Chronicle a dark sci-fi thriller about teenage superheroes is a “found-footage” film and it counts as one of the rare instances in which in which the increasingly prevalent – and increasingly maligned – technique is appropriately deployed and not merely a cheap gimmick for manufacturing tension.
The story begins with Andrew (Dane DeHaan) a pale saturnine lad switching on a camera and declaring to his drunken father who fumes outside his bedroom door that he intends to “film everything.” And so he does. Narrating in a gloomy nasal drone he documents the daily indignities of high school – being accosted by bullies eating lunch alone on the bleachers – and crafts what by all appearances promises to be a smashing audition video for the Trenchcoat Mafia.
Andrew’s circumstances change considerably when he his cousin Matt (Alex Russell miscast as a cerebral egotist) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) the school’s reigning alpha male chance upon a hole in a forest clearing that leads them deep underground where they encounter something strange and otherworldly. Soon thereafter the boys begin to manifest powers of telekinesis that would make a Jedi envious.
Rather than don spandex suits and hunt criminals the boys do well what you would expect impulsive judgment-impaired teenage boys to do: They play pranks on unsuspecting department-store shoppers try to one-up each other with increasingly hazardous stunts absolutely dominate beer pong competitions and otherwise prove the perils of mating great power with great irresponsibility. (Their more prurient impulses it should be noted are kept safely within PG-13 limits.) This is when Chronicle is at its freshest and most compelling enacting the mischievous daydreams of sci-fi-steeped youths.
Of the three Andrew emerges as the most gifted in the use of his powers and he clearly relishes the newfound confidence they bring. But his less admirable qualities – emotional instability hypersensitivity and a troubling amorality – stubbornly remain and when events turn against him they lead him down the dark path all-too-conspicuously foreshadowed from the film's outset.
Chronicle’s director Josh Trank making his feature-film debut demonstrates a keen grasp of sci-fi theatrics as well as a gift for spectacle. He adheres strictly to found-footage parameters refusing to cheat matters even during the film’s blistering climax which cobbles together security-camera footage cell-phone recordings television news broadcasts and other video sources without losing coherence. It's a thrilling sequence unlike any the genre's seen before and a testament to Trank's technical flair.
It’s when the action slows that Trank’s hand grows exceedingly heavy pummeling us with scenes of ham-fisted histrionics that undermine the sense of verisimilitude the found-footage format is designed to foster. The milestones along Andrew's path to supervillainy are culled directly from the Handbook of Psychological Distress from the taunts of his cartoonishly abusive father to the incessant hacking of his terminally ill mother to the varied humiliations inflicted by insensitive peers. Such on-the-nose storytelling results in a thriller that markedly lacks any real element of suspense. We know precisely what’s going to happen next because the filmmakers tell us over and over again using language as subtle as a jackhammer. Moreover Chronicle’s vision is so determinedly bleak so devoutly invested in “keeping it real ” that in the end the film comes across as a ludicrously overwrought emo fantasy.
This Friday, the found-footage superhero film Chronicle will overtake theaters, giving us a new and interesting take on the genre. Chronicle introduces three young stars (Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell, Dane DeHaan) as a trio of friends whose lives and attitudes begin to change dramatically after they all develop superhuman abilities. In order to get an idea of just how far off course these powers take the boys’ lives, check out the clip collection below.
Probably the first thought that would enter the minds of any misguided teenager upon developing telekinesis: how much fun can I have with this? And these boys are bent on finding out—starting things off by satisfying some of their voyeuristic desires.
So how does the Chronicle unravel? Do Steve (Jordan) and Matt (Russell) eventually come to their senses and start taking their powers seriously? Can they stop Andrew from causing ultimate destruction? Do they ever make any Matrix references? We'll find out in theaters, this Friday, February 3.
In his new sci-fi thriller Chronicle, first-time feature director Josh Trank explores just what might occur if your average impulsive, judgment-impaired teenager were to somehow attain superpowers – specifically, powers of telekinesis that would make Yoda envious. Anyone who knows a teenager – or who has been one, for that matter – knows that their immediate inclination would not be to enroll in Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. They would likely pursue significantly less noble endeavors, as Chronicle's trio of enhanced high-schoolers (played by Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan) ably demonstrate.
Shot in a found-footage style that seems entirely appropriate for its subject matter, Chronicle, which Trank conceived with his high-school pal Max Landis (John’s screenwriter son) is a novel take on the superhero origin story – and a surprisingly dark one at that. It’s garnering loads of buzz – most notably among the executives at Fox, who’ve reportedly pegged Trank as the frontrunner to helm the studio’s planned Fantastic Four reboot. I spoke with Trank recently via Skype about Chronicle, its future as a franchise, and those Fantastic Four rumors currently swirling around him:
Chronicle opens everywhere tomorrow, February 3, 2012.
