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Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Valentine season is ‘still’ on the big screen

Despite what cynics say, there is still a place in the world for romantic films. Even beyond  Valentine’s Day. Many of the most popular and enduring stories after all are about romantic love, and love stories make great movies.

 (Left) Law and Portman in Closer; 
(right) Crowe and Zellwegger in 
Cinderella Man

So get ready for more matters of the heart on the big screen with the following titles, coming soon!

Opened on February 2 as pre-Valentine presentations were A Very Long Engagement starring Amelie’s Audrey Tatou, a young woman who relentlessly searches for her missing fiancé after the First World War; and Shall We Dance?, with Richard Gere, as a lawyer whose life takes an unexpected twirl when he follows a beautiful woman (Jennifer Lopez) to a dance studio and begins taking dance lessons under her. Both films affirm the power of love over great odds.

In March, Will Smith marks his first foray in the romantic comedy genre with Hitch, where he stars as Alex Hitchens, a legendary and deliberately anonymous—“date doctor” who, for a fee, has helped countless men woo the women of their dreams. But the ultimate professional bachelor suddenly finds himself falling deliriously in love with Sara, (Eva Mendes), a reporter whose biggest scoop could very well be the unmasking of the famous date doctor.

April brings two romantic films from two acclaimed directors. Mike Nichols helms the critically applauded Closer a bitingly funny and honest look at modern relationships. Starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen, the film is an edgy, provocative love story about the lies we tell ourselves and those we are most intimate with.

Meanwhile, Rob Reiner directs Rumor Has It, a comedy about a woman who believes her family inspired the characters in The Graduate (the Mike Nichols classic itself!). The woman (played by Jennifer Aniston) returns home, determined to unravel a family secret before she gets married. She learns that her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) was the inspiration for Mrs. Robinson. Then she finds herself embroiled in an affair with an older man (Kevin Costner) as history seems to repeat itself.

In May, Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet star in A Lot Like Love, a romantic comedy about destiny, connection and the frequently fuzzy line between chance friendships and happily ever after. The film traces the relationship of Oliver (Kutcher) and Emily (Peet) who meet on a flight from Los Angeles to New York seven years ago—each of them declaring that they couldn’t be more wrong for each other. Life keeps bringing them back together over the next seven years, but the timing never seems right. As they struggle with their different partners, careers and breakups, they turn from casual acquaintances into trusted friends.

June brings Russell Crowe and Renée Zellweger together for the first time in Cinderella Man from director Ron Howard. Crowe stars in the story inspired by the life of legendary athlete Jim Braddock, a once-promising light heavyweight boxer forced into retirement after a string of losses in the ring. As America enters the darkest years of the Great Depression, Braddock accepts a string of dead-end jobs to support his wife, Mae (Zellweger) and their children, while never totally abandoning his dream of boxing again.

The romantic comedy Must Love Dogs and romantic adventure The Legend of Zorro keep the love alive in September. Starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, Must Love Dogs tells the story of a divorced preschool teacher (Lane) who has sworn off dating after her last bad breakup. But her family pushes her into trying the personals to get a date. One guy’s ad intrigues her, but he specifies that anyone he goes out with “must love dogs.” So she borrows her brother’s St. Bernard and plunges in.

Finally, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reunite in The Legend of Zorro, the highly-awaited sequel to the blockbuster hit The Mask of Zorro. The year is 1850 and our swashbuckling crusader is challenged by the most dangerous mission of his life. After fighting to help California become the 31st state of the Union, Zorro (Banderas) must live up to the promise he made his wife Elena (Zeta-Jones)—to give up his secret identity and live a normal life. When he hesitates, it threatens to tear them apart.

No matter how they follow the boy gets girl-boy loses girl-boy gets girl back plotline, romantic films are here to stay, and cinematically capture the trials arguments, misunderstandings, frustrations and general blunders we all encounter in the game of love.

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Harold Mejilla, Alan Zoilo Belizario, Errol Laciste
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