Monthly Archives: March 2012

Things That Should Possibly Happen: A Carrie Remake

That awkward moment when someone pours pig guts all over you at prom.

New remake gets “Carrie”-d away, said the worst headline writer ever.

Hollywood doesn’t seem to understand that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, I’m done yelling at studio executives who probably aren’t listening, and I’m also tired of referring to every person who works in the film industry collectively as Hollywood. The idea that existing properties are more valued than original ones needs to change, but there is no way that it will ever happen overnight.

The latest remake being concocted is of “Carrie,” Brian De Palma’s twisted horror thriller. “Carrie” seems to have little justification for a remake. “Carrie” stands out to me because because nothing really exciting happens until the very end, yet the whole experience is a thrill to watch. The promised finale lasts under five minutes, yet it is as spectacular and horrifying today as it was in 1976. The slow buildup is a perfect display of Hitchcockian tension. This is a subtlety that most horror movies today are devoid of, and I fear that a modern update of “Carrie” would be substitute real scares for extra buckets of blood. And not just pig’s blood.

However, there is one saving grace to the “Carrie” remake. Chloe Moretz, better known as Hit-Girl from “Kick-Ass,” has signed to take Sissy Spacek’s place as “Carrie.” Now, Moretz is not quite Sissy Spacek yet but then again, neither was Sissy Spacek when she took this role. Moretz can play a hard-edged teen, but can she bring Spacek’s creepiness and vulnerability back? Also, the movie will be directed by Kimberly Peirce, who directed “Boys Don’t Cry.” I have yet to see “Boys Don’t Cry,” but some extra female perspective for this story could be interesting.

Either way, I’m standing by the original. And unless Peirce really screws up, there is no way this could be as bad as the Broadway musical. Discounting the fact that this story should never be a musical, it was apparently terrible.

Read more about the remake here.

This Ad Just Set Back The Anti-Piracy Movement By A Decade

The piracy debate is a tough one, and it would take me too long to fully explain my stance. So instead, here’s a great way to make people not want to go to the movies. Reminding people that going to the movies is paying for an experience is very noble, but why pick “Battleship,” a movie based on a board game? Maybe this weekend’s “Hunger Games,” which broke box office records, could have worked. Or some kind of appeal to the great movies of the past, I’m sure the Academy Awards has more than enough montages to lend. Seriously, “Battleship” is the last thing to make me want to buy a movie ticket and some over-buttered popcorn.

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Before I start this review, let’s get something out of the way: I have not read “The Hunger Games” or any of the other books in the series. I cannot compare the film adaptation to the original book. Therefore, I will be reviewing “The Hunger Games” as a movie, not an adaptation.

I will admit that I ignored “The Hunger Games” for most of its popularity because I associated it with the tweenage wasteland of “Twilight.” “The Hunger Games” does not deserve to be put into that category because the story is much more mature, the characters are more complex, and if the movie is any indication, Suzanne Collins is a much better writer than Stephanie Meyer is. The difference is that Collins seems to write about teenagers from the perspective of an adult, and Meyer with the prose of a fifth grader.

Plot description is probably irrelevant for all fans of the novel, but hopefully people unfamiliar with the books will go see it, too. “The Hunger Games” takes place during an unknown time in the future in the nation of Panem, which was once the United States. After a rebellion (which hopefully will be explained in the next film), Panem has been divided into districts. Our main focus is in the rural District 12 which, like the rest of Panem, is in ruins. Each district seems to be closed off to protect the people from each other. Apparently in the future, people are no longer to be trusted.

In District 12 lives Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who for the rest of this review will be known as Catnip. Teenage Catnip cares for her younger sister Primrose (Willow Shields) and her mother (Paula Malcomson). Her mother is never given a name, but it seems like something we really should know.

Catnip is young but mature beyond her years, assuming the role of both hunter and gatherer for her family. Her skill with a bow and arrow will come into play later on. On a related note, it’s kind of awesome when a dystopian movie uses primitive weapons.

To punish the people for the rebellion, each year the government hosts The Hunger Games, in which a boy and girl from every district is chosen for an arena battle to the death. The names are chosen at random in a lottery-type system. Prim, eligible for the first time to compete, is chosen to represent District 12. Not wanting her younger sister to have to face death, Catnip offers herself up in Prim’s place. And with that, “The Hunger Games” shows that it is not one of those “Chosen One” narratives a la “Star Wars” and “The Matrix.” In this world, no one is that special.

