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.
Joe Leydon, Houston Culture Map
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.
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.