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Chronicle (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Josh Trank / Actors: Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell, Ashley Hinshaw ... / DVD released 2012-05-28 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Letterboxed, PAL

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    9 Reviews
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      12.02.2014 08:18
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      Another unique spin on the superhero genre, even if the story might be overly familar to some

      In the last couple of years we have seen several movies such as "Kick-ass", "Defendor" and more recently "Super" which attempt to explore the idea of superheroes in the real world, an idea arguably first explored in Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel "Watchmen". However none of these recent wannabe superheroes have actually had any super powers, something "Chronicle" seemingly attempts to address here, as three high school boys Andrew (Dane DeHaan) his popular cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and their friend the equally popular Steve (Michael B. Jordan) who after discovering a strange glowing blue rock in a remote cavern, suddenly find themselves given quickly developing superpowers, all while Andrew attempts to deal with the allure of the darker side of his powers.

      Shot as a "found footage" movie, the film serves as a chronicle (see what they did there) of Andrew's life and later to log the boys ever increasing abilities, as what starts off as carefree pranks with the boys using their powers for a variety of mischief from traumatizing a little girl with a floating teddy to Steve moving a car with the power of his mind. Seeing how none of the boys have an Uncle Ben figure in their lives to warn that "With great power, comes great responsibility" the powers prove to be a seemingly unlimited outlet for mischief, with their powers only growing stronger the more they use them, with seemingly the only side effect being frequent nosebleeds caused when they overexert themselves. However with Andrew already struggling under the day to day pressures of his life from his alcoholic father, his mother slowly dying from cancer and being the target of choice for the school bullies. Needless to say he is a tightly wound spring ready to snap, meaning that possibly the worse thing is to give him is an outlet for these frustrations, though these darker intentions really only appear around the final quarter as Andrew continues to spiral further out of control.

      Shot mainly on hand held camera, aswell switching to news footage and surveillance cameras during the climatic showdown between Andrew and Matt, the film manages to skirt around the usual eyestrain found footage movies usually suffer from due to the camera constantly moving, a problem solved by the boys using their powers to suspend the camera in midair, which stops the film from bouncing around and frames the action perfectly, while still allowing the occasional burst of shaky footage usually when the boys loose control, such as the nausea inducing freefall sequence.

      Shot with such breakneck pace the film doesn't even bother to have a title card and rarely stops to catch breath, as we are thrown into Andrew's world and something which proves to be slightly detrimental for his change to the dark side, which rather than a gradual chance feels like more of a sudden snap and could certainly have benefited from being given the time to develop this idea further, with it's sudden appearance only being more forgiven due to it's early reveal in the trailers. Still the scenes of the boys using their powers for mischief are a refreshing change from the usual angst ridden sequences which have become so common in modern comic book movies and only adds a further sense of realism, as surely the first thing everyone would want to do upon finding they had super powers would be to find a fun way to abuse them. The final showdown is equally thrilling as the boys are finally let off the leash and we finally get to see just what they are capable of, as they reduce most of Seattle's trademarks to rubble, with the decision to switch the footage source being a great one, as to have your video camera following you closely behind during a brawl (especially one as chaotic and action packed as this one) would be pushing things perhaps a little too far, something which always proves a major irritation in found footage movies, as you find yourself constantly asking why they are still filming!

      Seattle is a great choice of setting for the film, largely thanks to it never being the key location for any previous superhero film and the change from the all to familiar New York setting is a refreshing one and while both Cape Town and Vancouver, Canada were used for filming, they are not easily distinguishable from the real city itself, with the key locations such as the space needle all being used effectively during the finale.

      However my main complaints here would be the worryingly large amount of similarities between this film and Katsuhiro Ohtomo's legendary Manga / Anime "Akira", which as of the time of writing this review continues to have it's live action version firmly stuck in development hell, a situation it would seem Landis has taken full advantage of, though how unwittingly is probably down to the scepticism of the movie goer and while it is no where near as ambitious in terms of scope or storytelling the key idea of the bulled youth being given the power to retaliate and the only person being able to stop him being his best friend, is clearly on show here with Andrew and Matt easily comparable to Akira's Tetsuo and Kaneda.

