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Movie review: Smart effects, dumb people in 'Chronicle'

Published February 2, 2012 4:13 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The thriller "Chronicle" takes the do-it-yourself filmmaking genre, where the characters seem to be doing the filming "Blair Witch"-style, to a ridiculous degree.

Three Seattle high-school guys — picked-on camera nerd Andrew (Dane DeHaan), his cooler cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and student-government good guy Steve (Michael B. Jordan) — find a mysterious glowing thing that gives them telekinetic powers. Soon the three are moving cars with their minds and even willing themselves to fly. But the powers soon become too alluring for one of the guys.

The effects that director Josh Trank uses are cool, and his intercutting of surveillance-camera footage and police video makes the action-packed finale both fluid and a sly commentary on the ubiquity of cameras in American life.

But the movie is done in by a dim-bulb script (by Max Landis, son of director John Landis) that sets up its characters so sketchily that the audience can predict in minutes which of the three guys will turn evil, who will become heroic to counter the bad one and who will die before the final showdown. —

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'Chronicle'

Opens Friday, Feb. 3, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking; 83 minutes.