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Grushenka’s Favourite Romances …So Far

by on 2011/02/28

February was Romance Month at I knew it was going to be hard. So very hard.

As I shared during my Music and Lyrics review: I’ve got a solid working relationship with drama. I’m good friends with comedy. I am best friends with action and crime and horror and suspense. But I have serious relationship issues with romance.

Turns out I may be more sensitive than I thought. Possibly. Maybe not. Here are my favourite films from’s month-long love affair with um, love.

CQ (2001)

“In my education, I’ve followed a couple of different paths. One exposed me to philosophy and, the other, cutting reels of magnetic tape with a razor blade. For me, writer/director Roman Coppola’s first effort recalls the tension between both of those endeavours. While Coppola makes gestures toward emotion, his results will appeal more to process-minded geeks than romantic seekers. Viewers may find their own connections and meanings, but the protagonists here are too blank or shallow to leave a lasting impression. The true star of CQ is Dragonfly, the movie within the movie. It proves that, sometimes, decoration is reason enough to seek out a film.”

(500) Days of Summer (2009)

“Though I hate to believe I’ve shared in his failings, I felt a discomfiting kinship with (500) Days’  Tom (Inception’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  As familiar with Small Wonder as Knight Rider, he spends stretches of his life clad in a black Unknown Pleasures shirt, revisiting old vantage points, scribbling madly.  Despite forays into The Clash and The Pixies, his true exuberance releases the spirit of Hall & Oates, and rogues we know shoot first. (500) Days of Summer is a bit like Fahrenheit 451, a measure by which hearts burn.  The tragedy, more than foreshadowed, is inevitable.  The interest lies in getting there.  The poignancy comes in its painful contrasts, happy glimpses standing in sharp relief against The End.”

Brick (2005)

“If famed Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni made an American teen drama, it would be a lot like Brick. Existentialist, post-modern, haunting, Brick, written and directed by Rian Johnson, put me in mind of The Passenger, sharing the same fondness for long, introspective shots of solitary figures in geometric corridors, tunnels and roadways. As the mystery unravels, so does Brendan. As I reached the film’s climax, I was hooked, line and sinker, on Brick. In love with the art style, the film noir language on my lips for hours after the credits rolled, Brick is a new obsession (and I do have a few).”

Annie Hall (1977)

“Annie Hall is hands down my all-time favourite movie. I watched it first at a very formative age, and every last bit of it crawled in under my skin and became a part of me. With each subsequent viewing, the biochemical changes deepen. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that everything I know about being a lady person was informed by Annie Hall. This film is why I tend to tell rambly stories that start in the middle and go nowhere. Or Annie Hall made me feel good about this inherent tendency of mine. It is really hard to say.”

Sid and Nancy (1986)

“With the roiling chaos that was The Sex Pistols as the backdrop, we watch the crazed, desperate love story of Sid and Nancy unfold. Oldman is pitch perfect, with the lost, naughty child quality I saw from actual footage of Sid Vicious. Webb gives her every last everything to the role, nailing the screeching, manic behaviours that gained Spungen the tabloid moniker ‘Nauseating Nancy.’

Enjoyable? Not in the strictest sense.  Romantic? Not conventionally. Fascinating? Definitely.”

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