Valentine’s Day hits Seattle screens weird this weekend, with off-kilter romances old and new taking over theatres all across the city. Here they are in alphabetical order:
The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014) at SIFF Film Center: I haven’t seen this yet, but it was our friend Matt’s favorite movie of 2014. It’s an homage to the European softcore art-porn films of the 1970s. So I assume it’s pretty romantic with great music and some nifty dissolves.
Giant (George Stevens, 1956) at Cinemark theatres in Federal Way and Bellevue: James Dean makes a fortune in oil to impress Elizabeth Taylor, spends his super-wealthy life in misery when she still prefers Rock Hudson, apparently because she can’t understand a word Dean says because he’s always mumbling.
Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939) at the Cinerama: Vivien Leigh’s feisty Southern Belle falls for the one man she can’t dominate (Clark Gable), submits to him (sort of), then sabotages their romance with all the incandescent fire of an orange only achievable in Technicolor.
Guys and Dolls (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1955) at the Cinerama: Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando gamble on whether or not Brando can sleep with Jean Simmons (or “take her to Cuba” as they say). He gets her drunk, they go to Cuba. Also there’s gambling. And music. And everyone talks funny.
Harold & Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971) at the SIFF Uptown: Suicidal teenager falls for batty old lady. A favorite of every girl I went to high school with.
It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934) at Scarecrow Video: Paparrazzo Clark Gable stalks runaway heiress Claudette Colbert, destroys the undershirt industry with his daring chest.
Lady Snowblood (Toshiba Fujita, 1973) at Scarecrow Video: Meiko Kaji revenges herself on the people who raped her mother and killed her family. It is snowy and there is blood. Like all Valentine’s Days.
Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001) at the Central Cinema: Ewan McGregor invents the mashup and falls tragically in love with Nicole Kidman’s tubercular prostitute and then Kurt Cobain rolls over in his grave.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright, 2010) at the SIFF Uptown: A video game universe teaches bassist Michael Cera the key lesson about relationships: the other person is irrelevant, the important thing is to know that you are awesome.
Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959) at the Cinerama: Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dress in drag to escape mobsters. Curtis pretends to be Cary Grant to sleep with Marilyn Monroe. Lemmon hooks up with Joe E. Brown. Marilyn Monroe is pretty.
True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993) at the Central Cinema: Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette are so cool falling in love over a Sonny Chiba triple feature, coffee and pie. Then they travel across the country to make a fortune selling stolen cocaine. As we all do.