This week’s new and upcoming Netflix titles are headlined by an up-and-coming director and old master. The first is “The Double,” the second film by character-actor and “Submarine” director Richard Ayoade. A Kafkaesque black comedy about a meek office drone (Jesse Eisenberg) who’s stunned to learn he has a more aggressive doppelganger (Eisenberg again), the film is awfully in debt to its influences (Terry Gilliam, Roman Polanski), but Ayoade undeniably has an eye, and he gives Eisenberg a chance to bounce both sides of his persona (“Adventureland” likable nerd and “The Social Network” misanthrope) off of each other. It hits Netflix September 25.
Auteurists might be more excited for Howard Hawks’ “Hatari!,” about professional animal catchers in Africa (led by John Wayne). The film is one of Hawks’ last greats, a movie that mixes Hawksian adventure and romance (Wayne and wildlife photographer Elsa Martinelli) on the gorgeous Tanzanian locations. It is now available on Netflix, along with the slice-of-life in lower-class Brooklyn movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete” and the dud Madonna-vehicle “The Next Best Thing” (sadly the last film of “Midnight Cowboy” director John Schlesinger). Monday, meanwhile, sees the arrival of the documentary “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia.”
More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects
Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Cinematographer Erik Wilson captures the expressionistic claustrophobia of this scenario with heavy dark patches that dominate the halls and alleyways surrounding Simon’s world — it’s always nighttime and the streets are filled with fog — while punctuating the inky palette with neon blues and reds that occasionally brighten up the scene to reflect Simon’s undulating disposition. In tune with the visuals, Eisenberg’s typically nervous tics take on a more somber, introspective quality than usual, calling to mind the similarly meta aspects of Adam Sandler’s turn in “Punch Drunk Love.” Read more.
Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Kirk Honeycutt, Honeycutt’s Hollywood
But Brooks and Dizon definitely make this tough-cookie movie that much sweeter and easier to digest by their astute, on-the-money performances. While there are few light moments as such, the young actors do lighten the scenes by keeping things rigorously honest without corn, cliches or cuteness. Read more.