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Love is in the air Plenty of romance for those fond of films

If you're in the mood for love, you'll have no shortage of romantic movies to choose from over the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day.

In the upcoming big-screen romantic comedy "Because I Said So," Stephen Collins plays the love interest of Diane Keaton, proving that love blooms at any age. Collins is so appealing and handsome that you have to wonder why the actor, who has starred as the patriarch of the Camden clan for 10 seasons on "7th Heaven," hasn't played the romantic lead more often.

That was what he played in one of his earliest films, "The Promise." Collins starred as Michael, a rich college student cruelly torn from his poor artist fiancee (Kathleen Quinlan) by his conniving mother after a tragic car accident. "The Promise" was a Lifetime movie before there were Lifetime movies -- a sappy and overly sentimental romance. But, as Michael says in the movie, "It feels good to be corny."

If this sounds like a Danielle Steele novel, that's because the screenplay for "The Promise" was adapted by Steele for what became her first best-selling novel.

"The Promise" is the "bonus" movie on the "Danielle Steele Collection" ($19.98, Universal), a two-disc set that also has the made-for-TV movies "Palomino," "Secrets" and "Star." You don't even have to know what the other movies are about -- the name Danielle Steele says it all. Among the stars you'll see: Jennie Garth, Josie Bissett and Lee Horsley.

*The "Girl's Night in Collection" ($54.99, Paramount) has five guilty pleasures that are a great way to spend a cold winter night inside. The best of the lot is "Just Like Heaven," a likable and lighthearted romantic fantasy starring Reese Witherspoon as a spirit living in the apartment of Mark Ruffalo (speaking of actors who don't play romantic leads enough). Also included: Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock in "Forces of Nature"; Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson in "What Women Want"; Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days"; and Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel and Kate Bosworth in "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton."

*If the names Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Colin Firth and Renee Zellweger are more to your liking, check out "The Romantic Favorites Collection" ($29.98, Universal), a four-disc set featuring "Notting Hill," "Love Actually," "About a Boy" and "Bridget Jones -- The Edge of Reason."

*One of the biggest screen romances in recent years was in the Oscar-winning "Brokeback Mountain," now available in a two-disc "Collector's Edition" ($26.98, Universal). The set comes with large color postcards, suitable for framing, that capture some gorgeous and emotional scenes from the film.

Among the new features is the documentary "A Groundbreaking Success," where the filmmakers, actors and critics discuss how the movie was brought to screen and its surprising success. They don't shy away from discussing the early fears that the film would be homogenized (or heterosexualized, as one person says) for mainstream audiences. ("We would rather the movie didn't get made than it get made dishonestly," says producer Diana Ossana.) The filmmakers are also good sports when discussing the "Brokeback" jokes.

It's still especially touching to hear the stars discuss the movie.

"It's just a story of love, and love exists in all shapes, sizes and forms and does transcend all. We recognized it as being a beautiful story and one that should be told," Heath Ledger says.

"The struggles and trials it takes to be in love and keep it going is what it's all about," says Jake Gyllenhaal.

*Fox Home Entertainment has also released a slew of affordably priced romances, starting as low as $14.98, including "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," the film that brought together Hollywood's golden couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; "Ever After," a sweet retelling of Cinderella starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott; and "Moulin Rouge," starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

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DVD Extra

WALKER, TEXAS RANGER -- THE SECOND SEASON: Those who can't get enough of Chuck Norris can rejoice in this seven-disc set featuring all 23 episodes from the 1994-1995 season. ($49.99, Paramount. Available Tuesday.)

e-mail: truberto@buffnews.com

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