      One of my "top picks for 2012", "Chronicle" seemingly came out of nowhere, but with sheer amount of big movies like "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spiderman" coming out the same year, it's was not that surprising it was so frequently overlooked on the release schedule. Still written by Max Landis, son of the legendary horror director John Landis, here he continues to break away from the stigma of having a famous parent, as he continues to add to an already impressive C.V as a screenwriter, having first launched himself into the scene, when he scripted his fathers "Masters of Horror" episode "Deer Woman" and now with "Chronicle" he finally makes the move to movies. It is also the first of several projects with his next script for "Good Time Gang" already in pre-production. Director Josh Trank shows real confidence calling the shots for his first feature, having started off like Landis working in TV, directing episodes of "The Kill Point" and shows enough potential to already generate in the direction he chooses to take next.

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      10.10.2013 13:19
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      The worst film I've seen since Uwe Boll's 'Rampage'

      ===FILM ONLY REVIEW===

      Chronicle is currently showing on the Sky movie channels and I watched this through their related Xbox app, Now TV.

      ===DETAILS===

      Released: 2012
      Running time: 1 hour 21 minutes
      Directed by: Josh Trank
      Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw, Anna Wood, Alex Russell, Joe Vaz, Luke Tyler, Matthew Dylan Roberts
      Certificate rating: 15
      Tagline: Not all heroes are super.
      Description: Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

      ===MY THOUGHTS===

      This film is centred around 3 teenagers who, by some small accident, end up with supernatural powers. The main character is Andrew, your standard awkward young male who is a bit of a social misfit and has family problems at home. He doesn't fit in and his only friend is his cousin Matt, and later, popular student Steve, who are all caught up in the event that leads to them gaining the special powers. As the plot progresses we see how they adapt to life with their new-found abilities.

      The film is presented mostly through the medium of Andrew's hand-held video camera, which he seems to use as a sort of social barrier to keep his distance from other people. He films events in his mundane day-to-day life, and the scenes jump around without any real sense of direction or connection to what has directly preceded it, as you would expect if you are to believe that this is a sequence of amateur films recorded by a teenager just for kicks. This style actually fits quite well with the story and the characters, and it feels almost natural that the events are filmed in this basic way. Despite the simplistic filming techniques used, Chronicle features some excellent special effects work and they fit in seamlessly so you could almost believe that what you are seeing is real footage. The slick special effects do jar a little with the simply shot settings, but in all honesty the effects were the only thing that I found impressive about this film so it's fair that I give them some appreciation.

      The failing point for me is that I could not stand the lead character in any way, shape or form. It seems quite irrational to dislike a fictional character so much, but I can surely say that I hated Andrew. Absolutely HATED him. He has the usual teenage angst issues about not fitting in at school, can't make friends, girls don't like him, and even worse problems at home with an abusive father and a dying mother. Unfortunately Andrew is weak. He does not try and better himself or improve any of the bad situations he is in; instead he wallows in self-pity and seems to sum up the immortal teenage mantra of "it's not fair". Once the boys have gained their powers things start off quite innocently, with a nice little scene of them playing Lego using telekinesis. As they use their powers more they begin to develop and get stronger, learning new things and becoming more powerful. This is where you see Andrew start to turn for the worse, and instead of rising up to a better place and shaking off his old, pathetic self and grow into a more decent human being, he lashes out and turns down a dark path. I thought the whole plot was really unsatisfying and it was disappointing to not be given any explanation for the circumstances of how the boys came to get their powers. The two main supporting characters, Matt and Steve, were much more likeable than Andrew, with Matt sharing his philosophical perspective on various situations throughout the film, and Steve displays a good sense of humour with his charisma shining out against the dullness of Andrew. I think you are supposed to feel sorry for Andrew and take his side, but I was completely lacking in empathy for this character.

      ===SUMMARY===

      For me, this film sums up the "emo" generation and I didn't enjoy it in the slightest. Maybe enjoyable if you're a whiny teenager but certainly not something I would recommend to fans of science fiction.

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        16.03.2013 15:26
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        A not so great science fiction/superhero movie

        ***

        (Film Only Review)


        Plot:

        Three boys obtain superpowers. One of the boys documents, via video camera, their journey from obtaining these powers, to the rapid development of their powers, and ultimately their attempts at trying to control their powers and help each other during this process.


        My Thoughts (summed up in one sentence):

        What a load of garbage.


