Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Quint chimes in with his opinion on found footage superhero flick CHRONICLE!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with some thoughts on Chronicle, the big found footage superhero movie hitting this weekend.



Harry saw the movie a couple weeks ago and flipped for it and in what could be an AICN first held an advance screening of a Fox movie with director Josh Trank in attendance. Couple that with my twitter feed being filled with lots of “holy shit, this is actually good” tweets from my critic friends and I went into the film cautiously optimistic.

Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but I’ve seen two back to back found footage films that I’ve liked (V/H/S and now Chronicle), although I will say of the two that Chronicle would have greatly benefited from being a traditional film instead of found footage. The whole conceit of V/H/S is that it’s crappy video quality handicam stuff, whereas Chronicle is a Spider-Man original tale told through the lens of Unbreakable.

While I didn’t hate the found footage aspect I would say that I liked the movie despite that technique not because of it.

The set up is simple: three high school kids find what looks to be Superman’s space ship from Richard Donner’s movie that provides them with telekinetic abilities and shit gets real after that.

The real success of the film, and why I’m positive it’s working for so many people, is in building the three leads, especially Andrew (Dane DeHaan). He’s the one with the camera, whose eyes you see the story through. The poor bastard has a miserable existence. His mother is dying, his father’s an out of work abusive asshole, the neighborhood thugs give him shit and his school life is a living hell of torment and isolation.

Part of the movie plays that up as a revenge fantasy for the geekier folks in the audience. It’s not a new idea (Peter Parker anyone?), but it works. But what would happen if Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben was an abusive drunk, if he never had that guidance?

The flick plays around with what’s good, what’s bad and just how important friendship is in defining both, making it a surprisingly deep story about relationships… oh, and about flying and crushing cars with your mind and other fun stuff, too. But with the foundation of really solid character work you actually feel for the three kids as stuff starts to get out of control.

Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan play the other members of the super-powered trio. Alex is the nice guy with a strong moral compass and Michael is the popular kid that is friends with everybody. He jokes about being president and it’s a testament to his performance that you kind of believe that was the track he was on before unlocking his super mind powers.



Russell’s Matt Garetty is the one with the least development and from director Josh Trank’s post-movie Q&A it seems that of the three Russell suffered the most from heavy edits in post-production. That made complete sense to me because the Matt’s a fairly one-dimensional character in the movie right now, which is out of place because the other two are so well developed.

There’s a whole subplot between Matt and a cute blonde bagger girl that right now feels like an excuse to bring in another camera (she records everything… for her blog, you see) so they can cut to different angles that feels gutted. I’m glad to hear that Trank shot that stuff (and promised a “kick-ass” director’s cut on Blu-Ray) and it wasn’t just a brainfart from him and screenwriter Max Landis.

But the movie really rests on DeHaan’s shoulders and he nails it. He can play brooding and angry just as well as happy and vibrant. The kid shows a broad range and really hooks you into his personal journey, makes you feel the highs and lows of these new superpowers as he does. It’s a great performance and I think he’s a lot of the reason people have been surprised by this film.

I’m curious to see where Josh Trank goes from here. Rumor has it he’s in the running to take over The Fantastic Four and I honestly don’t know what to think about that. I mean, it’s clear he has a good eye for casting and can work very well with actors, but his visual style is hard to nail down because… well, I don’t think Fantastic Four is going to be a found footage movie.

You can tell that Trank’s sensibilities can go easily from the small, precise character driven moment to the epic Akira-like battle royale, but I don’t really have a taste for Trank’s personal style yet. I can see his influences, his tastes, but not his style and I don’t think we’ll see that until he does a more traditional feature.

That said, he’s already shown more talent for that type of film than Tim Story ever did and Trank would have to direct with his eyes closed from his trailer while blasting death metal to make movies worse than Story did.

But those are my overall thoughts on Trank and his new movie. Believe the hype, to a degree. Chronicle isn’t a game changer, it’s just a really well made morality tale with some giant action and well-developed characters. It’s a really solid flick that gets a tad bogged down in explaining the filmmaking style to the audience, but makes up for it by approaching the found footage subgenre with a little telekinesis-inspired creativity.



