The best of intentions can’t rescue a relationship that has run its course, a lesson learned through tears, small explosions and passionless embraces by Dean and Cindy, a young married couple watching the embers of their romance turn cold in Blue Valentine.
As is often the case in a union soured by time and subtle estrangements, neither husband nor wife seems eager to admit that their marriage has been reduced to a tenuous living arrangement, maintained mostly for the benefit of their 6-year-old daughter, Frankie (Faith Wladyka). Dean (Ryan Gosling) pretends not to notice, afraid to ask the hard questions that Cindy’s ambivalence begs.
The Sonoma Film Festival and the San Francisco Women's Film Festival are both underway through Sunday, while Super, an ultra-violent comedy starring Rainn Wilson as a hopeless schlub turned vigilante superhero, ratchets up the body count at the Embarcadero. Elsewhere:
1. Bill Cunningham New York
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
With Noir City 9 descending on the Castro for the next 10 days and San Francisco's 13th Independent Film Festival arriving in early February, the new year is already heating up for local cinephiles. Here, as always, are some of the finest selections currently playing at an indie theater (and, in this week's edition, a Loews cineplex) near you.
1. Barney's Version
The new year has arrived, and with it the promise of long-awaited sequels to The Hangover, Kung Fu Panda and Pixar's Cars, the distressing inevitability of Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and the mind-numbing realization that Little Fockers sits lazily atop the box-office charts. The good news: Bay Area moviegoers have plenty of worthwhile alternatives, including:
1. Blue Valentine
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650