Catnip makes quite an impression on everyone with her brave sacrifice. Chosen alongside her is Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who will be referred to as Pita for the remainder of this review. In his first interview before the Hunger Games begins, Pita declares his love for Catnip on national television. Awkward.

“The Hunger Games” is as much about media hype as it is about the actual Hunger Games. This is what elevated the story for me the most. I have always assumed that one day, someone would make a reality show about people killing each other, and that is essentially what the Hunger Games is. The Games serve to both unite and distract the Districts. They are all united in watching the games together, yet they all root against each other. As Roger Ebert wrote in his review, “Reality TV is the opiate of the masses.”

This story, essentially, is about a world in which the most important thing is getting other people to like you. Catnip learns this during her publicity tour, but I liked her from the start. Lawrence plays her with the same brashness, wisdom, and self-assurance that originally made me notice her in “Winter’s Bone” in 2009. This character is not trying to break any female stereotypes, she just shows the kind of strength and bravery worth admiring in any human being. Think of her as a teenage version of Ripley from “Alien.” Like Ripley, she assumes a mother-like role for just about everyone she can.

One of my biggest problems with many action movies is that they will let the hero win everything, but never give them much struggle. However, Catnip is one of those plausible heroes I have seen on screen in sometime. She has to overcome a lot in order to win. And while everyone else around her is an actor, she is a reactor. Everyone else is trying to simply hunt or be hunted, while Catnip uses the tools provided by the world around her in order to win. She is not only strong, but also smart. I will continue to follow this series, and even read the books, because of her.

“The Hunger Games” is a well above average summer blockbuster playing in March. We all know the hero will survive until the end, yet there is still doubt and suspense every time Catnip is in peril. That is what good filmmaking is all about. Thank you for that, director Gary Ross, who also wrote “Big.” These two movies are not related in anyway, but I just felt the need to point this fact out.

Ross brings this world to life. The outside is bleak and mechanical like any dystopia, yet everything inside is bright, colorful, and fast-paced. Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), who acts like the Jeopardy host from “Slumdog Millionaire,” looks like he blue himself.

Bringing a popular novel from page to screen is never easy, and some things are certainly lost in translation. Even as someone who has never read the book, I could tell that much had to be taken out. So much of the movie is setup, yet much more could have been done to introduce the world. I would like to know more about the other districts, as well as District 12. An adaptation should be inviting of new followers, and not exclusive to those familiar with the original.

Apparently in the novel, Catnip was gaunt and starving. Lawrence is a great choice for Catnip, but she does not appear as either. Also, the Hunger Games at times seemed rigged, and it would have been really interesting to delve more into the people who were orchestrating the games. Everyone else fighting besides Catnip had absolutely no personality. Maybe it will be revealed in the next chapter, but who exactly is the villain of the Hunger Games.

But now, let’s get back to Pita. In order to make a love story engaging and emotional, both lovers should be equally interesting. To be honest, Pita might as well have not been there. Nothing about his skills, nor his backstory, are fully elaborated. In the end, it is possible that the two are not even in love, as Catnip has another love interest at home. I smell a love triangle!

See the image in full here.

But I digress (briefly). “The Hunger Games” seems to be leading to the point that their is a difference between relationships and personalities formed by the public, and those that are actually real. However, it would have made more sense had their love not seemed so force. I am not calling this deliberate, this is definitely a flaw.

Unfortunately, the movie loses some steam towards the end. Seriously, those giant dogs looked like something out of “Ghostbusters.”

However, I hate to slip into such negative territory with this movie. Here, I believe the positives overpower the negatives. The second the games begin, we are immediately drawn in the scary and unpredictable idea of death at any moment. I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie and heard such a mixed emotional response from the audience. At some points, there was genuine laughter, and at other points, sniffling. I am not sure if this movie provided everything about the “Hunger Games” universe that it was supposed to, but I can’t wait for the installment to find out more.

Your Friday Dose of Weirdness: John Ford

“You know I don’t speak Spanish…”

Some characterize directors as egoists. They could be right, until they watch this interview with John Ford, conducted by Peter Bogdanovich (director of “The Last Picture Show,” which I will hopefully have a review for later this week).