-Eric Vespe
Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:12 a.m. CST


    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:13 a.m. CST

    and then it will probably get deleted when that creepythinman twat shows up

    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:14 a.m. CST

    This bugs me about critics

    by BlueLando

    Quint, that's stunningly harsh re: Tim Story. Were the FF films great? No. But they were hardly awful. Mediocre has been taken out of context to mean bad, when it actually means average. As in 'that was okay.' And the direction... Hardly inspiring. But again, it was clean and precise. Not fancy, rather it kept things in perspective and didn't try to force a style onto the film that wasn't there. Heck, it looks the same as Spider-Man minus the Raimi touches which - honestly - just detract from the story at hand. Like all those crazy angles when Doc Ock emerges for the first time. Nothing else in the film is even remotely close to that, making it tonally off.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Then again...

    by BlueLando

    I doubt Quint reads the current Fantastic Four comic, so he's probably unaware that Hickman and co aren't into 'big crazy compositions' so much as simple and understated drawings of crazy stuff. Ya know, like Story had in his FF films.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:25 a.m. CST

    What are you capable of?

    by Iowa Snot Client

    Not sitting through another found footage movie, that much I know.

  • That was what I said when the first trailer hit, but I will have my butt in a seat tomorrow to see this because of all the good reviews. But WHY OH WHY couldn't it have just been shot like a normal film?! It probably would have done so much better at the box office.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:56 a.m. CST

    only two found footage films u liked? one word

    by Jackson


  • Feb. 3, 2012, 6:01 a.m. CST

    bluelando, but that was one of the problems with the fantastic four movie!

    by Talkbacker with no name

    It had no style and FF needs bags of it. Tim story took and made a mediocre film about Mr Fantastic, The Invisible Girl, The Human Torch and The Thing! Fuck him for that and fuck Fox for letting him do it again with the Silver Surfer. Tim Story gets no pass in any way shape of form when it comes to the FF movies. He dropped the ball big time. He was the wrong choice from the start.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Jesus! and I didn't even get to what he did with Dr Doom!

    by Talkbacker with no name

    bluelando, so you are comparing spiderman 2 to fantastic four and saying the Raimi touches detract from the story? haha I should punch your head off through the internet.

  • One day someone will make an amazing Spider-Man movie and everyone will remember Raimi's Spider-Man movies like they remember Burton's Batman.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 6:56 a.m. CST

    Found footage movies suck my balls

    by Mugato5150

    Although Cloverfield is kind of cool if you watch it on a good system with the lights off. But it still has that "Drop the camera and fucking run, dipshit!" aspect but normally found footage movies are fucking retarded. However, since "The Rise of the Diary of Emily Brochovich's Final Paranormal Exorcism" only cost $1mill to make and made a shitload more than that, we'll be seeing a shitload more of these found footage movies in the future.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Sounds like....

    by NzYme

    if this movie had a big budget and good director we could have received a GREAT movie instead of a very good movie.

  • Even though it was just basically a chick and two douchebags get lost in the woods but at least it looked authentic. It didn't look like a production trying to look like it wasn't a production and the people didn't look like actors trying to look like regular people. Anyway, this looks like The Craft with guys. I had the biggest hard on for Fairuza Balk in that movie.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 7:36 a.m. CST

    Hate Found Footage Films

    by RG

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 7:49 a.m. CST

    There are people who defend Tim Story?

    by Nerd Rage

    Why don't you defend the shitty Elektra movie while you're at it?

  • Obviously, a "found footage" spin on the superhero genre is what the filmmakers were aiming for, thus making their film seem different to the traditional, big budget blockbusters. I'm not a big fan of "found footage" either, but Chronicle sounds rather interesting. Probably, will check it out on Saturday. BTW, I think a "found footage" film about a Bigfoot encounter, COULD work, if done right (aren't The Blair Witch people making a Bigfoot film?).

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Without the found footage angle

    by Nerd Rage

    this movie just wouldn't stand out among the other superhero movies. It would look like a carbon copy of X-men 2.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Quint is just cranky cause he needs to get laid.

    by Jake Pantlin

    You all know it's true. Especially Quint.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 8:50 a.m. CST

    a Spider-Man original tale told through the lens of Unbreakable.

    by truedog67


  • Feb. 3, 2012, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Blair Witch is TERRIBLE BTW....

    by truedog67

    I'll take any of those paranormal shits over that shit... at least I can see what the fuck is happening in those. Blair Witch was a lucky gimmick and a cop out. (speaking of Cop Out even that was a better movie and that licked my balls too!)

