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WEEK AT THE MOVIES: Two romantic films and one anti-hero hit the screens

EMRAH GÜLER | 2/13/2010 12:00:00 AM |

This week at the movies sees films that are geared toward the Valentine's Day crowd, along with Turkey's anti-hero extraordinaire, Recep İvedik.

Two different films on love and romance for two different tastes hit the screens this week. “Bright Star” tells the tragic love story of 19th century poet John Keats and his muse, Fanny Brawne. “Valentine’s Day,” meanwhile, lines up a cast of “who’s who” in Hollywood as a number of couples lose and find love on Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the anti-hero of Turkish cinema, Recep İvedik, returns in the third installment of his series.

[HH] ‘Bright Star’

New Zealander director Jane Campion, who brought us such larger-than-life period dramas like “The Piano” and “The Portrait of a Lady,” brings yet another story to screen set in the 19th century, telling of the passionate love affair between the last of the British romantic poets, John Keats, and the girl next door, Fanny Brawne.

The relationship lasted only two years due to Keats’ tragic death at the age of 25. Ben Whishaw stars as the young poet while Abbie Cornish stars as his muse, who had no interest in poetry whatsoever. Campion’s beautiful visuals, which have become a trademark, match the spirit of Keats’ romantic poetry and the impassioned relationship.

Who should watch it? Those who have missed a sweeping period drama on screen, those interested in literary biopics and couples who would like more than a bland dinner on Valentine’s Day.

Who should avoid it? Those who don’t want to put a face to a literary figure given that it hasn’t been proved to be the best ode to a favorite writer following offerings such as “Sylvia” (Sylvia Plath) and “Iris” (Iris Murdoch).

[HH] ‘Valentine’s Day’

This star-studded romantic comedy aims at a very specific target audience trying to figure out what to do on a very specific weekend. And when we say star-studded, we mean it. The cast includes Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Lautner, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts and Taylor Swift. The director who once made a romantic comedy legend with “Pretty Woman,” before stepping down to the level of such mediocrities as “Georgia Rule,” takes a big risk in assembling such a big lineup of actors, thus raising expectations to a whole new different level.

Who should watch it? A movie with a name like “Valentine’s Day” knows very well who its audience is. And the audience knows it too.

Who should avoid it? Those who don’t like mushy, sentimental Valentine’s Day storylines.

[HH] Recep İvedik 3

The untamed, vulgar anti-hero of Turkish cinema once again takes his popular place on screens, heading for yet another box office success. Taking its name from its protagonist, the first two in the “Recep İvedik” series proved to be the highest grossing movies in the respective years of their release. At the same time, they also became the most loathed films to come to screens in the minds of critics and intellectuals. Before becoming one of the most popular characters in Turkish cinema, Recep İvedik had enjoyed some moderate fame as the anti-hero in comedian Şahan Gökbakar’s sketch shows, generating a modest fan group on YouTube. Gökbakar has now turned his character into a cash cow.

Who should watch it? Those who enjoyed the blunders of Recep İvedik in the first two installments of the series.

Who should avoid it? Everyone. Even if you want to go see a comedy, don’t forget the !f Independent Film Festival has plenty to offer.

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