Blue Valentine – DVD Review

In Blue Valentine Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are a young couple seen at the beginning of their relationship, and at the end a few years later. The two are inter-cut to show the couple’s changing dynamic as the honeymoon period fades away.

With its improvised script and a lead couple made to live together for a month before filming the breakdown of their fake marriage, Blue Valentine achieves what it seems to be striving for; natural dialogue and a realistic love story. Everything about Blue Valentine is done to make it look, feel and sound as real as possible, when they kiss you believe in the kiss and when they fight you can feel each blow.

Unfortunately watching a couple fall in love and fall apart is not always that easy to watch. Some scenes sag a little and the piece leaves you feeling a little drained. Blue Valentine isn’t the easiest film to watch and hardly zips along but both Williams and Gosling are on career high performance levels and Derek Cianfrance is an unobtrusive director. It will get to you emotionally but might not be an experience you want to revisit.

Extras include a Q&A, director’s commentary and deleted scenes. The highlight is a brief “making of” which explore the improvised nature of the film and how Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling lived together for a month, arguing mostly, to get ready to film the second part of the film. Also included are the home movies the couple made together during this time, certainly something a little different to regular talking heads.

Blue Valentine is out on DVD and Blu-ray today.

Nominations – The Hits and Misses

Before we had chance to have a proper look at the BAFTA nominations, the Oscars announced their own nominees leaving us in danger of overdoing it with the nomination coverage. In a two for one special let’s take this film by film and see where the two big ceremonies have put most of their nominations. We’ll look at each ceremony nearer the time.

127 Hours – 14 Nominations
Franco, the screenplay, music and editing are all nominated at both ceremonies and could possibly pick up the majority of these awards, though Franco would have to topple King Firth first. While at the Oscars it has a Best picture nomination, at the BAFTAs there is the slightly more specialist Outstanding British Film nomination and Boyle is only nominated for directing at the BAFTAs, benefiting perhaps from the home advantage. A good reception for a film about a man stuck under a rock.

Another Year – 3 Nominations
This beauty has a meagre spattering of nominations from the two institutes. The Oscars are just recognising the screenplay while BAFTA give Lesley Manville a nod for her heart-breaking role. Shame they couldn’t find a bit more room for Another Year in the other categories.

Black Swan – 17 Nominations
Doing particularly well with the BAFTAs this film has nominations for almost all the technical awards, most excitingly for Visual Effects, always good to see something not seen as “effects heavy” getting nominated. Darranofsky and Portman get a nomination at each ceremony as does the film, cinematography and editing. Bonus points again to BAFTA for nominating Barbara Hershey for Best Supporting Actress. Shame no nod for Vincent Cassel.

Blue Valentine – 1 Nomination
More notable here for it’s lack of nominations, receiving just the one for Michelle Williams. Ryan Gosling must be a little hurt, or blue. Lol.

Biutiful – 4 Nominations
A perfect match across the ceremonies with Best Actor and Best Foreign Film nominations in both. Notable for having a lead actor nomination for the first time for a role with no English dialogue.

Exit Through The Gift Shop – 2 Nominations
In this list purely because I saw it at the weekend and though it amazing, and most likely not a hoax. Probably given one nomination for each ceremony in the hope that Banksy will turn up in person.

The Fighter – 8 Nominations
The screenplay and Amy Adams’ supporting role are the only two double nominations, with the Oscars throwing in a nomination for the film in it’s widened category and the BAFTAs nominating our nation’s own Christian Bale.

Inception – 17 Nominations
Thankfully not just getting technical nominations, Inception is also up for Best Film and Screenplay at both ceremonies with just the BAFTAs recognising Nolan’s directorial triumph. Expect plenty of technical wins but nothing for the bigger awards.

The Kids Are All Right – 8 Nominations
One of the least flashy big hitters, hence the lack of technical nominations. Instead there are double nominations for Bening, Ruffalo and the screenplay. The Oscars gives it a chance at Best Film while the BAFTAs gives Moore some deserved recognition. Yes Bening stole the show but Moore was better than Ruffalo, no?

The King’s Speech – 26 Nominations
As if winning one of our awards at the London Film Festival wasn’t enough, this British darling is doing amazingly well, probably for being a “proper” film that is actually enjoyable. Nominated at both awards for everything from acting to sound mixing The King’s Speech is the one to beat. A special note should be made of Rush’s double nominations for supporting actor as he made the film, and the undeserved nominations for Carter who is possibly just being swept up in the film’s tidal wave of praise.

The Social Network – 14 Nominations
My personal favourite of all the nominees has well deserved double nominations for film, direction, screenplay (woo Sorkin!) and Best Actor. Nice to see Jesse Eisenberg nominated, but a shame to see only BAFTA recognising Andrew Garfield’s talents. He needs all the accolades we can give him and this film deserves all it’s nominations. Best Screenplay is a must.

The Town – 2 Nominations
Another film I had expected to do a little better and oddly has different actors being rewarded for their supporting roles in the different events. Perhaps this could be an opportunity for BAFTA to give Pete Postlethwaite a farewell trophy.

Toy Story 3 – 8 Nominations
Pixar continue to break out of the technical categories and get double nods for Best Film, Best Animated Film and Best Screenplay. On a related note Day & Night absolutely has to win best animated short for being the most ingenious thing Pixar have ever done. Ever.

True Grit – 18 Nominations
The Coen Brothers always do well but the alarming lack of respect from the Golden Globes looked set to change that. No worries now that they have been showered with nominations, though Hailee Steinfeld has been relegated to supporting actress by the Oscars while the BAFTAs recognise her leading role status. Hard to say without having seen it but it’s probably awesome.

Waste Land – 1 Nomination
Another Mild Concern favourite getting the attention it deserves, carry on.

Winter’s Bone – 4 Nominations
This dark tale we haven’t seen went by the BAFTA radar but garnered Oscar nominations for acting, film and screenplay. Kudos!

Out Now – 14th January 2011

Nothing too exciting released today, though a couple that some of you might be excited about, if you can handle Gondry gone mainstream.

The Green Hornet
Seth Rogen writing and starring in a superhero movie will excite some people and Michel Gondry directing a superhero movie will excite some different people. Whether those two can gel together has yet to be seen with reviews calling out a mixed bag of a film. Cameron Diaz as the love interest, really?

Henry’s Crime
Keanu Reeves in what has been described as a “crime caper” about a man who is tricked into being the driver for a bank heist. Where did this come from?

Blue Valentine (limited release)
A portrait of a relationship that is raw and beautiful. Depending on how it all ends this is perfect/terrible for a date movie.

Brotherhood (limited release)
I can’t summarise it better than this: “Adam Buckley finds himself in the middle of a convenience store robbery during his last night as a pledge for a college fraternity. When the initiation ritual goes horribly wrong, and every move proves disastrous, Adam is forced to confront a new challenge all together, and he has to take a stand.” Lou Taylor Pucci is in it. There, I added something.

Conviction (limited release)
Hilary Swank is a mother putting herself through law school in order to prove her convicted brother is innocent. Meh.

The Final Sacrifice (limited release)
Untold stories from WWII gathered from undelivered letters from soldiers.