Monday, January 31, 2011

“Movie review: A sharp-edged ‘Blue Valentine’ to lost love - Salt Lake Tribune” plus 1 more

“Movie review: A sharp-edged ‘Blue Valentine’ to lost love - Salt Lake Tribune” plus 1 more


Movie review: A sharp-edged ‘Blue Valentine’ to lost love - Salt Lake Tribune

Posted: 28 Jan 2011 09:37 AM PST

Diana Ross once asked "Where did our love go?" — a question that director Derek Cianfrance's drama "Blue Valentine" answers with shattering honesty.

Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) have been married for seven years, and things aren't what they used to be. Today, Dean works a dead-end job and is drinking beer with breakfast, while Cindy works as a nurse in a doctor's office and feels guilty for missing moments with their daughter, Frankie (Faith Wladyka).

It wasn't always like this. Seven years ago, Cindy was a promising pre-med student and Dean was working as a furniture mover as he pursued his music. They meet, and she finds him romantic, while he finds her tender and caring.

They spark off each other, such as during an early date where she demonstrates her tap-dancing ability as he plays on a ukulele. The song he sings, the oldie "You Always Hurt the One You Love," turns out to be a warning neither Dean nor Cindy heed.

When the movie switches back to the present, Dean and Cindy try one last-gasp effort to rekindle the romance with an impromptu night of sex and alcohol in a fantasy-themed motel. As director Cianfrance and co-writers Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis (with plenty of improvisation by Gosling and Williams) switch from past to present, we see the beginnings of the romance and the roots of the problems that are blowing up now.

The performances are achingly intimate, as Williams (who got an Oscar nomination) and Gosling (who didn't, and probably should have) play like an authentic married couple. Their young love feels genuinely sweet, their sexuality raw and intense, and their current feelings recognizably true to life.

"Blue Valentine" is a heartbreaking portrait of a marriage on the ropes, an aching reminder that sometimes love doesn't conquer all.

movies@sltrib.com

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Ellen Gray: 'Lost' Terry O'Quinn finds himself in Lifetime movie - Philadelphia Daily News

Posted: 31 Jan 2011 12:01 AM PST

Posted on Mon, Jan. 31, 2011

SO MUCH TELEVISION, so little time:

_ What do you do after you've played one of the most enigmatic characters on television?

Well, in the case of Terry O'Quinn, who spent six seasons as John Locke (and occasionally as "not Locke") on ABC's "Lost," you book a Lifetime movie role in which no one's in any doubt that you're one of the good guys.

"Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story" (9 tonight, Lifetime) stars Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") in a retelling of the case of a New York schoolteacher whose young son was abducted by his father during what was supposed to be a routine visit and taken to live in South Korea.

O'Quinn plays an investigator whose nonprofit specializes in tracking missing children, and both he and Henson do about as much as can be done with what's essentially a paint-by-numbers treatment meant to keep mothers everywhere on edge till the very last moment.

Still, we're talking about O'Quinn, who long before "Lost" had established himself as one scary guy in "The Stepfather," and I'll admit I was watching "Taken From Me" more closely than I might ordinarily have, if only to make sure he didn't pull anything funny.

_ Deadline.com reported recently that "Odd Jobs," a J.J. Abrams pilot that would star O'Quinn and his "Lost" foil Michael Emerson, has been delayed until at least next season.

_ For those who've asked: Yes, I'm mostly fine with the judging so far on Season 10 of "American Idol," where Steven Tyler, in particular, is proving to be more entertaining than I'd expected.

Maybe a little creepier, too.

Lowering the minimum age of the contestants - they only have to be 15 now - in the year when you introduce a flirtatious 62-year-old rocker to the panel is, however, a great way to make people forget how inappropriately Paula Abdul often behaved with male contestants.

It's early yet, and I'm wondering if someone along the way didn't have a talk with Tyler. Because when he and fellow newbie Jennifer Lopez were asked during a news conference earlier this month - at which point the production was already up to the Hollywood segments - how they "would guide the winner through fame," his immediate response was, "We're not allowed to fraternize. Is that what you're talking about?"

As it happens, it wasn't. But, hey, good to know that he knows.

_ You may not have seen Marilu Henner acting much lately - she'll turn up on the Hallmark Channel Feb. 12 playing Jennie Garth's mother in "Accidentally in Love" - but if you watch CBS' "60 Minutes," you already know that the former "Taxi" star knows everywhere she's been.

Featured in a Dec. 19 report on the handful of people in the world believed to possess "highly superior autobiographical memory," Henner was still fielding questions from reporters earlier this month about her ability to recall the details of ordinary days decades in her past during a Hallmark Channel party at the Tournament of Roses Parade House in Pasadena, Calif.

(Full disclosure: A few of us approached her in hopes that years from now, when we'd forgotten who we were, she might be able to tell us.)

Turns out Henner, who's written extensively about diet and exercise, even remembers what she hasn't eaten.

"My first day on 'Taxi,' which was July 5, Wednesday, 1978, I remember the next day, it was actually July 6, I was like cruising the craft service table" (where people who work on a production are fed). Someone pulled her aside and said, " 'You know what? This is for the crew. See the guys on the crew? Is that the body you want? This is crew food,' " she said.

"I've always known that I had an unusual memory. But [until] '60 Minutes,' I had no idea how many people were interested in this and so they want to know, 'How does this work, how can I get it?' . . . and I've been writing a book for a few months now - it's going to come out in May - about this and how to help other people," Henner said.

_ When I first heard the title of the Hallmark Channel's newest Martha Stewart show, "Martha Bakes," my first thought was, "Of course she does."

But the first episode of the show, which airs at 11 a.m. today, appears to be hosted by a slightly more casual Martha than I expected, one so eager to share the recipe for her late father's yellow birthday cake she wants to make baking seem, well, easy.

Which it probably is if you have the stand mixer she expects you to - does no one cream butter and sugar by hand anymore? - and maybe not so easy if you have to be reminded, as she does in today's episode, that eggs should be removed from their shells before being added to the batter.

Fortunately, in a later installment of the 13-episode series, Stewart's a little more herself, zipping through recipes for brownies, devil's food cake and "high-hat" cupcakes without pausing to pander.

Good thing. Otherwise, they'd eventually have had to rename it "Martha Explodes." *

Send e-mail to graye@phillynews.com.

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