Movies Opening Friday, Oct. 4

Sandra Bullock is an astronaut on a damaged shuttle in "Gravity." Photo: Handout, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

And the shutdown-sympathetic discounts offered by local theaters don’t hurt: Furloughed feds can take advantage of free popcorn at AMC Theatres and AFI Silver Theatre, plus half-price popcorn and soda at West End Cinema. More importantly, the current slate of releases offers excellent ways to pass the time. Here’sa list of movies that scored well with critics, organized by genre in case you have a particular (and understandable) need to laugh or cry. Comedy ” Thanks for Sharing “: Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow star in this movie about a sex addict and the woman he falls for. ” The World’s End “: The British comedy trio behind “Shaun of the Dead” is responsible for this rollicking ride about a pub crawl that gets interrupted by the apocalypse. ” In a World… ” Lake Bell stars in her writing and directorial debut about a voiceover artist following in her father’s very large footsteps. Drama ” Wadjda “: The coming-of-age film about a young girl who wants to buck the established order is the first feature-length movie made in Saudi Arabia. ” Short Term 12 “: Brie Larson plays a supervisor in a halfway house for troubled teens in Destin Daniel Cretton’s second feature. ” The Patience Stone “: An Afghani woman finds relief when she reveals her deepest secrets to her husband, who happens to be comatose. ” The Spectacular Now “: Another coming-of-age film, this dramedy deals with a bookish teen who starts a relationship with a hard-partying classmate.

The Harvard-educated ex-Warrior and Palo Alto High grad, after moving in and out of the minors, nabs a spot in the Knicks ‘ starting lineup. He proceeds to prove himself a pro and achieve his dream. This is his story. Rated PG. Parkland We all know the tragedy of Nov. 22, 1963, but this film explores the assassination of John F. Kennedy through an unusual prism – the ordinary people thrust into a horrible duty in Dallas. From producer Tom Hanks . Rated PG-13. Runner Runner Grad student Richie ( Justin Timberlake ) thirsts to make fast dough but loses his tuition money at online poker. The desperate dude hops a plane to face off with mastermind Ivan ( Ben Affleck ), who sweet-talks Richie with visions of his own operation. Now cue the FBI putting the squeeze on Richie. Rated R.

Now at your library: Streaming movies, music

Warren Next Slide Previous Slide SEATTLE There’s a new source to stream movies and other digital content, and it’s not a tech company with tens of thousands of titles. It’s something more familiar, and might even be just down the street: the public library. Often thought of as stodgy brick-and-mortar havens for bibliophiles, libraries are trying out a new service that allows patrons to check out streaming movies, music, TV shows and audiobooks from anywhere they want. It works similarly to Netflix: Through an app on a tablet or a browser on a personal computer, users can peruse dozens of movies and click on a film to “borrow” it. The content starts streaming, for free. While libraries are already loaning e-books, the move to streaming is part of a larger shift for them to remain relevant in a digital world where more people are using tablets and smartphones. ‘I expect libraries to stop needing DVDs, but not today, Hoopla or not.’ – Kirk Blankenship, Electronic Resources Librarian for Seattle Public Libraries Libraries are “meeting patrons where they want to access content,” said Kirk Blankenship, Electronic Resources Librarian for Seattle Public Libraries, which is using the service called Hoopla. The service, from Ohio-based Midwest Tape, LLC, is also being used in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Topeka, Kan., and several others towns and cities nationwide. Hoopla launched in full in May with 20 library systems. As of early September, there are about 220,000 people using the app, said Michael Manon, Hoopla’s brand manager. The goal is to reach 100 library systems by year’s end. Libraries have always been a source of audiovisual entertainment. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that among patrons 16 years old and older, 40 percent visited libraries to borrow movies. Another 16 percent borrowed music. In the Seattle area, DVDs and CDs of popular titles can have queues of hundreds of people waiting to check them out.