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
If you're sick of British crime dramas, skip ahead. But this one's received too much good press to leave out (see critical reactions below): You can catch the first episode of BBC's new drama Broadchurchhere. Starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, the show centers around the murder of a young boy in a small coastal British town. Tennant and Coleman play the lead detectives on the case. Read more about the show here.
Also steaming this weekend is the Jeff Nichols-directed Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey. The drama follows two boys who discover "Mud," a fugitive living on a Mississippi island who is on the run from the law for committing murder. We wrote about the film here.
The animated Epic is also streaming on Amazon. The movie tells the story of a teenage girl who gets brought into the magical world of nature spirits as part of a plan to save the "leafmen." (Read our review here.)
The Artist and the Model, directed by Fernando Trueba, premiered last weekend to mixed reviews. But one thing critics seem to agree on is that it is "lovely." That word comes up frequently in reviews of the film about an old artist who works with a young, beautiful model on his last project. Steven Boone, writing for RogerEbert.com, has almost nothing bad to say about it, calling it "the kind of arthouse film that old-fashioned American grindhouse distributors who dabbled in Euro cinema would have loved." The Los Angeles Times also praised Trueba for his ability to "delicately explore the fine line between artistic appreciation and sexual allure." NPR's review was not as positive, saying the film "has all the trappings of a serious work of art . . . but it remains, in the end, disappointingly hollow."
The new BBC drama Broadchurch premiered this Wednesday, and, as the New York Times put it, "the reviews were rhapsodic." Time's James Poniewozik praised the show's ability to rise above the typical murder and the mystery to be about something more substantial. In the New York Times, Mike Hale gave it a glowing review as well, claiming that the show offers "a tasty icing of gloom and foreboding that leans heavily on the music of Olafur Arnalds and the cinematography of Matt Gray, whose shots from every possible angle of the dramatic cliffs behind the Broadchurch beach are essential to the show's ambience." (The first episode is streaming on BBC America.)
Trailer to Watch: Spike Jonze's Her. Jonze, known for Where the Wild Things Are, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich, also wrote this odd love story. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a lonely writer who gets a new interactive operating system and finds himself falling in love with it. Scarlett Johansson voices the computer, and the cast also boasts Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. The film is set to premier at the close of the 51st New York Film Festival and open for theatrical release on November 20. Read more here.
Casting News: Meryl Streep has recently joined Robert de Niro in the cast of The Good House. The screenplay is based on the bestselling novel by Ann Leary, about an alcoholic grandmother named Hildy who gets mixed up in the dirty laundry of her town when she befriends the young newcomer Rebecca. Streep will be playing Hildy, and De Niro will play Frank, another town resident who Hildy befriends. And the The Giver is also looking to bring Streep on board having already brought on Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites [EW].
TV Developments: Joel and Ethan Coen are recreating their Oscar-winning project Fargo for TV, in which Billy Bob Thornton is set to star. The ten-part series set to air on FX will be the Coens' first television venture. The film, released in 1996, was not only critically acclaimed but also added to the National Film Registry and the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Movies list [Indiewire].
Carol Anne Ausband is a summer intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.