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Chronicle (2012)
206 out of 299 people found the following review useful:
"Found footage" films have the tendency of being awful, predictable, and nothing but a cheap money grab; Chronicle, thankfully, is different., 5 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Chronicle is a "found footage" film that is similar to Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, and - the infamous - Paranormal Activity series. Those kinds of films (mainly Paranormal Activity) have a tendency of being awful, predictable, and nothing but a cheap money grab; Chronicle ,thankfully, is different.

Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a high-school teenager who has decided to make videos of his life. Through these videos, we find out Andrew is a total outcast and doesn't have an easy life. Andrew's father is an abusive drunk, his mother is dieing of cancer, and his cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), barely tolerates him. One day, While Matt is driving Andrew back from school, Matt urges Andrew to go to a party with him. Matt then pleas Andrew not to bring his camera; Andrew doesn't listen. After being punched in the face by a drunk raver, "the footage" then cuts to Andrew sitting outside the party crying. Steve (Michael B. Jordan) walks up to Andrew and tells him that he and Matt have found something they want him to film. What they find is a huge hole. As Andrew is filming the hole, an odd sound is being produced from the inside. Steve, Matt, and Andrew both climb into down hole to see what is. What they find is ______________________________. Some time later, Andrew, Matt, and Steve are then shown that they've developed telekinetic powers (that's when the fun begins). Instead of using their powers to fight crime, the three - now friends - use their powers to play practical jokes on people. As their powers get better, so do the camera angles. Andrew is eventually able to levitate the camera anywhere imaginable as he's doing anything. It's pretty cool.

What amazes me about Chronicle is how well everything has been written. The writing is very well thought out and so are the three main characters. It's rare that you see this in any film. It's even rarer when you see this in a "found footage" film. I'd advise any writer that plans on writing anything about high-school teenagers to watch this film; These are how real high- schoolers act. They're not too immature, they're not too mature. They're teenagers. simple. That's one of the reasons why I love these characters, I can relate to them. Regardless of who you are, you can relate to at least one of the three main characters. As for the other two, you probably know/knew someone who had similar personality traits. It doesn't hurt either when the three form a strong friendship with one another. The first hour or so is a great bromance film

The effects are pretty good, for the most part, considering Chronicle is a low-budget thriller. Most of the effects are practical with uses of some green screen technology. The stunt that looked a little odd to me was the flying, but you get used to it after a while and accept it for what it is. Even though some of the effects looked a little awkward, I have no choice but to respect it, for the fact Chronicle didn't rely solely on CGI.

Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan give great, convincing performances. These characters feel real, so you have to give credit to the three main actors for making them come to life.

In case you can't already tell, I really enjoyed Chronicle, and I think anyone that likes superhero movies will too. Chronicle is the definition of a great "found footage" film. Chronicle is a fun, thrilling movie with simple, yet great dialogue that comes with a great story. Chronicle does a brilliant job at making you feel like you're part of the movie (I really felt like I was the fourth member of the crew), and that means something.

I give Chronicle a very enthusiastic 4 out of 5.

The Artist (2011/I)
0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
I went into "The Artist" with high expectations; sadly, I was left empty and wanting more., 23 January 2012

"The Artist" has received an abundance of praise and awards since it's limited release back in late November. Knowing that, I saw the film with high expectations. Sadly, I was left empty and wanting more.

"The Artist" follows the life of a silent film actor, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin). George is the "it guy" in the 1920's vision of Hollywood; he's good looking, charming, and has a bad-ass mustache. The opening scene sets you right into this silent world with the premiere of George's new film, "A Russian Affair". As George's film, "A Russian Affair" ends, George comes on stage and entertains the audience by saying a few words and doing a little dance; The audience loves it. Later that same evening, George is outside the theater posing for pictures for the press when a young woman, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), drops her purse. As she goes to retrieve it, she gets bumped and is pushed right into George. George laughs it off and poses for pictures alongside the young woman. Peppy wants to be an actress; the next day she goes to an audition at Kinograph Studios and coincidentally has another encounter with George. Al Zimmer (John Goodman), the Studio's boss, isn't to intrigued by Ms. Miller, but with George's help she becomes the next big thing in Hollywood. From that point on, George's life is in a downward spiral. As she rises, he falls. With "Talkies" starting to become the new form of cinema, George loses his job, his house, and his wife. Given that "The Artist" is a silent film, it's a pretty dark and intriguing tale of a washed up actor.

"The Artist" -to put it bluntly- is a piece of art. It's beautiful, funny, and suspenseful without even trying too hard; It's a true achievement in filmmaking. Another thing that is worth mentioning is how natural everything feels. Whether it be the acting, the music, the black and white film alongside the four by three aspect ratio, it never feels like an anachronism.

Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and John Goodman give beautiful performances. There is no spoken dialogue that can be heard, so you might want to learn to read lips (only with image captions that pop-up occasionally is when you can understand what the characters are saying). Otherwise, you only know what's going on by watching the actors' facial expressions and movements. There were more than a couple times in this film where I felt great sympathy for Jean Dujardin's charismatic character, George. You feel sad when George is sad and you feel happy when he's happy; he's that kind of character. James Cromwell plays Clifton, George's faithful butler, and he's great as well. There's a scene with George and Clifton, I'm not going to spoil it, but it's just pitiful. Bérénice Bejo doesn't get as much screen time as Jean Dujardin, but believe me, she does leave her mark.