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 8:54 a.m. CST

    nerd rage - re: Elektra

    by BlueLando

    Isn't so bad either. And it's less defence than 'come on, these films aren't as bad as people make out. They're mediocre, sure... but offensively awful? Grow up and try to sit through Howard The Duck or Kick Ass.'

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST

    the lead actors are the reason i won't see this

    by gumbyandpokey

    they all seem whiny and unwatchable.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 9:19 a.m. CST

    I didn't say Blair Witch was a good film--or video-whatever

    by Mugato5150

    I just said it was more convincing as a found footage type film in that the people weren't actors and it wasn't blocked and set up like an actual production trying to look like a movie shot by one guy with a camcorder. As for the lead actors in this movie being whiny and unwatchable, that's the one thing these found footage movies get right. The "characters" in these types of movies are always douchebags that you want to see dead anyway, which is fairly realistic to the real world. So when the inevitable ending comes where the camera shuts off because the cameraman was just eaten by something, you're glad they're gone.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Why found footage though? Why not just...make it a damn movie.

    by knowthyself

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 9:35 a.m. CST

    My current fav found footage film is Troll Hunter.

    by knowthyself


  • Feb. 3, 2012, 9:35 a.m. CST


    by AzulTool

  • You mean it will STILL have a ton of fans that love it?

  • The cover is Aunt May cowering in a corner, arm across her face in defense, she's sobbing and sitting in her own piss and the shadow of uncle Ben stands over her.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 10:23 a.m. CST

    I agree. Troll Hunter is a good found footage movie.

    by v3d

    I'd seen that it was on Netflix streaming for months, but was put off by the title. My mistake. It starts off as a student documentary on bear killings in Norway. They find out that it's not bears that are killing people.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Another black guy dies first movie. Pass.

    by ragermac

    I am tired of this crap. I refuse to support movies like this. it is demeaning and flat out racists. I would rather it just be about three white teenagers than to put the token black guy in and have him die. Ugh.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Trollhunter was fantastic.

    by fireclown

    why make problem when no is problem?

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 10:56 a.m. CST

    The Metacritic details for this are WAY OFF see link

    by Gus

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by Creepythinmanlivez


  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST


    by ragermac

    Wow, you really are a lonely little piece of garbage, stay in your mother's basement and get off the internet.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:05 a.m. CST


    by ragermac

    You are welcome and no, I am not making this up. It is true and it sucks.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:09 a.m. CST


    by Creepythinmanlivez


  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:11 a.m. CST

    creepythinmanlivez you really are special

    by ragermac

    as in riding the tiny yellow bus special.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST


    by ragermac

    Or how about (c) you little bitch. Have the other white guy die and and let the black guy face off against angry emo guy. What would be wrong with that? So how did I become a bigot when I state how I am tired of the token black who is placed in the movie solely for the purpose of showing that he is not as smart/strong as the lead protagonist and it is displayed by him getting killed in a lame fashion to show how evil the bad guy is. Sorry if I spoiled your film, you knew it was going to happen anyway.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:24 a.m. CST

    ragermac GTFO!!! NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR YOUR RACIST SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Creepythinmanlivez

  • FACT!

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    The black guy hasn't died in movies for a long time

    by Mugato5150

    Ever since it became the cliche, the black guy hardly ever dies anymore.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST

    mugato5150, please STFU

    by ragermac

    Darwin from X-Men First Class. His character died!!!!!!!! 2011. A character that really can't die, but hollywood found a way.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:32 a.m. CST

    I live in Seattle and..

    by professor murder

    ..there wasn't ANY shit about these kids fucking up the city! Found footage my ass, heheh....

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Who gave this bluelando chick a geek pass to be here?

    by Talkbacker with no name

    Elektra isn't so bad either? Ok get the fuck out.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:47 a.m. CST

    What's a "bagger girl"???

    by 3D-Man

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST


    by ragermac

    I have seen the film you stupid little shit. Would you like for me to tell you how Andrew dies? Don't spew shit about me when you know nothing about me. I have my opinions just like every shallow, angry movie buff here. So because I am tired of see the black guy die half way or at the beginning of a film, I am a racist? wow you really are a stupid ass fool.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    ragermac, I didn't mean to say that black guys never die in movies

    by Mugato5150

    But starting around the Deep Blue Sea era of horror movies, the black guy usually lives. Samuel L Jackson doesn't count because he randomly dies according to his shooting schedule. But right from the beginning of that film you knew that LL Cool J (does he still call himself that?) would make it. Anaconda, Ice Cube (does he still call himself that?) made it. House on Haunted Hill, Mike Tyson survived to ball the blond girl. And even in modern times, the black guy usually lives. He's usually the sensible one who doesn't fall prey to the normal horror film conventions. "I ain't goin' in der, der be ghostesses!"...and then the white guy dies and the black guy lives and takes the dead white guy's wallet.

