In the midst of midterm season, it’s a good idea to take advantage of a weekend and just de-stress yourself. What’s a better way to relax than to watch a movie in one of many of the local theaters? Last week, if you recall, we at the Clog wrote about “The Secret World of Arrietty,” a gorgeous animated film from Studio Ghibli currently showing at the California Theater on 2113 Kittredge. This week, we took another movie break (you can never have too many) and watched “Chronicle”, a different kind of super-hero film currently showing at United Artists Berkeley 7 on 2274 Shattuck Avenue. Released earlier in the month under the radar, the movie has been slowly gathering momentum due to positive reception from film critics and enthusiast communities.
The movie focuses on a trio of friends: Andrew, a socially awkward high-school senior who suffers from a bad home-life, Matt, Andrew’s philosophically inclined cousin and Steve, an outgoing and popular student who is working on being elected school president. The three discover a mysterious underground tunnel where they encounter a strange creature that grants them the power of telekinesis. However, rather than focusing on the specifics of how the boys received their powers or the identity of the supernatural creature, the film opts to simply explore how the boys embed their superpowers within their daily lives. “Chronicle” is a refreshing divergence from the typical super-hero formula in that the boys don’t suddenly transform into vigilante crime fighters with lofty visions of justice as they fight a nefarious villain who twiddles his mustache; rather, their powers of telekinesis becomes an outlet for their everyday insecurities and troubles. Who wouldn’t relate to Andrew, the socially awkward outcast, who attempts to use his powers to bolster popularity from his high school peers?
Some of the best parts of the film are in the beginning when the boys are getting accustomed to their powers and using them in casual ways: chucking rocks across the lake or building Lego towers. In a way, they legitimatize those times when we wish for super-powers to fix our petty and personal frustrations. We all have those moments of cursing our ordinary human abilities when we can’t outrun time in our rush to make it to back-to-back classes across campus or can’t read minds when we fight with friends, family or lovers.
“Chronicle’s” focus on the personal is emphasized on its insistence to present itself through various “cameras,” primarily through Andrew’s video camera, which is passed through various hands throughout the movie, and security footage. The use of the “amateur” camera was done pretty well, although we suspect that some characters were created simply to be an alternate “camera” (Casey, we are looking at you).
Overall, we thought the movie was decent and recommend it to anyone who wants a twist on the typical superhero formula. The latter half of the movie has some terrific psychic fights that seem like a love-letter to Akira, so those who want some handsome action scenes won’t be left wanting. Plus, the film understands the plight of the student in that one of the first things Andrew learns to do is fly to school. Excuse us as we temporarily fantasize about flying from Tolman to Kroeber instead of running fruitlessly, only to be five minutes late for lecture.
Tags:movie theater, movies, Super Hero Powers, United Artists
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