Can you train men like dogs?
By Robert Moyes
Given the formulaic nature of romantic comedies, it’s worth noting when something comes along that adds even a tepid spritz of imagination to the mating dance as depicted by Hollywood. So let’s have two cheers for Think Like a Man, which uses as inspiration the real-life relationship primer Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Written by black actor and comic Steve Harvey, the book tells women how men think, so that they can better manipulate those horny, crass beasts into becoming desirable mates.
The movie shows a group of basketball playing, bar-hopping guys and what happens when the women in their lives get hold of Harvey’s book and start gaming them. The men represent different “types” such as the Mama’s Boy, Mr. Can’t Commit and The Player — with each one requiring a different management strategy. Harvey’s advice is actually serious, albeit very old-fashioned, and is soon working wonders. But eventually the men folk find out what the ladies are up to and sneakily start using the book against the women to further their agenda. This, of course, results in the inevitable crisis that leads to the equally inevitable resolution where games no longer need to be played and love sings in sweet harmony.
Although the cast is mostly lesser-known black actors, they are skilled performers who make the most of working within the script’s tight geometry. Think is a sassy battle of the sexes and the laughs are frequent, if sometimes glib. And there is enough underlying truth to Harvey’s advice that it adds a tang of contemporary truth to a genre that, too often, has nothing in common with real life. M
THE DICTATOR -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen will likely be at his politically incorrect best in this crazy comedy about a North African dictator who gets into surprising trouble in New York City. Starts Wed.
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL -(Odeon/Uni 4) A diverse group of British seniors seek out an affordable retirement hotel in India, only to find it in shabby disarray. But despite the initial disappointment, India’s exotic charms win them over. This comedy’s great cast includes Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Judi Dench. Starts Fri.
BATTLESHIP -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) The classic Hasbro board game sails into the cineplex, transformed into a sci-fi epic as a naval armada does battle with a terrifying extraterrestrial force. Starts Fri.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) This non-traditional chick flick looks at five couples confronting the joys and challenges of becoming parents. Starring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez. Starts Fri.
★★ AMERICAN REUNION -(Caprice) The original American Pie was a raunchy but sweet-natured comedy classic. The sequel is like week-old pastry: crude, crumbly and tasteless.
★★★ THE AVENGERS -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore/Uni 4) A mob of Marvel-ous superheroes comes together to help prevent a global apocalypse, in a decent but uninspired orgy of one-liners and special effects. The galaxy of greatness includes Iron Man (Robert Downey), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Captain America (Chris Evans).
★★★½ THE CABIN IN THE WOODS -(Capitol) Noted screenwriter Joss Wedon (Buffy) has a great deal of fun deconstructing the horror genre in this demented tale about five kids who go to party at a remote cabin and get way more than they bargained for.
★★ DARK SHADOWS -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) Tim Burton directs Johnny Depp in a tepid adaptation of the campy 1970s soap opera that featured a family of dysfunctional vampires. Fangs, but no fangs.
★★★ THE DEEP BLUE SEA -(Odeon) The great Rachel Weisz (Whistleblower) plays a judge’s wife who is caught in a self-destructive love affair with an air force pilot. Based on a play by Terence Rattigan.
★★ DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX- (Caprice) This is an over-stuffed, garishly coloured eco-parable that is preachy and only fitfully engaging. Featuring the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift.
★★½ THE FIVE–YEAR ENGAGEMENT -(Odeon/Caprice) Emily Blunt and Jason Siegel star in a sweet but meandering rom-com about a couple who endure an unusually long engagement that causes stress for various family members.
★★½ THE HUNGER GAMES -(Capitol/SilverCity/Caprice) With Twilight fading fast, the latest teen sensation is this fantasy account of a future world where every year 24 young people are selected to fight to the death on live TV. Everyone else seems to love this movie, but other than for the great lead performance by Jennifer Lawrence, I found this derivative and a bit cheesy.
★★½ MIRROR MIRROR -(Caprice) Here’s an over-the-top but still entertaining retelling of the Snow White fairy tale starring Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane and Armie Hammer. Directed by noted visual stylist Tarsem Singh (The Cell).
