Even though, love is an action I’m sure most human beings experience and express daily, today is the day set aside to send that special something (thought, card, smile, text, blender) to the people you love the most. Holidays are the best promotions for films because media gets people thinking and moving, but most importantly, in the mood to celebrate. And Valentine’s is by no means any different. If you don’t want to send a balloon or a massage– a movie, I’m sure makes it all better, whether you’re single, or coupled up on this day for lovers (and all the rest of us).
A good love story can never really be passed up, so I thought why not bring you a few from around the world that will be hitting a theater near you.
Chico y Rita
Cast: Limara Meneses, Emar Xor Oña, Mario Guerra
Official Synopsis: Cuba, 1948. Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey – in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero – brings heartache and torment. From Havana to New York, Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas, two passionate individuals battle impossible odds to unite in music and love. Chico y Rita (aka Chico and Rita) was a collaboration between filmmaker and music producer Fernando Trueba, artist and designer Javier Mariscal and animator and director Tono Errando, and features cartoon “cameo appearances” from a number of legendary jazz artists, including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo
Thoughts: A love affair between two musicians spans six decades and numerous countries and political regimes in this animated romantic drama. Everyone has seen a love story– especially a story about two passionate people torn apart by their “Time” and distance but have you seen a film quite like this? Probably not. The animation of this film captures the sultry seduction of jazz and it’s heady but heavenly indulgences. The cultures of Cuba and Jazz burst on the screen as if tangible and pulsing. The music of the film, seriously, is more a draw than Chico and Rita’s love story. However, I have a sniggling feeling the film will be just a much about how some loves are deeper than personification can ever endeavor to describe.
Ek Main Aur Ek Tu
Cast: Kareeena Kapoor, Imran Khan
Official Synopsis: Rahul Kapoor, 26, is on his way to become a carbon copy of his parents when he suddenly loses his job as an architect in Vegas. Afraid that he has let his parents down, Rahul decides to hide the truth and find another job. When by a twist of fate, he meets Riana Braganza, a quick-witted hairstylist, who is everything he isn’t. A series of events lead them to meet on Christmas Eve over a few drinks… but like always, it’s never a ‘few’. Following this night of debauchery, they wake up to discover that they’ve gotten married. Now, Rahul has more than just his job loss to hide from his parents.
Thoughts: This is a film I most look forward to. Reminds me of Fools Rush In (Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek), I mean without all the cultural clashes and baby business. The cool thing about dealing with a premise everyone’s seen, is that there are several ways to tell the same story, for no one’s life is original, it’s only “original” to us as we live it. Stories take on new forms and hit different grooves if written and executed well, and I actually believe this may. As I’ve said in a previous post, Khan is wonderful with his straight man approach to comedy and more pointedly romantic comedies. He’s consistently strong as the boy next door, with upright morals and a quick wit. I see this playing out wonderfully against Kapoor’s “woman of the world” free spirit character. Rom-coms are a dime a dozen but there are only a handful that are truly worth your while. Certainly hope this one makes that list.
Cast: Zhao Wei, Shu Qi, Ethan Ruan, Mark Chao, Eddie Peng, Amber Kuo, Ivy Chen, Liao Fan, Doze Lui, Lung Siu-Wa, Yu Meiren
Official Synopsis: A story of eight lonely people who encounter many difficulties as they search for love from opposite sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Thoughts: A Chinese Love Actually? Perhaps. And I get the feeling it will be just as quirky, with a little more depth and closer proximity. There is definitely much more overlapping of character connections and story lines. It also seems the film may deal more with what love is and does (how it works); than how and when to acquire it (how to get it). Either way, I look forward to this star-studded piece that I’m sure is bound to send the masses out for a night with the big screen. Shoot, with a cast like this, there’s no way many are going to care what the movie was about or how good it actually was. But I do believe the overall success is in the couplings. Regardless of story, if the couples pull off chemistry and believability, it’ll be a hit. I’ve been ready for this film since talks began and this trailer had me skimming for plane tickets.
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green and Connie Neilsen
Official Synopsis: A chef and a scientist fall in love as an epidemic begins to rob people of their sensory perceptions.
Thoughts: PS actually released January 2011 through Sundance but became available worldwide earlier this month. I find the premise of this film interesting and compelling. Is love stronger than feeling? Is it capable to love without feeling? The film should address these issues and with Ewan McGregor, even if it doesn’t, he’ll make you believe it had.
This won’t be a typical feel good love story, for I see it being more on the intense side dealing with all things we take for granted considering love, sex, emotion, and the like. It’s an interesting addition to the rom-com mix so I had to drop it in.
This Means War
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy, Chris Pine
Official Synopsis: Two top CIA operatives wage an epic battle against one another after they discover they are dating the same woman.
Thoughts: A spy rom-com? A bromance put to the test by love competition? Who can pass that up? Ok, this won’t be any real earth shattering cinema but it looks like it will be some great fun. Hardy is wonderful but best known for more of his heavy roles, so it’ll be nice to see him in something light, fun and cheeky. Witherspoon on the other hand is an old pro in this genre, so it should be a pretty big win in her direction. As for, Pine I only know his face from his blockbuster Star Trek but I’ve never seen him in action. Overall, the cast seems fun and breezy with plenty of banter and brawn.
Trailer: This Means War
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum
Official Synopsis: A newlywed couple recovers from a car accident that puts the wife in a coma. Waking up with severe memory loss, her husband endeavors to win her heart again.
Thoughts: There are good things about seeing a film that you’ve seen before, in a different decade or with a different cast and there are bad things. Those bad things are mostly when it’s not quite a different decade or a different cast. Honestly, The Vow is nothing more than a regurgitation of the pitifully ridiculous third grade Nicholas Sparks’ novel The Notebook. It even has the same lead actress, only now, the story takes place in the present day, rather than in a cascade of random memories and replaces terminal with temporary. It’s what I call Girl Porn. It’s the kind of film that women see, cry and fawn over, because it’s so beyond the realm of tangible reality (even if based on true events) that it sucks the romance out of, well, romance. It makes men into Absolute robots, wound and spun to complete all female wild illogical fantasies. Sadly, films like this emphasize the exceptions of love and romance and minimize the basic rule, keeping women fairy dust dreamers, instead of pragmatic doers.
Now, I always leave the door open for surprise because one never knows but with two mediocre actors (one preferably not equipped for this genre) and the writer of the nail-grating Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t go counting my chickens. The trailer is dreamy and magical and though I’m not sold on the film, I actually enjoy the use of Meat Loaf‘s I Would Do Anything For Love.
Trailer: The Vow
[stills, trailers and synopsis courtesy of respective official film sites]