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Chronicle, Movie

Chronicle 2012

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What are you capable of?

American independent film, relayed in 'found-footage' style (like Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch) about three mates who discover a mysterious substance that grants them superpowers. More

At first they have fun toying around with their new super-abilities. However, things soon take a serious turn when one of the three embraces his darker side. Stars Michael B. Jordan (Wallace from HBO's The Wire). Hide

DVD / Blu-Ray

DVD

$39.99

Blu-ray

$14.99

199 votes / 42 comments The Talk

  • 73 %

    Want to See it

    What say you?

    • Jess

      WOW.

    • clabe

      looks awesome yo

    • Frassle

      Kinda sick of this new "found footage" genre, but Chronicle actually looks kinda sweet

    • Tom

      Wow. I'm in line for this already.

    • JBCollins

      It looks like it could actually be good.

    • Trevor

      It looks a bit like Cloverfield :)

    • Dammit

      Looks like a live action Akira... minus Bike gangs.

    • Dan

      trippy, kinda like a cross between Cloverfield & Heroes

    • gurly

      ooooooh i hate those pop up paranormal ads

    • Derp

      verry intardesting.....

    • larissa

      this looks reeeally good....

    • bonermaterial

      something new = i likey

    • RexH

      X-Men meet Cloverfield... Getting a little tired of the cinema verite approach to things. It's a maybe

    • JoshRetario

      Looks pretty mean, should definitly watch!

    • Alex

      Could be entertaining... it may turn out bad but I want to see it

    • Magz

      Intriguing ... smacks of Blair Witch with a touch of Cloverfield and Magneto on the side

    • Eva

      That looks mean! might see it when school starts back! celebrate

    • berta

      mean looks good

    • Bexster

      Looks pretty awesome! Not too hot about showing the entire film in the trailer though...?

    • Sarah29

      I agree with Bexter, looks cool, but the trailer seems to show too much maybe?

    • Judy

      Trailer gives impression that that's all there is to the movie. Has put me off seeing it.

    • jacqui

      looks like another cloverfield type movie. I'm keen

    • TayToRaw

      Looks Ganksted !

    • ash brooks

      looks awesomeness!!!!! must see

    • CSBright

      seeing it this friday cant wait

    • JamesN

      Saw it last night thanks to Flicks. It was awesome, would pay to go again.

    • Josh-Borthwick

      Thanks for the preview FLICKS - pretty choice movie. Definitely recommend

    • Chris

      Great Flicks preview last night, pretty cool movie, had a darker cloverfield feel toi it

    • Kathy-Tamatea

      Thanks to Flicks for the preview. Enjoyable, fast-paced superhero concept with an epic finale.

    • Julie

      IT WAS AMAZING! go watch it now!

    • Lisa

      Waste of money & time! The trailer was about as exciting as it gets

    • Adam

      Took a mate to see it, did not watch any preview, knew very little about it, thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • vanessa-walker

      Awesome. Reminds me Cloverfield-like style with the magicalness of Xmen; Jean's powersss. (Y)

    • Stan

      ...will see it tonight...can't wait...hope I'm not dissapointed!

    • MaryanneSaufoi

      Too many unanswered questions. Talk of a sequel - forget me

    • Lorel02

      Teenage boys beating each other up. It never really gets off the ground. Stink movie.

    • sylvana Taylor

      iloved it !th end was disapointin as youd expect more especialy a movie like that! the andenalin is amazing being blazed as !need2 c it x100

    • movie master

      outstanding movie

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Flicks.co.nz Review

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Dominic Corry Flicks Writer

District 9 really has a lot to answer for. It raised the game for genre movies in a way very few movies have. The aesthetics and subject matter of Chronicle beg comparisons with Neill Blomkamp's 2009 masterpiece, and they don't benefit the new film greatly. That said, this is a nifty, watchable piece of wish-fulfilment entertainment with more than a couple of standout moments. More

The question you inevitably ask in every found footage movie is: “Why are they still filming?” This film doesn't offer a particularly satisfying answer but it does provide a unique solution to the problem of these sorts of films always being shot in the first-person. It also features some of the coolest 'humans flying' action ever put on screen, and builds to an action climax that recalls Superman II.

