It can be hard to keep up with what's going on in the world of movies and television—but we're here to help out.
Each week in the CT Movies Quick Take, we check up on how the critics are responding to a couple recent releases, update you on the biggest movie news, and suggest a few picks to stream at home on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.
One quick read, and you're caught up for the week.
Streaming This Week
There's some new stuff on Netflix to check out this weekend—like the documentary Birdmen: The Original Dream of Flight, which gives a little insight into the lives of those people who jump off cliffs on YouTube. If you're looking for something a little more classic, try the family-friendly 60's thriller Charade (complete with Audrey Hepburn). Or if you're into gritty and bold dramas, Daniel Day Lewis stars in the critically-acclaimed Paul Thomas Anderson film There Will Be Blood.
The surreally sober I Declare War garnered a series of not-so-bad ratings from critics this week. When contrasted with the darker Lord Of The Flies, "writer/co-director Jason Lepeyre and his directing partner Robert Wilson take much of the allegorical sting out of Golding's work," says Scott Tobias at The Dissolve. But the critics who dug deep for allegory in this film found plenty of sting; Andrew Schenker at The Slant declared the movie's message to be "that real-life armed conflict is little more than the result of a childlike impulse to cause harm to others because of feelings of inferiority or a simple will to power." But most critics resound with Nathan Adams of Film School Rejects, who seems to be shrugging as he says "The film doesn't seem to be that dark. The main kid is inspired to play war games by Patton, after all, not Platoon."
On the other end of the spectrum, Passion has garnered raves about its cinematography and artistic execution. Peter Sobczynski of RogerEbert.com said that "this is a film that was clearly made by an individual, not a committee, and it shows in every frame." The film is a remake the French 2010 film Love Crime (which is available on Netflix). The New York Times' A. O. Scott said that Passion improves on its predecessor but even with new plot twists, it's difficult for director Brian De Palma to probe more of "the surreal and the preposterous" from a previously "workplace satire and a knowing comedy of feminine behavior, as well as a bloody potboiler," with a less comfortable cast who "rarely seem to believe what they are saying."
And CT's critic Ken Morefield, in addition to sending us daily updates this week from the Toronto International Film Festival (here's the first), blogged about the new Michael Landon, Jr. film The Ultimate Gift, which opens today in theaters.
It's Tweet-official: E.L. James informed her fans this week that Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam will play Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in the upcoming movie-version of the controversial book, 50 Shades of Grey. [More]
Another Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, is on the way, with a star-studded cast that includes Glenn Close and Bradley Cooper. But the big twist is that is that it's animated—and Cooper will play a raccoon. [More]
And the much-anticipated film version of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars will star the all-around teen-playing champion Shailene Woodley, recently seen in The Spectacular Now, and now comedian Mike Birbiglia (of his own feature Sleepwalk With Me). [More]
Finally! The new Downton Abbey trailer went online this week. Prepare for some British drama. [More]
Taylor Lindsay is a fall intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.