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Yesterday Fox hosted a buzz-building event for its upcoming teen sci-fi flick Chronicle. A found-footage ditty that aims to do for sci-fi what Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield did for the horror and monster-movie genres, respectively (a less precise but more optimistic comparison would be District 9), it ponders what might occur if your average over-stimulated, under-supervised adolescents were to suddenly attain supernatural powers.
Comic-book lore mandates that the newly empowered teens would undergo a period of intense alienation, followed by the decision to don garish costumes and either A) vanquish evil; or B) perpetuate it. Human nature – and loads of empirical and anecdotal evidence regarding the hormone-fueled nihilism of teenagers -- suggests something else entirely, something Chronicle aims to illustrate when it hits theaters in February.
The latest clip from Chronicle, in which the film's three main characters play a game of supehero Jackass, provides clues as to the film’s ethos:
Check back later for a more in-depth rundown of the event, along with highlights from the day's Q&A with Chronicle director/co-story writer Josh Trank and Fox production executive Steve Asbell.
Tim Burton has recently announced his interest in adapting the macabre-sounding Random Riggs novel Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. In other news, Martin Scorsese wants to direct a mobster character piece, Quentin Tarantino is working on a bloody Spaghetti Western, and Charlie Kaufman is making a movie about making a movie about making a movie...
The book surrounds a young man's memories of his grandfather's tales of the titular Home for Peculiar Children, wherein orphaned boys and girls with supernatural abilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, controlling fire, etc, found hospice. As an adult, the young man takes it upon himself to investigate the ruins of the orphanage of which his grandfather spoke, learning that there might have been an element of danger to all of these children—an element that has not yet been put to rest.
Dark, yet whimsical. Mysterious and haunting, but colorful and energetic. That's as Burtonian as you get. No word on the filmmaker's progress in obtaining the book for adaptation, but we expect this will be in the works sometime in the future...and that there'll be a Depp and a Bonham Carter involved.
After watching Nicolas Winding Refn's latest film Drive (which hits theaters this Friday), I realized that not only was he one of the more fascinating filmmaking voices working today, but that he also had the potential to work his magic for the mainstream. Refn's are gritty and tangible, but never feel tied down to reality. Drive fits that mold, an atypical crime/action movie that dabbles in the surreal, but the film's Los Angeles setting and casting of a recognizable star inherently make the film feel a bit more "Hollywood."
Not a bad thing—not every movie can detail the bloody behavior of Vikings (Valhalla Rising) or chronicle the life of a sadistic madman (Bronson)—but Drive is a triumph because Refn never loses any of what makes him unique. I recently had a chance to talk to the director about the making of Drive, collaborating with Ryan Gosling and the film's unlikely connections to Star Wars, New York and The Bible.
Matt Patches: Los Angeles is very much a character in the movie Being the setting for so many films, why did you want to set Drive in the city?
Nicolas Winding Refn: I didn’t want to shoot Sunset Boulevard. I didn’t want to shoot all the conventional kind of forms, because you’ve seen that so much—and it’s also not very attractive. What’s really attractive are the other parts of LA, which I find really beautiful and unique and strange and mystical. What’s unique about LA is when you get behind all the clichés, LA never left the ‘80s. You guys are still stuck in the ‘80s! Architecture, and things like that. That’s what I really like about it. So when people say, ‘Oh my God! Your movie had this throwback to the ‘80s!’ Well, I didn’t throw it back. I was actually shooting in the ‘80s.
Did the movie evolve from this realization that Los Angeles is stuck in another decade?
It was born out of an emotion I had driving to Santa Monica with Ryan Gosling to do a movie about a man who drives around at night listening to pop music—that’s his emotional release. He was using that as a basis for everything.
The music is a vital part of this movie, integral to the vibe we see on screen. How do you go about finding the music? Do the ideas from the film come from you listening to music?
Very much. I don’t do drugs anymore. Music is very much like a drug for me. It gives me images in my mind that I would like to see. Not always understanding them, but knowing, ‘This is what I would like to see.’
How do you discover some of the songs? Can you talk about some of the songs that are in the movie, and how you found them?
I have Matt Newman, who edited the movie. He is my in-house editor. He did Bronson for me. We actually met on Miss Marple, when I was broke as hell and needed money. And he was an unknown editor. I hired him for Miss Marple, and he went on and did Bronson for me, [then] we did Valhalla Rising together. Actually, one of my contractual conditions was that I brought Matt Newman over from England to cut the movie at my house. He’s going on to Only God Forgives [Refn’s next film] with me and Ryan, and of course Logan’s Run, and so forth. I always said I wanted an electronic score. He and I would then spend a lot of time figuring out what electronic score would be interesting. Matt is very interested in alternative music and what’s happening in the music world in terms of bands. I’m more just happy finding the greatest hits of Duran Duran. He’s more into what’s happening in the music scene in the corners. He would play various ideas and I would pick the ones I liked. And of course one of them [is] Johnny Jewel, which we had used before in Bronson. And then I had Cliff Martinez (Traffic, Contagion) emulate that sound a lot of the times for his own scores.
