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The Quick Take for February 28, 2014
Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell returned in the second season of 'The Americans'

Streaming Picks

Thor: The Dark World is good, campy fun, and now it's available on DVD and Amazon Instant Video. (Here's our review.) For family night, The Tigger Movie is now available on Netflix. The critically-acclaimed Sofia Coppola film Somewhere is newly available on Netflix as well. And your classic comedy-drama pick of the week is the 1960 film The Apartment, which you can find on Netflix.

Critics Roundup

Oscar predictions abound with only a few days left till the big event. For "Best Picture," many critics are calling 12 Years a Slave (our review) or Gravity (our review). Ramin Setoodeh for Variety says best picture will be "the most suspenseful award of the night." (Read Variety's full list of predictions here.) Peter Knegt for Indiewire says he is "just excited to be so uncertain this late in the race." Knegt also notes that the race for "Best Actor" is one of the most crowded in recent memory: Chiwetel Ejiofer, Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Dern and Christian Bale. For "Best Actress," Knegt thinks Cate Blanchett has it in the bag, yet Setoodeh thinks Amy Adams could upset, as does A.A. Dowd for The A.V. Club. Yet despite which films, actors, and directors ultimately win the awards, or "should" win the awards, Anthony Lane for The New Yorker remind us that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was formed to "'raise the cultural, educational, and scientific standards' of film." And Tim Wainwright reminds us that even if the Academy gets some things wrong, the Oscars are an opportunity to come together; maybe, he says, "taking an interest in our artistic output is a duty."

James Poinewozik for Time says, "It's the case with many great TV dramas that there's what the show is about, and then there's what the show is about." This is true in the case of The Americans, which returned in its second season last Wednesday. The Atlantic calls it the "realest, and scariest, spy show on TV." Yes, it's about spies, but it's also about, as Poinewozik says, "a working couple trying to balance their professional partnership with a rather complicated relationship" and more. Alison Willmore of Indiewire tells us the new arc of the second season focuses on "how the Jennings espionage life might affect their kids." Sam Adams, also for Indiewire, claims the "consensus is that [the second season] pushes the show towards being one of the best on TV—except for the critics who think it was already there." For a deeper conversation of The Americans and the other popular political dramas (Scandal, House of Cards), Alissa Wilkinson talks "TV Politics and Proximate Justice" for CT.

Movie News

Word on the street is that Adam Driver, of Girls and Inside Llewyn Davis, is close to accepting an upcoming role in the next Star Wars installment. Variety says Driver is Disney and Lucasfilms' "top choice to play the main villain." (Entertainment Weekly and Time also have press releases.)

This week we said goodbye to yet another actor, writer, and director, Ghostbuster's Harold Ramis. The New York Times pays tribute to him here.

And this week there is also talk of set safety for film and TV crews, with the tragic death of Sarah Jones on the set of Midnight Rider. Read more here and here.

Heather Cate is a spring intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.

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The Quick Take for February 28, 2014