Short reviews: January 2011

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BLUE VALENTINE (15, 112 mins)

RYAN Gosling and Michelle Williams are contenders for Oscar nominations for their tour-de-force portrayal of a husband and wife in Derek Cianfrance’s slow-burning drama.

Removal man Dean (Gosling) crosses paths with Cindy (Williams) and he is immediately smitten, pursuing the young woman until she agrees to a date.

Their fiery and passionate romance leads to marriage and a family, but the giddiness and excitement of those early months together is replaced by weariness as the relationship settles into a routine.

When Cindy encounters her high school sweetheart (Mike Vogel) in the supermarket, seeds of jealousy are sown that reap poisonous fruit when the couple heads to a hotel for a rare night alone.

BROTHERHOOD (15, 76 mins)

A COLLEGE freshman’s desire to fit in has potentially lethal consequences in Will Canon’s thriller, co-written by Doug Simon.

For the final part of his initiation into the Sigma Zeta Chi fraternity, Adam Buckley (Trevor Morgan) must rob a convenience store.

Senior fraternity brother Frank (Jon Foster) takes charge of the night’s events, ensuring Adam and a fellow pledge go through with the robbery. However, it ends in bloodshed when the other pledge is shot.

Frank ushers everyone out of the store, but refuses to take the injured pledge to hospital, for fear of alerting local police.

As the wounded man’s situation deteriorates, Adam must decide whether he is willing to defy the Sigma Zeta Chi fraternity to save a life.