The notion of three teenage boys using the power of telekinesis to have fun is irresistible, and this film gets a lot more mileage out of the idea than the 1982 Scott Baio classic Zapped!, but the ultimate feeling is of a resulting story that doesn't quite live up to its initial promise. The behaviour of the characters is never surprising, and is generally attributed to simplistic motivations. Plus the film optimistically throws up a lot of questions for the sequel (if there is one...) to answer.

If I sound like I'm nit-picking, it's only because I really wanted this to be amazing. As it stands, I'll have to settle for pretty good. Hide

The People's Reviews

Rating:

15 ratings and 16 reviews

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"CARRIE" with a Handycam

adamatdramatrain Flicks Superstar (?)

With teen power comes no responsibility...

Don't think CLOVERFIELD. Instead think CARRIE with a handycam. Don't think SPIDER-MAN - think KICK-ASS from a wobbly POV. There's a lot about CHRONICLE to like. A superhero suffering child abuse at the hands of a violent father? A mother dying of cancer? Imagine those two in a mainstream superhero fest! The "characters-filming-themselves" trope is by now a bit - well gimmicky (like 3D...) BLAIR WITCH, CLOVERFIELD, DIARY OF THE DEAD - we've been here before. But here it works because it deprives you of the big action set pieces - you see sh*t blow-up, but not in glorious Technicolour tight focus. It's all a blur. Fragmented. And there's no music soundtrack - just ambient sound... Mind you, just like CLOVERFIELD, I've gotta get me one of dam cheap camcorders that records perfect multitracked Dobly surround sound!!!

What let's CHRONICLE down is the sexism (c'mon, are all girls there JUST for the three guys to oggle? Or to play poor old Mum? Couldn't at least one of our three heroes be a heroine?) and some shockingly bad moments in the script... Like having a character spell out the film's underlying philosophical themes by, um, quoting philosophers! Mind you, those are minor niggles in a movie that tries to do something different with the superhero genre. It's never dull, always imaginative and in many ways a shot in the arm for those tired old superhero cliches we're all so bored with by now. As for the "wobbly camera" genre? It's getting tired - but when it works here, it really works well.

The nods to "what if" reality are great. What's the first thing three teens with superpowers would do? Well, use their newfound powers to lift a girl's skirt of course...

A good cast contribute to the largely improvised feel and, sexism and a few bits of naff dialogue aside, this is well worth the watch. FOUR WOBBLY STARS ****

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A shot in the arm for superhero origins

Mark-Roulston Flicks Superstar (?)

Ever since the breakout success of 1999's The Blair Witch Project, the found footage film has become a subgenre in its own right. In a similar vein to Blair Witch, the Paranormal Activity series has found great financial success with their comparatively meagre budgets, and Cloverfield in 2008 proved that, even on a larger scale, the handycam aesthetic can deliver effective thrills when employed by filmmakers who have a solid understanding of the style. Josh Trank's Chronicle represents an evolution of the found footage genre, taking the character as cameraman conceit to interesting new places, and marking the director as a young talent worth monitoring.

Chronicle differs from predecessors like Cloverfield in the sense that this handycam footage isn't presented as 'found' per se, but rather is a stylistic and narrative choice which puts a refreshingly original spin on a well overdone story: the superhero origin. After encountering a strange, glowing object in a deep underground cave, high schoolers Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) discover they have telekinetic powers which allow them to move objects with their mind. Matt considers the powers to be like a muscle, which can be strengthened through training, and after beginning small eventually the trio build superhuman strength and, to their delight, the ability to fly. The special effects betray a small budget at times, but the initial flying sequences are breathlessly entertaining, and the pure joy of the characters makes them more effective than most mega-budget blockbusters. These are meant to be regular kids, and although the story loses focus as the scale grows towards the climax, the early scenes are surprisingly genuine and affecting. But make no mistake, this is an origin story (one which doesn't necessarily beg for a sequel however), and Trank and his co-writer Max Landis (son of John Landis) use the visceral, in-your-face nature of the found footage to breathe life into a genre which has come dangerously close to wearing out its welcome in the past decade.