Even though The film uses the four by three aspect ratio with no color, the cinematography is a delight to look at. Like I said, there is no sound, except for the score that composer Ludovic Bource provides. To be honest, It's not exactly my kind of music, but it replicates the era perfectly (The same goes for the costume designs).

I've done nothing but praise this film, so what's the problem? Well...I really don't have one. I'm willing to admit something that no one ever seems to want to own up to: maybe it's just me. Maybe it was the lack of dialogue that threw me off, maybe it was the music. Regardless, "The Artist" deserves the praise it has gotten and will receive. Michel Hazanavicius made a bold move for making a film of this style, and it pays off.

"The Artist" is a film I respect way more than I like. I give "The Artist" a 3.5/5

- Colyn Kirkland

Warrior (2011)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
"Warrior" looks and sounds like a type of film we've all seen before; except this time, it actually works., 9 January 2012

"Warrior" Director: Gavin O' Connor Writers: Gavin O' Connor, Cliff Dorfman, and Anthony Tambakis Stars: Tom Hardy (Inception, Bronson), Joel Edgerton (The Thing), and Nick Nolte (Affliction)

"Warrior" is the story of two brothers and their father, who's an ex-boxer and recovering alcoholic. When I say that, it sounds like a type of film we've all seen before; except this time, it actually works. Brendan Conlon, who is played by Joel Edgerton, is a former-MMA fighter who has left his alcoholic father and brother behind to start a new life. Brendan is now "living the American dream"; he has started a family and works as a high-school physics teacher. Things appear to be going great for Brendan and his wife (Jennifer Morrison); however, due to financial problems, Brendan and his family are about to lose their house. To make some extra cash, Brendan goes to apply for a job as a bouncer at a local "titty bar". Instead, he ends up participating in a small MMA event. Brendan wins but ironically things get worse. A video of Brendan's fight is uploaded to You-Tube; as a result, The school-board sees the video and Brendan gets laid-off from work. With no other option, Brendan trains and enters the big MMA tournament, "Sparta", to win the big prize money.

Meanwhile, Tommy Ridoran (Tom Hardy), Brendan's younger brother, returns home after several years to his now sober father, Paddy (Nick Nolte). Paddy, who is now a thousand days sober, just wants to get to know his son and repair their broken relationship. Unfortunately for Paddy, you find out that Tommy wants hardly anything to do with his father. Tommy only wants one thing; he wants his old man to train him for the "Sparta" tournament. From That point on you can guess what the climax is.

"Warrior" has a simple, yet heart-throbbing story that could make the manliest man cry. Most of these "heart-throbbing" moments are with Nick Nolte's character, Paddy. (with a first name like Paddy, you feel even more sorry for him.) Paddy tries so hard to repair his relationships with both of his sons, Tom and Brendan, and nothing ever seems to go his way. "Warrior" teaches us that it's essential to forgive friends, and most importantly, family for wrong doings. At the same time though, "Warrior" also teaches us to never forget.

Alright, so now your wondering how the Mixed Martial Arts are represented. One word: BAD- ASS. Do keep in mind though, this is coming from a guy that's never actually watched MMA before. With that said, it's pretty awesome. Tom Hardy's character, Tommy, ("Who's too small to play Bane in TDKR") is a F-ing monster. Tommy's first punch is always that last punch that gets thrown. Tommy immediately knocks out every opponent he encounters with only one hit. Tommy comes in, throws a punch, and walks out even before the ref can clarify that his opponent has been knocked out. Don't think for one minute though that Tommy's older brother, Brendan, is a weakling. Brendan (Joel Edgerton) might not knock out guys within one hit, but he can sure fight. He's the underdog of the story, and the guy that's probably the most relatable. I'm not spoiling anything when I say this, (They reveal it in the trailer and TV-spot) but when the two brothers collide in the climax, you're not sure who to root for. That's the great thing about "Warrior"; you genuinely like these characters.

Edgerton, Hardy, and especially Nolte give great performances. Edgerton plays the underdog role so well, and Hardy plays the tough broken spirit like a violin. Nolte; however, steals the violin and plays it on steroids. I really believe that Nick Nolte deserves an Oscar nomination for "Best Supporting Actor". It probably won't happen, but at least it won't be the first time that The Academy has snubbed someone. We all remember last year's big snub, don't we.

There are some problems with "Warrior"; fortunately though, they're very minor. The first problem I have with "Warrior" are the commentators at the MMA tournaments. Much like any sport that you watch, they never fail to be over obnoxious and just plain annoying. The commentators pull out some of the most inane dialogue that do not serve the least bit of significance. The second problem (much like the first) I have with "Warrior" is some of the dialogue. The good news is that 90 percent of the bad dialogue lies on the shoulders of the two idiotic commentators.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and I advise everyone and anyone to see it. Like I said earlier, this movie can make the manliest man cry. In fact, this movie caters towards those kinds of people. "Warrior" is that "tough guy" movie with a huge heart at it's core. I give "Warrior" a 4 out of 5.

-Colyn Kirkland