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The Quick Take for October 4, 2013
Image: Scott Garfield / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck in 'Runner Runner'

Streaming

It's a new month—and that means new flicks on Netflix! The classic Ghostbusters is out just in time for Halloween, as is The Italian Job. Terrence Malick's latest, To the Wonder, is available, if you're looking for a meditative drama (read our review here). And the five seasons of the small-town government mocumentary Parks and Recreation are available (much to the joy of those of us trying to catch up).

Critic Roundup

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney don spacesuits for Gravity, and a lot of critics are falling for it. This haunting odyssey is a New York Times Critics' Pick; A.O. Scott says that "in a little more than 90 minutes (it) rewrites the rules of cinema as we have known them." Keith Phillips of The Dissolve gave it four and a half stars, proclaiming, "As a piece of craftsmanship, it's remarkable, even making 3-D feel like an essential component of the imagery." And Kate Erbland of Film School Rejects called it "a marvel of technical filmmaking" and praising its "jaw-dropping, eye-popping appeal." (Read our review here.)

At the other end of the spectrum is Runner Runner, a crime thriller starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, which is barely getting critics to come along for the ride. The Huffington Post's Todd McCarthy calls it tawdry: "There's no undercurrent, no intoxicating hook used to snare the audience," which is necessary for a film trying to hold its own in the action genre. According to McCarthy, director Brad Furman "stuffs" the screen with fluff: "luxurious digs, fancy cars, cool boats, private jets and parties loaded with scantily clad women." And Timberlake isn't enough to keep it afloat, "surprisingly bland in a role he's a little too old to occupy" (A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club).

At long last, Breaking Bad has come to an end, with a conclusion more sad than bad. At Vulture, Matt Zoller Seitz declared the season finale "a Dickensian reckoning, with closure galore but minus any real sense of hope." For more details and a few spoilers, read more.

Movie News

Phillip Noyce (Salt, 2010) will be directing the upcoming The Giver, based on Lois Lowry's 1993 novel. Among the cast is Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, and Taylor Swift, and the film is set to begin shooting in South Africa. Read more here (and then Google extensively to find links not related to Swift joining the cast).

This summer's blockbuster zombie apocalypse movie World War Z is getting a sequel, but Marc Forster won't be directing it. Brad Pitt will have to come up with a plan B. Read more here.

Narnia fans can rejoice, but with mixed emotions: The Silver Chair is going to be a movie, while the originally planned Magician's Nephew is no longer on the immediate horizon. Read more here.

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

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The Quick Take for October 4, 2013