        My Thoughts (In detail):

        I remember seeing the trailer for this movie, and thinking 'huh, this seems kinda funny.' When it premiered on Sky movies, I sat down with my family, ice cream in hand, to watch the movie.

        The trailer gave the impression that this would be a superhero comedy. It was not. It had its comedic moments at the beginning when the boys obtained their powers and used them to play practical jokes on the people around them. But that was pretty much where the comedy ended.

        One of the main things to note about this film is the way that it is filmed. It basically views like a home-made documentary, and all the filming is through video cameras, or security cameras, or news crew cameras. While I understand the idea behind the filming...to make it look realistic, so that we as an audience actually believe this is something that has happened...it made the film difficult to watch, at times the shots were shaky and unstable, whichever character held the camera at the time, his facial expressions, body language etc, went unseen. It was like watching a home-movie of someone else's life, and as rapidly as the boys powers developed, as rapidly I got bored.

        With a view to making this a realistic documentary...there is also no accompanying music. While I can understand why they chose to do this, I believe music would have added something to scenes of chaos....which without the music I found it hard to watch, because it was just a lot of noise that seemed to go on forever.

        The acting is something that I cannot fault, however there is nothing remarkable about it either. Perhaps the only actor that had a bit more depth to his character was Dane DeHaan playing the lead role of Andrew, the boy who is recording most of their journey. DeHaan was able to display a range of different emotions, you can really see his emotions develop, growing stronger as his powers do. You can see how his powers and his emotions begin to connect with one another, and you can really see that in his facial expressions, when you do get to see them, and in his voice and body language.

        The movie is not particularly memorable either. I got so bored within the first fifteen minutes, that the only thing keeping me awake was playing Temple Run on the ipad every now and again. The only scene that will stick in my head forever is where one of the boys uses his powers on...something...and you don't expect him to do what he then proceeds to do. It was a moment of shock.

        The storyline became a little predictable and while you could see where it was headed, at the same time it felt like it was a storyline that was headed nowhere. There were moments where I wanted to scream 'Hurry up and get on with the story,' and there were moments where it was incredibly fast-paced, however, important questions that you would ask in this movie as with other superhero movies, remain unanswered...and it leaves you thinking, 'hang on a second, what actually happened in this movie?' I believe this movie falls under the genre of science fiction, but it doesn't answer any of the scientific questions that you would ask. They leave room at the end for a possible sequel.

        I am astounded at the number of reviews giving Chronicle a four or five star rating. The movie certainly takes a different approach to the superhero genre...and does it in a creative way. So I guess all I can say is this simply was not my cup of tea.

        If you are looking for a typical superhero movie, this is not it.

        ***

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          11.01.2013 14:57
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          Three kids discover the pressures of having super-powered abilities....

          One of the main things everyone always remembers about the movie Spiderman is the phrase "With great power, comes great responsibility" but if you found yourself with extraordinary powers beyond anything you could ever imagine, just how far would YOU go?

          This is the question that Chronicle attempts to address in this latest take on the "found-footage" movie that sees three errant teenagers discovering they are able to perform amazing feats of telekinesis after being exposed to a glowing object they find in a cavern under the ground. True, these feats of telekinesis produce spontaneous nosebleeds but hey, it's all fun, right?

          Wrong!

          The more they use their powers, they more they find they can do. And though it starts off as just a laugh, troubled teenager Andrew begins taking things a bit too far. The guy has a lot to deal with already ~ his mother is terminally ill and his dad an abusive alcoholic - so slowly these new problems to deal with begin to push him over the edge. And only his friends can stop him.....or can they? Because suddenly Andrew is stronger than either of his two friends who share his ability.....

          This was a great movie that really tried hard to achieve something different and, I think, succeeded! It uses the "found footage" style loosely much as {rec}3 did last year and to great effect and a big special-effect laden climax is simply breathtaking and cool the way it is done.

          I think this is a really good film. It has a lot to say about responsibility and takes a more realistic approach to what might happen if Joe Bloggs off the street suddenly gained superhuman abilities. The young actors are all superb and there is very little negative I can say about this.

          It's not quite good enough for 5 stars but I'll tell you what, it comes pretty close. Watch this and you may just be in for a treat!

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          07.11.2012 17:56
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          Add this to your watchlist.

