By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Sep 23, 2010 at 10:04 PM

The 11-day Milwaukee Film Festival began Thursday night with screenings of "Blue Valentine" at two venues, the Marcus North Shore and the Oriental Theatre.

I saw few open seats on the main floor of the Oriental for the 7 p.m. screening of the story of a couple's breakup starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. And the balcony also held a good crowd for the depressing story of love gone bad.

The film, which doesn't open in general release until Dec. 31, is notable for the performances of the two leads.

Before the screening, Jonathan Jackson, executive director and creative director of the film festival, said that ticket sales had already exceeded this time last year by "100 percent."

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.