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I stumbled across this title when I was looking through the On Demand
library for a movie I haven't seen yet. I was encouraged by the
positive reviews on IMDb, and they turned out to be right on target.
Chronicle compellingly explores how "real" teenagers might react to unexpectedly receiving extraordinary powers. Although I recognized none of the three young leads (or any of the supporting cast, for that matter), each actor brought depth and humanity to his role and we should see more of Dane DeHaan (Andrew) and Alex Russell (Matt)in the near future.
The teens acquire their new skills early in the film, and the first hour is spent establishing their characters and relationships. Each one deals with the abilities differently, and the movie grows increasingly dark and suspenseful as they unsuccessfully attempt to set moral guidelines for their conduct. I was literally on the edge of my seat during the last 20 minutes as the fragile framework snapped.
Definitely recommend, you will not be disappointed.
This is a movie that competently takes the viewer (once again) into the
world of a small town American high school. The focus is on two
cousins: older and cooler Matt (played by the attractive Alex Russell)
and troubled Andrew (played by Dane DeHaan). One more joins the group:
popular Steve (played by Michael Jordan).
A strange event occurs that gives the three special powers, specifically telekinesis and flight. Later they also seem to have super strength and at least some invulnerability. A fun part of the movie is exploring what American teenagers would do if gifted with such extraordinary powers. This is nicely portrayed and the viewer is drawn into the excitement. The flying sequences in particular were fun to watch.
At the start, the story is primarily told from Andrew's point of view, literally, because Andrew is into filming and the story takes the form of found footage. We see the world through Andrew's eyes, so we come to understand his life and his motives. However, because of his family life and emotional problems, Andrew ends up having difficulty coping with his powers. This problem becomes the focus of the last third of the movie. Will Super Andrew, our narrator, be able to find his way?
I loved the story of the film, and I thought that most of the acting
was believable, though Andrew's father's acting in some scenes wasn't
great. I also felt disappointed as I'm afraid the trailer does reveal
some of the end scenes, so if you want to sea the film, don't watch the
The film was filmed with a home camcorder, which I have to admit I had to get used to, however after a while it was fine. The film also did seem to drag on a bit, however it wasn't too bad.
I thought that overall the film had lots of heart, and was a big improvement on these blockbusters which lack decent acting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another found footage movie, with an edge though.
Three high school kids find a rock, and absorb some sort of power from it. Soon enough, they are able to control things using their mind, and soon enough turn on one another.
The tailer for this movie is very deceptive, as is the element of found footage, as there are obviously parts toward the end that are just like a normal movie.
But this has to be the best 'ff' movie since 'Troll Hunter', and one of the best American ones out there.
The simple being is because the film is a lot of fun, and because of it's very slim running time, we get into the action more or less straight away.
The three high school kids are good, but they are predictable, you know from the upstart that the geek is going to be the strongest, but forgive this minor blip,and there is lots to discover in this.
What makes the film fun, is the fact that they are doing exactly what we would do if we had powers. We would impress to get status, we would fly, and we would want to go somewhere cool.
But also, in the back of our minds, we know that we would have the power to do anything, and know that we would be one of the most powerful beings on earth, and this is where the film gets it's biggest credit.
One moment, the films like a big summer break, it's a happy discovery to find what you have. The next in literally a bolt of lightning, the film turns very dark, and shows its evil side.
sadly toward the end, the film ebbs toward some sort of fantastic four duel of sorts, and just becomes a tad annoying, like the main character.
But for the majority of the film, it's powerful, gripping, and most of all, a lot of fun.
It's great when films like this come out of nowhere and surprise you
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film was like "Carrie" for a new generation ,the outcast pushed to the limit by everyone around him....By saying this I am not insulting the film , quite the opposite I LOVED this film for this reason.Andrew was a superb protagonist (I am saying protagonist because he was not an antagonist , none of the main characters were antagonist and this is one of the things I also loved about the film) He was a flawed , tragic character and he was extremely endearing for it.I am man enough to say that I shed a tear for him at the end of the film. I went into the theater expecting an average Xmen meet Cloverfield type of film what I got instead was a great character piece. This film surprised the heck out of me.
This was a film about three teenagers who develop incredible and
fascinating powers after a strange encounter at a party. Throughout the
film they learn to use and control their powers and discover new things
they can do. This was a really enjoyable aspect of the film and the way
characters reacted was fun to watch and felt believable.
The way Chronicle was filmed as though it was all through the main character's video cameras made it more personal and in a way more realistic as well. The three main characters were all very different and interesting in their own way and as the film goes on you see how they all deal with their new found powers differently.
What I found great about this film was how it had two very different sides. The first part was really light-hearted and comical as they try out their powers and become good friends because of their shared secrets. Then the film changed quite drastically and became quite dark as things start to go wrong and there was also a lot of great action in the latter part of them film.
I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this film and I think it is definitely worth a watch.
