How to “Think Like A Man”

By Karina Schultheis

Steve Harvey’s 2009 bestselling book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” was transformed into an entertaining, though predictable, feature film chronicling the lives of four men and their romantic counterparts through the whirlwind battle we affectionately call relationships.

“Think Like a Man” was released in theaters last Friday and grossed more than $30 million opening weekend. Boasting an extremely talented cast (including Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart and Meagan Good), the actors make up for what the plot lacks with their acting and inherent chemistry. Their relationships are believable and relatable despite the foreseeable arguments and scenes.

The men are introduced first and categorized by their “type” or personality: The Player. The Happily Married Man. The women are also labeled: The Girl Who Wants the Ring. The Woman Who Is Her Own Man. The complications that arise from the age-old controversy of male vs. female is the underlying theme of this film, but while this subject has been overplayed in nearly all rom-coms, the insight from Steve Harvey’s advice provides a unique twist.

The drama unfolds much like “Valentine’s Day,” or “He’s Just Not That Into You” — the men get together to play basketball and complain about their “ladies” while the women bond over drinks and dinner…and complain about the men. Advice is shared and nothing really changes.

That is, until the women discover “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”

As soon as the women learn the “secret” to making their certain type of man fall in love, thewar is on. Strategies and manipulations ensue, and for a period of time the women seem to finally be in control of their relationships. But inevitably, the men discover the reason behind their lovers’ changed attitudes and refuse to back down without a fight. As the women pretend to be less needy and attached, the men pretend to be more chivalrous and committed. As the women withhold sex, the men pretend not to want it. It seems to be a recipe for disaster, but as many in the “dating game” can attest, these war tactics are often successful.

There is not much down time in the film, and chatty banter keeps its momentum. Plenty of witty one-liners are interwoven into the script to spark laughter, but overall the characters are too type-casted to be believable. Perhaps this was the intention, considering the labels deployed on each person (after all, Kevin Hart is “The Happy Divorcee,” not “The Happy Divorcee Who Actually is Still in Love and Hasn’t Realized Yet that His Own Insecurities Are The Root of the Issue and He Might be Making a Huge Mistake”).

I definitely laughed and enjoyed the hysterics; it’s not a bad date-night movie. But if you are watching your pennies and only go to the movies on special occasions, I would save this film for Netflix. Go see “Hunger Games” instead.

My overall rating? B+.


Zac Efron took a walk to remember in “The Lucky One”

By Kayla Cohen


“The Lucky One,”  is the story of a sergeant in the Marines, Logan (played by Zac Efron,) who finds a photograph of a beautiful girl named Beth (played by Taylor Schilling) in the rubble after a night raid. After keeping the photo as a good luck charm, and narrowly escaping death on numerous occasions, Logan promises himself he is going to find that woman and thank her for saving his life. And that is exactly what he does.

Like most of the Nicholas Sparks’ novels turned into films, “The Lucky One” does stray a bit from the original storyline.

In the novel, the photograph of Beth is with two men in front of a ferris wheel. Also, the back of the photo says “Keep Safe, E.” In the film, Beth is standing by herself with a lighthouse in the distance and the back of the photo says “Keep Safe, X.”

The location also differs. In the novel, the story takes place in North Carolina, but in the movie it is located in Louisiana.

A huge difference is that in the novel Logan’s dog saves Beth’s son’s life, but in the movie the son is saved by his father.

My only big complaint is that the film also lacks the chemistry between the main characters as shown in the novel. The lack of intimate scenes is understandable, since the rating was PG-13. But, this film just didn’t show the heart-wrenching chemistry like in the other Sparks’ movies. Efron and Schilling’s romance just didn’t cut it this time.

Is “The Lucky One” one of Nicholas Sparks’ best adaptations? Sadly not. But then again, every movie can’t have a love like in “The Notebook.”


Cultures of Resistance: The Human Spirit Lives On

By Daniel A. Shyti

In the same place where companies like Microsoft and Nokia reap their mineral wealth, you will find the same Uranium used for the atomic bombs dropped in World War II.  You will find that pessimism runs deep where a million members of an ethnic group are systematically hunted and killed.  But where life is never guaranteed, people make art to survive.

“Cultures of Resistance,” is an independent film focusing on members of victimized populations around the globe.  Brought to GMU’s Johnson Center Cinema courtesy of the Middle East Studies Program, “Cultures of Resistance,” (directed by Iara Lee)  contains footage compiled since 2003 on five continents.

