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Streaming Picks

Plenty of good stuff to watch on Netflix this weekend. If you're in the mood for a magical flying car, there's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; James Bond fans can revisit GoldenEye. For your 80's fix, check out the The Breakfast Club. And if you are up for a terrific, creepy, well-made movie based on a historical event, check out Zodiac, David Fincher's tense thriller.

Critics Roundup

Last week, the controversial sequel Kick-Ass 2 hit theaters, growing $13.33 million. But the critics weren't all too impressed. Kyle Smith at the New York Post said it "sometimes felt like being trapped in a room with the funniest guy in seventh grade." The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl said there's "a kernel of ugly human truth at the core of the Kick-Ass fantasy," but that "this sequel is better in every way except one: surprise." Chris Cabin at Slant compared the film to one of its own characters, a "fraudulent, sadistic, and wealthy twerp who's desperate for any kind of attention his audience can provide." Several reviewers pointed out that Jim Carrey's character is a born-again Christian. In the end, though, Ali Arikan's review at RogerEbert.com summed up a lot of people's reactions: it's one of the "year's worst films," a "reprehensible movie."

The biopic Jobs also released last weekend, with Ashton Kutcher starring as the Apple founder. The film grossed $6.71 million, and reviews were moderately good, with Kutcher garnering praise from many critics. Joe Neumaier at the New York Daily News said it was "entertaining and smart, with a great, career 2.0 performance from Ashton Kutcher." Eric Kohn at Indiewire said the film was "stylish," but that the "screenplay fails to make the human element count." And Tyler O'Neil at the Christian Post pointed out that many Christian reviewers saw the film as a warning about the dangers of making work an idol.

Movie News

Lee Daniels' The Butler opened big last weekend ($25M), topping the box office returns and nearly matching The Help's opening weekend ($27M). It turns out that church groups played a big part: black church groups bought block tickets in advance, and the Weinstein Company had sought consultants like Bishop T.D. Jakes to assist. Read more at Indiewire.

In other news: The Weinstein Company signed a multi-year licensing deal with Netflix to make the subscription-based service the sole service for TWC films, starting in 2016 (more). The classic zombie film Night of the Living Dead is getting rebooted, this time in 3-D (more), and Ben-Hur is getting remade (more). New images were released from the production of the next X-Men film (more), and new posters from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 showed up, too (more). And finally, a barn-burning trailer from this coming October's The Counsellor (the Ridley Scott film written by Cormac McCarthy) will give you chills.

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The Quick Take for August 23, 2013