Movie Reviews Chronicle
There will be something other than the Super Bowl that will be super this weekend. A movie about three dorky Seattle teenagers -- the sort who would never be seen dead in front of a TV set on Super Sunday -- who are suddenly gifted with super powers. Chronicle begins when they discover a crystalline meteor that gives them those powers -- and their new ability to float objects and levitate makes for some thrilling experiences -- but they also produce moral dilemmas for the kids, and the movie, says Amy Biancolli in the San Francisco Chronicle turns "its wobbly eye on the corrupting force of unshackled and unlimited strength." Director Josh Trank, she says, "tells his tale with an emotional and visual crispness that gives the superhero genre its best crack at naturalism so far." Manohla Dargis of the New York Times applauds the script by Max Landis -- son of director John Landis, of Animal House and An American Werewolf in London fame -- which focuses on how the boys' powers "eventually lead to a battle between untamed will and choice." It's a "thrillingly inventive take on an old genre, a fun story that turns increasingly dark, a nerd-boy fantasy realized with cinematic flair," comments Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The movie, writes Ty Burr in the Boston Globe , can be "simultaneously ridiculous and wonderful. It honors a zillion low-budget monster movies that have come before while feeding into a zillion more adolescent fantasies of anger, power, and self-pity." It's all told Blair Witch style one of the boys is video recording his experiences. And, says Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times , "There are times when the filmmakers seem to have written themselves into a corner. Whether by design or not, the way they deal with it is by relying on 'technical issues' with Andrew's camera -- just letting the screen go dark. ... Frankly, that's a technique we should hope catches on; it would have vastly improved any number of recent films." But Mark Jenkins in the Washington Post largely dismisses the movie's premise and its execution. "The characters are introduced so quickly and their personalities are so thin, that what happens to them has little weight," he remarks. Kyle Smith in the New York Post is even more dismissive. What the movie really is all about, he suggests, "is the power to supersuck." But then that was pretty much the reaction of critics to the first movie John Landis made when he was about his son's age. Critics pretty much agreed that it lived up to its name -- Schlock . In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert predicts that Max Landis and the other talent behind the cameras and in front of them will make their mark in the business. "Sometimes a movie arrives out of the blue that announces the arrival of considerable new talents," he writes.