Dir. Kevin Asch
(2010, R, 89 min)
★ ★ ½
When Sam Gold (Jesse Eisenberg), an impressionable Brooklyn Hasid who longs to someday provide for a family of his own, is seduced into the world of drug smuggling in Holy Rollers, it’s shown as a gaudy collection of red-lit nightclubs, sexy women, wads of cash, and glamorously shady characters. Director Kevin Asch’s idea of corruption isn’t exactly subtle. In his feature directing debut, he often overplays his hand, brushing up close to sentimental Afterschool Special territory. A good Jewish boy starts swimming with sharks, gets in over his head — if only he’d listened to his tata. Goodfellas it’s not … Read the rest of my review at Culturazzi.org.
Dir. Brian Koppelman and David Levien
(2010, R, 90 min)
★ ★ ★
Solitary Man is a more minor achievement than its credits would suggest. Its cast is filled top to bottom with actors I admire: Jenna Fischer, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Schiff, Susan Sarandon, Jesse Eisenberg, and Danny DeVito — and that’s the supporting cast. Its star is Michael Douglas, who gives a very good performance as a disgraced car salesman in a mid-life crisis. Suddenly struck with fear of his mortality, he makes drastic changes in his life, none of them for the better.
Dir. Greg Mottola
(2009, R, 107 min)
★ ★ ★ ½
The director of Adventureland is Greg Mottola, who previously presided over Superbad, and thankfully he seems to have mellowed since that venture. The previous, Judd Apatow-produced film was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and this film Mottola wrote himself, inspired by his own experience working at a Long Island amusement park in his youth. It’s a warmer and more humane film. It doesn’t contain many belly laughs but isn’t aiming for them; it’s a low-key affair in muted, naturalistic tones. It surprises with its maturity.