The Way Back (PG-13) ★★★

Peter Weir has taken a thin script and brought some much needed life to it with his direction in The Way Back. The visuals are staggering as Weir transports us into the true life journey of a bunch of prison camp escapees in Siberia. Their goal is to get to India, where communism does not reign and their right to live does. It's a movie that might have faltered in other hands but Weir invests heart and soul. I was really struck by the performances, which include an Impressive Collin Farrel as an escapee with violent tendencies and Ed Harris as the only Yankee of the bunch, a man who's old age does not defeat the courage he has to make it out alive. In essence The Way Back is as epic as any film out there. Its 130 minute running time can sometimes be real mountainous to sustain but it is in its overall feel and ambitiousness that it truly hits the mark. You come out of the film drained but knowing you had an experience.

Blue Valentine (R) ★★½

You won't find many better performances out there than those of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine. They play a married couple that have reached the final straw and are inching closer and closer to a divorce but like all marriages, it was once was a happy and beautiful thing. Through flashbacks we are taken back once upon a time, when these two lovers first met and felt an excitement that is missing in the present. Williams is astonishing and only furthers the case that there are many actresses that can equal her talent at the moment ditto Gosling who's just sublime. While the perforances area thing of beauty the movie is not perfect. Some of the stuff presented here hits hard whereas other scenes feel trite and obvious. As much as I wanted to love this movie, it doesn't say anything new about relationships. Think of last year's 500 Days Of Summer but much more serious and much less fun.