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The Quick Take for January 24, 2014
Sundance Institute

Streaming Picks

Captain Phillips, the gripping film starring Tom Hanks and based on the true story of Somali pirates hijack of Phillips' merchant marine ship, is now available to stream on Amazon Instant Video (read Brett McCracken's review here). For a trip through the Eternal City, try Three Coins in the Fountain, a classic film about three working American women and the romance they find in Rome (now available on Netflix Instant Watch). Akeelah and the Bee is perfect for family movie night and is also available on Netflix. And if you don't mind subtitles, the imaginative, almost magical, film Amélie will not disappoint.

Critics Roundup

The Chilean drama Gloria tells the story of a middle-aged woman who goes to dance clubs looking for love and finds it with Rodolfo, a divorcee like her. Mike D'Angelo writes for the A.V. Club that "festival audiences have been sharply divided on whether Gloria is admirable or pitiable." But, he says, it is still a "beautifully judged portrait of loneliness and resilience." Tasha Robinson points out a weakness in Gloria—"that highly internal people often don't make for compelling cinema, and neither do well-adjusted characters who deal with their issues practically and sensibly." Robinson says the film is a "breath of fresh air" and yet has a "sameness" throughout. (Read her full review on The Dissolve here.) However, A.O. Scott at The New York Times says writer and director Sebastián Lelio "enriches [the film] with a combination of narrative expansiveness and filmmaking discipline." Despite its shortcomings, Gloria may be worth a viewing for, as Scott says, "its richly detailed realism [that] is fuel for thought."

Coverage of this year's Sundance Film Festival continues this week. But Richard Linklater's Boyhood is garnering attention for its production life of twelve years. Critic Guy Lodge writes, "Shot over a period of 12 years, using the same four principal actors throughout, it's as literal a coming-of-age-tale as has ever been conceived of for cinema." (Read his full review here.) Linklater started working with Ellar Coltrane at the tender age of 6. Manohla Dargis notes for the The New York Times that Linklater and his crew filmed "a few days for each of those 12 years to capture the transformation from wide-eyed child to lanky adolescent." Dargis calls this "fascinating experiment" a "profound viewing experience." However, the tradeoff, says critic Peter Debruge for Variety, "is a nearly three-hour film with little narrative thrust beyond the inevitable passage of time." We'll see if Linklater tampers with the film for a wider release, and how the audience will receive it.

Movie News

Four million viewers tuned in last Sunday night for the return of BBC's Sherlock, the series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Eliana Dockterman writes for Time, "After a two year hiatus, Sherlock is back and better than ever." For another take on the Season 3 premiere, read Entertainment Weekly's recap.

Though there is no word on when production will begin for To Reach the Clouds, Robert Zemeckis's adapatation of Philippe Petit's telling of his tight-rope act between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to play the part of Petit. The story was previously told in the highly-acclaimed 2008 documentary Man on Wire. Read more here.

The bad news is that Rashida Jones is leaving Parks and Recreation. The good news is she leaves to join Steve Carrell's new single-camera comedy, Tribeca. Read the full report here.

And today, Netflix premieres an original documentary on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign from 2006 to 2012. Watch clips here and read a review 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 January 24, 2014