We’re starting a new Little Rocking blog feature we’re calling “Conversations.” It will be just that, conversations about movies, theater and TV with Times reviewers and other local “experts,” such as Blake Rutherford, who is not only in a movie club with me but is the driving force behind Movies in the Park, and he also loves films, especially the ones that come to Market Street Cinema. We’ll also include Times reporter and movie critic David Koon on these conversations, and other reviewers we use, and we hope to include KATV’s Renee Shapiro and Market Street’s Matt Smith in the future.

But, the important thing is, YOU’RE INVITED to participate as well, either through the comments on the blog entries, or by telling me or emailing me that you’d like to join in on the round table, whether we’re discussing a new movie or a TV show like “Entourage.” Your participation is welcome.

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For our first “Conversations,” Blake and I will discuss the movie “Down in the Valley.” Bad news is, today and tonight will be the last chances to see “Down in the Valley” at Market Street, as it’s here two weeks and moving on. But, it will certainly be available soon enough on DVD through Netflix or the usual rental outlet.

This very good film has a sterling cast of Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood (in the photo above), David Morse, and Rory Culkin. For a synopsis, Morse plays Wade, a California correction officer who is step-father to Tobe, or October (Wood), and Lonnie (Culkin). Wade is having a hard time dealing with the pretty Tobe’s spirited independence, while Lonnie is quiet and meek, seemingly unsure of himself and easier for Wade to hold back. When Tobe and her friends head for a day at the beach, they meet Harlan (Norton), who’s working as a gas-station attendant. Tobe seems attracted to danger, and sparks immediately fly between Tobe and Harlan, and she invites him to join her friends — who call him a hick — and go to the beach. He’s willing even to give up his job to do so. Their relationship grows to scorching hot almost immediately, and Wade tries to put an end to it, ordering Tobe not to see Harlan. Wade already senses that the drifter-like Harlan may have a screw loose,

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Harlan not only connects with Tobe, he also is able to draw Lonnie out, and he helps both gain a better realization of their station in life, while he doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp on reality about his. He dresses in cowboy hat and rancher duds, and seems lost in an old Hollywood like Western, professing to be a ranch hand looking for work. He has a way with horses and guns that give him credibility. Wade has a growing distrust of Harlan, and with Tobe’s attraction to him, and Lonnie’s building believe in Harlan, everything’s building to a head. Fair warning: Spoilers are included in “Conversations.”

More “Conversations” after the jump …

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