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The Quick Take for July 18, 2014
'Wish I Was Here'

Streaming Picks

If you're trying to teach your kids how to watch movies well this weekend, you might check out Free Birds, now on Netflix. And then discuss its themes with them: read our review of the cartoon here.

Love Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson? Can't get enough of Michael Bay, even after the latest Transformers? See the two bad boys team up in the action-packed film Pain & Gain. We were bullish on it when it came out, but sometimes you're just in the mood. Read our thoughts on the Michael Bay-directed movie here.

If you're looking for an educational, history-filled flick, check out PBS's Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace. Netflix has just started streaming the piece that reveals secrets of the 500 year-old palace, as well as more on the King himself.

Robin Williams fans can re-watch the classic favorite Hook. The live-action Peter Pan film is now streaming free for Hulu Plus members.

Critics Roundup

Zach Braff is best known for his role on Scrubs, but true fans know him for his directorial debut of the cult classic Garden State. Braff is back this week with another film he's starring in and directing—funded by a Kickstarter campaign— called Wish I Was Here. PluggedIn's Bob Hoose had good things to say about the film. An important lesson learned in the film is that "sometimes it's the most difficult moments—such as the passing of Aidan's father—that lead to the most personal growth and steps taken in positive directions." In his look, The New York Times' Stephen Holden focused the film's technical aspects, noting that Braff is "a professed devotee of Woody Allen, and . . . he has aimed for the same balance of profundity and absurdism that illuminates Mr. Allen's best comedies." Despite this, Holden says that Braff tries too hard to recreate Allen's style; the film "is so eager to please that you are never allowed to feel uncomfortable for more than a minute or two before a reassuringly stale joke rushes in to pat you on the head."

Rio 2 "points out that love can help us spot the positive in people, no matter how seed-small those positives may be," according to PluggedIn's Bob Hoose. Despite its positive elements, Hoose admits, "When it comes to the current collection of animated fare being offered in the movie house jungle nowadays, this pic isn't really that much of a rare bird." Jeanette Catsoulis of The New York Times calls the film "a veiled plug for this year's World Cup soccer" that "pays scant attention to story." When it comes down to it, both critics seem to agree. As Catsoulis puts it, Rio 2 is "smothered by the retro rhythms of comic formula and the relentless beats of choreographed stimulation that characterize too many American-made children's movies."

Movie News

Planes: Fire and Rescue, the latest installment in the franchise that's a spin-off of Pixar's Cars, releases comes out this week. The all-star voice cast includes Dane Cook, Claire Bowen, and Ed Harris. Check out Indiewire's thoughts on the film!

Are you anxiously awaiting the sequel to Marvel's The Avengers? Entertainment Weekly recently released new photos of the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast, including two new additions, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Check out the pictures here.

Star Wars fans: we've got some more casting news for you. It's been reported that J.J. Abrams has given a role to an up-and-coming British actress named Christina Chong. Find out more here.

Ben Whishaw, who is most famous for his portrayal of Q in the last James Bond film, is set to replace Colin Firth in a film about the lovable accident-prone, marmalade-loving bear. Paddington is set to hit theaters this Christmas. Click here for more information and a look at the trailer.

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

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The Quick Take for July 18, 2014