Not too much worth getting too excited over on Netflix next week, but here’s some new titles, for what it’s worth. First up is “Sewing Hope,” a documentary narrated by Forest Whitaker about the efforts of Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe to heal Uganda after the brutal rule of Joseph Kony, available tomorrow. November 17, meanwhile, brings the Daniel Craig/Rachel Weisz horror movie “Dream House,” which was directed by “My Left Foot’s” Jim Sheridan but disowned by the director and by its stars after producer James G. Robinson clashed with the three over the shape and final cut of the film. Finally, November 19 brings David Ayer’s “Sabotage” (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger), which received mixed reviews but its share of defenders for its uncompromising violence and depiction of grief and psychological stress among those fighting the War on Drugs.
VOD releases this week are a bit more promising, with two major titles coming to Movies On Demand on November 18. The first is Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, “The Wind Rises,” about engineer and aeronautical designer Jiro Horikoshi, his passion for designing planes and the impact of their designs on Japan’s military in World War II. The film is undoubtedly Miyazaki’s most controversial, with some calling it a glorification of military aggression, but his images remain stunning and the film’s central questions worth wrestling with. Also available is Criticwire Sleeper “20,000 Days on Earth,” an unconventional, moody documentary about Nick Cave, his work, and his changing views on religion, among other subjects, that’s at once candid and mysterious.
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Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
As “Sabotage” turns into the most violent Agatha Christie whodunit imaginable, Ayer injects a modicum of malignant energy in the hopped-up, uncontrollable behavior of Breacher’s gang, as they kill time between assignments, or just kill, kill, kill, and then go to strip clubs. The movie wants it both ways: bloodthirsty revenge and some finger-wagging about the tactics. Read more.
Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com
Forsyth and Pollard keep Cave on task, and cannily made acting naturally the main theme of “20,000 Days on Earth,” as we see in the film’s best scene. Retreating to his recording studio, Cave lays down the vocals soundtrack for “Higgs-Boson Blues,” one of the best songs on “Push the Sky Away,” the Bad Seeds’ most recent album. Cave’s soulful performance, shot in real-time and in extreme close-up, is that much more impressive once you realize he’s playing a song for Forsyth and Pollard before he’s performed it in front of a live audience. More importantly, he’s singing without the Bad Seeds, a group that serves as Cave’s suit of armor. Read more.
“The Wind Rises” can be largely forgiven for its apolitical outlook, as Miyazaki trades an interest in the ramifications of Horikoshi’s work for his continuing investment in it. Horikoshi’s commitment to crafting an apparatus on par with the ethereal machines he imagines can be easily seen as a vessel for Miyazaki to explore his own creative process. Having proven his talent time and again, the master has explained himself. Read more.