V-Day Weekend Releases


Need something to do on Valentine’s Day weekend with your wife, husband, partner, date, parent, close buddy or miscellaneous Significant Other? Hollywood hopes you’ll celebrate by going to the movies, although some V-Day weekends are more consumer-friendly than others.

In 2015, the holiday period – lo, the Planet Earth pop-culture discourse – was dominated by the debut of Fifty Shades of Grey, the racy rom-lit adaptation that went on to gross nearly $600 million worldwide. No such blockbusters are on the mid-February slate this year, although Grey ingénue Dakota Johnson is going the romantic comedy route with How to Be Single, which boasts the additional bona fides of Drew Barrymore as producer and Alison Brie, Leslie Mann and Rebel Wilson as co-stars.

The other top new V-Day weekend releases seem like exercises in counter-programming: Deadpool, with Ryan Reynolds as the sardonic antihero superhero, and Zoolander 2, the too-long-delayed (15 years!) sequel to the Ben Stiller-Owen Wilson-Will Ferrell comedy about dunderheaded fashion models.

At the Flint Institute of Arts, the Valentine’s Day weekend offering is a romantic comedy, albeit one from England. Man Up – coming to the FIA on February 12-14 – pairs Simon Pegg and Lake Bell in a quirky tale of a thirty-something woman who finds a potential match in a guy who mistakes her for his blind date.

She could rectify the mistake early on, but that would ruin a budding romance born from a sense of adventure. It would also make for a much shorter movie than the 88-minute concoction praised by the Los Angeles Times as “frequently laugh-out-loud funny and … immensely satisfying.” As they usually are, Pegg and Bell are highly engaging, and the British know how to make good rom-coms (as in Four Weddings and a Funeral, for example, or Love, Actually).

Also confirmed for February in the FIA’s Friends of Modern Art film series are a documentary about a groundbreaking African-American dancer and an award-winning comedy from Mexico.

The documentary, to play February 5-7, is A Ballerina’s Tale, which chronicles the rise to fame of ballerina Misty Copeland amid a career-threatening injury and concerns over race and body image in the dance world.

Coming February 19-21 is Mexico’s Gueros, in which an unruly 12-year-old comes of age by hanging out with his college-student brother and his slacker friends. There are some political themes, but mainly the film is entertaining fun, a dizzy road trip of sorts.

Another February screening is Last Night, a romantic drama to be shown February 11 as the finale in a series of films about African American issues and culture presented in collaboration with Communities First, Inc. Last Night was a multiple award winner at the 2015 American Black Film Festival.

For other February attractions, as well as information on all screenings at the FIA, visit flintarts.com or dial 810.234.1695.

Simon Pegg & Lake Bell in Man Up


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