The interview is so insightful because there is absolutely no insight provided by it. Is Ford being rude, or humble. Is he arrogant, or self-conscious? I usually don’t take much credence in what YouTube commenters say, but the discussion on this video is surprisingly toned down and intelligent. Take a note from that, Internet.

Anyway, what I found so interesting here is the way in which Ford answers the questions. Should a director remain closed off and mysterious about their work? Or is it better to reveal all of their intentions to the world? Discuss, and watch below:

Movie Review: A Seperation

Who would have thought that a slow burning film in Farsi would merit a second viewing? “A Separation,” the winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, is also one of the best films to come out of 2011. It merits such interest and praise not only for the country for which it came from, but because it is the kind of challenging fair that does not get make it to theaters enough.

I do not know how “A Separation” got by in Iran, a country bound by such heavy censorship, but that makes this filmmaking effort all the more bold. Yet, it makes no sweeping political statements, it is just about the hardships of life as it is.

“A Separation” deals with a conflict that any American, or let alone any citizen of the world, can relate to: keeping a family together. It begins in a court of divorce, and the rest of the movie will take place in and out of various courts of law. Nader (Peymon Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) look to divorce. Nader was never abusive, and they never really fell out of love. Simin wants to leave Iran and look for a better life, and Nader wants to stay and take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who has Alzheimers. His father is mostly bedridden, and breaths only through an oxygen tank. All he wants is the morning paper, and if he doesn’t get it, he will even dodge oncoming traffic for it.

The family is part of an established upper class. There is little association with politics and any social or political views the movie projects are done so subtlety. Maybe that is because writer and director Asghar Farhadi wanted to separate himself from the regime, or because there is something closed off and sheltered about the country’s upper class. However, education seems to be a prime concern amongst them. The education of their 11-year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) is of utmost importance, and she is also one of the factors that tears the marriage apart.

While Simin is gone, Nader hires Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his father. Razieh is of a lower class and despite her deep devotion in helping Nader’s father, she is treated poorly. Nader even accuses her of stealing from him. This is a woman that is so honest and faithful that at one point, she won’t even tell a lie that will benefit her, because she will be swearing an oath on the Quran.

In an instant, “A Separation” transforms from a family drama of staggering devastation to a he said-she said Iranian version of “Rashomon.” After some unfortunate circumstances that lad Nader to physically push Razieh out of his apartment, her subsequent tumble leads to Nader’s trial for killing an unborn child. Depending on how you look at it, he may be innocent, guilty, or something else in between.

“A Separation” is shot in such a simple, beautifully uneven style that it resembles a documentary. Farhadi is the fly on the wall, capturing every event while being as objective as possible. There is also almost a complete absence of a musical score. In a film, music usually tells you how to feel in a certain scene. The case involved has so many sides that using music to tell the audience how to feel would be a major cop out. “A Separation” is not about cop outs. This movie shows a lot, including every mundane detail of a day. And yes, there is even a loving closeup of an overstuffed suitcase being zipped up.

This is all fitting, as “A Separation” never attempts to glorify nor vilify the director’s homeland. It doesn’t provide the brightest vision though, either. If “Slumdog Millionaire” was about filling Mumbai with pulsating energy, then “A Separation” fills Tehran with urban pessimism. I would relate this most to the Chilean movie from 2009 “The Maid” about a maid who loses her grip on reality after finding out the rich family she has served for years might replace her. “A Separation” has less of the painful things-fall-apart feeling of that film, but it certainly shares a similar mood dealing with class warfare.

“A Separation” is a portrait of a country that always seems to be in turmoil. Just like Nader’s marriage, it is constantly caught in the middle and splitting apart. In one scene, Nader admonishes his daughter for speaking in Arabic as opposed to Farsi. In another scene, one of Termeh’s textbooks recalls a time in the country’s history when the only two classes that existed were “royalty” (which she then changes to “upper class”) and “everyone else.” Everyone seems to go either one way or another and in that light, it is hard to choose because as the main incident of the movie shows, life has more than two right answers.

When “A Separation” concludes, there is no sigh of relief, only the discomfort of uncertainty. That is what makes the whole thing so unsettling, and ultimately so rewarding. There is some blatant separation symbolism at the film’s end, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. There is a key decision made at the end, and it is fitting that we never know the outcome. Either way, one character we like will be hurt, and the other won’t be, and vice versa. This is one of the most stirringly objective narratives I’ve ever seen on film.

