Friday, February 14, 2014

My Favorite Romantic Movies of All Time Just in Time for Valentine's Day - And The Week in Reviews

[I review "The Wolf of Wall Street" and DVDs "Closed Circuit" and "Runner Runner."]

But first
My Favorite Romantic Movies of All Time

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you didn't make dinner reservations in time or don't really have anything planned for tonight, why not cuddle up with your sweetie and watch one of these great romantic films?

Here are my all-time favorite romantic movies for your viewing pleasure, that I will try to summarize and review for you with my usual cheeky comments!


***How many of these have you seen?***



An Affair to Remember (1957)

Nickie, a playboy,  meets Terry on a cruise ship, they fall in love and because they are both engaged, decide that if they can extricate themselves from their current obligations, they will meet again in six months on top of the Empire State Building

After six months, in her haste to meet up with Nickie, Terry is hit by a car and paralyzed.  Of course Nickie thinks she has changed her mind.  And Terry does everything she can to keep her disability from him. All kinds of complications ensue until, guess?

The American Film Institute named this the most romantic film of all time.









Before Sunrise (1996)





A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.  But what a night!

This was the first of the "before" movies which include "Before Sunset (2004)" and "Before Midnight (2013)" starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who is also one of the writers.

Who knew two people talking could be so sexy and romantic?




Brief Encounter (1945)




The Granddaddy of all romantic films. 

If this tale of unrequited love doesn't make you cry, you have no heart!



Doctor Zhivago (1965)






Another married guy messing with other women but still...it's an affecting drama of love with the backdrop of the Russian Revolution.

"Lara's Theme" helps with the romantic element here, but also a beautiful Julie Christie and young Omar Sharif and that "ice palace" they lived in for a short romantic time...






The English Patient (1996)





Two stories run in parallel:  the nurse's story and the story of the ill-fated love affair of the badly burned patient she is tending to.

This is one of my all time favorite films, but I know it has its haters. Love or hate this film, the romance is hot, hot, hot and Ralph is hot, hot, hot and the story is sad, sad, sad.




Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)





Weddings and funerals through the eyes of Charles, played by Hugh Grant.

Hugh Grant's bumbling is about as cute and romantic as it gets. He was the charmer of the 90's.

The big moment in this film from a librarian's point of view was the eulogy. 

Hordes of people came into the library wanting to know where it came from.  And remember, people, this was pre-Internet, meaning NO Internet.  We had to find this crap by looking through book after book after book.

So here it is:  It's "Funeral Blues" by W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good. 


Moral:  If you are looking for love, attend some weddings and funerals.



The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)





Is it possible to fall in love with a ghost?  Yes!






Jerry Maguire (1996)


"You had me at Hello" has become a catch phrase, but when Tom declared to Renee, "You complete me."  Sighhhhhhh




Last of the Mohicans (1992)





The classic James Fennimore Cooper novel come to life and boy does it. 

When Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye says to Cora (Madeleine Stowe),

"You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you." 

I almost fell out of my seat, I swooned so much. 

His loincloth didn't hurt either. 

Take advantage of this because you don't see Daniel Day-Lewis in romantic roles that much these days.  He prefers to be an oddball.






Love Actually (2003)




Eight different couples deal with their love issues during a frantic Christmas season in London.

It's charming little Hugh again.  He was the romcom darling of the 1990's+.





Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955)





This is what happens when you fall in love with a married man.

If this poster doesn't get you, the theme music will...

"Loooove....is a ma...ny splen...dored thing...." 

They pretty much act out this song.

Love is a many splendored thing
It's the April rose
That only grows in the early spring
Love is nature's way of giving
A reason to be living
The golden crown that makes a man a king
Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist
Two lovers kissed
And the world stood still
Then your fingers touched
My silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love's
A many splendored thing
Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist
Two lovers kissed
And the world stood still
Then your fingers touched
My silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love's
A many splendored thing




Love Story (1970)





Two college kids from opposite backgrounds fall in love after a lot of snappy patter. Everything is hunky dory until she develops a cough.

Ryan O'Neal was probably one of the most handsome actors of his day and Ali McGraw was no slouch, though she couldn't act worth a damn. 

(Possible spoiler:  though if you haven't read the book or seen this film where have you been?)

The moment where you will lose it:  at the end when Oliver gets up on the bed with Jenny in her last moments.



Notting Hill (1999)





A bookshop owner meets a famous actress.  Love ensues...eventually.

Beautiful London scenes and Hugh again.



Now, Voyager (1942)





A homely spinster takes off her glasses, spruces herself up and finds love.

Two of THE most classic romantic film moments: 

When Paul Henreid puts two cigarettes in his mouth and lights them and gives one to Bette.   It caused quite a stir.

The other at the end when Charlotte Vale says to Jerry, after everything she has been through, "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."

If that doesn't put a lump in your throat, nothing will.




An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)






The officer has to jump through quite a few hoops to become an aviator.

But he certainly is a handsome gentleman, especially when he lifts his beloved out of her dreary life and into his arms.

