You have a baby. You think it is beautiful. You watch it walk out into the world the proud father, but as it steps down the path a bully or two throws some bricks. He gets fired from a job. Maybe crashes a car. Gets dumped. Makes you wonder if you are delusional. Maybe he is sorta of ugly after all? But the nice thing about producing movies, is after you unleash your hard work on the festival circuit, you get another chance when you release it to real audiences. Sure we had some mixed reviews, but we also got a HUGE AMOUNT OF LOVE. And we were the #1 per screen box office average of all debuting films. Our little pony "trounced" the competition.
Can't help but notice some trends. All three outlets that dare to feature our city's name as theirs in full, share the same recognition: go see the movie. That's The New York Times, The New Yorker, and New York Magazine. Here at the pony rides, we call that a Dark Horse New York Trifecta Of Love.
Also check out how both the legendary stalwarts renown for their general dislike of most cinematic output, Mr. Hoberman & Mr White, also agree that you should saddle up to the Solondz corral. 'nuff said.
NEW YORK TIMES, by AO Scott
‘Mr. Solondz brilliantly — triumphantly — turns this impression on its head, transforming what might have been an exercise in easy satirical cruelty into a tremendously moving argument for the necessity of compassion.’
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, by David Edelstein
You should see it not just for the sake of Solondz and Hope, but for the sake of American independent cinema. It’s that vital.’
CITY ARTS (May 29, 2012) / “Zombie Mantra.” By Armond White.
"if Dark Horse was indeed produced on stage rather than as an independent film, it would probably receive enormous acclaim"
SALON.COM (Tuesday, June 5, 2012) / “Todd Solondz: I’m Judd Apatow’s dark side.” By Andrew O’Hehir.
DARK HORSE "clearly among his (Solondz's) funniest & most affecting "
TABLET MAGAZINE (Thursday, June 7, 2012) / Positive review by J. Hoberman in, “Solondz’s Schlubs - The funny, sad Dark Horse adds a creepy loser in love to the director’s catalog of misanthropes.” By J. Hoberman.
"With its lovingly detailed caricatures, fondness for extreme scenarios, and snarky nerd’s-eye view of ordinary misery, cinema Solondz is a successor to the underground comix of the 1970s."
TIME.COM (Thursday, June 7, 2012) / “Summer Arts Preview: This Season's Must-See Films, Shows, Art and More.”
"Solondz’s most endearing film, his gentlest triumph."
WNYC.com (Thursday, June 7, 2012) / Ran Ian Buckwalter’s positive NPR review.
"as yet another installment in Todd Solondz's career-long examination of the lust for love and security among the deeply damaged... a newfound maturity in his work, told through the story of a man desperately in need of growing up."
MOVIELINE.COM (Thursday, June 7, 2012) / Positive review, “Todd Solondz Spins a tale of an unlovable but compelling loser in Dark Horse.” By Allison Willmore.
6/23/12 UPDATE: The love continues to come:
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times : "Dark Horse" (3.5 of 4 Stars)
"Abe is the latest in a gallery of walking wounded populating the films of Todd Solondz, who has never met a character he didn't dislike. And "Dark Horse" is another of his portraits of anguish in suburbia, joining "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Happiness." There are times when it is dark humor, and then times when it is simply dark. But there is something more going on here, something deeper and more … hopeful?"
John Anderson, Newsday: "DARK HORSE Plays Irony Well"
""Are you for real?" Miranda asks Abe, after his proposal has registered. "I mean, you're not being ironic? Like performance art?" "Dark Horse" is certainly being ironic. Which doesn't mean it isn't a fully realized performance -- or art, of a rather perverse variety."
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: "DARK HORSE Director Finds Humanity In Unsympathetic Lead " (3 of 4 Stars):
"In a compact, wittily humiliating 84 minutes, "Dark Horse" does a smart thing: It transforms from realism into a string of dreamscapes taking place in Abe's imagination, involving the sex life of his fellow office worker (Donna Murphy, on the money) and other bittersweet fancies."
Whitney Matheson, Pop Candy, USA Today: "With DARK HORSE, Solondz Issues Another Darkly Comic Tale"
" While it's not the feel-good movie of the year, fans of the director wouldn't expect such a thing. Solondz, however, does succeed in making thoughtful commentary on the fleeting nature of youth, and our desperate need to be loved."
And if you want to hear it from the horse's mouth, here's some interviews with Mr. Solondz:
FILMMAKER MAGAZINE (Thursday, June 7, 2012) / Todd Solondz interview, "'Dark Horse' Writer/Director Todd Solondz." By Livia Bloom.