BAM‘s repertory film program, just back from hiatus, continues its welcome tradition of a Valentine’s Day dinner-and-a-movie screwball comedy special, this year featuring the inspired comedy of remarriage The Awful Truth, with a very in-form Cary Grant and Irene Dunne . (Dinner’s sold out, but, you know, there are several restaurants in Fort Greene, and this movie has wings.) Something about 30s romantic comedies this year, it seems: Film Forum features the clippy/dippy William Powell and Carole Lombard (affectionate ex-spouses at the time!) in the zing-y love-hate class-relations primer My Man Godfrey, double featured with Easy Living, a Preston Sturges script directed by sensitive screwball Mitchell Leisen. (Tomorrow, meanwhile, they show their favorite pre-Production Code movie, the anti-romantic Baby Face, in which Barbara Stanwyck sleeps her way up the corporate ladder.)
And though it’s in danger of being overshadowed by its star’s apparent Andy Kaufman/Grizzly Adams tribute, James Gray’s Two Lovers, which opens today, is indeed an achingly felt love story — and, indeed, piece of cinema. The L’s Michael Joshua Rowin is right to respond to with such sincerity: it’s a deeply, earnestly romantic movie, less for its conclusions than its commitment. Including, yes, Joaquin Phoenix’s.