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The Quick Take for July 25, 2014
Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel in 'Sex Tape'

Streaming Picks

If you're a fan of Joaquin Phoenix, you can check out The Master on Netflix this week. Brett McCracken reviewed the film for us when it was released in theaters. McCracken describes the film (which also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams) as a "Scientology epic [that] explores human nature and our attraction to self-help systems."

Just in time for Christmas in July, Netflix is releasing Christmas with the Kranks. Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen team up as parents who decide they're going to try to nix celebrating Christmas—and chaos ensues.

Netflix also recently starting streaming the 1982 classic Gandhi. Sir Ben Kingsley stars in the film that depicts the life of the attorney who stood up against injustice.

Amazon Prime members can enjoy our classic pick of the week: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World. The 1963 comedy follows the lives of eight vacationers and the gut-wrenching laughter that ensues.

Critics Roundup

Although most would think there would not be any redeeming qualities to a movie with a name like The Purge: Anarchy, PluggedIn's Paul Asay was able to find a few. One character risks his life to save others again and again, and in turn, those he saves "show him how much better and nobler it is to preserve life rather than take it." Despite this, the good doesn't make up for the bad. There is an obscene amount of language and repulsive violence. As Asay notes, the message of the film might just be "that some folks deserve to be purged." Despite the content of the film, the New York Times' Manohla Dargis describes the movie as a "satisfyingly creepy, blunt, down-and-dirty thriller, one of those follow-ups that improves on the original." Dargis praises this addition to the horror/thriller genre and compliments the director, who she says "keeps it nasty and simple, giving the movie an accordion-like rhythm by consistently bringing you close to the characters, only to pull back to show just how imperiled they are."

"It may be hard to believe that Plugged In would have anything good to say about a movie called Sex Tape," says PluggedIn's Paul Asay. But he does. Despite the racy title and subject matter, the sex in the film takes place between a married couple that repeatedly talk of "how much they love each other and their two kids." Aside from this, the rest of the film is full of nudity, profanity, and other crude themes. Asay sums up everything wrong with the film quite nicely in two sentences: "God created sex for not just procreation, but also bonding and enjoyment within the bounds of marriage. But He didn't mean for the rest of us to watch." A. O. Scott of the New York Times believes the real reason the movie fails is its inability to be, well, a comedy. He writes that "the main reason that Sex Tape, while often quite funny, fails to qualify as a comedy is the absence of any real conflict or complication." The couple loves each other dearly and at the end of the day they will continue to love each other; "this means that the resolution of their problems has no weight."

Movie News

Are you unable to fly out to San Diego this weekend to experience the San Diego International Comic Con? You can keep up with every minute by following the new Comic-Con Live Blog. Find out how here.

It's officially been announced that Uma Thurman is set to join Bradley Cooper's new movie for the Weinstein Company. What's been described as a "chef drama" will also include cameos from Jamie Dornan, Sienna Miller, and Emma Thompson. Read more about the film here.

Fans of Marvel's Spiderman franchise might be upset to hear the third film of the series is being pushed back to 2018. Marvel wants to increase and broaden interest in the series by creating a Sinister Six spinoff that will come out in 2016. Find out more here.

Casting has already begun for Woody Allen's next movie. Parker Posey and Jamie Blackley have just joined the cast, alongside stars Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. Find out more about the untitled flick here.

Larisa Kline is a summer 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 July 25, 2014