In the film, Ryan Gosling is a very serious, very stoic guy. I don’t know what he’s like in real life, but how did you know he was right for the part and find this character in his abilities.
In real life, he is very much like me. We are very similar in our sensibilities and our interests. He has the physical strength to stop a fight in the street.
Yeah, I saw!
I just texted him that he’s my hero. But, we’re very telekinetic in a sense.
We just kind of let it flow and see what happens. Also, I shoot my films in chronological order, which makes it easier for an actor to just deal with what comes to him.
In terms of your relationship working on set: does it involve a lot of asking questions? Or is it all about vibe? It sounds like with telekinesis there might not be a whole lot of talking.
I always say to the actors, keep the energy within. Keep it inside. All inside.
I heard about you guys spending a lot of time together, hanging out at your house, or driving around in a car.
Yeah. We would hang out at my house. We wrote the movie at my house. And we’d drive around at night. My family would come and visit me—unfortunately, they couldn’t live with me—but they would come back and forth. I was very lonely a lot of the nights. I would go for drives to the 101, eat, hang out. We were living the movie. We were living the movie as we were writing it.
That’s amazing. Now with this movie and some of your previous work—Bronson and Valhalla Rising, especially—violence plays a major role It’s not gratuitous, but there are extreme moments of violence. What do these moments of violence mean to you? Why do you find them important to pepper them throughout your films?
I like extreme emotions. I try to visualize extreme emotions through violence. Like the Bible does.
Wow, how do you think that the Bible works, or speaks to that idea?
The Bible shows you consequences of your actions visually.
Are you a religious person?
No. I’m Danish—come on! We believe in pornography. And drinking.
Do you feel like there’s a lot of your Danish sensibility in Drive? Even though this is a movie that takes place in L.A. does your Danish side of you creep out?
No, because I’m not particularly Danish. I have a Danish passport, but I’m a New Yorker by heart. That’s where I grew up.
Oh, excellent! So then I should ask: is there a lot of New York in this movie?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t know. I think, maybe, there’s a lot of New York in the sensibilities of loving concrete and loving urban environments and cities.
There’s a lot of driving in this movie, obviously (it’s in the title), so what goes into a great car chase? Or making driving look as sexy as it does in this movie?
Well, you gotta make every scene that has driving its own self, and not just repeat the same tricks again and again. So, it was like coming up with the fight scenes in Bronson, and how each fight scene would differ the other. Each fight scene has its own character. But they’re quite dull to make. It’s all about logistics. And I didn’t have a lot of money to make these driving scenes, so we had to be really, really on the nose and sparse. There was really no time for experiments. We just kind of shot it… point-of-view, reverse…but things that actually work. So you go with that, and then you try to figure out how you can add a little spice to them. Sound, the sound of the engines, the visuals. And also, don’t make them fly.
Don’t make them fly?
Just like…speed-wise, or what do you mean?
The whole CGI thing, where cars can [fly].
That’s interesting because the movie does incorporate its own fantastical elements. Something like the elevator scene—lights going dim, they’re in this out of body moment—it’s slightly less realistic. Is it difficult to weave those moments in when you’re trying to keep the movie grounded?
No. It was how the movie progressed. It was like a fairy tale. It became more and more about fantasy. And the audience will believe that if they believe the emotions. We’re like Star Wars. If you catch their emotions, people actually believe hyperspace exists.
Valhalla Rising is a very dark, historical film. Something like Drive—it’s elegantly done, but again, it has the violence. So your upcoming Only God Forgives—what kind of genre is that falling into? Or tonally. It doesn’t seem like you want to put yourself in the corner here.
I WILL NOT BE CONTROLLED. Well, you know, I’ve always wanted to do a Western.
You wanna do a Western?
…In Asia. So I thought, I’ll do Only God Forgives there.
Gotcha. Are you going to shoot that on location in Bangkok?
Absolutely. Shoot in Bangkok. Moving to Bangkok in four weeks.
Wow! Is that an exciting thing? I’ve never been.
It’s f*ckin’ awesome. Been there five years in a row. We go on vacations—my family—there each year.
So, tonally speaking, how will you approach it? Like Valhalla Rising: very dark—and [Drive] is very glamorous or slick at points. What is the tone going to be like for this new one?
Well, Bangkok reminds me very much of Blade Runner.
