FILM: Cupid’s Big Day Out at the Multiplex

Zac Efron
Sitting in the dark, elbows pressed together, your fingers brush as you both reach for a kernel of pop corn in the box on the shared armrest of your seat.

On the glowing screen above you, beautiful people are doing beautiful things in beautiful places, but you hardly notice.

Because it’s Valentine’s night and you’re with your one true love at the movies.

You may laugh, but a glance at the new releases list this week tells us Hollywood knows exactly where you’ll be on February 14.

Positively dripping with rose petals and red foil-covered chocolate hearts, there’s an array of romantic smooshiness on offer at the multiplex that doesn’t happen any other time of the year.

Every genre from art house to fantasy gets a look in, so while you might strike out at love, you’d have to be a fool to strike out at the box-office.

My number one choice for romancing this Valentine’s Day is a light hearted romp Are we officially dating? (also known as That awkward moment, in the US).

Directed by first timer Tom Gormican and starring everyone’s imaginary boyfriend Zac Efron, AWOD? tells the story of three friends who decide to give up romance as a show of solidarity with their love-lorn pal – which is when Zac meets the love of his life, naturally.

It’s just not Valentine’s Day without a Zach Efron movie, but AWOD?‘s big draw card is that it’s a romantic comedy from the guys’ point of view.

Which is great, but mostly we just want to know if The Zeffer will take his shirt off. (NB: he does.)

If art house sensibilities are more your speed, however, then French romance Blue is the warmest colour might be the one for you.

It’s directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, whose trademark long takes and super long running times are used to great effect in this delicate and sensitive character study of gay love.

When he sat on the panel which gave this film the Palm d’Or at Cannes, Steven Speilberg said watching Blue felt like a “great privilege”.

Audiences and critics have felt the same, and the film has been getting a lot of love in reviews and forums.

It sounds like a bit of a tear jerker, though.

Surely a film called Endless Love is a better bet for Cupid’s Big Day Out?

You’d think so, but a somewhat trashier looking remake of the 80s semi-softcore classic, Endless Love looks bloody awful.

A well worn story of young, desperate love and parental tyranny, it stars Alex Pettyfer, somewhat at sea amidst all the emotion, and Gabriella Wilde, ditto, as the star crossed lovers.

Bruce Greenwood and Joley Richardson play opposite them as Wilde’s parents so it can’t be all bad. (But probably is.)

Cynics amoung you probably think enduring true love is a fantasy, so what better way to celebrate love than with a fantasy film?

Supernatural romance Winter’s Tale is just the ticket with it’s snow-billowing tale of love across the ages and man who lives and loves forever.

It also stars our very own Russell Crowe as the baddie. That’s enough to get my $16.50.

On the downside, however, it’s directed by Akiva Goldsman who is famous for shoehorning spiritual twaddle into the most unlikeliest of places. (I Am Legend, anyone?)

It seems like he’s sidestepped the middle men for this one, starting with the spiritual twaddle from the get-go and seeing where it takes him.

And that’s through a century spanning tale of magic and romance told by a stellar cast that includes Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Will Smith and Colin Farell.

Whatever his short comings, Goldsman knows where even the hardest heart hides its strings, and how to tug them, so it’s possible a Winter’s Tale will be what fans your flames this Valentine’s Day.

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