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Reviews for June 8th, 2012

Dark Horse

Directed by Todd Solondz

      Abe (Jordan Gelber), a young man in his 30's, still lives with his parents, Phyllis (Mia Farrow) and Jackie (Christopher Walken). He works for his father, and suffers from depression unlike his brother Richard (Justin Bartha) who has already moved out of the house and has a successful job. It's no surprise that he's socially awkward, lonely, angry, bitter, overweight and single. When he meets Miranda (Selma Blair), a kindred spirit, at a party, he gradually befriends her in a feeble attempt to break free from his predicament. She lives a few hours away, though, and has an ex-boyfriend, Mahmoud (Aasif Mandvi) who she may still have feelings for. Donna Murphy plays, Abe's father's secretary who treats Abe very kindly in more ways than one.

      Writer/director Todd Solondz has once again woven a dramedy that takes place in suburban hell. He has a knack for creating characters who are deeply flawed human beings, and he shows their flaws unflinchingly in ways that are equally disturbing and wickedly funny. Abe is certainly one of those characters from the get-go. You can't help but feel sorry for him no matter what he tries to do to get his life together--sadly, someone like him can actually exist in today's world, which makes the film all the more frightening. At times, though, watching him sink into further sadness and make more mistakes feels concurrently frustrating, tedious, overwhelming and painful. Fortunately, Solondz sprinkles a few dashes of quirky comedy that lightens up the mood a bit---it also helps that all the characters around him behave somewhat bizarely. Perhaps Solondz could have lessened the tedium if he were to include at least one relatively sane character to counterbalance all of the insanity and just plain weirdness found onscreen. Nonetheless, Dark Horse ultimately manages to be sad, poignant, funny and, above all, painfully honest.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Opens at the Angelika Film Center
Released by Vitagraph Films.

Double Trouble

Directed by David Chang

      Jaycee Chan, son of Jackie Chan, plays Jay, a Taiwanese security guard in charge of protecting a 400-year-old painting that's also a national treasure. When two thieves steal the painting, he goes on the hunt for them while bumping into Ocean (Xia Yu), a security guard from Beijing who got separated from the tour bus which the thieves happen to be on.

      Unfortunately, what could have been a fun action thriller/comedy along the lines of Rush Hour or Lethal Weapon turns into a rather bland affair that lacks wit, thrills, clever plot twists or even memorable action scenes for that matter. Much of what transpires to Jay and Ocean feels comes across as silly and unsurprising. You'll ultimately feel underwhelmed and, worst of all, bored.

Number of times I checked my watch: 5
Opens at the AMC Empire 25.
Released by China Lion Film Distribution.

For the Love of Money

Directed by Ellie Kanner-Zuckerman

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Opens at the AMC Empire 25.
Released by Archstone Distribution.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Directed by Eric Darnell

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Opens at nationwide.
Released by Paramount Pictures.

Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding

Directed by Bruce Beresford

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Opens at the IFC Center.
Released by IFC Films.

The Pigeoneers

Directed by Alessandro Croseri

Number of times I checked my watch: 4
Opens at the Cinema Village.
Released by Alessandro Croseri Productions.


Directed by Ridley Scott

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Opens at nationwide.
Released by 20th Century Fox.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Number of times I checked my watch: 0
Opens at AMC/Loews Lincoln Square and AMC/Loews Village 7.
Released by Film District.

The Skinny

Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Opens at the Quad Cinema.
Released by TSBB Releasing.

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