As is the case with almost all science-fiction, a lot more can be read into Chronicle than what is happening on the surface. Aside from the excitement of fighting and flying about, there is a very real human story at work, with a lot of teenage life's triumphs and tragedies. Trank and Landis clearly poured their own experiences into the film, with the three leads seeming like people from everyone's high school years. Added to this is a nice element of self-reflexivity as Andrew, an unpopular misfit, uses his camera to define himself, and how he sees the world. The old adage about writing what you know seems to ring true in the case of Chronicle, and seeing Andrew learn to move his camera in more dynamic ways thanks to his new found powers is perhaps the tiniest hint of autobiography from Trank. The film is filled with subtle aspects such as this which will probably be missed by most, but thankfully simply taking Chronicle at face value is a rewarding experience, proving that the superhero origin story is not dead, it just needs a good shake up from time to time.

tinribs27.wordpress.com

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extract from theaterofthecommonman.com

TheaterofCommon Flicks Superstar (?)

Young Director Josh Trank and his debut film 'Chronicle' offer us a compelling glimpse at how one would deal with the responsibility of superhuman power, and how our individual tendances could pre-determine if that power is used for good or bad. Chronicle is the cautionary tale of three high school guys who stumble across a mysterious cavity in the woods. Whilst exploring its contents they discover a power source that gives them evolving powers of telekinesis & flight. Initially, the powers are a good gimmick and the three guys have fun exploring their potential. Though, as they grow and become stronger, the responsibility and vulnerabilities of their power is evident and it's clear one of them doesn't intend on their new found endowment for good.

Chronicle is a revitalisation of the fitful 'found footage' genre; admittedly in the past I have found films shot in this style to be a little clumsy and yawn inducing. Chronicle however is onto something, whilst not entirely true to the genre, it maintains a respectable visual interest to the viewer. Not constrained by a locked camera, Cinematographer Matthew Jensen is brilliantly able to incorporate slick camera movements into the characters telekinesis and aerial development. With a minimal budget of only 15 million (and change if you add the product placements), the film does well to maintain consistency in its effects heavy shot list. It is noticeable that they didn't have the 250 million to blow that, say, a Michael Bay flick may have had, but they did an incredible job with their allowance. Aside from the films adequate aesthetics, I was actually engaged in the plot's progression, a rarity in sci-fi for me. Max Landis, the son of comedic director John Landis (Trading Places, Three Amigos), pens a well-developed screenplay for an 83min film; he has a good feel for dialogue and pace. It should be noted that these filmmakers are all in their early to mid-twenties. I for one am encouraged to see this new generation of film makers given a shot with a real budget and relevant distribution.

I'd like to thank Flicks.co.nz and Daniel McClelland for the advanced screening. Great to share an evening with some friends who have the passion for cinema that I do. A quick survey on the evening determined that flight and or telekinesis would be the superhuman ability of choice.

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wobbly camera time

amc32 Flicks Superstar (?)

i can understand [having been a teenage boy once upon a long time ago] the initially foolish uses of strangenew powers by the 3 guys, but i'm pretty sure i'd smarten up about a few things a whole lot quicker.
flying would be top of the list - right after busting open ATM machines for shedloads of cash - as opposed to robbing petrol stations.

really the 3 guys stayed too dumb for waaay too long. and the Andrew character had bigger issues in his life to deal with.
Matt was far too cool for school. i cannot remember anyone at high school reading philosophy and Jung.
Steve, at least, was believable - until he wore a suit to the school talent show.

my advice - wait for it to shop up on sky in about 10 months time.

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Seems vaguely familiar but with a good twist

Pawel-Smuga Wannabe (?)