However, being so objective is hard. Every person involved in the trial of “A Separation” has the best intentions, and they all live their lives according to the same religion. Yet in the end, it is only our own personal feelings that can provide us with the moral compass for this story. I hope to see more movies like this, that challenge us to choose our emotional response, rather than feeding it all to us.

Movie Review: Friends With Kids

Let’s clear one thing up right now from the trailer of “Friends with Kids”: this is not a rom-com. This is not even a comedy about love. It is more along the lines of a dramedy with some awkward laughs, and a lot of babies ruining things. Man, do children ruin everything.

The main group of friends of “Friends with Kids” like to talk. A lot. About everything. I guess that’s what 30-something Manhattanites are supposed to do. In a fancy restaurant, two couples and two best friends discuss the mundane. Platonic best friends Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) remark how much they hate the parents around them who bring their kids to a restaurant like this, to which Alex (Chris O’Dowd) and Leslie (Maya Rudolph) announce that they plan to have a baby. Some brief, yet awkwardly hilarious tension ensues.

Four years later, Alex and Leslie have two kids. The other couple Ben (Jon Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig) are also knee deep in babies. Ben and Missy weirdly seem to share a brain. Alex and Leslie meanwhile, are two very different personalities. Leslie is more uptight and stern, and Alex is the complete opposite. They fight a lot, but it is always clear that they love each other. As Alex, Chris O’Dowd chews up the scenery and brings humor back to having a foul mouth. He shows off the comedic skill that he could not in his nice guy role in “Bridesmaids.”

At this point, Jason and Julie are still single. They both want children, but without marriage, as they see it tearing as tearing apart the personal well being of their other friends. On impulse, they hatch the plan to have a baby while simply remaining friends. They are both the kind of people who believe they can have it all, so they decide to take part in this social experiment. The real lesson here: never have a baby before doing your research.

Julie gives birth and at first, the arrangement works out as well as they imagined it would. Then, problems arise when they both do what they set out to do: raise a child, and date other people at the same time. Jason gives in to his shallow tendencies and dates the beautiful, but empty Broadway dancer Mary Jane (Megan Fox, who hopefully didn’t call anyone Hitler on set), and Julie dates single father Kurt (Edward Burns), who is so perfect to the point of being an absolute bore.

“Friends with Kids” is an eclectic mix of Woody Allen and Robert Altman: it combines philosophical musings on love and relationships with bountiful overlapping conversations, with a profound love of New York City. The writing is often times sharp and full of wit, and lets the conversations drag on just before their breaking point. Rarely does a movie driven more by talking than plot get made, and rarely does it ever actually work.

Romantic comedies like to ask the question a lot of whether to people can be a couple without being in a relationship. In fact, it happened twice last year (“No Strings Attached,” “Friends with Benefits”). When it comes to romance, there are two rules that Hollywood lives by: true love exists, and if two friends have sex, they will eventually fall in love. “Friends with Kids” falls under the latter rule, but goes further than that. No two friends can raise another human being together without feeling the bond of love. This is why surrogate mothers exist.

Putting an image of Megan Fox in an article is a guarenteed way to increase the amount of hits you get.

But I like “Friends with Kids,” and the fact that it doesn’t just fall under the rules, but asks questions about why they mean, and why they are even there in the first place. This is not a movie where big events happen, but rather the story unfolds in walks through Central Park, dinner parties, and ski trips.

The dialogue has a very rapid fire that can be hard to keep up with. This is why I assume that five of the six deft actors in the cast are best known for work on television. Scott, usually a great supporting actor, steps up to the plate in his first true leading role. He takes his kind, nerdy role in “Parks and Rec” and the alpha male cockiness of his role in “Step Brothers,” and uses it all for Jason. He sells his ending speech with the genuine emotional breakdown that comes along with it. Scott is one of the best actors out there today; this guy never phones it in.

A few big problems that “Friends with Kids” has is that sometimes, it does reach the breaking point on conversations. The whole movie seems to be an experiment about a social experiment but sometimes, it does drag on a little too long. There is something of an underutilization of the actors, which ultimately leads to trouble with the story itself. For example, Hamm and Wiig are gone for a majority of the movie and when they come back, their marriage is inexplicably in shambles. And why does a character rendered as meaningless as Hamm’s Ben, get the honor of giving the speech that proves to be the turning point of the movie? Someone should have watched Don Draper’s Guide to Picking Up Women.

