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Notes from the back row

Just Not That Into this movie

February means the spring rut is almost upon us and romance should be in the air. Luckily, dating in Whistler is a bit different than other parts of the world. Up here you just go to whichever club is having its big night, drink moderate-heavily, wait for the lights, and take home whatever is left. It's pretty simple actually, and if you slip some bus fare into his/her shoe, you can fake-sleep all morning if you're really just not that into it.
He's Just Not That Into You, the latest chick-flick from Drew Barrymore's company, opens this Friday at the Village 8 and paints a much more complex picture of the dating scene in the rest of the world. And it ain't pretty.

There is a crapload of talent in this flick though, with Justin Long and Ginifer Goodwin leading the way, backed by Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Anniston, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Connolly and even the Silver-Tongued Devil himself- Mr. Kris Kristofferson.

Unfortunately, this chatterbox relationship movie about the complexities of dating and communicating in a technological era is also two-hours and ten-minutes long and watches like a bunch of barely related episodes mashed together with some direct-to camera self-help monologues in between. Better than the Sex and the City movie but lacking in both humour and romance (integral ingredients of good romantic comedy). He's Just Not That Into You certainly doesn't make anyone want to jump into the urban dating pool anytime soon. Dudes unlucky enough to be dragged into this one are at least given the chance to empathize with one character's moral dilemma - What would you rather? Scarlett Johansson or Jennifer Connelly? Tough call.

You know what else is tough? Stop-motion animation - movies shot with real sets and models, frame by painstaking frame. Coraline, also opening Friday, is a dark and delicious fantasy that's one of the best stop-mo films ever. Based on a book by comic master Neil Gaiman and animated by uber-genius Henry Selick (The Nightmare before Christmas) Coraline is about a little girl with a mundane life who finds a secret portal into an alternate world where everything is awesome and her new mom is super cool and her favorite cooking ingredient is sugar. And she has creepy black buttons sewn over her eyes.

Magically animated and filmed in pant-shitting 3D (the first stop-mo ever filmed that way) Coraline is a cautionary tale about getting what you want and is both familiar and original all at once. The Village 8 doesn't have 3D but this flick is a must-see regardless, the perfect mix of fear and joy.

There's less joy in Push, a B-Grade actioner set in Hong Kong about some good guys fighting some bad guys and everyone has mutant powers like telekinesis, telepathy, or the ability to see the future and make sketches of it rather than just tell people what you saw. Hong Kong looks great and the mind-fighting is sort of fun but the story won't be winning any awards.

Frost/Nixon might though, so it's playing again and is about as good a movie about two people sitting down and talking as one can hope for. Also opening is the new Steve Martin vehicle Pink Panther 2, which reminds me of a joke - What's the difference between Steve Martin Pink Panther movies and a bucket of shit?

The bucket. You can use that joke on your second date, dear readers, to show off your wit. Movies make a great Whistler second date, and give you both something to talk about that night at the bar while you wait for the lights to come on.