It was pretty cool! Felt long, was short (1hour24min) but not in a bad way, because if it was dragged out you'd run out ideas and there would be too much white noise. If you've seen I am number four you'll get the general idea of the epic action scenes, and some pretty cool applications of what can be done with their powers, thoughts we've all had but don't have it on film! The director chose handheld cam as the only form of filming, which worked well but at times was a bit over aggressive. All in all a good use of surround sound and large tv would still do the action justice as an 7.8/10

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so so

BritComedyFan B-Grader (?)

I didn't really enjoy it. The flying was fun but I found the handi-cam way of filming exhausting to watch.

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Much better than expected

Dan-Thompson1 Wannabe (?)

Surprisingly good. Dark, witty, smart and fast paced, a great popcorn movie. Promoted as a 'found footage' film, along the lines of Blair Witch, Cloverfield etc, but the use of multiple 'found' cameras means this movie is far less restricted than others of the genre.

Try not to read too much about the film, keep your expectations in your pocket and you'll have a great time.

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Really satisfying

ChooChoo Nobody (?)

I didn't expect much from Chronicle, particularly since it has been hyped quite a lot in the media, which is rarely a good sign. I was therefore really happy to experience a complex movie with interesting cinematic ideas and enough themes to keep everyone happy. For those wanting a bit more emotional depth, the characters' relationships develop plausibly. For comic book geeks like me, there's a fantastic take on the superhero origin story, using plot themes which have been seen a gazillion times before but done in a way which respects and acknowledges the pillars of the genre but makes it seem fresh and real. The effects, while clearly shoestring are great fun and I was engaged throughout. Most of all, I was gripped with a sense of tension and impending disaster from early on. Maybe this was due in part to the adverts I'd seen which had made it clear where things were leading (I hate adverts!); maybe it's just that shakeycam films never end well.
Speaking of camera, we're all familiar with the found footage style of cinematography now, but I thought that Chronicle did take things a little further, attempting to use the viewpoint as a metaphor for Andy's distance from society. This is openly discussed by the characters and perhaps isn't made full use of, but it was a nice addition.

A great indie flick.

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  • Test Man

    Kind of agree

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Rivetingly alternate superhero yarn

Simon-Howard A-Lister (?)

I'll be the first to admit that going into this Flicks preview, I wasn't expecting Chronicle to be all that great. The trailers hadn't really done much for me and I worried that the film would struggle to engage lovers of the genre, like myself.

Happily I was proven wrong. This is an immensely enjoyable sci-fi with a young director and cast set for big futures.

Centred around three high school students who develop powers of tele-kinesis, the film follows Andrew, a nerdy loner with a camera to document everything he sees. Alongside sporty cousin Matt and prospective class president Steve, we see the trio coming to terms with their growing strength whilst pushing the limits of morality and taste.

The hand-held aesthetic offers a refreshing alternative and allows for unique insights into Andrew's world. There are plenty of humorous moments in the immediate aftermath of the group gaining their powers to cater to a wide audience.

There are a some negatives though. Elements of the plot are predictable and occassionaly ill-conceived, such as the scenarios involving his sick mother and abusive father. The reliance on a camera being present throughout (even when Andrew isn't there) also stretches the imagination past believable limits.

At times it feels like the film is flying along at such speed (if you'll pardon the pun) that the main character's developments aren't being fully explained. However these are minor gripes which are quickly forgotten by the end of the third act.

If rumours are to be believed, and Josh Trank is set for 'Fantastic' future projects, then one viewing of the epic finale will have all comic book fans salivating at the prospect. With only $15 million to work with, Trank has created action and effects which wouldn't look out of place in big budget summer blockbusters. Casting young actors with few film credits to their name ties in well with the nature of this kind of hand-held adventure (similar to Cloverfield and Blair Witch).


Verdict:
Stylistic, thought-provoking and more than anything, a crowd pleaser which deserves to make ten times it's production budget.

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  • disagree

    sorry, its called 'found footage' -now i can tell my mates not to get sick of handy-cam.

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leave me alone or i'll eat your brains!

