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The Quick Take for December 13, 2013

Streaming Picks

It's Christmas time! Settle in with a steaming cup of cocoa and check out the holiday movies on Netflix. The surreal animated The Polar Express is based on the children's picture book and great for the whole family. If you're looking for a classic, try White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby. I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown is also available. And for a more sober but sweet Christmas drama, try Midnight Clear with Stephen Baldwin.

Critics Roundup

The Christmas Candle, based on Max Lucado's book, was released by EchoLight Studios (helmed by former senator and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum) and features Susan Boyle in her first acting role. Plugged In's Adam Holz gave it five stars (or plugs, rather), saying it "stands in sharp contrast to the shallow, Santa-saturated sentimentality that surrounds it." And Susan Ellingburg of Crosswalk calls it "a triumph of inspiration (that doesn't feel like the typical Christian movie)." But the critics are not unanimous. Peter Sobcynski of RogerEbert.com remarked that the film contained no objectionable content, but "the trouble is that the filmmakers have also neglected to include such other elements as wit, style, energy or anything resembling a coherent narrative." And Steven Merry of the Washington Post seems to agree: "[It] might be the ideal movie for Christians in search of family-friendly entertainment, but its appeal won't stretch beyond that demographic. It's hard to imagine this tale of tradition and miracles leading skeptics to contemplation, much less faith." (Our reviewer Ken Morefield gave it two stars, and said it "earns it respect," and "it is a pro-faith film with empathy for the doubters and a Christmas film that celebrates the hope of the season.")

Movie News

Jason Segel will play David Foster Wallace in the upcoming The End of the Tour, an adaptation of the book Although Of Course You End Up Being Yourself. Jesse Eisenberg will play the book's author, Rolling Stone writer Jeff Lipsky, who took a five-day trip with Wallace near the end of his Infinite Jest book tour. Read more about the cast here.

Spider Man's enemies will have their own films. Sony announced that Venom and Sinister Six is in the future of the franchise, but not until the completion of The Amazing Spider Man 3. Read more here.

House of Cards returns! Get ready for the second season of Netflix's critically-acclaimed, award-winning hit political drama on Valentine's Day. Here's a teaser trailer for the new season.

Taylor Lindsay is a fall intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.

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The Quick Take for December 13, 2013