Out Now – 29th November 2013

Saving Jeune et Jolie

Carrie
The remake of Carrie you ordered has arrived! Supposedly closer to the source novel but still seemingly unnecessary this remake let’s us see the introduction of cyber-bullying to the mix. Probably worth a look for horror fans but the original still stands. Covered in blood. And setting fire to the school.

Free Birds
Imagine we had Thanksgiving over here and they made an animated film about two Turkeys who go back in time to take themselves off the menu. Imagine how we’d laugh! Now imagine that film existed but we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, welcome to Free Birds.

Saving Mr. Banks
A film about the making of Mary Poppins is no doubt going to appeal to someone who grew up watching the film. Add in the fact that this person greatly admires the film’s star Emma Thompson and saw the film early in the morning at the end of a week of 30 films and you might starts to see that their five cry viewing experience is not going to be a common one. That said I was blind to any flaws and loved the film to death.

The Best Man Holiday
“When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.” This did really well in America which seemed to surprise everyone as the film has a predominantly black cast. Why was this surprising? I have no idea.

Leviathan
“A documentary shot in the North Atlantic and focused on the commercial fishing industry.” That was NOT what I was expecting from the title. It better have a giant sea monster in it or I will be pissed!

Dirty Wars
“Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is pulled into an unexpected journey as he chases down the hidden truth behind America’s expanding covert wars.” By unexpected journey I hope they mean that he time travelled with Keanu Reeves in a phone booth.

Jeune Et Jolie
French film about a teenage prostitute. HANG ON! It’s actually really well done and not nearly as smutty as you might think. Oddly the UK poster uses the only still that features nudity and in doing so the lead actresses left breast has been partially removed. Trying to be scandalous but removing any chance of actual scandal.

Who Needs Enemies
Hmmmm…. either this title severely needs a question mark adding or this is a Doctor Who spin-off about a time when the Doctor has defeated all the Daleks once and for all and is bore out of his mind.

N.F.A. (No Fixed Abode)
“Adam has it all – a beautiful wife and daughter and home, but one day he wakes up in a hostel for the homeless – how did he there and how can he get his life back?” The tagline is “What if you woke up homeless?” and I honestly don’t know the answer. Suffice it to say this blog would suffer.

There are other films but they either have too little information available, are in just one cinema, or appear to be out on DVD at the same time so I won’t go over them. All that and I am wildly behind schedule!

Chronicle – Review

We apologise that our Chronicle review has hit the web so late. Our (Stephen’s) tardiness puts you, the reader, in one of two categories: Now that Chronicle has been in cinemas for a full week you have probably already seen the film and loved it (if not, what’s wrong with you?), or you are still on the fence/in the group of people who think the film looks naff. Well, grumpy face, I also thought Chronicle looked pretty unspectacular too. Sure, it seemed worth the £10 for the ticket but it also looked like another boring found footage film in a genre that is already looking very bloated this year.

But appearances can be deceiving. I just came out of Man On A Ledge hoping that it would be chock full of B-Movie idiocies and unbearable acting – as the trailer suggested; when it was in fact a more than decent film. That trailer deceived me! Cinema is always lying (allegedly); Chronicle, for one, isn’t even a found footage film – more on that later – and its exploration of ‘Superpowers ABC, 123’ is far superior to those seen in the better half of the last two decades’ bazillion superhero films.

The film follows – literally – Andrew (Dane DeHaan), a friendless only child; beaten by his drunk of a father and abused by his high school peers. Andrew begins to film his every move as an experiment (though it’s never exactly clear why) and whilst at a party he is pulled away by his cousin, Matt (Michael Kelly) and the school’s student body president, Steve (Michael B. Jordan) to a hollow in a nearby wood. Exploring the site the trio come across an ominous object which reacts to their presence, causing them to black out. Over the next few weeks the newly formed group of friends realize that they have developed telekinesis (the power to move things using the mind) and before long they begin to abuse their power which inevitably affects the friends’ dynamic and ultimate destiny.

Andrew shows "The Amazing Spider-Man" that "Chronicle" means business— Andrew shows “The Amazing Spider-Man” that “Chronicle” means business —

Debut director Josh Trank and first-major-feature scribe Max Landis (son of John) manage to create an excellent film with the seemingly done-to-death idea of superhero beginnings. The story’s main beats are pretty much standard (as well as being somewhat very similar to Stephen King’s novel, Carrie) but the way that the trio’s relationship becomes staggeringly real is certainly down to excellent film craftsmanship by Trank and Landis. Not to give the creative team all the glory though, the performances and striking chemistry between the leads only aids in making Chronicle a tour de force of genuinely affecting story-telling and an excellent piece of cinema.

What really sets Chronicle apart from other found-footage films is not just the way that the characters begin to have the camera follow them by use of their telekinesis (thereby allowing all three on-screen for full coverage) but also the District 9­­-like use of jumping to other camera footage (security cameras, tourists, other characters with cameras) to branch out from the singular camera narrative, allowing multiple perspectives – which again, reminds one of the storytelling used in Carrie – suspending our disbelief that little bit more for non-stop enjoyment.

Despite the fact that the trailers gave the impression that the film doesn’t add much to the found footage ‘genre’ or superhero/sci-fi lore Chronicle displays some sharp character profiling in an emotional and genuine way. Let’s just say that The Dark Knight Rises has got a bit to live up to.