I_GO_BY_MYSELF Nobody (?)

the only thing bad about this movie was dolby digitals new logo. it is in the realism genre though so many people may get sick of the handy-cam, but, all that aside it rocked. an 'm' but still graphic enough to give a little intensity at times. I don't think shakespeare could have put a better ending to an obvious plot (which was fantastic) cataclysmicly finnishing (i'm being serious) in an epic exit full of great direction and s.f.x. -the dude even 'looked' like frankenstein, covered in hospital bandages'. can he save the fantastic 4 franchise? doubt it, no-one can!

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  • Test Man

    Disagree really, the camerawork was all part of the concept.

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Needs a proper camera operator

Muzzamie Nobody (?)

The storyline was interesting, as was the character development. The flight scenes were great. But it is all filmed via handy cam from a kid that looks ill and is so shaky I got motion sickness in the first minute and never recovered. Add the flickering lights and I ended up with a major headache. Not fun.

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  • Matt

    The characters were not sympathetic! It was a great concept but executed averagely script wise. Nothing substantial happened. Expected more!

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Refreshing perspective, realistic characters

clararar Flicks Superstar (?)

I often feel that having believable and sympathetic characters is the main factor that raises a film from average to great, and Chronicle certainly achieved this. From the beginning, you can clearly picture those sorts of guys in an average American high school. What I didn't expect from the film was the amount of humour (well, more at the beginning) which actually made it quite fun, as opposed to something like Cloverfield which was darker throughout. There were some great scenes which elicited audible reactions from the audience, such as Andy and the spider, and the not-altogether-happy ending was quite fitting. Overall, you could certainly believe that if three American teenagers actually got superpowers, this could be how things would unfold. I would recommend Chronicle to anyone tired of watching the usual comic-book franchises, especially if you were a fan of other found-footage films.

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It's super scary

Ken-Burns Flicks Superstar (?)

So worth going to as it is a new take on superpowers. It's quick and clear in story telling, has nasty moments and a bit of death. I'd see it again

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Chronicle, hmmm, story story really...

RealityCheck Flicks Superstar (?)

It was very similar to the filming of 'Blairwitch', and 'Cloverfield' with gifts likened to 'Hancock', appearing shot through amateur video recorders. Although it had some good camera tricks and angles the movie left me wanting more, like an episode fo something good. It was enjoyable to see these gifts the guys could do however the flick just didnt deliver enough in the final fight. Good pop-corn, maybe even worth a look if you like hero sort of pictures, but I wouldnt watch it twice.
Genre : Adventure, action, sci-fi,
2/5 : good movie, just lacked in too many areas

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awsome

CSBright Flicks Superstar (?)

entertaining i love this movie i enjoyed it and its sucj a awsome movie i loved it

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  • Juan

    that to him though, just to see his face and then, of rcuose it would be THE story he would repeat for the rest of his life .. ~bluepoppy

  • Juan

    that to him though, just to see his face and then, of rcuose it would be THE story he would repeat for the rest of his life .. ~bluepoppy

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Definitely didn't reach it's full potential

callumt Nobody (?)

With a great concept, being different from most conventional super-hero movies, they had a lot of potential to develop the movie into something great.

Unfortunately we never were able to get to know the characters and develop a connection with them which left the emotional scenes had little effect on me as a viewer.

The CGI was rather obviouse too and the documentary style of the film limited the ability for variation in different angled shots which I think would have aided with the development of emotion in the film.

Overall, a disappointment.

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Press Reviews

85% of critics recommend

Consensus: "Chronicle transcends its found-footage gimmick with a smart script, fast-paced direction, and engaging performances from the young cast."

ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE. Read more reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
A.V. Club (USA)

A dark superhero story with firm footing in the everyday. Full review.

Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)

An uncommonly entertaining movie. Full review.

Empire (UK)

A stunning superhero/sci-fi that has appeared out of nowhere to demand your immediate attention. Full review.

Entertainment Weekly (USA)

The most original and excitingly executed wow-factor-meets-handheld-video feature since Blair Witch itself. Full review.

New York Daily News

An energetic hodgepodge. Full review.

New York Post

The mysterious force running through "Chronicle" is the power to supersuck. Full review.

Rolling Stone

Never stops springing surprises. You'll be hooked. Full review.