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The Quick Take for August 1, 2014
Image: Sony Pictures Classics
Emma Stone and Colin Firth in 'Magic in the Moonlight'

Streaming Picks

New to Netflix this week is the crime drama Out of the Furnace. Our friends over at Indiewire wrote a great review of the film starring Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson—read it here.

If you're looking for a show to start watching with your kids, but can't find anything good on TV, check out Amazon Prime's original live-action children's show. Annedroids "combines comedy, mystery and action in a low-key style," says The New York Times' Mike Hale, with young actors who are actually funny. Read Hale's full review here.

Amazon Prime users can now instantly stream Annie Hall, Woody Allen's classic 1977 rom-com starring Diane Keaton and the director himself. It will make you homesick for New York City, even if you've never lived there.

Netflix recently released The Saratov Approach, a self-proclaimed "inspirational true story." This film follows what happens to two missionaries in Russia who are abducted and held hostage.

Critics Roundup

Mood Indigo "is quirky, but quickly runs out of steam," says Crosswalk's Christian Hamaker. He believes the film is more of a romance in the sense of a Wes Anderson film, and although this is not a bad thing, his approach "undercuts the emotional investment that should make us care deeply about Chloe's (Audrey Tatou) affliction." Variety's Boyd van Hoeij agrees that although the film is whimsical, it doesn't quite make the cut. "The film frequently privileges art direction over emotion and a constant sense of wonder based on visuals alone proves impossible to sustain." One of director Michael Gondry's (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Green Hornet) biggest mistakes is his desire to satisfy the fans. According to van Hoeij, "Part of the problem is that Gondry tries to inject too many elements from the novel in an attempt to satisfy fans hoping to see their favorite scenes onscreen."

According to Christa Banister of Crosswalk, "smack dab in the middle of" Magic in the Moonlight, Woody Allen's 44th (!) film, he "actually allows his pride-filled protagonist to ponder an afterlife, the existence of an unseen "spirit realm" and whether prayer truly makes a difference." Banister calls this a "surprising change" for Allen, and although it's no Annie Hall, it's "an enchanting little film" that "explores the magic found in the everyday." Although Banister sings the films' praises, Variety's Scott Foundas suggests that "whenever Firth and Stone are onscreen together, the movie sings; the rest of the time it's never less than a breezy divertissement." Despite this, Foundas admits "France does seem to bring out the best in Allen, who . . . has delivered one of his most beautifully made films."

Movie News

The long-awaited final movie in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy is almost here. This week the trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released. Check it out here.

In a Comic-Con panel this week in San Diego, Quentin Tarantino confirmed that he will be directing The Hateful Eight, despite originally deciding to forgo the movie because of leaked pages. Find out more about the upcoming movie and the rest of his Comic-Con discussion here.

Hunger Games fans: the wait for the first Mockingjay trailer is finally over! Although there have been several teasers, this week, we caught our first glimpses of Jennifer Lawrence reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen. Watch Lawrence and Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer in the new trailer here.

Jamie Foxx is set to take on the role of Mike Tyson in an upcoming biopic. Although Terence Winter is still in the process of writing the sports flick, producers are anxious to tell the story of one of boxing's biggest names. Find out all the details here.

Larisa Kline is a summer intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City. She tweets @larisakline.

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The Quick Take for August 1, 2014