Feb 10, 2011

Films to See: This Valentine's Weekend

Allow us to quote from the fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia: 

"Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine.[5] The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae).[6] Valentine of Rome[7] was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome,[8] and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.

No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs. By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the 14th century, distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost.[12]"

How very interesting. It seems that if romance was not originally linked to the martyrs, then someone has indeed, through the centuries, warped the tradition of worship to include a romantic element. What is the bet some guy in a toga wanted to ask out the pretty blonde in his village and tried to impress her with tales of romantic worship, an excuse if you will, in order to win her affections? Are our historical anachronisms accurate? Who cares! The whole thing is clearly sham-town anyhow. We think some toss-pot and Sienna Miller should star in the movie adaptation, Valentine's Day: one man's quest to score a date.

It's our duty to give the people what they want, so strap in for the lowdown on the traditional offerings in film this Valentine's Day weekend, as well as the downright unusual. 

Black Swan 
Aronofsky's latest offering showcases Natalie Portman in her best role to date as fragile, emotionally volatile prima ballerina, Nina. Finally, cast in both lead roles as the black swan and the white swan for her company's take on Swan Lake, this film is an examination of the performing psyche and the passion that drives art, emotion, and life. With outstanding performances from both Portman and Kunis (as rival ballerina, Lily), Black Swan is terrifyingly good. The dancing is exquisite and the way the camera moves in and out, almost as if following the very breath of each movement, will shock you with the skill involved if nothing else here appeals.
Romance Factor: 2 (but you'll love it anyway)

No Strings Attached  
Gosh, really? From Oscar-winning (we hope!) to downright cheesy, both the premise for this film and the stars (bar Portman) are just--well, we liken it to a beach full of garbage--fetid and unappealing? That seems right. From the trailer below, you'll see the Portman is ultimately likeable in anything (just as well, because she may be in just about every film out this year) and that the writers even throw poor doggy Ashton Kutcher some bacon, in the form of decent punchlines. If traditional, no-brainer rom-coms are your thing, please apply within (pun very much intended). 
Romance Factor: 3

Blue Valentine
The indie pairing of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling here? It just works. So. Well. Both have graduated from sappier romantic fare (Williams from Dawson, uh, we mean, Dawson's Creek and Gosling from The Notebook). Watch this and we'll guarantee it provides a checklist of what NOT to do. Girls all over the damn country will be writing letters to their mothers saying 'please don't let me do any of these things' and enclosing a DVD of the film. That said, this brutally realistic take that edges onto the cusp of cinema verite will make you squirm. Enjoy two extremely strong performances and relish the fact that their lives probably bare little resemblance to your own. Then tap dance on the street.
Romance Factor: 1 (you'll know why when you see it)

Tamara Drewe
There's really nothing like a good British romp to get you chortling in the cinema and hashtagging obnoxiously on your iPhone (if we see you out this weekend, please refrain from doing so whilst the movie is actually running) #thosecrazybrits. We, for one, were categorically unimpressed with the overall feel of Aterton's performance in The Disappearance of Alice Creed last year, in which her whiny obnoxious rich-girl act got old fast. This, however, is a pleasant surprise. Based on the comic strip by Posy Simmonds (and later republished in graphic novel form), Tamara Drewe returns to her hometown of Dorset, a successful journalist with a new nose, a raging libido, and a tiny pair of denim shorts. In the hands of the Americans: uggh, tacky. In the hands of Director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity and The Queen, amongst other gems): bloody great fun. 
Romance Factor: 4

No comments: