The simplicity of Dr. Seuss’ works is the reason they will continue to be read as long as there are parents to tell bedtime stories to their children. The Lorax is a bloated attempt to expand the universe of Seuss’ proposal for wise and forward-thinking treatment of the environment in the face of industrial excess. A boy (voice of Zac Effron) tries to figure out what happened to the forest and hears the sad tale of the Lorax (voice of Danny DeVito), the woods’ protector. It’s as bright and colorful as the book (except when things go south for the forest, of course), but it keeps adding one extraneous element after another until the heart of the story is lost in musical numbers, cliffhangers, and chase sequences. My review is here. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D.
Bel Ami features a prime example of an actor doing too much in his performance and, in the process, losing the core of a character. When the story in question is a character study that depends entirely on what motivations drive the main character and, as a result, the action within it as this one is, the results of an unfocused central performance are devastating. Robert Pattinson plays Georges Duroy, who is either a heartless and cunning master manipulator or a naïve boy with a sensitive and sometimes jealous heart who is prone to become the tool of others, and at times, Pattinson plays Duroy as both in the same scene only seconds apart. It’s a messy performance that draws our attention away from everything else in the movie. Available on DVD.