This is the film that brought fame to Louis Gossett Jr. for his portrayal of the tough sergeant and Richard Gere was at his most handsome and edgy.  Directed by Taylor Hackford, who directed "Ray" and other films.  He also happens to be Helen Mirren's husband.

"Love lifts you up where you belong..."




Sleepless in Seattle (1993)




The young son of a widowed architect who is grieving for his wife calls in to a late night talk show to try to find a new wife for his Dad.

Written and directed by Nora Ephron, this is a sort of homage to "An Affair to Remember," with the same excruciating miscommunication and characters just missing each other.


Splendor in the Grass (1961)




Young love, wrong side of the tracks, doom.

You can't have two more beautiful people fall in love than Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood.  They did in real life too and you can see it in the film.



Titanic (1997)




I know there are haters out there. C'mon haters.  How can a love story set against one of the most famous, dramatic and heart-breaking maritime tragedies fail?  It doesn't. 

Leo is one of our most underrated actors and I love Kate.  And for god's sake, it won Best Picture.  James Cameron pulled out all the stops when it came to the sinking of the ship.

 And love endures even after death. "The heart will go on!"



Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)






This is one of those love stories where two beautiful young people pledge their undying love and then he has to go off to war, not realizing she is pregnant. 

In those days, you needed to find a daddy for the baby (no baby daddies in the sixties). Life and circumstances intervene and when Guy returns, he discovers Genevieve has gotten married so he does likewise.  When they finally meet up again, it is too late.

And the entire movie is sung...in French. But it is gorgeous.  Catherine Deneuve, gorgeous cinematography and gorgeous music.  The music won three Academy Awards and I am sure you remember, "(If it takes forever) I will wait for you."



The Way We Were (1973)




This is what happens when a Republican marries a Democrat!

Another lush romantic theme song and score and one of the most poignant endings in romantic film history.  A similar ending to "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," but more bittersweet.



Are there any I need to add to my list?



Now, The Week in Reviews

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, whose charisma and sales genius helped him rise to the top as a Wall Street stockbroker and whose high living lifestyle, and I mean high, and questionable business practices finally brought him down
As I say repeatedly, Leo DiCaprio is one of Hollywood's most underrated actors.  Hopefully he will be recognized for his incredible performance here.  The rest of the cast is first rate too. The screenplay is fantastic (rightly nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay) and Scorsese's direction is brilliant. 

It has all of the Scorcese touches:  humor, edgy characters, sex and the f-bomb thrown all over the place. 
It's a long film, but it's engrossing all of the way.  Watch for humorist Fran Lebowitz as a judge and the real Jordan Belfort when he introduces Leo in the closing scene.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Gritty, sometimes offensive, always brilliant.  One of the very best films of the year.



***DVDS***
You Might Have Missed
And Some You Should Be Glad You Did
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)
In the UK, ex-lovers are forced to work together on a high profile terrorist case.

It stars Rebecca Hall and Eric Bana, two wonderful actors who have not yet reached stardom.  They will.


Rosy the Reviewer says...This is one of the best movies of 2013 that you didn't see.  See it!




Runner Runner (2013)




A young online poker enthusiast seeks out the offshore entrepreneur he thinks cheated him.

Justin Timberlake is a good enough actor but his voice can be annoying at times.  Ben Affleck just wasn't that believable as a bad guy.

Rosy the Reviewer says...lackluster.






***Book of the Week***






The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (2013)


This New York Times bestseller and first novel was eight years in the making and tells the story of William Talmadge, who despite his hard life, finds solace in the orchards of eastern Washington State during the 1800's.

This epic story seems to ask the question, "Why were we born?"

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like novels with a strong sense of place, such as you find with John Steinbeck or Toni Morrison, you will like this book.


***Musical Theatre***



Monty Python's Spamalot



If you are a Monty Python fan, you will enjoy this musical version of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," with other schtick thrown in. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...even if you are not a Monty Python fan, this is a fun evening of music and silliness.  Catch it if it comes to a town near you.  You won't be sorry.


***My New Favorite Restaurant***



Loulay (600 Union St., Seattle)

From Thierry Rautureau, the "Chef in the hat," comes this wonderful new venture in the heart of downtown Seattle.  With the demise of Rover's, his fine dining establishment in Madison Park (it closed last June), he has added this bistro that combines his wonderful French cuisine and high quality service with the casual ambience and lower prices today's diners prefer.

I had the cod with the celery root puree and the miso nage and it was the best piece of fish I have ever had.  The sauce was to die! Hubby felt the same about his salmon.  I couldn't believe my cod was only $!9.  However, if you are a big eater, I recommend adding a started and/or a salad (the house salad was large and delicious) and, because the desserts are delicious, you should indulge.  I recommend the pear tart. The service was on point - always right there when the time was right, never cloying.

Perfect place to dine if you are going to the theatre downtown.

Too bad you didn't make a rezzie for Valentine's Day.  It's also a romantic spot.

Rosy the Reviewer says.... Seattlites, make your reservation now. 
On the Saturday night we were there, it was packed.  And if you don't live in Seattle, but want to visit, put it on your list.

That's it for this week!

See you Tuesday

for a tribute to

"Daughters."

Thanks for reading!
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