Valentine': Harvey Weinstein rails against NC-17 rating
Michelle Williams talks ‘Blue Valentine’ and its NC-17 rating
MPAA gives ‘Blue Valentine’ an NC-17

Sundance: Kudos to John Cooper for a year in which 'rebel spirit' really meant 'terrific films'

In my introductory post this year from the Sundance Film Festival — the first Sundance to be presided over by newly appointed festival director John Cooper, pictured at left — I said that the real test, the only test, for the Cooper era wouldn’t be the festival’s novel display of bells and whistles: the NEXT section (which bracketed and highlighted eight films made on very low budgets — just like dozens and dozens of past films shown at previous Sundance festivals), or the freshly trumpeted, take-back-the-megaplex, this is the new rebel spirit of indie film signifiers. (Rebellion, as a word, was long ago co-opted by those who aren’t for it.) I said that what mattered would be whether there was fresh creative DNA in the programming itself.

On that score, Cooper and his team came through, triumphantly. The programming this year was bold, sharp, tasteful, and demanding. It did a first-rate job of separating the wheat from the chaff — and leaving the chaff out of the festival. I can’t tell you how many times, over the years, I have sat through a movie at Sundance that was inept and awful in every way (it might be an unwatchable kitsch comedy like D.E.B.S., or the aptly named Sleepwalking, a road movie that managed the singular feat of standing still), only to spend half the film wondering how this particular waste of time ended up in the middle of the world’s premiere independent film festival, at the expense of a submission that must surely have been more worthy.

This year, I never had that experience, or anything close to it. Every movie I saw, even a half-baked novelty that didn’t really work, like Holy Rollers, with Jesse Eisenberg as a Hasid who becomes a drug runner, justified its presence. I also think it’s encouraging that no single film dominated the buzz-sphere. There was a roundedness and vivacity to the spectrum of movies on display, which is one reason just about everyone I talked to believed that the festival had such a vital year. Here are a few of my random thoughts and observations on Sundance 2010:

For Young Filmmakers, Marriage is the New Dating. By its nature (brash, cheap, hungry for adventure), independent filmmaking is mostly a province of the young, which is why indie movies about romantic relationships have often been mumbly twentysomething comedies about hooking up and dating. This year, however, there was an abundance of films that focused on the promises and perils of marriage: Blue Valentine and The Kids Are All Right, and even text-generation comedies like Douchebag and The Freebie. Which makes me think that a whole generation — of indie filmmakers, or maybe just of Americans, period — are growing up faster than they used to. READ FULL STORY

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