Lydia Jenkin: Big-screen romancing

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Colin Farrell in 'A Winter's Tale'.
Colin Farrell in 'A Winter's Tale'.

Ah, Valentine's Day. A day that always makes movie distributors smile. Even those who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the occasion and consider it a manipulative consumer construct can potentially still go to the cinema with their beloved without feeling too conned.

Which movie does one choose? It can be tricky enough trying to figure out something you'd both enjoy without worrying what it might say about your relationship.

Good thing the distributors are offering up a few new release choices this week. The only trouble is, I've seen none of them, so we're going to have to wade through this together.

All right, option #1: Are We Officially Dating?

Well, at first glance, that would seem the one to pick if it's early stages and you're actually wondering where you stand. Or maybe it will give you some awkward laughs. "Ha, yeah, who even wants to know the answer to that question?" Yes, it has Zac Efron in it, and yes, it looks like another American rom-com with a bunch of 20-something dudes slowly figuring out that maybe relationships aren't that bad.

But the R-rated trailer suggests there might actually be a few laughs in there, particularly if you enjoy bad cocktail puns. It's probably the lightest pick, but with a possibly sweet centre.

Blue is the Warmest Colour

It's French, it's really long (nearly three hours), it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2013 and it has been hailed as a great story of love and heartbreak, with two spellbinding actresses at the centre. So if you're trying to impress a film buff, or you're up for a deeply serious cinematic experience, this might be the one. The trailer makes it all look very artistic and beautiful, just don't worry if you come away wondering "Why isn't our relationship that dramatic?"

Endless Love

Ugh, is my first reaction. It seems like another soppy, badly written, overly emotive piece of fluff from the same cookie cutter as Safe Haven, The Lucky One, and Dear John, except there's no Channing Tatum. If you're up for a film-length soap opera (which is a remake of a 1981 version which starred Brooke Shields and sounds quite different but equally soapy), then maybe this is what you're looking for. My advice: steer clear.

I, Frankenstein

It might not immediately seem like Valentine's fodder, but the original Frankenstein story had some romantic elements. I'm not going to pretend to have any real idea of what's going on in this war of the worlds epic - it looks like winged beasts vs Frankenstein vs more possible Frankenstein-type creatures, with the human race in peril from them all. But Aaron Eckhart seems to bring some humanity to the titular role, and there's a woman who believes in him. Maybe one for those who enjoy more gothic, fantastical romance.

Winter's Tale

"This Valentine's Day, believe in miracles" says the tagline, which makes me feel all sceptical straight away. And no, it's not the Shakespearean tale re-imagined for the umpteenth time. But it does have Colin Farrell in it, and I know I wouldn't mind having him travelling through time to save me, which seems to be the premise of this romantic, century-crossing period piece. He's a thief - and yes, there's a line about stealing hearts, so you can expect some syrupy moments, but it looks like it could be 2014's The Notebook, if that's your thing.

Which would I choose? Well, my beloved and I will actually be at Splore. But there is one other option I recommend. Silo Cinema is screening 1987 classic The Princess Bride at the waterfront, and that's a excellent, madcap adventure full of swordplay, giants and even some kissing, that always deserves a repeat viewing.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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