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Trailer Talk: This Week in Movies - 'Dr. Seuss' The Lorax,' 'Project X,' & More

February 27th, 2012 2:00pm EST

Trailer Talk: This Week in Movies In the week leading up to last night’s Academy Awards, I managed to watch the remaining Best Picture nominees that I had not seen: “The Artist,” “Hugo,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” and “Midnight in Paris.”

My favorite of the bunch was “The Artist,” which I thought definitely deserved its Best Picture win. For me personally, Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” was a close second, followed by Woody Allen’s quirky, yet romantic “Midnight in Paris.” “Hugo” and “The Help” were incredibly overrated and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” was too long and morose for my taste.

In theaters this week are the computer animated adventure “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” the found footage high school party flick “Project X,” the Paul Dano/Robert De Niro dramedy “Being Flynn,” the wacky Adult Swim comedy “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” the Australian crime drama “Snowtown,” the 1980s New Zealand coming-of-age picture “Boy,” and the Italian romantic comedy “The Salt of Life.”

MY PICK FOR THE WEEK: Project X

DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX

A 12-year-old boy (voice of Zac Efron) hunts for the single thing he needs to win over the girl of his dreams (voice of Taylor Swift). In order to find it, he must become friendly with the Lorax (voice of Danny DeVito), a grumpy yet surprisingly charming creature fighting to protect his world.

Co-Directors: Chris Renaud (“Despicable Me”) and former Pixar animator Kyle Balda

Co-Writers: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul (“Despicable Me” and “Horton Hears a Who!”)

Notable Supporting Voice Actors: Ed Helms, Betty White, Rob Riggle

Based on: Dr. Seuss’ book by the same name

ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. Visually, this trailer stimulates with its vibrant colors and animation style that looks like it’s pulled straight from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. This particular trailer however doesn’t vow you with any particularly humorous moments. Danny DeVito seems like the perfect actor to portray the short, fuzzy Lorax so there is potential for this movie to be fun. Largely the filmmakers seem poised to cash in on the success that they had with 2008’s “Horton Hears a Who!” though.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Parents looking for something family-friendly at the box office this weekend should take their kids to see this. If you enjoyed the dialogue in Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio’s previous Dr. Seuss adaptation “Horton Hears a Who!”, then you should see “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week so you don’t have to fight the crowds.

PROJECT X

Three nerdy high school seniors throw an epic party to make a name for themselves, but as their night progresses, the shindig spirals wildly out of control as it consumes the entire neighborhood.

Director: Newcomer Nima Nourizadeh

Co-Writers: Matt Drake (“Tully”) and Michael Bacall (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”)

Producer: Todd Philips director of “The Hangover and “Old School”

ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. Opening with a video blog-like apology from our lead character Thomas, the trailer for “Project X” wants to show you that this wild night is a “game changer.” Even though we’ve seen crazy high school parties before on the big screen, this one wants to set itself apart with its found footage qualities. It tries to rope you in with clips of insane moments like a flame thrower torching everything in sight and a car being driven into the swimming pool. Seeing the depths of this movie’s depravity might be worth the price of admission, even though there may not be much re-watch value.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Raunchy comedy fans who like drinking, drugs, swearing, and nudity in ample supply. If you love party movies that chronicle completely outrageous shenanigans over the course of a night like “Superbad,” then you should watch “Project X.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.

BEING FLYNN

While working at a Boston homeless shelter, Nick Flynn (Paul Dano) inadvertently bumps into his father (Robert De Niro), a con man and self-proclaimed poet. Facing problems in his own life, Nick struggles with the idea of reconnecting with his dad.

Director/Writer: Paul Weitz (“Little Fockers,” “About a Boy”)

Based on: Nick Flynn’s book Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir

Notable Supporting Actors: Julianne Moore, Lili Taylor

ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. Robert De Niro’s smug conman Jonathan Flynn states, “American has only produced only three classic writers: Mark Twain, J.D. Salinger, and me,” in the opening of this trailer. Given this and other amusing statements, it appears highly likely that his character will generate some dark laughs during this dramedy. I’m having really hard time buying Paul Dano as a rough and tumble kind of punk guy however. The struggling writer part I do get. Otherwise this looks like your standard coming-of-age type film about a young man trying to stop himself from turning into his father.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Viewers who love dramadies about estranged father and son relationships. If you appreciate Robert De Niro in smaller, more personal roles like this one, then you should seek out “Being Flynn.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week so you don’t have to fight the crowds.

TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE

Tim and Eric receive one billion dollars to make their own movie, which they quickly squander. To make their money back, they try to revitalize a shopping mall.

Co-Directors/Co-Writers: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”)

Co-Writers: Jonathan Krisel, Doug Lussenhop, Jon Mugar (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”)

ORIGINALITY FACTOR: High. Given the unorthodox nature of Tim and Eric’s disjointed television shows, it seems very likely that this flick will blaze a trail into some type of new territory. Whether that’s good or bad country is a complete toss-up though. This preview is similar to those of other comedies, in that it actively mocks trailer clichés with its overly dramatic voice over, use of lists, focus on celebrities, and unnecessary explosions. I’ve never quite understood the appeal of Tim and Eric’s various shows or their jokes, so I have no immediate plans to see their movie.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Audiences that revel in the completely bizarre and unusual that is this type of humor. If you dig the Adult Swim show on which this film is based, you should check out “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.

SNOWTOWN

In this story based on chilling real events, 16-year-old Jamie starts following his mother’s new boyfriend and his evil crowd of neighborhood watchmen, who carry out a spree of grisly murders.

Director/Writer: Newcomer Justin Kurzel

Co-Writer: Shaun Grant

Based on: Killing for Pleasure by Debi Marshall and The Snowtown Murders by Andre McGarry.

ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Medium. The trailer for “Snowtown” does an excellent job of creeping you out with its eerie music. You find it starting to get inside your head as you suspect something is amiss with Jamie’s new mentor. Then it continues to build tension with moments where you feel Jamie is literally a split second away from danger, like the moment where he’s caught trying to dial the phone. In terms of look and feel, the film seems reminiscent of other dark teenage tales like “Bully.”

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: People who have a strong stomach for violence and brutality in movies. If you enjoy Australian crime dramas like “Animal Kingdom,” then you should catch “Snowtown.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.

BOY

In 1984, a New Zealand boy gets a rude awakening upon his dad’s homecoming. The two bit hoodlum is only back to recover a bag of money that he buried a long time ago.

Director/Writer: Taika Waititi (“Flight of the Conchords,” “Eagle vs Shark”)

ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Medium. 1980s nostalgia is the primary tool this trailer uses to entice you. It makes a point to tell you the year it takes place in, and uses plenty of 80s music in the background like “Pass the Dutchie.” You also get that this movie has a quirky sense of humor with its Michael Jackson daydreams and silly clips with the father in grand adventures. The end plays up the hilarity of Boy’s disappointment in his dad, with the extended glimpse of the father awkwardly trying to climb into a car through the window.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Indie film aficionados with a preference for stories from New Zealand. If you like Tom Waititi’s previous work “Eagle vs Shark” then you should view “Boy.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week so you don’t have to fight the crowds.

THE SALT OF LIFE

Retirement has not been kind to Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio), at least not lately, since he’s become invisible to almost everyone around him. In retaliation, he does his best to get an extracurricular love life going.

Director/Writer: Gianni Di Gregorio (“Mid-August Lunch”)

Co-Writer: Valerio Attanasio

ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Medium. After watching the trailer it seems like this comedy explores Gianni’s relationships with women in general including the one he has with his mother, who is quite a pest with all her cries for attention. Many of the jokes seem to spring from Gianni’s attempts to pursue women with the analogy about the rusted car, and the yoga posture he appears to become stuck in. There are some mild laughs to be found in this trailer, but nothing that really pushes me to see this film in the theater.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Foreign film lovers with a predilection for Italian tales. If you liked Gianni Di Gregorio’s 2008 picture “Mid-August Lunch” then you should watch this actor/writer/director in “The Salt of Life.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.

Related: Being Flynn, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Project X, Snowtown, The Salt of Life, Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Movie Trailers, Columns, Weekend Movie Preview

Photo Credits: © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved, © Focus Features Inc. All rights reserved,

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