Westfeldt provides a look on love, marriage, and family that is funny, entertaining, and most importantly, honest. The honesty part is hard to come by nowadays. It is hard to get me to see a romantic comedy, and I’ll admit that what made me want to see “Friends with Kids” most was the cast. The ending is just about what you would expect it to be, but how it gets there is much more important. This is a comedy about the reality of romance, not the movie version of it.

Analog This: Community, and How Social Media Saved it

Warning! Some minor spoilers for tonight’s episode. And if you are a community college student then no, you cannot be a pirate as well.

I am not one of the righteous few who has deactivated their Facebook account and returned to reality. Having said that, here are a few reasons why I hate social media: it is addicting, it is causing people to be too concerned about the affairs of others, and it all together makes us more vain and self-concerned.

And here is why I love social media: without it, “Community” might not have been back on the air tonight. I am not in any way taking credit away from the show’s brilliant mastermind Dan Harmon, nor the NBC executives, who are not getting enough credit for continuing to keep this strange little show on the air, despite its low ratings.

However, “Community” was pervasive on Twitter this week. One of the top trending topics the other day was #anniesboobs. The fact that this joke, which only an avid “Community” fan would understand, was that popular, shows its fan base goes beyond what Nielsen can calculate. If they came out today, perhaps the likes of “Freaks and Geeks,” “Undeclared,” and “Firefly” would never have been cancelled.

I have been talking about “Community” a lot the past week, enough so that many people might just want me to stop, as this is supposed to be a site about the movies. To that I counter and say that “Community” is inspired as much by film as it is by television. It puts every pop culture reference that runs through my brain on a daily basis on screen. At times, I have been tempted to compare “Community” to “Arrested Development,” but “Community” truly defies comparison. Every week, it tries to do something that no show on television has done before. It can be hit or miss, but either way, it is the most joyfully ambitious show you will see on television today.

But between intense blanket forts and paintball fights, “Community” is all about its characters. Fittingly, tonight’s episode, entitled “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts,” was about a grounded return to normalcy. Jeff started the episode complaining, and ended it with a speech. Britta tried to be fiercely independent, Annie was hopelessly romantic, and Pierce was trying to sell something racist. A day in the life at Greendale Community College.

But as always, things were far from normal. Shirley was getting re-married to her husband Andre, and Britta found herself to be a fantastic wedding decorator, despite her hatred of marriage. Meanwhile, Troy and Abed decided to act “normal” for once, only to discover that their weirdness is the only type of normal they could ever be.

In most sitcoms, each character seems to have some assigned role they must fulfill in each episode. “Community” follows that, yet acknowledges it, at the same time. This was proven in “Remedial Chaos Theory” (if you haven’t seen this episode, which has seven separate story lines, watch it immediately). But in tonight’s episode, and I believe it will be a theme for the rest of the season, everyone realized they are not who they thought they were. Pierce is not a businessman, Shirley is not just a mother, and Britta will soon have to say goodbye to her days as “Anarchist Cat Owner.” As Harmon said himself in an article in the New York Times, “Community” is headed into some very dark territory.

Yet, there was still something very right about tonight’s episode. The first half of the season was a mixed bag, with the highlights being the aforementioned “Remedial Chaos Theory” and “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux.” Those are two of the best episodes of “Community” so far. However, the rest of the first half of the season was missing the zany inventiveness and brains of the previous season. It all came back tonight and hopefully, will be here to stay for a while.

I still have no idea how this show will end, but tonight, I got a better idea of where it is headed. I imagine the final shot looking something like that of the series finale of “The Sopranos,” minus “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Hopefully, that finale won’t come for quite a while. I have bright hopes that the six seasons and a movie that Abed once championed will become reality.

This Week, We are a Community: Day 4

This is the most accurate way to describe how the collective “Community” fan base feels about the return of the show tonight:

And, I have included a bonus clip after the jump. “Community” is a show that likes to push the limits of television, and try to top itself every week. I challenge it to come up with a line as good as “my whole brain is crying!”: 

Movie Review: Chronicle

Apparently, when you put together two genres together that didn’t need another entry (superhero; found footage), something good can happen. 

