The Quick Take for September 14, 2013
Robert De Niro and Dianna Agron in The Family
Streaming This Week
Last year's independent film Safety Not Guaranteed did not receive nearly enough attention. So if you're looking for a simple romance with a little profundity and deadpan humor, check it out on Netflix. For some fascinating (and inspiring) history set in New York City, watch Man On Wire, a documentary about Philippe Petit's walk across a high wire between the Twin Towers. And families may enjoy J. J. Abrams' Super 8, a hopeful story that feels like a less abrasive mix of Sandlot and Indiana Jones.
Critics aren't raving about The Family, whose target audience seems to be everyone but actual families. The New York Times' Stephen Holden says it "might be described as screwball noir." Thanks to abrupt tonal shifts and abandoned subplots, Holden finds that only the "hot performances" of De Niro and Pfeiffer salvage the film. But other critics found nothing at all; USAToday's Claudia Puig called it "bland and bloody," saying "the film might have included funnier culture clashes, but instead, it goes for obvious gags and running jokes that fall flat."
The marriage of violence and horror in Blue Caprice, a film about the lead-up to the 2002 shootings in Washington D.C., garnered praise from critics. Director Alexandre Moors, according to Keith Phipps of The Dissolve, is not as concerned with what happened as much as how, as the story unfolds in a way that "finds no clear answers, but that suits both the horrific event and this haunting, elusive film."
Prequels are hot in Hollywood.
Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is teaming up with Warner Bros. for a new film franchise set in the Potter universe. She's writing a screenplay for the first movie, titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This time the magic is found in New York City, 70 years before Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts. Her screenwriting debut will not involve Daniel Radcliffe's famous spectacled character this time; it will focus on Newt Scamander, the grandfather of Luna Lovegood's eventual husband.
And a prequel spinoff from TV's Breaking Bad is in the works, focusing on the backstory of Saul Goodman, Walter White's lawyer. The premiere of the final episodes of White's saga held a record high of 5.9 million viewers, and so it's safe to guess that Better Call Saul will seek success with the same crowd, even though Walter White and Jesse Pinkman won't be featured.
Taylor Lindsay is a fall intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.