Chronicle

Chronicle poster20th Century Fox (2012) 84 min. PG-13

Director: Josh Trank

Screenplay: Max Landis; Story: Max Landis & Josh Trank

Cinematography: Matthew Jensen; Editing: Elliot Greenberg

Production Design: Stephen Altman; Set Decoration: Fred Du Preez

Costumes: Diana Cilliers; Score: Andrea von Foerster

Stars: Dane DeHaan (Andrew Detmer), Alex Russell (Matt Garetty), Michael B. Jordan (Steve Montgomery), Michael Kelly (Richard Detmer), Ashley Hinshaw (Casey Letter), Bo Petersen (Karen Detmer), Anna Wood (Monica)

On the cusp of another summer of blockbuster blitzkrieg, one can only hope moviemakers look to their laurels by revisiting one of the finest superhero movies of recent years. Forget all the over-marketed, big-budgeted Dark Knight Rises, Avengers and Amazing Spider-Mans that glutted the franchise market back in 2012. Chronicle, a modest little sleeper by comparison, directed by Josh Trank and written by Trank and Max Landis, with shoestring special effects, a teensploitation plotline and derivative handheld video camerawork, still emerged as the most creative, original superhero movie of that year. Or, to be more accurate, the best secret origin story of a supervillain. The revisionist storyline was clever enough to subvert our initial expectations. Continue reading

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The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond The Pines posterFocus Features (2013) 140 min. R

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Screenplay: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio & Darius Marder

Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt

Editing: Jim Helton & Ron Patane

Production Design: Inbal Weinberg; Set Decoration: Jasmine E. Ballou

Costumes: Erin Benach; Score: Mike Patton

Stars: Ryan Gosling (Luke Glanton), Bradley Cooper (Avery Cross), Eva Mendes (Romina), Dane DeHaan (Jason), Emory Cohen (A.J.), Ben Mendelsohn (Robin), Ray Liotta (Deluca), Rose Byrne (Jennifer), Mahershala Ali (Kofi), Bruce Greenwood (Bill Killcullen), Harris Yulin (Al Cross)

Director Derek Cianfrance’s expansive examination of the father-son conflict as it plays out across two generations in the intersecting lives of a cop and a robber, sounds promising but turns out to be more ambitious than illuminating. Handsomely photographed by Sean Bobbitt, there are clear elements of classic Greek tragedy in this simple, modern dress drama strongly tempered by the hand of fate and pre-destiny. Which may explain why the unusual three-act structure that’s been applied by Cianfrance, along with co-screenwriters Ben Coccio and Darius Marder, seems to more legitimately belong to the theater than the screen. Continue reading