When I first heard about this movie three or four months ago I thought
it was just another one of those movies, no matter if I saw the trailer
or heard nothing but satisfying reviews about it I would avoid watching
it but I was wrong once again, as I have been before about a few films.
Chronicle is every teenager's dream especially in high school where their outlook and abilities are limited but all in a fictional standpoint. As seen by the trailers, three high seniors discover an unknown radiation substance that empowers them with abilities that nobody's ever seen or had before, it's almost like a combination of different super powers that's been portrayed in past super hero films.
The movie itself is very entertaining and fun and I think most everyone would enjoy it because it covers heroics, resolution, nerve racking, happiness, and most of all a powerful antagonist. Most importantly, it involves every criteria for a movie to be successful but there are still holes in the story much like any other film today but don't let that influence your decision, it's still a good movie worth seeing on a laid back Saturday evening.
I give it a 4 our of 5.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My expectations were low...but after seeing it, I have to say I was
First of all, if you've seen the trailer (or Heroes, or any other superhero movie made in the last 3 years) you know exactly what's going to happen in this film. It's a stock story ("Akira" meets "Heroes"), it's been done, and the film knows this.
What wins in this movie is the sincerity of its main character, and the relentless "real world" level of drama it maintains. It would've been very easy for this film to get melodramatic or stupid, and (for the most part) it does neither. This film works because we believe (and root for) the main character. He's a clichéd character for sure, but played earnestly.
What's also great in this movie is the use of superpowers. (spoilers follow). It was a brilliant decision to give all three teens the same power, and see how each of them develops it. They use it how most real teenagers would; for fun. It definitely makes you wish you had telekinetic powers of your own.
The movie definitely had weaknesses, though. First and foremost, the "cinema verite" style doesn't work. The whole point of doing a movie in that style is to make it feel authentic, uncut, raw, etc. For example, cloverfield worked because it felt like we were seeing government archive footage. Same goes for Blair Witch. But this film completely misses the point of those films. Here we have multiple cameras, cuts (like, traditional A/B style cutting), "too-perfect" framing, and no clear sense of who had this footage or how it was put together. We even see footage from cameras that have been destroyed while the tapes were still inside them. You could argue that realism wasn't the point, and it was a stylistic choice, but even then it fails because the filmmakers refused to leave out any important visual information (again, Cloverfield, blair witch) so it comes off as feeling shot by a filmmaker anyway. District 9 proved that you don't have to justify your camera being there "in reality" to do a film that feels like it's real.
My only complaint about the actual story is that the main character makes some incredibly stupid decisions towards the end, clearly just to "get the plot moving." It's a real shame too, since there were many ways to get the guy from point A to B without dumbing him down.
My last gripe is about the special effects. I have total respect for anyone willing to make an "effect movie" that's based on hand-held footage. However, when you're competing against cloverfield and district 9, well...this movie just feels like it was "made in after effects."
So that's it! I may have gone on a bit about the movie's faults, but trust me when I say it's a well-made film. I hope the filmmakers for Akira take good notes on Chronicle, because this is almost exactly how it should be done (minus the hand-held camera gimmick).
Josh Trank's "Chronicle" comes at a time where "found footage" movies
are all too common and gimmicky. Hot on the heels of "The Blair Witch
Project", "Cloverfield" and "Paranormal Activity" (all of which are
scary films), big movie studios are wringing this concept dry in order
to save huge costs and make millions worldwide. Of course, the public
soon grew tired of the "fake documentary" style and excessive
"realistic" shaky camera as a result.
"Chronicle" isn't a horror movie, however. I'd like to think of it as a superhero origin film without the usual glorified stuff, sort of like M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" but with more youthful angst. At first glance it could be called a comedy, and soon after the midpoint that's where things go dark. After a mysterious discovery three teens suddenly develop superpowers which they decide to use for fun. You got Andrew the anti-social loner who constantly faces sh*t every day at home and at high school, his cousin Matt who uses philosophy to justify his own loneliness, and the popular and well to do high school jock Steve who wants to help Andrew get lucky. All three use their powers for pranks and flying and other fun stuff (if one of them was Peter Parker, Uncle Ben would be rolling in his grave) until Andrew accidentally injures someone with his powers out of anger. Youthful rage, indeed. Telekinesis is no worse than a gun or a knife when placed in the wrong, and especially angry, hands.
From these three main characters the foundation is set for character development and conflict. The home footage, like all "found footage" films, definitely gives the dramatic scenes some punch, specifically with Andrew the unlucky one. The film is mostly seen from his point of view so we understand his motive as his new-found powers being to chip away his withdrawn exterior and he begins to lash out at everyone who opposes him. It is villainous, but it isn't evil, it's just tragic. Brian De Palma's "Carrie" comes to mind, except less bloody and on a more destructive scale (still around the PG-13 limit). The audience is treated to a ticking time bomb of a character while the other two try to reason with him, inevitably leading to a violent and tragic confrontation. A real hero and villain face-off.
