Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The story on Chronicle? Not much to say...

Absolute power corrupts absolutely in an absolutely played-out genre flick.

Posted by on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 9:46 PM

SO, WHO'S HOLDING THE CAMERA? Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Steve (Michael B. Jordan) and Matt (Alex Russell) get suped up in Chronicle.
  • SO, WHO'S HOLDING THE CAMERA? Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Steve (Michael B. Jordan) and Matt (Alex Russell) get suped up in Chronicle.
The found-footage genre has worn thin to the point that a movie’s own characters find it annoying. True story.

When you have to make someone go all American Beauty to explain the camera’s presence, maybe it’s time to think outside the box. Or back inside the box, as it were.

The old train of thought almost jumped the rails entirely before the flick even started, courtesy of the beautiful blasphemy that is the Three Stooges trailer.

Digression aside, Chronicle is a watchable film in a genre that just needs to up and die already. With that having been said, it was an acceptable vehicle for this particular story; swan song, anyone?

Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a disaffected teen with a new voyeur thing going. Act I is a day-in-the-life sequence that lays the foundation of his predictable character arc, social misfit existence and the multitude of people in King County, Wash. who are in dire need of a firmly-kicked arse. He is joined by two fellow high school archetypes, glib Popular Guy Matt Garrety (Alex Russell) and Team Captain/Senior Class Pres. to-be Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan). Together they climb down a mysterious hole in the ground, get up-close and personal with some low-rent Kryptonite and start bleeding from the nose.

Bam. Instant telekinesis.

It starts small, like trying to stop a baseball one of the other two morons just winged at your noggin. There’s the PG-13 juvenilia of redirecting a leaf blower up your teenaged classmates skirt. Next, we move on to hiding a woman’s car a few spaces away in the mall parking lot. But the stronger the youths get in their powers, the greater potential for casualties with the new-found outlet for Andrew’s long-festering fury. Things get a bit more real when he accidentally goes too far against some moron with road rage, but they calm down and the trio have fun playing catch with a football somewhere shy of the stratosphere.

You may not realize it, but telekinesis and new-found popularity at a high school kegger is the recipe for the world’s greatest beer pong player. That popularity crashing down, a dying mother and an abusive, alcoholic father are the recipe for disaster when mixed rapidly with the brooding angst of Seattle’s male equivalent of Carrie.

Fans of the genre will enjoy it. Think Cloverfield meets The Covenant, complete with a dude version of the catfight from My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Just don’t think too much; it offers nothing new thematically in a class of filmmaking that’s just as stale. Yeah, there are some cool sequences but it just comes down to another illustration of the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Don’t bother unless you’re absolutely set on seeing Heroes with the Paranormal Activity approach to cinematography.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

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