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Now Streaming: ‘In a World…,’ ‘Last Hijack’

Now Streaming: 'In a World...,' 'Last Hijack'

This week’s Netflix releases aren’t the most impressive titles, for the most part (maybe they spent all of their money on Adam Sandler and a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel?), but subscribers might want to check out Lake Bell’s impressive directorial debut “In a World…” on October 7. The film follows vocal coach Carol (Bell) in her attempts to make headway in a world of male-dominated movie trailer voiceover work. Alternatively, you can see Nick Frost (mostly) without Simon Pegg in the Frost dance-comedy movie “Cuban Fury” on October 8. Either are probably better bets than the Wayans Brothers movie “Little Man,” in which a dwarf thief played by Marlon Wayans poses as a baby abandoned on the doorstep of Shawn Wayans and Kerry Washington. That’s available right now, if you dare.

New VOD titles look a bit better. October 7 sees the exclusive iTunes release (before a wider VOD release on October 14) of the new film “Last Hijack,” a documentary about piracy in Somalia that mixes live-action footage of its subject, Somalian pirate Mohamed, with surreal animated recreations of his actions and the events that led him to piracy. Fans of hip hop icon Nas might want to check out another documentary, “Nas: Time Is Illmatic,” about the making of his landmark debut album “Illmatic.” Also seeing VOD release October 7 is Mike Myers’ directorial debut “Supermensch: The Life of Shep Gordon,” about the famous talent manager and raconteur. For those who can’t wait for any of those and in the need of a new horror fix, “The ABCS of Death 2” is now available on VOD to test just how far one can stretch an idea that didn’t work out particularly well the first time.

More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:

“In a World…”
Criticwire Average: B+

Joe Leydon, Houston Culture Map

“In a World…” persuasively depicts various specifics of the world where Sam is a god, Gustav is an ascending star, and Carol would settle for being gainfully employed. (In addition to detailing voice-over work for trailers, the film also includes glimpses at similar voice-overing for commercials and video games, and vocal coaching for actors who should really think twice about attempting accents.) The quirks and competitiveness of this world seem as real — and as engaging — as the idiosyncrasies and aspirations of the characters who populate it. Read more.

“Last Hijack”
Criticwire Average: B

David Ehrlich, The A.V. Club

Defaulting to animation whenever the filmmakers wish to depict something that was impossible for them to capture as it happened, “Last Hijack” uses the cartoons to compensate for their inability to shoot a live hijacking. Far more successful, however, are the scenes in which Pallotta and Wolting rely on the animation to explore the incorporeal terrain of memory, a tactic that strongly recalls Ari Folman’s “Waltz With Bashir.” It’s through this method that the film returns to the most tragic moments of Mohamed’s childhood in order to trace the clear and troubling relationship between the boy he was and the man he became. Read more.

“Nas: Time Is Illmatic”
Criticwire Average: B

Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve

With his authoritative rasp and effortless magnetism, Nas takes center stage in Time Is Illmatic, but his father and brother/collaborator Jungle are nearly as central to the narrative. Some of the best moments come from Jungle, who’s nowhere near as gifted as his brother, but blessed with a funky charisma to rival Nas’. Jungle wanders the projects with a cup in hand, asking for cigarettes and retracing a world lost forever to time, but resurrected whenever someone listens to “Illmatic.” Read more.

“Supermensch: The Life of Shep Gordon”
Criticwire Average: B

Joe Bendel, Libertas Film Magazine

The first-time director clearly had no trouble getting his fellow FOS’s to talk. Just about all of it is pretty funny stuff. Occasionally, Gordon gets serious, but Myers never lets that last, keeping things snappy throughout. Read more.

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