The documentary offered a rare opportunity to attach a face and a name with people living in tragedy – from genocide in Rwanda to industrial exploitation in the Congo.  More specifically, there was a focus on the valiance of the human spirit manifested in the form of artistic expression, which somehow manages to thrive in even the most devastated regions of the world.  The film stresses the powerful role art can play in galvanizing a revolution.

Though non-violent protest is not a new concept, it is rare to have such an unobstructed view into the lives of the peaceful protestors as offered in “Cultures of Resistance.”  The film truly accomplishes its goal of removing the viewer from their own, narrow, cultural scope by launching them straight into the everyday chaos of afflicted societies.

There is usually minimal background information provided about the nation under scrutiny and the plethora of cultures are blurred together with little transition.  Rather than obscure the message of the documentary, however, this actually enhances it.  You are forced to see these people not as citizens of a foreign land, but as human beings with whom you can relate to on an emotional level.  You feel bombarded by images of mutilated ex-child soldiers and landmine victims, and yet you also see people making poetry, music and graffiti to cope with and overcome adversity.

“Cultures of Resistance” has an altruistic message that encourages cultivation of the mind and soul in spite of in spite of conflict in the political sphere.  Most of us have seen the recent explosion of the KONY 2012 campaign, which is now entangled in controversy, but “Cultures of Resistance” offers something that cannot be ignored – a sense of value for human life.


Let the Best Man Win

By Samita Mason

Funny, adorable and beautiful actress Reese Witherspoon is back with another comedy. This Means War, released on Feb. 17, 2012 involves two CIA agents who find out they are dating the same woman.

Special agent FDR Foster (Chris Pine), and special agent Tuck Henson (Tom Hardy) are best friends. FDR is a womanizer who tells the ladies that he is a captain of a cruise ship. Tuck has an ex-wife, young son and introduces himself to women as a travel agent. After seeing a commercial for online dating, he decides to sign up and meets Lauren Scott, played by Witherspoon.

Shortly after their first date, Lauren bumps into FDR at a video store. He flirts with her, asks her out, and soon the men find out they are dating the same woman. The friends make a pact not to have sexual relations with her and let Lauren decide who she wants to be with.  Their pact quickly gets broken when feelings begin to develop. They use their CIA technology to spy on her and find out what the other is doing with her.

“This Means War” is a hysterical movie that will have you laughing from beginning to end. The practical jokes that each agent plays on one another, girl talks with Lauren and her best friend and the lies to win the woman make this a fun comedy from start to finish.

Gone and Forgotten


Peeking into cinematic history, films with the word Gone” in the title have had huge success. Gone with the Wind, Gone Baby Gone, and Gone in 60 Seconds are great movies that come to mind. Unfortunately, the new blockbuster, Gone, will not be joining that list.

Gone, starring Amanda Seyfried hit theatres this past Friday. Seyfriend plays Jill, a woman who claims she was abducted over a year ago and never saw her attacker. The local police didn’t believe her causing the investigation to be dropped, dragging Jill deeper into psychological torment. When Jill’s alcoholic sister, Molly, played by Emily Wickersham, was also abducted, Jill’s gut tells her that it’s the same attacker.

The story continues at a moderate pace as Jill looks for her sister on her own.

Jill keeps telling lies upon lies, making the seperation from fact and fiction a little hard to follow. It’s hard to trust the main character if her actions and intentions are not completely clear. The film has many small climaxes, but nothing to make the viewer have an “oh my god” moment.

Overall, the movie was a huge dissapoinment. Gone is like a boring game of Clue that almost all the players gave up on. Seyfried’s character is not easy to understand or disect, mostly because she’s just an uncontrollable wreck. In time this movie will be gone and forgotten.

With Great Power … What Would You Do?

By Donovan Hall

Most super power movies come out with thousands of fans waiting to see their beloved comic book story on the big screen. However, “Chronicle” is a unique and twisted view on the idea of super powers that strays away from comic books.

“Chronicle” is the tale of three friends who discover super human abilities via a giant glowing rock underground. The story follows Steve, the school’s most celebrated jock, Matt, a self righteous hipster, and his cousin Andrew, a lonely wastebasket for the world to dump its problems on. Once the boys stumble upon these powers, their previous social roles suddenly become insignificant and the question arises; What would you do if you had super powers?

Even though it isn’t based on a comic, “Chronicle” is similar to some super hero stories in how the boys accidentally gained super human abilities, but besides that, the movie differs from your average comic book movie in a few ways.