“Chronicle” is like taking a philosophy course, albeit an introductory one where you only go to half of the lectures. That doesn’t mean it isn’t intriguing, it just means that there could have been a little more substance to stick around for. 

Like many found footage movies, “Chronicle” begins with a camera reflected in the mirror, looking directly back at the audience. Misfit Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) uses his camera to block out the outside world, just as the lock on his door blocks out his drunk and abusive father from continuing to make his life miserable. His only real friend is his cousin Matt (Alex Russell), who drives him to school every morning and rambles on about reading Schopenhauer. In between philosophical lectures, he tells Andrew to put his camera away, and to actually start interacting with people.

At a party one night, Andrew meets his female counterpart, a blogger (Ashley Hinshaw), who also films the events around her, but with a purpose. Every male blogger in the world just found their new MPDG. Matt and Steve (Michael B. Jordan, no relation to the other Michael Jordan) find a strange hole out in the woods with a glowing light coming out of it, and they bring Andrew along to film it. They get a bit too close to the light and next thing they know, Andrew has to buy a new camera.

The switch in quality of Andrew’s camera is also the movie’s shift in story. After no explanation of what happened immediately after finding the light (perhaps for the better), the three friends find that they have obtained telepathic powers. Like the other recent found footage movie, “Project X,” the most realistic part of the movie occurs in its early stages. Like anyone with newfound super powers, they test out their abilities. And while Andrew could try and save his dying mother, he instead blows girls skirts up and messes with bullies. Because what else would a high schooler want to do?

The so-called “testing” portion takes up a seemingly long, but actually very short, time in the movie. These scenes showcase some of the most impressive special effects I have seen in a movie in a quite a while. Watching the Seattle Space Needle be built of Legos, and then get torn down, is a stunning visual, and it offers some terrifying foreshadowing. Another scene in which Andrew tears a spider to bits, makes you wonder both how it was made, and what it means. It definitely portends to his psychotic side. Not looking too deep into it, it is a mind-altering sight.

Unlike most superhero movies, the heroes aren’t fighting for some cause, or against some villain. Rather, they are fighting against themselves. When one obtains powers, both a hero and a villain are created within them. If I am understanding Schopenhauer right, then it is our personal will which one we will actually become. Perhaps the battle over control of their powers is just representative of the problems of teen angst. We’ve all gone through it, but not in this way.

“Chronicle” goes deep, but perhaps not deep enough. At times, director Josh Trank gets a little too caught up in the movie’s unique special effects, and forgets to push the story forward. However, we are given a disarming yet frightening performance by DeHaan, who with just his eyes can control our emotions the same way Malcolm McDowell did with his glare in “A Clockwork Orange.”

At one point, Andrew describes himself as the apex predator: he is the top of the food chain, and therefore can do whatever needs to be done to survive. With great power comes great responsibility. This famous line from “Spider-Man” now makes absolute sense to me: when one obtains great power, they are responsible not just for what they do, but for whom they become. It is not just his slide into insanity that makes Andrew so disturbing, but rather the fact that he believes he is justified in his actions.

This is a very intense and absorbing moral dilemma. However, it leads to one of the film’s bigger problems: the complete disregard of all of the other moral dilemmas that could have come about. Andrew’s sick mother seems only to be in the plot as a means to anger his father more. But what would be the implications of Andrew both trying to kill his father, and save his mother? The world will never know. All we know is that he is a good son, and he tried. You’d think someone with telepathy would try a little bit harder.

The final battle is one to be remembered. The battle between cousins Andrew and Matt is very powerful, but would have been more so had the story delved into Matt further. Certainly, he is more complex than to serve simply as the good guy of “Chronicle.” In moral dilemmas, good guys shouldn’t be so easy to define.

Without giving too much away (because, I do hope readers go see this movie), “Chronicle” ends in an underwhelming way that is something of an injustice to the rest of the movie. While Matt seems to be doing a good thing in where he has gone to, a more ambiguous ending would have made a lot more sense here. Watching him fly off into the sunset, like a cowboy who can levitate, would have hammered the whole point across. The new powers the three friends obtain were supposed to make them more popular. In the end, great power is more alienating than no power at all.

Josh Trank’s First Feature: