February 14, 2018
Bright StarFebruary 14, 2018
Romance / 2009 / 119 minutes
New Zealand director, screenwriter, producer and Dame Jane Campion has been on the forefront of great women filmmakers since her 90s arthouse classic The Piano, which landed her the Palme d’Or at Cannes, a first for female directors. Her 2009 film Bright Star sees Campion back in the realm of biographical dramas, this time focusing on the engagement between celebrated Romantic era poet John Keats (Ben Wishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abby Cornish), a love affair that would prove the most fertile era for Keats’ work. In framing the story from Brawne’s perspective – herself an outspoken, intelligent individual – Campion allows for period-piece sentimentality without diminishing her heroine to the role of simple muse, and the gorgeous cinematography of Mark Bradshaw gives the film a dreamy, languishing air. With Paul Schneider and Kerry Fox.
MoonstruckFebruary 14, 2018
Romance / 1987 / 102 minutes
Marking something of a comedic comeback for director Norman Jewison,1987s Moonstruck met with critical and commercial success, minting both Cher and Nicolas Cage as major movie stars. A screwball romance that takes place during a full moon over Brooklyn, the story follows a widowed 37 year-old (Cher) from a Italian-American neighborhood who, after being pressured into an engagement to a man she doesn’t truly love (Danny Aiello), falls instead for his hot-tempered brother (Cage) who is holding on to old familial grudges. Adding color and big laughs are the other romantic entanglements of the uniquely New York Italian clan, the standout being an affair between mother Olympia Dukakis and a college professor, played by recently departed character actor John Mahoney. Love for the film resulted in Oscar wins for Cher, Dukakis, and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley, placing it deservingly in the ranks of all-time great romantic comedies.
Harold And MaudeFebruary 14, 2018
Romance / 1971 / 91 minutes
It’s hard to imagine that Hal Ashby’s counter-cultural classic Harold and Maude was not beloved upon release – perhaps 1971 audiences weren’t ready for an existential romantic comedy about a young man who falls in love with a 79 year-old woman. But thanks to Ashby’s light directorial touch, clear affection for his characters, and the wonderful performances of Bud Cort as the death-obsessed Harold and Ruth Gordon as the life-loving Maude, the film is now considered a definitive cult comedy and the go-to cinematic statement on individuality and the importance of life lived to its fullest. Recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 comedies of the 20th century and selected for preservation by the National Film Registry, Harold and Maude is proof positive that critics aren’t always right the first time around. Featuring music from folk rock icon Cat Stevens, including the unforgettable and uplifting “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out”.