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Chasing Ghosts (I) (2014)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Family  -  24 March 2014 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 14 users  
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Lucas Simons, an 11 year-old filmmaker, is obsessed with death after the loss of his brother. When Lucas accidentally captures a mysterious presence in one of his films, he inadvertently ... See full summary »

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Lucas Simons, an 11 year-old filmmaker, is obsessed with death after the loss of his brother. When Lucas accidentally captures a mysterious presence in one of his films, he inadvertently becomes a YouTube phenomenon, and must learn to live life in the spotlight while also learning how to once again start living life to its fullest. Written by Josh Chesler

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Death is overrated.

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Comedy | Drama | Family

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24 March 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anyone's Ghost  »

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Chris Brighton: Things Happen. Every experience is Priceless. And Every Experience Ultimately Ends. That's Life!
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Chasing thematic unity
18 April 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A plot sparked by a young boy catching a strange image while filming a funeral, I'm still not entirely sure the best way to describe this film. The film he captures seems to set itself up to be some sort of spiritual or paranormal film, perhaps another film along the lines of Hereafter, which addresses a lot about ideas of death and the afterlife. However, the film then goes on to add a more comedic tone, and a part of this seems to be the interactions between Lucas (Toby Nichols) and Kimberly (Meyrick Murphy), which has a sweet sort of tone that I feel like I've seen in many films before, not as a criticism, but just as a familiar sort of interaction that I found very enjoyable, but a different tone. The third facet is the focus on dealing with grief, how it effects Lucas' family, and how Lucas turns to Chris (Tim Meadows) as a source of outside guidance to better understand all of this.

My immediate reaction during the film was that it seemed to lack a sort of realism, as Lucas and Kimberly didn't feel like believable kids, certainly not at 11-years-old, and it seems more like a film that would need to be slightly older kids by a few years to seem believable. However, I reassessed this after seeing how Nichols and Murphy handled themselves during the Q&A, and the way they behaved really made me rethink the authenticity of those characters, and with a dynamic I already liked, I do think their development is my favourite part of the film. There's also some very entertaining bits that compare amateur film-maker Lucas with a very interesting set of notable directors, and it is one of the more memorable parts of the film.

I was also impressed by Tim Meadows performance in a fairly serious role, as while there was certainly ways he brought comedy into the role, I didn't think he could pull off a character that had to be as emotionally nuanced as Chris turns out to be, and it was a pleasant surprise. The great fault in the role, in my opinion, is not anything that reflects on Meadows, but rather that the character seems very poorly defined and inconsistent at several points. It doesn't destroy the character's impact, but it did hinder it, especially early in the film.

The film goes on a bit further than it should, in my view, and there are points to break the film slightly earlier and leave it as a suitable resolution. Instead, I think there's an issue with how the end of the film seems to try to tie everything up into one nice package, and it does so in a way that just seems phony and rather saccharine. It seems to run counter to the tone of the rest of the film, that at points takes an almost dark sort of humour, and certainly has a very grim or philosophical nature to it that just seems at odds with the film's ending.

There's a lot I like about this, especially a lot of SCENES that I like, but as a full film, it just seems like there's a lot it's lacking in having an overall sense of unity. It feels more like a few different potential films of different tones and focuses that all are addressing the same fundamental questions about life, but those different tones don't make for a cohesive film, and I do wish it had been more consistent and unified, and not lacking in focus.


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