          This is a movie I watched simply as I found the plot quite intriguing if not quite basic at the same time. Basically it looked like a good film I could watch to past time, but not exactly something I would go out of my way to watch, but I actually found it to be quite decent.

          Plot
          This is a story about a group of friends who stumble upon something quite mysterious and gain amazing superpowers. How well they deal with this, after all they are no longer just regular school kids, they now have great power and with great power comes great responsibility...

          Cast
          ~~~~~~~~~~~

          Dane DeHaan - Andrew Detmer
          Alex Russell - Matt Garetty
          Michael B. Jordan - Steve Montgomery

          My Opinion
          ~~~~~~~~~~~

          I am generally not a fan of this Cloverfield style of film. By this I mean movies where it is predominantly shot through a hand held camera. I completely understand some people may call this 'art', but I guess you can save on the budget this way and it is something different. There are a few exceptions though, namely Blair Witch project and this movie Chronicle.

          It works well with only three main characters as they are all quite different. It is quite clearly early on which of these characters will go to the dark side first, and Dane DeHaan plays it really well. The acting is all in the eyes and he reminds me a little of a young Rainn Wilson. Even Alex Russell reminds of a young James Franco from the Freaks and Geeks days, due to their similar image and acting playing a good guy.

          Most of the film was quite predictable and it is not easy to predict what the fate of each character will be and even in what order the consequences of each character. They really go all out in the final twenty minutes and considering the budget I will mention below, it is very impressive. They are using all aspects of their power for maximum thrills. It was even more impressive than many scenes from the Xmen movies.

          I must mention that the budget was only $15million. This is tiny, about most big budget Hollywood films spend this much on a scene. In fact it doesn't even have to be Hollywood, in Jackie Chan's next flick he has spent $10million just for one fight scene. As you can imagine there was not a lot of promotion, but there has been a lot of word of mouth, and it has made well over 100million worldwide, so a sequel has already been confirmed.

          Overall I was very satisfied and went in to this with little expectations. In terms of the sequel I am not really sure if they will be able to get anywhere close to this standard and sometimes it is best to just leave a film alone. What I can say though is that Chronicle gets a thumbs up from me. It's not perfect, but considering its budget it deserves all the rave reviews it has received.

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          05.11.2012 12:53
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          Realistic superheros?

          Star - The premise
          Genre - Sci-Fi
          Country - USA
          Run Time - 84 minutes
          Certificate -12A
          Amazon - £6.70 retail
          Rental - £3.50 per night@Blockbusters


          We have all had those dreams where we can fly or, maybe, levitate straight up above the fields, or move objects in our bedrooms with telekinesis when we are half awake, the more special our powers in those dreams the less likely we have any power in our work and lifestyle when we then wake up to our boring lives, the cause of those dreams, one suspects. Felix Baumgartner, the man who fell to earth at the speed of sound, had those very same dreams as a kid.

          Chronicle is a movie that hugs and offers redemption to those depressed and moody put upon teenagers and fan boys of the world, the kids bullied at school that can't get a girlfriend, the fat ones, the spotty ones....the geeks and tomboys, kids who lose themselves in comic books to escape that torture of being young, The Hunger Games meets Twilight crowd.

          Chronicle, although a full length feature movie, looks and feels more like a grainy pilot for a TV series and it would not surprise me if we did see that happen, the way Smallville did a young Clark Kent growing up in the sticks with the learning of those kryptonite superpowers. Every school kid dreamt of having special powers to be more popular and get more girls and Chronicle very much taps into that sort of thing. But on film we haven't seen that outside of the recognized and familiar multi billion dollar superhero genre and so this films arrival was refreshing as it was entertaining. The sequel or that TV series is inevitable now as its impressive budget of just $12 million earned $125 million back from those fan boys.


          ----The Cast---

          * Dane DeHaan as Andrew Detmer
          * Michael B. Jordan as Steve Montgomery
          * Alex Russell as Matt Garetty
          * Michael Kelly as Richard Detmer
          * Ashley Hinshaw as Casey Letter
          * Anna Wood as Monica
          * Bo Petersen as Karen Detmer

          -----The Plot----

          Moody Seattle teenager Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) has decided to start videotaping his life, done to distract from his mother (Bo Petersen) slow and painful death from cancer in the family home. Dad Richard (Michael Kelly) is an alcoholic because of his wife's demise and so the loss of his job and takes it out on his son by abusing him, mouth and fists. At school, Andrew is unpopular and frequently bullied by the jocks, girls keeping the weirdo at arms length.

          Andrew's cooler cousin Matt (Alex Russell) invites him to an after school party to help him meet people, but Andrew's filming angers the jocks and he leaves with a good kicking. But when popular and handsome student Steve (Michael B. Jordan), who is running for school president, asks Andrew to record something strange he and Matt have found in the woods as the party breaks up, things are about to take a dramatic turn to the amazing for all three. A hole in the ground is emitting a strange noise and accompanying iridescent glow, maybe a mini cave in or even a meteor strike? The three enter the fissure and discover a large pulsating aqua blue crystalline object deep in the muddy cavern. The object begins to throb red and the group soon stricken by nosebleeds and head pain as they mess around with it. The camera then cuts out.

          Weeks later the camera whirs back into life as we learn Andrew, Matt, and Steve have been gifted telekinetic abilities from their strange encounter, able to move objects with their minds, but bleeding from their noses when they overexert themselves. They return to the hole to work out what has done this and is it of this world but find that it has collapsed and that the sheriff's department is sealing off the area. Whatever it was they can no longer get at it.

          Playing practical jokes with their powers is fun, like moving a shoppers car to another space, or tripping people up at school. But things take a sinister turn when Matt uses that pent up anger over his family and school bullying situation to flip an SUV off the road and into icy cold water, nearly killing the driver. Like Star Wars, there's a dark side to this particular force and Matt wants it.

          It seems they can train their powers to get stronger and now they can fly, the three planning a trip Nepal to see the mystic temples, now that they too have tasted what it is like to be a God. Problem is that showing off will draw them to attention of the authorities as no one but themselves know they have what they have. Matt, alas, has never felt so powerful and intending to get even on everyone who bullied him, including his dad, resulting in a tragedy or two as the powers get out of control.

          -----Result-----

          You can understand the appeal of this film, like I said a beacon of light for the disaffected youth of the world, not just Americans. Its good fun and with a decent budget to get the critical special-effects right to give the movie any sort of credibility and once the kids get used to their powers and the audience accepts the blaze nature of that it becomes darker and more of a Hollywood movie. For some reason the film completely misses out the moment they learn they have the abilities and the wonderment and fear they must have felt in equal measure at that point lost on the cutting room floor, which is some what of a shame.

          Half the film is seen through that now trendy found handicam footage as we see the boys through the eyes of Matt and then normal wobbly cam to see Matt through the eyes of the other boys and his dysfunctional family and friends. But the big issue with the movie is it loses control of the narrative as the kid's powers get more over the top and so director Josh Trank doesn't really know how to end the movie, or, indeed, control it, a silly finale more suited to the X-men as it becomes self-aware.

          The unknown youthful cast is vibrant and believable and the television feel to the movie somehow makes the premise more credible, their superpowers being so abstract in their suburban environment and lifestyles they somehow blend in. There are moments of humor to enjoy too as there are dark interludes, Dane DeHaan, who plays Andrew Detmer, doing that Hayden Christensen thing as the hood goes up as Anakin in the Revenge of the Sith, driving the film forward with his growing menace.

          The film is different and original and so well worth a watch and suitable for most ages as there is nothing too gratuitous about it for the sake of action and prescribed violence teens seem to need. It's a testament to the capable direction that the movie feels so grounded in reality. There is no sense of the supernatural in the goings-on, even though what the boys are doing defies any logic and certainly any gravity. Too many superhero movies rely on CGI to make the stunts and feats ever more grandeur where as Chronicle restores that thrill so you, the viewer, can experience and have those powers, the whole point of the movie. The American football sequence in the sky between the three boys is brilliant. Chronicle is being a superhero without the cape and Lycra but only your zits and Nirvana CD for company.


          = = = = Special Features = = = =

          -Pre Viz-

          We see how the special effects and the look of the film as created.

          -Cam Test-

          We see the cast try out at acting in front of the camera.


          -
          -----Ratings------
          Imdb.com -7.1/10.0 (98,546votes)
          Metacritic.com - 69% critic's approval
          Rottentomatos.com - 86% critic's approval


          -----Critics-----
          Rolling Stone -'The potent and provocative journey in Chronicle never stops springing surprises. You'll be hooked'

          The Daily Telegraph - 'Chronicle isn't just a unique found-footage movie or superior superhero film; it's a truly enjoyable blend of the best each genre has to offer.

          The Seattle Times - 'If other filmmakers involved in this genre could put as much time and effort into their story and characters as screenwriter Max Landis and director Josh Trank did here, there'd be a lot more of them worth watching'.

          The Daily Telegraph -'What is Chronicle? It's the answer to the question that you asked your friends when you're a kid - what would it be like if super powers were real?

          The Independent -'A semi-serious sci-fi romp, lighter and more fun than many of the comic-book movies that it steals from, a superhero movie in which nobody ever crusades, or wears a cape'.
          ---------------------------------

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            01.07.2012 17:25
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            Interesting take on superpower

            *** Film Only Review ***

            *** Storyline ***

            Unappealing teenaged dweeb Andrew (Dane DeHaan) lives a miserable life, both at home with a violent father (Michael Kelly) and dying mother (Bo Peterson), and at high school where he's a social leper that even his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) pretends not to be with. In an attempt to gain some distance from this soul-destroying subsistence, he starts chronicling his days with a video camera. Which doesn't help him fit in...

            When Matt and his friend Steve (Michael B Jordan) find something weird underground in the woods, they rope in Andrew to video their discovery.

            What could go wrong when you're creeping around in tunnels, half-drunk, investigating freaky objects? Of course, as they muck about with the unknown, the strange gets stranger and scarier...

            Having survived, the next thing they know is that the threesome have developed the ability of telekinesis.
            What will the three youths do with such a power? The possibilities are a prankster's dream. More than that, could it possibly help Andrew turn his life around?


            *** My view ***

            The film is shot primarily from the viewpoint of Andrew, at first as if with a hand-held camera, later with a little more distance as he is able to make it hover. It definitely keeps the conceit of it being a personal video account, with various breaks and gaps, and Andrew visibly setting the camera down or adjusting it as necessary. Later in the film, some of the shots are supposedly from incidental cameras, such as security ones or phone cameras. It's quite gritty and realistic in feel.

            The three main characters are played effectively, although I didn't feel emotionally connected to any. It's a bit unfortunate that Andrew is so very unprepossessing that even knowing his horrible background, it's hard to sympathise with him as a character. Perhaps I ought to have felt sorry for him, but I couldn't get there. The film doesn't go for a black and white morality: the violent father played by Michael Kelly is shown to be struggling financially and emotionally with his wife's terminal illness, stretched to the limit to provide even pain relief medication. Of course, spending money on alcohol doesn't help.

            The character with whom I suppose the audience is expected to identify with most is probably Matt, but he wasn't all that likeable, in my eyes. I was never really rooting for him. I found Steve to be the nicest, but he wasn't as developed a character and had less to do. His character was pretty much the Token Black Guy.

            It is possible to draw parallels between movies like 'Carrie' and 'The Craft' with this film: social misfits acquiring supernatural powers. It comes from that kind of tradition. There's a fair amount of darkness in this story, and while there are some uplifting and funny parts, can that last? It is interesting that the characters with the horrendous backgrounds in these sorts of movies tend to get a chance to glimpse social redemption, which is snatched from them, and we all know what happens then...

            It is rather predictable and formulaic, but nicely executed. Several plot points are left unanswered - the found footage style of shooting allowing the script-writers to run away laughing from explanations.

            The special effects are good, blending well for the most part, not screaming at you.

            The film is rated 15, with some violence and fairly intense scary scenes. I'd recommend it as one to watch, as it held my interest throughout. I wouldn't buy it, but would probably watch it again.


            It is available to rent or buy currently. As it's a recent release, the DVD is £9.99 from Amazon, Blu-Ray just under £15. Find it cheaper, or rent it, is my advice.

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            11.06.2012 00:50
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            Really good fun, as long as you forgive some really poor explananations for the central hook.

            Where on Earth did Josh Trank come from? In 2007, he wrote and directed episodes of a cancelled TV show, The Kill Point, and five years later bursts onto the scene with a critically acclaimed twist on the superhero genre, apparently having worked on nothing else in between. Honestly? I kind of hate the guy. There, I said it. At the ripe age of 26, he has managed to garner the kind of success many filmmakers spend their whole careers trying to achieve, and he's done it with a film not unworthy of the attention it's receiving. Utilising the 'found footage' method of filmmaking, typically reserved for the horror genre, and combining it with traditional 'superhero origin' fare, Chronicle makes for a decent watch and will no doubt garner a large cult following. For me, where it mostly fails is in depending too much on its special effects and, while also having a decent story and characters to go along with, never quite reaching the dizzy heights it had the potential to.

            Andrew Detmer, captured brilliantly here by relative newcomer Dane DeHaan, is a fairly typical, angst-ridden teenager with some not-so-typical issues. With his mother on her deathbed and his father spiralling ever further into alcoholism, Andrew decides it's time to document his life on film as a kind of defence mechanism. Unpopular to the point of being bullied at school, Andrew one night attends a house party that will change his and his only friends' lives forever. A mysterious hole in the ground, leading to a cavern containing strange rocks and light formations, has given Andrew, along with Matt and Steve (played by Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan respectively), powers of telepathy. These powers, in their infancy, seem exciting and offer the three boys opportunities way beyond anything they had dreamed for themselves. However, as they learn to harness their powers further, they become more and more irresponsible in their actions, leading them closer and closer to conflict and challenging them to choose between good and evil.

            It's an engaging film, led solidly by an engaging central concept, and one by which I was never bored. The characters develop nicely and, aside from a seemingly pointless romantic sub-plot (the function of which seems only to be to introduce a new camera angle), the story moves along at a relatively decent pace. Chronicle seems to accelerate as it nears its climax, in fact, gathering momentum along with the weight of the events that unfold before us. There are plot holes, it has to be said, but they are fairly inconsequential ones. The hole in the ground is never explained, nor are the origins of the powers wielded by these three young men. The hole in the ground is closed up and the area being cordoned off, but this never comes to anything other than to give us the suggestion of administrative interference. Such things should be forgiven here, though, as the point of this film is not to over-analyse; it is to sit back and enjoy the ride.

            The thing that stood out for me the most in this film was the thing that came closest to spoiling it altogether. I am not against 'found footage', as it were, but I do believe when it's being used it should be done with care and attention. The Blair Witch Project (1999, dirs. Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez) is arguably where the fascination started and it is probably one of my favourite films of all time; certainly the only film that has ever really, truly scared me. The tradition has continued, notably with the popular Spanish horror film [Rec] (2007, dirs. Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza) and online crowd-sourcing success The Tunnel (2011, dir. Carlo Ledesma), but to be done right it is important that the reasons for the camera (or cameras, as the case may be) to be running do not need to be over explained. In Chronicle almost every scene or character introduction (particularly in the case of the previously mentioned romantic sub-plot) seems to warrant a line of dialogue explaining why the camera is running and where in the scene it is placed. Aside from being distracting, this really does very little to inform the audience at all. Yes, the cameras are running, we get it - that's what the film is set around... is it really necessary to constantly remind us? That said, towards the end of the film, there is one particularly delightful sequence where the phones and pocket cameras of members of the public are telepathically snatched from their hands and placed all around the action - it's a silly device in terms of the story but for the few moments where it occurs, it makes for a nice touch.

            So while I was never overwhelmed by Chronicle, it is indeed worth seeking out. While the special effects are a little obvious and the film spends far too much time explaining away its central hook, there is a lot to be enjoyed in following the story of these three charming characters through their adventure. It does have a great sense of adventure, this film, and at times it is genuinely hilarious. It strikes a really good balance of playfulness and underlying tension, before unleashing all of its rage on the city in which it is based. Something that can just as easily be said about the performance from DeHaan, who surely has announced himself as one to watch in future. Will it stand the test of time and become the cult classic it is threatening to? I have a feeling it might, but let's first consider this: are there sequels in the pipeline and is this the start of franchise? I'm not sure whether or not that would be a good thing.

