The Quick Take for September 20, 2013
Ricky Gervais in "Derek"
Streaming This Week
Looking to catch up? All the new episodes of Breaking Bad are on Amazon Instant Video, as well as this summer's blockbuster Star Trek: Into Darkness. You can also catch the fun animated film Lilo and Stitch on Netflix. And at long last, just in time for this week's premiere of New Girl, the second season of the hit sitcom starring Zooey Deschanel is up on Netflix.
To everyone's surprise, the Netflix series Derek is apparently a heartfelt, kind show—and that's throwing off critics, who aren't sure what to make of the naive, sweet, and peevish title character, played by the never-any-of-those-things comedian Ricky Gervais. The Guardian's Mark Lawson speculatesDerek is either "an exercise in bigoted cruelty" or "that Gervais is not portraying someone living with an identifiable syndrome. But, for me, this is a weakness of the series." Other critics have been similarly confused about the nursing home caretaker who specializes in naivete and niceness—as Rolling Stone's Scott Neumeyer says, "You might not expect that a series produced, written, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais would find a way to bring a tear to your eye, but that's precisely what the comedian's new show Derek manages to do throughout its seven-episode run." Neumeyer calls Derek "another win" for Netflix. Whether it's thick sarcasm or a new sincerity, Gervais says, "For me, personally, it's my favorite thing I've ever created or worked on. I love Derek more than any other character. In fact, I wish I were more like him."
The new HBO comedy Hello Ladies—starring Gervais' long-time collaborator Stephen Merchant—is chock-full of awkwardness and wins in the writing department. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com says that Merchant is "a comedian willing to embarrass himself in startling ways . . . and his fearlessness in pointing out his flaws in stature and social grace makes for great comedy." Similarly, The Guardian's Brian Logan praises Merchant's mock-egotism: "As an attempt to step out of Gervais's shadow, it's a resounding success."
The Disney movie version of Into the Woods has begun filming, and will star James Corden (Doctor Who), Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. Boasting a significant amount of musical talent, the film will be the next big test since Les Mis of a stage production's transfer to the big screen.
Ben Affleck finally commented in a video interview on his upcoming big role as Batman to Jimmy Fallon. He also said, "I can handle the Emmy snub, I can handle anything... Just don't use the internet for a couple of days" in response to the barrage of internet woes and rants.
Disney Pixar has moved up Maleficent, the Sleeping Beauty story told from the villain's perspective starring Angelina Jolie, to 2014. Meanwhile, Finding Dory will now premiere in 2016—and FindingNemo fans will have to just keep swimming until then.
Taylor Lindsay is a fall intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.