Friday, February 14, 2014

Romantic Entertainment for Valentine's Day?

I love a good romance, but I go for comedy, not weepers, which means on Valentine's Day, I do not turn to the four-hankie choices like An Affair to Remember, now playing at the Normal Theater, or whatever it is they've made of  Mark Helprin's epic novel Winter's Tale that they're trying to pass off as a Valentine's date movie.

Chocolat, the French romantic comedy from 2000 that stars Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, is a better option in my book. After all, chocolate and romance are a perfect match, and Swedish director Lasse Hallstr├Âm has a deft touch with the lighter-than-air material about a magical chocolate shop that brings freedom and sensuality to a repressed little town in France. Chocolat comes to the Normal Theater on Saturday and Sunday. so if you're snowed in tonight, you may want to defer your Valentine's plans till tomorrow to be able to take advantage of that one.

The Art Theater Co-Op in Champaign is going with the classic Casablanca as its Valentine offering. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman will share the memories of Paris and "As Time Goes By" today at 5 and 7:30 pm as well as 11:30 am tomorrow. If you prefer your True Love with humor, adventure and a little castle storming, The Princess Bride may be a better choice. The Art is offering it with quote-along group participation tonight at 10 pm, or without the quotes tomorrow at 10 pm and Sunday at 11:30 am. The beauty of this movie is how it manages to be both romantic and cynical at the same time, with generous portions of both heart and smarts.

What else is out there? ABC is counter programming the Olympics with Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown at 7 pm Central time, and the TV Guide Network is betting on Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan and Sleepless in Seattle, also at 7.

Otherwise, TCM is in the midst of its ramp-up to the Oscars, with a few movies with "heart" or "love" in the title today, like The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter -- not at all a romance in any way, shape or form -- at 4:45 Central time, and Love Me or Leave Me, a 1955 bio-pic about the turbulent life of singer Ruth Etting starring Doris Day, at 11 pm Central.

Netflix is releasing an entire season of its original series House of Cards today, too. The political machinations and evil-doing on display in this Washington DC based potboiler make for some twisted romance, that's for sure.

Plus, of course, there's always the Olympics. Maybe the luge, curling and a little figure skating are the perfect route to your heart?

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