★★★ THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS -(Odeon/Westshore) The Aardman Studios crew (of Wallace and Gromit fame) set sail with this rollicking — and extremely silly — spoof of all things piratical. Featuring the vocal talents of Hugh Grant, Salma Hayak and Jeremy Piven.
★★★ SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN -(Odeon) Lasse Hallström (Chocolat) directs Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt in a whimsical tale, part satire and part romantic comedy, about a fisheries expert who becomes a consultant to a sheik who wants to bring the sport of fly fishing to the desert.
★★½ THINK LIKE A MAN -(Capitol) Four buddies decide to turn the tables on their women after they discover that the ladies have been using a “male psychology” book to get the better of their men. This is a moderately funny and fresh take on the romcom formula. See review.
★★★ 21 JUMP STREET -(Caprice) The TV show about undercover cops in high school jumps to the silver screen, getting a spoofy and raunchy makeover in the process. As guilty pleasures go, this one is pretty darned funny. Starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
★★ SAFE -(Odeon)
THE LUCKY ONE -(SilverCity/Caprice)
JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND -(Caprice)
★★½ DAMSELS IN DISTRESS -(Odeon)
SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM NIGHT -Come see a documentary detailing the little-known war of terror that Cuba has been subjected to since the Revolution. THURSDAY, 7pm, 2994 Douglas Street.
MOVIE MONDAY – Screening Fathers and Sons. This recent film by Vancouver director Carl Besai employs lots of improvised dialogue as four very different families confront a pivotal moment in their relationship. MONDAY at 6:30pm in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
VIC FILM FEST- is also screening Keyhole. Directed by the ineffably weird Guy Madden (My Winnipeg), this stars Jason Patric in a noirish tale that is a journey into memory that is set in a haunted house. FRIDAY & SATURDAY, 9pm, at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas. Cash only!
CRAIGDARROCH DOC -Victoria’s extraordinary Craigdarroch Castle is the subject of a documentary (that also includes a lot of Victoria history as well). See the movie then prowl the castle with fresh eyes. FRIDAY, 7pm, 1050 Joan Crescent.
VIC FILM FEST-is showing Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. Directed by Morgan Spurlock (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) this is an insider look at the world’s largest collection of fanboys and dress-up nerds as they descend on San Diego for an annual comic book fest of intergalactic proportions. THURSDAY, 7pm; FRIDAY, 7pm; and SATURDAY, 4 & 7pm, at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas. Cash only!
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Tickets are available 40 minutes prior to showtime. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
★★★½ THE GIRLS IN THE BAND -(Wed.-Fri., May 16-18: 7:15, 9pm) Jazz fans will love this smart and engaging documentary chronicling the little-known history of female jazz musicians.
SOUND VISION -(Sat., May 19: 4/7/9pm) This festival of silent cinema scored to live music begins with Charlie Chaplin shorts; the second program features various shorts; the evening ends with Fritz Lang’s classic sci-fi tale of dystopia, Metropolis.
★★★★★ LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS -(Sun.-Mon., May 20-21: 7pm only) Dubbed “the Gone With the Wind of art films” by Andrew Sarris, this is a sublime romantic tragedy set in the theatrical demimonde of Balzac’s Paris (but filmed during the Nazi occupation).
INTO THE ABYSS -(Tues., May 22: 7:10, 9:15) Legendary German director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Cave of Dreams) “gazes into the abyss of the human soul” as he explores both a triple homicide in Texas and the nature of a state that believes so strongly in capital punishment.
NORWEGIAN WOOD -(Wed.-Thurs., May 23-24: 7, 9:30) Lovely and languid, this evocative love story set in the 1960s and focusing on 20-something students is adapted from the best-selling novel by Haruki Murakami. From the director of The Scent of Green Papaya.
21 Jump Street – 7pm (Fri-Thur)
American Reunion- 9pm (Fri-Thur)
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – 2pm (Sat, Sun)
Mirror, Mirror- 3:45pm (Sat, Sun)