It can be hard to keep up with what's going on in the world of movies and television—but we're here to help out.
Each week in the CT Movies Quick Take, we check up on how the critics are responding to a couple recent releases, update you on the biggest movie news, and suggest a few picks to stream at home on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. One quick read, and you'll be caught up for the week.
Streaming This Weekend
Fans of British heist flicks should check out Wasteland on Amazon, about a young man and his friends who attempt to pull off a heist—in the name of revenge—and their dreams of owning a coffee shop in Amsterdam. (See below for what the critics are saying.)
If you like shows like Sherlock, you might like the new BBC series Ripper Street, now streaming on Netflix, which stars Matthew Mcfadyen: set in London, the show follows an inspector and his men as they fight crime in the aftermath of Jack the Ripper.
And the Joe Swanberg-directed Drinking Buddies will be on Amazon, iTunes, and VOD before its theatrical release on August 23. The indie comedy, starring Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, follows the flirtatious friendship of two coworkers at a craft-brewery. Both are in committed relationships. Both like beer. So as the tagline says, this is "a comedy about knowing when to say when."
Smurfs 2 hit theaters Wednesday. Its reception, like its predecessor, has been pretty bad—its current Rotten Tomatoes score is 14%—but that's not all that surprising, given the first one frustrated even Smurf-fans. The New York Times took a slightly more positive stance towards it than most, pointing out that it's rare for a fairy tale to redeem the role of the step-parent (a clear angle in the plot). But at the end of the day, even the Times calls it a "not very engaging movie featuring a lot of blue skin and household-name voices."
Wasteland, a British indie drama that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, opened in limited release this past weekend. Critics were so-so about the film then, and they are so-so about it now. The consensus seems to be that it nails the British-heist-thriller genre, but doesn't really add anything unique. The New York Times was gracious, emphasizing the high points of the "kitch-sink caper" genre, but Indiewire gave it a primarily negative review, calling it "lethargic" and suggesting you just skip this one and wait for the next Brit crime flick.
Trailer of the week goes to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: the two minutes of Ben Stiller leaping out of office buildings and into breathtaking rugged landscapes has already created quite a buzz among critics. Here's hoping the film is as good as the trailer. Stiller directed the project, which is an adaptation of a short story by James Thurber that was first published in the New Yorker in 1939. Walter Mitty is set to release on Christmas Day. Another new trailer worth watching is American Hustle, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Christain Bale, and Amy Adams.
Casting news: Alec Baldwin is reportedly in talks to join the cast of Cameron Crowe's next film. Crowe, whose last project was We Bought a Zoo (2011), has released little about his upcoming picture, but Rachel McAdams, Bradley Cooper, Danny McBride, and Emma Stone are all involved. And Ethan Hawke, most recently seen in Before Midnight, will be taking on Shakespeare next as part of a modern telling of Cymbeline. The project is being described as "Sons of Anarchy meets Romeo + Juliet" [Deadline]. Read more casting news here.