‘Dark Horse’ is one animal you may not want to saddle and ride

[rating=2]Starring: Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair, Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken, Justin Bartha, Zachary Booth and Aasif Mandvi
Director(s): Todd Solondz
Writer(s): Todd Solondz

Selma Blair stars in 'Dark Horse'
Selma Blair stars in ‘Dark Horse’

Todd Solondz directed Welcome to the DollhouseHappiness and Storytelling among others.  Now comes his latest and sadly it doesn’t live up to the films that preceded it.  Dark Horse stars Jordan Gelber and Selma Blair, and co-stars Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken, Justin Bartha, Zachary Booth and Aasif Mandvi in a dark, meandering tale.

Gelber plays “Abe” who lives at home, drives a Hummer, works in his father’s real estate business and is mad at just about everyone in his family for things they did or didn’t do for him, and things he feels they did to him.  Even though our first encounter with Abe is at a wedding where he’s trying to his on “Miranda” (Blair), he’s nearly impossible to like almost immediately.  Worse, any chance we had of his character being redeemed and made likeable disappears rapidly from that point forward.

Read more‘Dark Horse’ is one animal you may not want to saddle and ride

‘The Watch’ won’t make you look at yours

Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Richard Ayoade and Vince Vaughn in 'The Watch'
Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Richard Ayoade and Vince Vaughn in ‘The Watch’

The Watch is all about four guys who band together in an ordinary town in Ohio to solve a murder, keep their town safe, and in the minds of three of them, have a great time while doing those two things.  Whatever else The Watch may be, the most important thing to remember is that it passes the acid test for comedies.  It is funny.  Laugh out loud funny in places.

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Meet the Joe in ‘Craigslist Joe’

Joseph Garner travels the nation in Craigslist Joe
Joseph Garner travels the nation in Craigslist Joe

Joseph Garner directed the new documentary Craigslist Joe which will open on August 2nd.  He had a home, a job, money, friends and family and he left them all behind for 31 days in December with a plan in mind.  He would depend on Craigslist to provide for all his needs except what he took with him.  A backpack, a laptop computer, a cellphone, the clothes on his back and a toothbrush.  His 31 day journey was documented by one cameraman who travelled with him as he journeyed out into the cyber-community.  I got a chance to sit down and ask him about his experiences, his movie, and some other thoughts on film and life:

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‘Ruby Sparks’ is good, but is not a gem

Zoe Kazan stars in, and wrote, 'Ruby Sparks'
Zoe Kazan stars in, and wrote, ‘Ruby Sparks’

[rating=3]Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Aasif Mandvi, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas
Director(s): Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Writer(s): Zoe Kazan

Ruby Sparks is a new indie film from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, directors of Little Miss Sunshine.  Working from a script written by Zoe Kazan who also portrays the title character, Dayton and Faris deliver an intriguing tale about a writer and the woman who mysteriously and magically enters his life.

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‘The Queen of Versailles’ is an empress with no clothes

Jackie Siegel with her kids in 'Queen of Versailles'
Jackie Siegel with her kids in ‘Queen of Versailles’

Director Lauren Greenfield didn’t set out to make the film that The Queen of Versailles ended up becoming.  That’s because the original purpose was to make a documentary about the wealthy couple that was building the largest house under one roof in America.  Based on the Palace at Versailles and the top floors of a Las Vegas Hotel, their Versailles was planned to be a 90,000 square foot house.  Complete with bowling alley, his and hers staircases rising from the grand ballroom, a separate wing for their 8 children (7 of their own and one niece of hers that lives with them), and quarters for their large domestic staff.

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Pixar’s ‘Brave’ Scottish adventure is worth breaking out the kilts for

Merida takes aim in 'Brave'
Merida takes aim in ‘Brave’

[rating=3]Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters
Director(s): Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Writer(s): Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell

It seems you can always count on Pixar to raise the bar, in animation and in movies in general. Whereas everyone else is regurgitating the same fairy tales that have been regurgitated several times over, they’ve done what apparently is unthinkable: they made a new one.

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‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is a spectacular superhero movie

Christian saves the day one last time as Batman in 'The Dark Knight Rises'
Christian saves the day one last time as Batman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

“Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe, Thursday’s child has far to go.”

Welcome to the film version of “Wednesday’s child”.  For the conclusion of the ‘Batman’ trilogy from writer/director Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises is first and foremost, filled with woe.  It’s a stunning achievement in filmmaking, with incredible visuals, excellent action sequences, superb performances from its lead actors and a score that surrounds and envelops the audience, drawing them into the story being told.

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‘Easy Money’ is a good film that nearly managed to be a great one

Lisa Henni in 'Easy Money'
Lisa Henni in ‘Easy Money’

[rating=3]Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Matias Varela, Dragomir Mrsic, Lisa Henni, Mahmut Suvakci, Dejan Cukic
Director(s): Daniel Espinosa
Writer(s): Maria Karlsson, Hassan Loo Sattavardi and Fredik Wikstrom, based on a novel by Jens Lapidus

You’d need to be a pretty proficient linguist not to need the subtitles when watching Easy Money, which topped the box office charts for 2010 in Sweden where it originated.  There are five languages in use here including a smattering of English.  We also hear German, Spanish, Serbian and Swedish.

Read more‘Easy Money’ is a good film that nearly managed to be a great one