Trank and fellow writer Max Landis (son of fellow filmmaker John Landis) succeeded with the character development here, we are not so intimidated by Andrew as we do feeling sympathetic for him. The writers do not care about the origins of their powers as they do with the emotional effects it will have on the three characters. Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan, the three main actors, are all new to me, but they give very convincing and entertaining performances, especially DeHaan who looks like he can have a rich career ahead of him.
Trank directs the film briskly and confidently. The editing doesn't feel forced, and the various camera formats (home video, CCTV) spliced together gives a raw atmosphere throughout the film (a staple of "found footage" films) which makes for a more interesting and exciting watch, specifically during the climax where Seattle comes under attack by Andrew's rage in scenes reminiscent of Katushiro Otomo's "Akira" (I doubt Jaume Collet-Serra will be as good as Trank in making his remake as engaging as this scene alone).
The special effects crew, given the budget, manage to make the destruction and the mayhem feel threatening and not just exciting. The camera work was nicely done as well as it wasn't as aggressively shaky as expected from this type of film, we even manage to view the action in its fury during the climax. It's clear Trank wasn't going for the "woah" feeling and instead was aiming for the gut. Not bad for a first feature film.
Despite some clichéd moments and a few plot holes, "Chronicle" stands on its own right as simply a solid, good film, not just a light surprise in the "found footage" department. It is a real movie, with interesting, fleshed out characters and a coherent, fluid story structure, instead of being just another "remnant of whatever happened". I wouldn't mind seeing it a second time, but I'll probably wait for the DVD/Blu-ray rental. Oh, and I hope those teens who watch this movie will at least stop bullying whoever they are bullying. They'll never know until its too late. Poor Andrew.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With Chronicle I've finally had to accept that no matter how good a
movie is, I can't really enjoy it if it makes me physically ill.
Whenever I try to watch one of these hand-held video, "found footage"
flicks in the theater, I can only make it about 40 minutes in before
the all the camera movement gives me a headache and light nausea. Which
is frustrating in this case because this film is not just a good
example of its particular genre of storytelling, it's a pretty good
story by any standard. But just as it wound up to its emotional climax,
I couldn't really get into it because I was trying to avoid climaxing
my lunch onto the theater floor. So, if you're like me and prone to
motion sickness from this kind of thing, you'll have the same problem.
If you're free of that particular weakness, you might enjoy this motion
picture a whole lot.
On the surface, Chronicle is about three high school kids who crawl down into a hole one right and find something that gives them the power of mind over matter. When you look a little closer, though, it's actually a super-hero story. Except instead of focusing on a hero who learns "with great power comes great responsibility", this is all about the origin of the super-villain and what the hero learns is that the responsible thing is to NOT dress up in a costume and try to fight crime.
The budding bad guy is Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan), an introverted high school loser with a dying mother and an abusive father. His cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell) is the sort of loner who thinks himself above the teenage experience and reads philosophy books to validate that feeling. The third, but in no way inessential, wheel is Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan), the hot shot class president who's so normal, happy and well adjusted he doesn't have the slightest clue what to do with his power or the ambition to figure it out. The "found footage" of the story comes from the camera Andrew constantly keeps with him, though his eventual use of his power to manipulate the camera without touching it does give Chronicle a look that's quite different that other movies of this type. Now, you can't explain or rationalize any of it as some sort of documentary made from video recovered after events occurred, but it seems that convention of the genre is being dispensed with more and more as time goes on. I suppose that's good for the long term heath of the genre, but it's going to allow increasing implausible and hard to swallow storytelling.
While there's a subplot involving Matt and a pretty young blogger (Ashley Hinshaw), the heart of this film is watching the moral disintegration that comes when you give incredible power to someone with the inner demons from a lifetime of social isolation and parental abuse. The lesson being that an unhappy person who becomes powerful doesn't become happy. They just get the ability to act out on their misery. And it is in that dynamic that the character of Steve is so important to the movie. While Andrew is a high school reject, Steve is the most popular guy in class and Chronicle embraces the reality that popular kids like Steve usually aren't douches or jerks. That's a stereotype propagated by writers, who were often the uncool kids in their class. Popular high school students are often no better or worse than anyone else, they're just more outgoing and socially capable than their geeky, withdrawn classmates. While the main relationship in the story is between Andrew and Matt, Steve is the lightning rod for Andrew's transformation into a bad guy and provides a moral clarity and structure to Andrew's predatory evolution.
If you put Chronicle into the alternative super-hero genre, this is one of the best ones that's been made to date. If you classify it as a "found footage" flick, I'd only put it behind the verisimilitude of The Blair Witch Project and the inspired filmmaking of Video X. You should definitely watch it that is, if you can keep a clear head and a calm stomach.
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