  • ..It made me wonder about Affleck as Supes, and you know what? I'd pay money to see that.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 12:09 p.m. CST

    I'd like to Chronicle...

    by al cascio

    That this movie is gonna suck. BTW, I have superpowers. Actually, very common these days. mainly my farts just smell real bad. Oh, and I have halitosis. evildoers beware!

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Can't Wait...

    by Hive Mind

    Until this shaky-cam/found footage fad dies a horrible screaming death. I damn near puked halfway through Quarantine, and since then any HINT of shaky cam is enough for me to steer clear of that flick.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 12:40 p.m. CST

    watch the movie yourself, you will see. geez.

    by ragermac

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Folks. This is AKIRA. Really.

    by HornOrSilk

    This is Akira the way live action can do it. Nothing else. It's not the same story -- best it isn't -- but the theme is the same, and there are many other connections between the two. This is the ONLY way to do Akira. No pretense of being Akira!

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 1:17 p.m. CST

    @ Choppah

    by RedeyeJedi

    that's honestly the main reason I'm seeing this. for Wallace from the Wire.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 3 p.m. CST

    Just saw it..not that good

    by Rupee88

    very contrived...they didn't take many chances with it. The trailer is better than the film and you already see the best parts, as usual.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 3:13 p.m. CST

    85% on Rotten Tomatoes

    by seagrass

    Glad to see people still have some sense. Some chucklehead over at gave this one star out of five. He gave Hostel Pt. 3 two stars out of five. I guess the found footage aspect has soured many critics towards the film before it was even reviewed.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 3:44 p.m. CST

    No, no... it's called "Faux-Footage"

    by MooseMalloy

    Some asshole needs to run with that.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Just saw it...

    by arco2002

    It was a really solid entertaining movie with some of the best renditions of superpowers I have ever seen. The budget only let's it it down in a few spots, but the characters are so well rounded, it makes up for it. Second best found footage film after the awesome troll hunter... Really a great film. In a nutshell... Akira meets Carrie meets Blair Witch... 4 stars out of 5

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST

    DISTRICT 9 is a found footage film.

    by FluffyUnbound

    So can we please stop claiming that ALL found footage movies are bad?

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Quint loves having it both ways...

    by Immortal_Fish

    Chronicle would have greatly benefited from being a traditional film instead of found footage

  • surpasses the awesomeness of Troll hunter!

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Saw it this afternoon and quite enjoyed it.

    by D.Vader

    I felt sad by the end.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 4:51 p.m. CST

    I love how by the end the villain looked like Mumm-Ra

    by D.Vader

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST


    by Immortal_Fish

    The first half or the second half? I forget. Silly aliens. Instead of scrounging for 20-years, why didn't they just build a hot air balloon?

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 4:59 p.m. CST

    They Should Bring Chris Evans Back

    by Dan Lalonde

    I think he was the best thing about the series and it was good to see someone embrace his powers.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:46 p.m. CST


    by Norman Colson

    My girlfriend dragged me to the other end of the borough to visit her stupid friend, and when we got back to the car we got a ticket thanks to her and her stupid friend's flakeyness... Suffice to say I was super pissed, so pissed that we ended up getting back late anyways so i will be seeing it myself by myself. She doesnt like action movies anyways. she can stay home!

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST

    @Ragermac: Black, white whatever...trolling is colorblind

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    Seriously, you could have made that complaint 6 months from now, when this comes out on DVD/Blu, and made a valid point - if you actually had one. Instead, now you come off like a troll. Shot yourself in the foot, my man. In Deep Blue Sea (which I enjoyed, by the way), LL was the best part. Doesn't he actually say something to the effect that the black guy always gets eaten first in these situations? And the hot white chick was eaten, which almost never happens. Whatever. It just wasn't neccesary to spoilerbomb the TB, thus ruining an important part of the film and earning the well deserved Troll label, racial bullshit not withstanding.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 6:51 p.m. CST

    And ragermac, you did spoil the movie for everyone

    by D.Vader

    I don't care what your attitudes are toward cliches and racism, spoiling any movie like that is an asshole move, no matter what.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Just saw it and it was AWESOME!!

    by antonphd

    Now THIS is how you do a movie with super powered people in it! And done for just 12 million? Give this guy 120 million for a sequel to this and let him loose!!

