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What to See, What to Skip: New Reviews this Week

What to See, What to Skip: New Reviews this Week

The biggest new release this week is surely the animated adaption of the the Dr. Seuss environmental allegory “The Lorax.”  If you’re looking for something graphically different, there’s the release of the true Australian serial killer story “The Snowtown Murders”; what sounds like Robert De Niro’s best performance in awhile in “Being Flynn; and if you just want to tune out for an hour and a half there’s “Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.”

Click through below for reviews from the Indiewire network for this week’s new releases:

“Being Flynn”

Indiewire: B-
In the movie, there are several intermediaries: The actors, the imagery, a decent pop soundtrack. That’s enough to keep “Being Flynn” from falling apart, but mainly it makes a strong campaign for why you should read the book first.

Caryn James
For a moment I wondered why it hadn’t opened during awards season; De Niro is absolutely that good. But it didn’t take long to see that Being Flynn is a tougher sell than most awards movies.

The Playlist: C-
Weitz isn’t interested in exploring the conflicts and issues that spring from the heart of “Being Flynn” as much as he’s concerned with placing them at strategic checkpoints, to eliminate any necessary audience questioning in favor of revelation as a narrative technique; it’s the equivalent of a tour guide who mistakes himself for a magician.

“Black Butterflies”

The Playlist: C+
The pleasure of film capturing the intensity of the prose written by “the South African Sylvia Plath” is lost as the picture never engages in languid prose over didactic biopic moviemaking.

Shadow and Act
I do know that it was difficult for me to fully empathize with this self-centered, self-destructive, mercurial, even manipulative human being. And that in turn challenged my appreciation for the film itself, to be frank.

“Last Days Here”

The Playlist: A-
These kind of stories are easy to come by in cinema (and even easier to get behind), but this one digs deeper than most, exposing an ugly reality — one so seemingly futile that even the smallest victories throughout feel genuine rather than the work of clever filmmakers exploiting their subject for audience affection.

“Let the Bullets  Fly”

The Playlist: B
The running time really does hurt the film, but if gluttony beckons ambition, this is the way to do it.

“The Lorax”

The Playlist: B-
There isn’t anything offensively bad about “The Lorax,” it’s just that there are long stretches of the movie where nothing even remotely interesting (let alone funny) happens.

Leonard Maltin
This might work as a diversion for younger kids, but there is no sign of the wit or wisdom of Dr. Seuss.

“Project X”

The Playlist: C+
Within its first 45 minutes, “Project X” is a frequently hilarious, wickedly seductive thrill, but the paper-thin premise tires itself out to exhaustion, taking a morally irresponsible film into the realm of just irritating.

“The Salt of Life”

The Playlist: B
“Salt of Life” has the right amount of sweet and sour, able to entertain while it candidly explores its characters. Dare we say, it’s a film for adults made by adults, and it’s a great time.

“The Snowtown Murders”

Indiewire: B-
Certain unsettling images provides a stark reminder of the evil at work — fingers painfully yanked out of their roots, a victim repeatedly choked to the brink of death — but Kurzel mainly favors a morbid atmosphere over visceral discontent

The Playlist: C+
For this first effort, Kurzel shows tremendous skill even if “Snowtown” never quite fully succeeds.

“This Is Not a Film”

The Playlist: A
Beyond the politics, beyond the ideas on art and how it reflects and informs outside life, beyond the embittered but tongue-in-cheek commentary on the terrible absurdity of the situation, “This Is Not A Film” portrays the fear of being forgotten when you can’t speak for yourself, when you’ve been removed from the public eye.

Press Play
Melancholy as it is, This Is Not A Film is no pity party. It evokes ennui and anxiety without ever being boring itself.

“Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”

Indiewire: B-
By virtue of its unevenness, “Billion Dollar Movie” makes a cogent argument for why some entertainment belongs in the short form.

The Playlist: A
“Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” is a toss-off, a trifle, a doodle; but, with their bouillabaisse approach and emphasis on editorial gamesmanship, it might just be the next phase of American comedy.

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