That makes sense. So will it have that rainy, blooming lights kind of feel?
No, it’s actually the exact opposite. It’s gigantic, beautiful, lights, buildings…everything is lit up. Like a sci-fi world.
And scope-wise, is this a bigger film? I see a kind of progression—Drive feels like a bigger production than Valhalla Rising or Bronson. Is that the direction in which you feel like you’re going?
Oh, no. Only God Forgives is cheaper. But that’s because I’m shooting in Asia. Drive was a little more expensive because I wanted to shoot in Los Angeles. That itself is very expensive. Shooting Valhalla Rising, it was the same thing. And doing Bronson. Drive was shot in seven weeks. Bronson was shot in five weeks. Valhalla Rising was shot in seven weeks. So, it’s a shooting scenario that I’m accustomed to. I’m looking forward to the day where I actually have more than eight weeks to shoot a film.
Well, that might be Logan’s Run.
I expect nothing else. All that money!
Do you think you’ll still have the same control if you start doing more studio-driven work? Or is that part of the deal?
When you’re that level, it’s a different game, a different league you’re in. Things have to be financially successful. You have to respect that and understand that. But then, that becomes the trick: how do you make your movie against all obstacles?
I wish you the best on that. It might be difficult.
You never know!
You can contact Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and remember to follow@Hollywood_com!
Have you ever wanted to own all of the Friday The 13th films? Even Jason Takes Manhattan? Well, good news: the Friday The 13th Ultimate Collection is coming to DVD. The 31st anniversary collection includes deluxe editions of the first eight Friday films, including a 3D edition of Friday The 13th: Part 3. This limited edition includes a collector’s booklet, hours of deleted scenes, and a replica hockey mask, perfect for scaring the crap out of your friends/playing hockey. The DVD set will be released on October 4, in time for Halloween. (Unfortunately, the 13th in October is only a Thursday)
DVD Features include:
The FRIDAY THE 13th-Uncut Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French and Spanish subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director Sean S. Cunningham with cast and crew
Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th
The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham
Friday the 13th Reunion
Lost Tales From Camp Blood – Part 1
The FRIDAY THE 13th Part 2 Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Inside “Crystal Lake Memories”
Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 2
The FRIDAY THE 13th Part 3-3D Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Disc contents are as follows:
3D Version of the film (includes 3D glasses)
The FRIDAY THE 13th THE FINAL CHAPTER Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director Joe Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen and editor Joel Goodman
Fan commentary by Adam Green and Joe Lynch
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 4
Jason’s Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th The Final Chapter
The Lost Ending
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part I
Jimmy’s Dead Dance Moves
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART V: A NEW BEGINNING Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director/co-screenwriter Danny Steinmann with cast and crew
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 5
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part II
New Beginnings: The Making of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: JASON LIVES Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, English 2.0 Surround and French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director Tom McLoughlin with cast and crew
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 6
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part III
Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Meeting Mr. Voorhees
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, English 2.0 Surround, French Mono and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Killer Commentary by director John Carl Buechler and actors Lar Park Lincoln and Kane Hodder
Jason’s Destroyer: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Mind Over Matter: The Truth About Telekinesis
Makeover by Maddy: Need a Little Touch-Up Work, My Ass
Slashed Scenes Intro
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, English 2.0 Surround, French 2.0 Surround and Spanish 2.0 Surround along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Killer Commentary by actors Scott Reeves, Jensen Daggett and Kane Hodder
New York Has a New Problem: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
And there we have it! Thanks to telekinesis or catharsis or something, there will be a third season of Jersey Shore! We came pretty close back there, you know. Go plant a flower and give back to your community. That's what you're supposed to do when you get your way.
Our ship started tipping starboard when the cast wanted more money to go tanning, work out and take girls' panties off in the hot tub that was given to them, but MTV producers were not inclined to oblige because they knew they'd have an easy time replacing them with other guidos and guidettes who'd work for less. But now it's being reported the bigwigs at MTV have agreed to pay up and shut up since they've got a good thing going and as long as the beach is there, they know it's their duty to fill it with tatted and tanned guys like Ronnie and girls like Snooki, and tape them dancing around when they're not wearing underwear.
The new contracts state each member will get $30,000 per episode, which is a substantial increase from their previous $10,000 per episode salaries. However, there's one cast member who wasn't rewarded with a bump. In fact, she was cut from the group entirely! Angelina "Jolie" Pivarnick will not be returning to film season 3, which is only unfortunate because we won't get to see her pack up her things in trash bags for a third time. But this is, in large part, a good thing. Summer's notoriously weak in the TV department, but it's great to hear the Jersey Shore crew has stepped up again and is ready to serve as our life-raft. They're probably not doing it for our sake, but still.
Source: TV Squad, EW