First off —  the movie is shot from a hand held camera that Andrew holds. This effect gives off that “faux documentary” style that has become popular ever since “The Blair Witch Project.” Thankfully, Andrew has steady hands because a good number of these movies that use this style think that it’s ok to have the camera man have epilepsy. Plus, throughout the movie the fluidity of the camera gets better and better.

Something else that separates this movie from other super hero flicks, is the lack of focus on the background story of the powers. In a genre that’s already hard to believe, adding a detailed back story to where powers come from can really take away all plausibility. This movie does just the opposite, by focusing on the ramifications of the discovering the powers and leaving some malarkey back story behind. By doing this it allows the story to focus on what happens to the characters when they are given this power and how it changes their views on the world.

This allows for excellent character development between the three boys. It’s not the overplayed story of super heroes and bad guys battling it out, but instead, a look at the idea of becoming all powerful and how they decide to use it in their lives. In reality, if people gained super powers suddenly, would they really rush to save the world from bad guys, or use it for their own gain?

Overall, the movie has believable acting, a memorable and slightly humorous script, characters you can care about and a story you can actually relate to yourself. What it has made me realize is that if I was given powers suddenly that I would lean more towards using them for my own means. Does this mean that I would be a bad guy or would I simply be adapting and evolving? Does great power always have to come with great responsibility or can it just come with the great ability to wreck things for the heck of it. Check out “Chronicle” and see for yourself.

Donovan Taylor Hall

“Red Tails” Plot Lacks Emotional Evocation

by Karina Schultheis

Amid a sea of romantic comedies and horror-suspense movies, the highly-anticipated WWII film “Red Tails” premiered last month. Chronicling the lives of the nation’s first all-African American aerial combat unit, the production boasted household names like Terrance Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and – of course – George Lucas.

Lucas spent close to 25 years reviewing logbooks, official transcripts, and interviewing surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen before the film hit theaters. He covered the entire cost of production with his own finances and provided millions of dollars to allow for distribution. The film was well-researched, well-funded, and well-casted.

So why did they play it so safe?

Despite the fact that the plot addressed multiple controversial themes, the dialogue remained strictly G-rated and at points was practically laughable. Many talented actors contributed to the production, but the plot did not provide adequate opportunity for their characters to develop into lovable and believable people.

The action sequences were exciting, sure; though even these were unrealistic. Considering how much time was spent identifying the different planes, anyone with an elementary knowledge of aviation would understand that many of the tricks depicted were simply impossible. And when a member of the unit is shot down, hurling towards his death, it is difficult not to roll your eyes at his epic last words: “Darn!”

The theme of overcoming racial discrimination is a clear undertone of the film. However, it is difficult to anger and inspire an audience when the actual scenes depicting racism are so underplayed. Profanity and violence are not always necessary, but the film seemed almost to cater to young children — those who certainly would not understand the social importance of what I believe the film was trying t0 say. Glancing through my middle-school history book would play on my heartstrings more than the discrimination seen in “Red Tails” scenes.

This hyper-censoring affected the rest of the film as well. Martin “Easy” Junior (played by Nate Parker) was blessed as perhaps the most developed character in the film. His obvious drinking problem, which causes a rift between his abilities to lead the squad and his ability to respect himself, is another real-world issue that the film attempts to address — but abandons too soon. One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when Easy pours out the remainder of his whiskey after his best friend Lightning (David Oyelowo) has died. Easy’s alcoholism is prevalent throughout the film, but it never truly comes to fruition. He drinks heavily (several times) before jumping into his cockpit during the most important missions. If the film was attempting to address the diabolical nature of alcoholism, why have Easy continue to be the hero? Why not show what really happens when an intelligent, kind, but nonetheless active alcoholic takes the reigns of heavy machinery while extremely drunk?

Overall, the film had incredible potential but fell short due to its unwillingness to take chances. If the producers and directors had been open to offending or disturbing a few people, the underlying purpose of the movie would have been much more direct and evocative. Racism, alcoholism, war, and death are not easily digested topics that parents want their young children to see. I doubt that “Red Tails” was a box-office hit for parents with young children.

So why cater to them? By throwing in a few realistic curse words, by showing a few despicable scenes which upset and inspired the audience, and by allowing the harsh realities of these themes to come to life — the film would have been miraculous.

As it is, it remains lackluster; like its characters Easy and Lightning.

Something that really should have been legendary, but for one reason or another, didn’t live up to its own expectations.