For Your Queue: Laughing and Wincing


By Hope and George


An underseen film being released to DVD/BluRay today is the newest flick from Todd Solondz.

In Dark Horse, misanthrope/filmmaker Solondz turns his pitiless gaze toward the entitled underachiever. Abe (a perfect Jordan Gelber), waddling through his thirties, drives a hummer, lives at home, slacks off at his father’s office, collects action figures, and believes himself to be put-upon.

A game supporting cast, including Mia Farrow and Christopher Walken as coddling parents, keeps things interesting. As usual, Solondz’s humor comes from a dark place, although Dark Horse is hardly his blackest comedy (that would be Happiness, the one about the pedophile). Nor is it his best (see also: Happiness). But a middling effort from Solondz is still too brilliantly awful to go unseen.

If you’re up for a double scoop of dark laughs, consider Carnage, Roman Polanksi’s adaptation of the hit play from Yasmina Reza (who also wrote the script).

The film is set almost entirely in one room, where two sets of parents are meeting to cordially discuss a recent altercation at school involving their respective sons.

Cordial doesn’t stand a chance.

In short order, the meeting spirals into chaos amid brilliant slices of coal black comedy and stellar performances from Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Wislet and Christoph Waltz.

Uncomfortable? Oh, yes. But its also intelligent and hilarious, and worth a look if you missed it in theaters.

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