Archive for February 2012

Chronicle – Film Review   Leave a comment

Chronicle

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%      

By Ben Dauber

 

Chronicle took the box office by storm this past week and with good reason, high caliber action and solid performances by a bunch of no-name actors make for a solid watch.

 

Heading into the film I was skeptical. With a title like Chronicle, a focus on teen angst, and a PG-13 rating I was prepared for the worst.

 

The first 15 minutes I admittedly wanted to head for the door, but once you get into the meat of the film Chronicle grabs your interest and never lets go.

 

Director Josh Trank took a group of b-list TV starlets and an incredibly commercialized platform and regardless churned out a surprisingly praiseworthy film.

 

Chronicle defies two of my often failsafe film rules: 1) Teens discovering some sort of superpower is a no-no 2) Handheld style of filming (e.g. The Blair Witch Project) more often leads to headaches than good times.

 

One thing Trank did well was comprehensively explore the “power” the characters discover. Scenes of the characters fooling around with their abilities are some of the most entertaining in the film.

 

The other thing the filmmakers did incredibly well was to avoid the Cloverfield syndrome.

 

Cloverfield (2008) was film that I would have left incredibly angry, if I hadn’t already been incredibly nauseous. The reason for my post-film condition was due to the abuse of the hand held camera technique that has recently become popular.

 

A shaky camera constantly flashing left or right and remaining obnoxiously out of focus intentionally does not make up for a lack of substance in a film.

 

The makers of Chronicle realized this and rather than attempting to fool the audience into some false suspense with shoddy camera work they turned the usually crappy into the surprisingly creative.

 

Scoring a more than solid 85% on rotten tomatoes Chronicle has not only captured 22.0M in the box office but has also impressed the critics.

 

A solid watch for the action depraved no doubt, but if you want to watch a real man’s movie I still suggest seeing The Grey.

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Posted February 14, 2012 by dauberb in Uncategorized

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The Grey – Film Review   Leave a comment


 

Ben Dauber

 

IMDB Score – 7.8

 

Rotten Tomatoes – 77%

 

At first glance The Grey may look like another chance for Liam Neeson to kick the crap out of everybody but surprising emotional depth and intelligent filmmaking make it a thinking man’s action flick.

 

The film centers around a team of exhausted oilrig roughnecks on the plane flight home from the deep Alaskan wilderness. This crew spearheaded by the reliably stoic Neeson battle the wilderness, desperation, and most notably some fierce-ass wolves.

 

The opening sequence of the film was filmed with such a personal lens that I literally felt uncomfortable watching it. The plane crash and the early moments of the film rival the emotional burden of a well-written novel.

 

The stunning shots of the wind blown moonscape literally made the theater feel cold. I was truly taken aback by the sincerity of the film; it was truly one of Neeson’s better performances.

 

To sum the film up in a word, I would have to say realism. Although there is still certainly an atmosphere of nostalgic Neeson kickassery, the director and writer of the film Joe Carnahan (most known for the sci-fi flop that was The Fourth Kind 2009)

let a truly compelling story tell itself.

 

He succeeded most notably in not ruining the film. Although that seems like somewhat of a slight I mean it a true compliment.

 

Carnahan let the raw truth of natures wrath and the torturous nature of fate truly come through rather than mask the power of the story with cheesy pump-up music and montages of high-fiving camaraderie.

 

The only minor bone I have to pick with the film is that in some places conversation did loiter where cinematography or a nice bear fighting sequence could have resided, but hey nobody’s perfect.

 

With enough action to satisfy the simple-minded (such as myself) and a truly shocking emotional richness The Grey is a strong text.

 

Go see it, but dress warmly, and don’t necessarily expect to leave the theater feeling optimistic about the human condition.

Posted February 4, 2012 by dauberb in Uncategorized

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