Film/DVD

Valentine’s Day Viewing on a Budget

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You can’t miss with dinner and a movie at home.

by Nancy Ford

Times are tough, financially speaking. And when the going gets tough on Valentine’s Day, the tough get romantic without accruing mind-numbing, check-bouncing debt.

One frugal solution is to prepare an intimate dinner for yourself and your paramour. Follow a sumptuous meal with cuddling on the couch to the flicker of a new, gay-themed DVD. Toss in some rose petals leading to the bedroom, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a perfectly respectable celebration of love.

La CucinaHow about a menu of bruschetta, lemon rosemary chicken, and enslata caprese? Director Allison R. Hebble’s La Cucina (2007, Anthem Pictures) is an entertaining, tasty study focusing on those two most essential constants that inarguably rule the world: love and food. While coyly providing instructions for preparing the three aforementioned dishes, the film follows separate conversations about all the ingredients that make up a relationship—love, fidelity, expectation, and sexuality—all taking place simultaneously in the kitchens of a Melrose Place-like apartment complex.

Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks stars as Lilly, who learns that life’s banquet is as much about the preparing as it is the eating. The film also stars the Dorian Grey-like Rachel Hunter as well as Leisha Hailey, who plays it straight and pregnant, but with a healthy dose of Alice Piezecki quirkiness.

German director Monika Treut also gets romantic, but in a far artsier, more mysterious way, with Ghosted (2009, First Run Features). Shot in Hamburg and Tapei, the film focuses on a German lesbian who comes to terms with the loss of an old love as she confronts a new one. One drawback: Ghosted is in German and Mandarin with English subtitles, making your spontaneous, on-couch, mid-movie make-out session a bit difficult.

The only mystery about Ariztical Entertainment’s Be Mine, a gay romp about a gay man’s first gay kiss, and Mr. Right, Wolfe Video’s comedy about finding love, is that they were produced in the first place. But they do leave plenty of room for that on-couch, mid-movie make-out session. Bottom line, isn’t that the eventual goal of any Valentine’s Day?

PHOTO CAPTION: Rachel Hunter (l) and Leisha Hailey trade recipes for dinner and life in La Cucina, part of a smorgasbord of gay-themed DVDs available this month.
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