Looking for the perfect appetizer or dessert after your romantic Valentine's Day dinner? The cinematic cupid combo of Hollywood and Milwaukee movie theaters have you covered with love stories scattered across the city this weekend – and none of them are "Fifty Shades of Grey" movies!
Here's where you can find love on the big screen – or on your streaming screen – this weekend.
"Isn't It Romantic"
There's only one new release timed for Valentine's Day weekend, but I guess that's all you need when it covers the bases for romantics and cynics at the same time. "Isn't It Romantic" is a meta rom-com about a woman (Rebel Wilson, "Pitch Perfect") who gets knocked unconscious and wakes up inside a romantic comedy with all the cliches. Gay best friend? Check. Chirpy musical numbers? Sure. Sex? Nope; sorry, this is a PG-13 rom com.
Whether you loathe or love swoony Hollywood romances, "Isn't It Romantic" should fit the bill – and best of all, it's just 88 minutes long, meaning you'll still have the rest of your date night afterward for drinks, a late dinner or sexy times of whatever MPAA rating you prefer.
"Magic Mike XXL"
No joke: "Magic Mike XXL" is a cinematic treasure. There we all were, in 2015, living our normal lives when this smooth, silky bomb of accepting, sexy, easy-going, eager-to-please joy struck theaters and made everything better. If you don't like a movie where Joe Manganiello dances around in a gas station convenience store with the simple hopes of just making the cashier smile and reinvigorating his creative passion, I DON'T LIKE YOU.
So join the Oriental Theatre on Saturday night as we hop back in the food truck and take another laid-back cross-country tour with a bunch of guys who just want to make the world more enjoyable for all women – one good time at a time. Bring singles.
Where and when: Oriental Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.
"Beauty and the Beast"
Just in time for the most romantic time of the year, the Disney classic is returning to theaters – the original, not the remake that decided that what the animated love story needed was a lead actress with weaker vocals, 40 extra minutes and a trip to plague-stricken Paris. And if you needed a reminder why the 1991 Best Picture nominee didn't need an update, revisit the gorgeous original back on the big screen this Valentine's Day weekend – and then cook yourself and your significant other up some of the "grey stuff"!
Where and when: Most Marcus Theatres locations; check the website for showtimes
Need a date idea this weekend AND behind on catching up with the Oscar nominees? Some local theaters have your back this weekend with some big screen love stories up for big awards.
"A Star is Born" retells a classic bittersweet Hollywood story with new flourishes and angles – more peeing definitely this time! – along with arguably the song of the year: "Hair Body Face." (No, just kidding, it's "Shallow.") Surprise three-time nominee "Cold War" tells a similarly aching story of musicians falling in and out of love, this time set against post-WWII Europe and shot in sumptuous black-and-white. And then there's "The Favourite," a tale of palace intrigue and power struggle as well as a romance in its own peculiarly vicious way. And also there's a duck race, so that should definitely be your pick.
Where and when: "A Star is Born" is showing at the Marcus Saukville and Marcus Showtime. "Cold War" is screening at the Oriental Theatre and Marcus Ridge. "The Favourite" can be found at the Oriental Theatre, Marcus Saukville and AMC Mayfair.
"My Fair Lady"
If none of this year's Oscar nominees are hitting that right romantic spot for you – and admittedly it's a melancholy, bittersweet and, in the case of "The Favourite," oddball bunch – maybe a "loverly" past honoree will do the trick.
Just in time for Valentine's Day – and just in time for the upcoming dumpster fire that will be the 2019 Academy Awards – Marcus Theatres are bringing back "My Fair Lady," the Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison musical that snagged eight awards back in 1964 including Best Picture, for a screenings on Sunday, Feb. 17 in honor of the film's 55th anniversary. As either an Oscar pregame or a final Valentine's Day weekend date, "My Fair Lady" would make a very fair choice. (And in case you've already got plans on Sunday, the movie will come back for an encore screening on Wednesday, Feb. 20.)
Where and when: Assorted Marcus Theatres locations on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m.
Think people have moved on from Nicholas Sparks and this 2004 hit adaptation? It wasn't over ... it still isn't over. Even if you eyeroll at all the usual Sparks-ian heart-string tugging – hey Noah, maybe don't threaten to kill yourself on a Ferris wheel in order to get a date – there's no denying the star power and romantic chemistry of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
Where and when: Thursday night at the Avalon Atmospheric Theater at 8 p.m.
"Black Love Through a Black Lens"
For a special Black History Month-themed Valentine's Day, the Oriental Theatre presents "Black Love Through a Black Lens," a collection of romance-themed short films on the special day. The screening will be followed by a community discussion, moderated by Dasha Kelly Hamilton, at 8 p.m. at the Back Room at Colectivo on Prospect.
Where and when: Thursday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Oriental Theatre
Netflix and chill
Haven't had enough of bunkering in this Wisconsin winter? The Big Red Streaming Monolith has plenty of options for those who prefer the romance of a couch, a blanket, a bottle of wine and a bowl of popcorn that hasn't been sitting in a warmer for four hours. Here are just a few:
- "West Side Story": You can find just about anything on Netflix ... unless it was made before 1980. The streaming company is making baby steps toward fixing this, however, and that includes this iconic Best Picture-winning musical that's as swoon-worthy and incredible now as when it first hit screens in 1961.
- "To All the Boys I've Loved Before": Where'd all the new romantic comedies go? Apparently to Netflix, where the company's made several smashes for the streaming service – including the charming teen romance "To All the Boys I've Loved Before," about a teen girl's who life gets turned upside down when her love letters get broadcast across school.
- "Set It Up": See above about Netflix and original comedies – save this one is about two executive assistants trying to play matchmaker with their bosses. In a just world, Glen Powell would be a gigantic star ... but we don't, so just enjoy him in this light, fluffy fun time.
- "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind": Hello, you've entered the melancholy portion of the Valentine's Day romance picks. First up: "Eternal Sunshine," a bizarre and heartbreaking tale about a guy trying to literally erase his ex from his memory. Fifteen years later, there's still been nothing else like it.
- "Her": Melancholy Netflix Pick That Sounds Weird On Paper #2: "Her," Spike Jonze's Oscar-nominated romantic drama about a man in the nearby future who falls in love with his Scarlet Johansson-voiced computer. Sounds crazy, I know, but the only thing crazy about it is how much it'll break your heart.
- "Carol": OK, after this pick, we'll move on to lighter, happier fare. But you should definitely check out "Carol," a lesbian romance starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara that's utterly beautiful and bittersweet.
- "Silver Linings Playbook": Should this serious-minded rom-com about dancing away mental illness and quirky relationships have been an Oscar winner? Probably not. Does it still make a charming and sweet movie to watch on Valentine's Day? Definitely! Just ignore the Weinstein Company credit.
- "Sex and the City": Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha's original big-screen reunion works not only as a nice rom-com but as a perfect send-off to these beloved characters. Shame that they made a second one.
- "Bull Durham": Forget "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day." The best romantic speech in any art form is Kevin Costner's "I believe" number. Plus, what better way to get the heart pumping in February than a love story AND a reminder that baseball is almost back?
- "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World": Just your classic "boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy must fight and defeat girl's seven evil ex-boyfriends" story. You won't see a movie with faster energy or an even quicker wit.
If you're more of an "Amazon and hangout" or "Hulu and lounge" couple, there's Valentine's Day streaming options for you as well. Hulu currently has the Sandra Bullock romance classic "While You Were Sleeping," while Amazon Prime packs "The Big Sick," "Hitch," "What If" and the six-hour BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth. Because hey, why not celebrate love the whole weekend long.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.