Movies out today: comedy, drama, and a bit of everything in between

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Here’s a fun fact: the original Dumb and Dumber came out in 1994. Twenty years ago. Damn, now doesn’t that make you feel old?

Dumb and Dumber To

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Two decades later, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have reprised their roles as lovable imbeciles Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne for Dumb and Dumber To, the sequel to Dumb and Dumber from original directing duo Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Lloyd and Harry are on a road trip to find a child Harry never knew he had and the responsibility neither should ever, ever be given.

I don’t know what you can expect out of Dumb and Dumber To. Both Carrey and Daniels have moved on to much bigger and better things, harking back to their ‘glory days’ has the potential be more sad than funny. But, if you feel like reliving the 90’s with a gross-out, goofball, road-trip comedy, then it’s all yours.

The Drop

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From Academy Award nominated director Michaël R. Roskam comes The Drop, a crime drama based on a screenplay from Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone). Starring Tom Hardy as lonely bartender Bob Saginowski, who is involved in a covert scheme of funnelling cash to local gangsters – “money drops” in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob finds himself at the centre of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighbourhood’s past.

The Drop has so far been called gripping and unpredictable, with particular praise being heaped on Tom Hardy’s performance, who once again proves his incredible acting prowess. Filled with slow-boiling drama, The Drop is worthy of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Laggies

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Overeducated and underemployed, 28 year old Megan (Keira Knightley) is in the throes of a quarterlife crisis. Squarely into adulthood with no career prospects, no particular motivation to think about her future and no one to relate to, Megan is comfortable lagging a few steps behind her peers, but an expected proposal causes her to panic and- given an unexpected opportunity to escape for a week – hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year old Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz).

Even though it’s told from a female perspective instead of from the usual “slacker man-child” stereotype, Laggies is a familiar enough story, with the usual pitfalls and clichés of any coming-of-age comedy drama. Bonus points if you know how to pronounce Laggies without an Afrikaans emphasis.

The Signal

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Three college students on a road trip across the Southwest experience a detour: the tracking of a computer genius who has already hacked into MIT and exposed security faults. The trio find themselves drawn to an eerily isolated area. Suddenly everything goes dark. When one of the students regains consciousness, he is in a waking nightmare.

If that blurb doesn’t tell you anything, don’t worry, most critics couldn’t really figure out what happened even after seeing the whole movie. While the final plot-twist raises more questions than it answers, the rest of the movie is heavy-handed and overly ambitious, but the visuals are stylish and surreal enough to earn 56% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tarzan

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A teenage boy raised by gorillas in Africa falls for a pretty conservationist following a chance meeting in the jungle, but finds their romance threatened by a menacing Silverback, and a scheming capitalist in search of a new energy source in this animated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic tale.

If you’re looking for a version of Tarzan that is Phil Collins free, then this is the one you want to watch, but don’t blame me if you’re horribly disappointed. The motion-captured CG is a let-down, the characters are dull and lifeless and the voice acting barely passes muster. Overall, a lack of substance and imagination makes Tarzan a swing and a miss.

When the Game Stands Tall

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“Inspired by a true story”, When The Game Stands Tall tells the “remarkable” journey of “legendary” football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel), who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport. When the streak is broken, and tragedy strikes the team, Coach Lad must teach his players – and the entire town – that it’s not about how you fall, but how you get back up.

Yaaaaawn! So basically, it’s every inspirational sports drama ever. You practically don’t even need to watch it after reading the blurb, you know exactly what’s going to happen. If for some reason you do want to go watch it, be wary of developing diabetes from all the sickly-sweet feel-good superficial drama, and know that it only got 18% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Love is Strange (Cinema Nouveau)

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After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot in an idyllic wedding ceremony in lower Manhattan. But when George loses his job soon after, the couple must sell their apartment and – victims of the relentless New York City real estate market – temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements.

With excellent performances by Lithgow and Molina, critics are raving about Love Is Strange. It’s artsy, it’s poignant, it’s bittersweet and authentic, it’s the kind of movie that critics would rave about anyway. Clearing 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, if you feel like bawling your eyes out over a modern love story, then this might be your movie this weekend.

Pride (Cinema Nouveau)

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Inspired by an extraordinary true story, Pride takes place in the summer of 1984. Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all.

In parts both clumsy and schmaltzy (gosh that’s a fun word to say!); Pride still manages to hit all the right notes in a way that only a British comedy-drama could pull off. Besides, it’s got Bill Nighy, and he’s awesome. If you’re looking for an uplifting, inspirational feel-good movie, Pride beats the pants off of When the Game Stands Tall, with 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Skeleton Twins (Cinema Nouveau)

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When estranged twins Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bill Hader) feel they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong. As the twins reconnect, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship.

Both laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly sad, The Skeleton Twins hits all the right notes as an off-beat indie comedy-drama. Critics have praised both Hader and Wiig for what could be their best performances to date, with new-found depth and impressive range from both actors, earning a solid 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Last Updated: November 14, 2014

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