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              09.06.2012 02:32
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              Best film I've seen in ages

              Chronicle is a science fiction film which was released on the 1st February 2012 in the United Kingdom. The film is directed by Josh Trank and is based on a story that was written by both Josh and Max Landis. Although this film is classed as a science fiction film, it also has a range of other genres mixed into it. There's comedy (in the first half of the film anyway!), lots of action, a brief romance and there's also so much tension that it could almost pass as a thriller, in my opinion anyway. The film has a run time of 83 minutes and has a 15 certificate due to swearing, sexual references and violence. The film's budget was fifteen million so this is in no way a low budget/indie film, it's incredibly well written, performed, shot and edited and I can honestly say that this could well be the best film I've seen in the past five years. One word to sum it up would by no doubt be EPIC! It's full of twists and turns, the CGI is flawless and although the plot is very far fetched, the acting and special effects, as well as the way it's shot manage to make it seem like watching a documentary at times haha, well almost!

              So.. what's it about? The plot is pretty simple. Andrew, a teenage boy who has family issues (abusive father, terminally ill mother) and no friends (apart from his cousin) decides to start filming his daily life, presumably as proof of the abuse he endures and/or as a coping method. After being dragged along to a party by his cousin, Matt, he is approached by Steve, a popular class mate who wants Andrew to film a mysterious hole in the ground out in the woods which he and a group of other people came across. When they arrive, only Matt remains and the three let curiosity gets the better of them. Deep down underground, they come across a large, glowing crystal which seems to mesmerize the boys and they go into a frenzy of fear and excitement. After experiencing brief pain, nose bleeds and memory loss, the boys soon realize that they have gained super powers after coming into contact with the crystal. They discover that they are able to move small objects such as balls and Lego with their mind. As they rapidly learn how to train themselves to become mentally and physically stronger, the power becomes all too powerful for such inexperienced 'superhero's and things start to go very wrong, very fast.

              The main character, Andrew, is the main focus during the film and I love how as the film develops he becomes stronger and more aggressive. Although it was obvious to me that the power would go to his head after being so passive and isolated, I really didn't expect what happened and I sat there with my jaw hanging open through most of the end half of the film! The other two characters were average in my opinion. Matt, Andrew's cousin kind of acts as a bit of eye candy to us girls and his true potential is at the very end of the film - up until then he just kind of goes with the flow and the character doesn't have much depth, although he is a likeable character which makes the end even more gripping! Steve is an okay character with a slight funny streak. I like how he's popular and as a result helps Andrew (who is painfully shy) make friends, as it shows that through the experience of developing superpowers the group have bonded. The actors are all good, but Dane DeHaan, the actor who plays Andrew is amazing and very talented. He portrays a shy and vulnerable young boy in a believable way which genuinely makes the viewer feel for him, and as the character develops the acting gets even better. At no time during the film did I feel that any of the acting was wooden or embarrassing to watch. Considering that most of the actors are new-comers and this is their first film, I was highly impressed.

              The film is shot in quite an unusual way.. kind of half Blair witch/amateur camera man vlog style and the rest is shot with a professional camera showing all of the characters including which ever one is holding the amateur camera and vlogging, if that makes sense! The camera work is brilliant, especially in the 'flying' scenes and it really did feel almost like I was there as the camera work really was spot on and the picture quality was absolutely crystal clear. The film is available in HD and I would highly recommend watching it in high quality as the picture really is stunning. Special effects wise, the CGI is flawless. The film is heavily edited and I would say that probably 95 percent of the film is CGI'd (explosions, flying, moving cars/objects etc). The special effects are extremely good quality and realistic and I can not fault them at all - the CGI is definitely equal to, if not better than the quality of CGI used in films such as Avatar.

              This is a very fast paced film and within 15 minutes the action begins. There's no dragging things out and I like how it skips from time to time to different settings, for example one minute the boys are underground and the next they're in a back garden using their newfound superpowers. The film does a really good job of balancing out the action and there's a decent amount of dialog. The script is flawless and the actors all delivered their lines well. The film has several huge twists in it which I really did not expect at all and I love that it starts out with the boys using their powers to play harmless pranks on each other and other people but rapidly progresses to much more serious incidents as their powers grow. The ending was a shocker and cleared everything up. It didn't finish on a cliff hanger and I was left satisfied.

              Overall, this is an absolute must-see film. I can't fault it and would happily watch it ten more times! My boyfriend also loved it due to the absolutely epic special effects and I overall give Chronicle 5 out of 5 stars.. I'd give it more if I could!!

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