The Quick Take for November 1, 2013
Streaming This Week
Looking for something to watch at home this weekend? A collection of Winnie the Pooh adventures is now on Netflix—one of my personal favorites. Who says it's just for kids? If you're looking for something action packed (though light on story), the new thriller Redemption is now available, starring Jason Statham. The 1974 version of The Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford, is streaming, and the TED Talks series Head Games provides and interesting look at some of the science behind behavior.
Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline have all come together for a coming-of-old-age story—Last Vegas—and according to The San Francisco Chronicle, it's surprisingly heartfelt. The San FranciscoChronicle's Mick LaSalle says it "has a serious purpose, and the resolution of the men's journey of realization is anything but corny." The Washington Post's Stephanie Merry seems to agree: "'Last Vegas' may not deliver potent originality, but it's much funnier than that first one-minute glimpse implies." However, the critics are not unanimous on this one.Crosswalk's Christa Banister, in an article titled "The Laughs are on Life Support," said of the story that "no one ever gave the audience a reason to care, which is why what happens in Last Vegas won't be remembered once the credits roll."
Critics are resoundingly praising Matthew McConaughey's performance in Dallas Buyers Club. After its first screening at the Toronto Film Festival this year, The Hollywood Reporter' s David Rooney said "the Focus Features release will get its biggest assist from the tremendous gusto of Matthew McConaughey's lead performance . . . the surprise is how funny he makes the story of a man pushing back death." The New Yorker also praised McConaughey's depiction of real-life Ronald Woodroof (read an except here). Despite the great acting, the film is receiving plenty of scrutiny for its portrayal of those struggling with AIDS in the 1980s. Peter Knegt of Indiewire criticizes the film: "It's impressive, but is it really worthy of becoming one of just a handful of films that represent this harrowing time in American history? . . . 'Dallas Buyers Club' completely fails to portray the magnitude of the situation at hand."
Tina Fey and Robert Carlock are putting together another NBC comedy. This new show will star Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids, The Office) as a woman who leaves a doomsday cult and starts her new life in New York City. Read more here.
Another young adult novel is turning into a movie. If I Stay is about a teen in a coma, and Chloe Grace Mortez will star alongside Jamie Blackley (Snow White and the Huntsman). It's part of a bigger trend: there are over 60 YA novels with purchased film rights, promises of production, or actors already on board. Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Magician's Nephew, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are just a few of these. For a long list, read more.
Taylor Lindsay is a fall intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.