Movies out today: quirky action and family friendly fare

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Million Dollar Arm

The first of our new releases this week is Million Dollar Arm, a “based on a true story” comedy drama. In a last-ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein (John Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a Major League Baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm.”

Although it may be sappy and incredibly predictable, Million Dollar Arm has managed to charm its way into the hearts of enough critics to earn a respectable 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. And that’s the highlight of this week, judging by everything else that’s on offer, it’s all downhill from here…

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And So It Goes

Next up is the Rob Reiner directed rom-com And So It Goes. Wilfully obnoxious to anyone who might cross his path, realtor Oren Little (Michael Douglas) wants nothing more than to sell one last house and retire in peace and quiet — until his estranged son suddenly drops off a granddaughter he never knew existed. Clueless about how to care for a nine-year-old, he pawns her off on his determined and lovable neighbour Leah (Diane Keaton) and tries to resume his life uninterrupted. But little by little, Oren stubbornly learns to open his heart – to his family, to Leah, and to life itself.

If that sounds like a pile of drivel, that’s because it probably is. Sitting on a woefully unromantic 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, And So It Goes is generic and forgettable, with an awkward, plodding narrative that, despite its efforts, adds nothing to the rom-com genre.

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Drive Hard

Former race-car driver Peter Roberts (Thomas Jane) traded the winner’s circle for a 9 to 5 job as a beginners’ driving instructor. But his life shifts into overdrive when Simon Keller (John Cusack) hijacks Peter to be his getaway driver in a $9 million heist.

Billed as a “quirky action comedy” (and could it be anything else with John Cusack?), Drive Hard hasn’t had many reviews yet. But, if the trailer is anything to go by, you’re in for a boringly average plot, hopefully balanced with lots of banter and excellent car chases. Hopefully.

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If I Stay

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, If I Stay tells the story of Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz), who thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley). But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance while she has to decide her fate.

Surprisingly enough, this isn’t based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, although it may as well have been. Critics are calling If I Stay a manipulative, soppy tear-jerker, but the teen audience it’s aimed at may appreciate it.

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Last Updated: September 19, 2014

Tracy Benson

All about movies, board games, cider, sci-fi, fantasy and geek culture.

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