This week at the movies, we’ve got an animated eco-parable (The Lorax, with voice work from Zac Efron and Taylor Swift) and a wild party (Project X, starring Thomas Mann and Oliver Cooper). What do the critics have to say?
Delightful as Dr. Seuss’ books are, they aren’t all that long, so it can’t be easy to adapt them to the big screen. The critics say The Lorax sometimes feels padded with action and musical numbers, but on the whole, it’s bright and colorful, and it delivers a solid message about protecting the planet. Ted (Zac Efron) is a youngster who ventures beyond the seemingly idyllic confines of Thneedville and discovers that greed has led to deforestation, despite the warnings of the diminutive orange tree defender the Lorax (Danny DeVito). The pundits say The Lorax does a nice job of capturing the visual style of Seuss’ book, and it contains some solid gags, but it’s also so busy and action-packed that it mostly forgoes the whimsy (and the message) of its source. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down DeVito’s best-reviewed movies).
Just when you think every idea for a teen party comedy has been exhausted, along comes the mockumetary Project X, which purports to capture the wild goings-on of a particularly raging kegger. Unfortunately, critics say the film is mostly a mean-spirited wallow into areas better explored in Animal House and Superbad. A trio of nerds decides to throw a birthday party in order to increase their social standing; bedlam (and would-be hilarity) ensues. The pundits say Project X might have merited some laughs if it bothered developing its characters, but as it stands, it’s essentially just a string of “outrageous” incidents that test the bounds of good taste.
This Is Not a Film, a clandestine documentary about celebrated Iranian director Jafar Panahi‘s life under house arrest, is at 100 percent.
Let the Bullets Fly, starring Chow Yun-Fat in a wild action/comedy about a small-town government official who runs afoul with the mob, is at 92 percent.
The Salt of Life, a comedy about a middle-aged Italian man who tries to get back into the dating scene, is at 89 percent.
Last Days Here, a documentary about the troubled journey of cult metal favorites Pentagram, is at 86 percent.
Boy, a coming-of-age dramedy about a Maori preteen with fantastical thoughts, is at 83 percent (check out director Taika Waititi’s Five Favorite Films here).
Black Butterflies, a biopic about the life and loves of celebrated South African writer Ingrid Jonker, is at 78 percent.
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, a comedy about Tim and Eric‘s attempts to pay back investors after wasting a fortune on a short film, is at 48 percent.
Being Flynn, starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano in a drama about a young man who discovers his estranged father in a homeless shelter, is at 43 percent.
Finally, props to Zach K for guessing Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds‘ 31 percent Tomatometer, and to Ben C for guessing Gone‘s 11 percent Tomatometer.