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 10:24 p.m. CST

    AICN should ban people who post major spoilers

    by Nerd Rage

    Have some common decency.

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Pretty bad...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Too short. Graphics are really bad in places. Andrew is built up but Matt as a character is so thin how could anyone care about him at the end. Really big let down. The crowd I saw it with applauded for Projext X... So I guess we know who this film is aimed at...

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 4 a.m. CST

    talkbacker with no name

    by BlueLando

    I'm a guy, you idiot. Posted here as Mr. Zeddemore till Herc banned me for calling him out on awful journalism. And yeah, I'll "defend" Elektra. It's not awful. Period. Not good, but it - like FF - gets ridiculous hate from people who really don't have a clue about comic-books. Read Stan Lee's FF. Then watch the FF theatrical film. And then tell me it isn't true to the spirit of the piece.

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Enjoyable but take with grain of salt...

    by shane ocallaghan

    I enjoyed it but some parts toward the end were just fucking idiotic... 1: Why the hell would the girl keep her video camera on her when she is clearly scared when chasing the dude into his car?? If that was me, I'd not find it in me to still film the situation..

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Andrew gets harpooned by his cousin at the end.

    by shane ocallaghan

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 9:02 a.m. CST



    Thought it was alright. Think I'm totally done with all these found footage films now. Troll Hunter was alright but then it's being made by a Documentarion. This is just some whiney kid I did not give a fuck about and that's a problem for me, I didn't really like the Character and wanted him dead. I also hate how all these films have to get on with it so the main character has to go completely insane really quickly. I mean given that he has these powers, befriends the coolest kid in school and enjoys popularity at levels he's never come close to, why does he go on the kill crazy ramage he does? Cos he pukes on some bird whilst receiving a blowy, we've all done that and it's funny as fuck. In all fairness he's never had it so good! And why, given his power, does he not rob a bank or fly to the drug company and nick all the drugs his mum will ever need? That's all I came out of the Cinema thinking. I was also annoyed with how strict they were throughout the movie with the filming on the cameras but during the fight at the end just reverted back to a normally filmed action film. I haven't thought about this movie much at all since seeing it as The Grey which I saw the night before really blew me away and I've spent alot more time mulling over that classic instead.

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 9:46 a.m. CST

    I, too, live in Seattle...

    by OverMuch

    This movie is BULLSHIT. This stuff NEVER HAPPENED. And I'm in my office right now, looking for these fucking kids flying around the Space Needle. Nothing.

  • ending felt really rushed...ragermac you do have a valid point but no need to spoil the film, that was a genuine suprise considering how likable he was and his absence unbalanced the film since matt didnt have enough screen time / emotional investment. there was a sense all 3 of them were linked. each representing 1,the introverted intellectual, 2.the extroverted emotional and 3.the balanced spiritual....I wouldve loved just one scene where they all used their powers in harmony to save someone BEFORE Andrew breaks away from the group to turn to the dark side. As it stood, they all did cool looking stuff but none of them of them lived up to their potential which felt like the film didnt live up to its potential. I AM looking forward to a complete chronicle dvd featuring all the deleted scenes....maybe that was the plan all along?

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 12:24 p.m. CST

    This movie just felt flat

    by MJDeViant

    I also blame the camera for making me hate it. I would probably just say it was "okay...well, almost okay" if it didn't try to justify why a a camera was there almost every scene.

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Well, I loved it.

    by ChickenStu

  • Feb. 4, 2012, 6:17 p.m. CST

    oh btw thewalkingdude, you're a cunt.

    by ChickenStu

  • Feb. 5, 2012, 2:13 a.m. CST


    by shane ocallaghan

    Oh No big bad man on internet called me a cunt *runs to mummy* fuck off you inbred redneck scumbag

  • Feb. 5, 2012, 10:25 a.m. CST


    by shane ocallaghan

    My apologies but that was my douche of a housemate that posted that spoiler and insulted you. I've since punched him in the nards.

  • Feb. 5, 2012, 3:35 p.m. CST

    is he that much of a prick in real life?

    by ChickenStu

  • Feb. 6, 2012, 9:57 a.m. CST


    by shane ocallaghan

    Unfortunately, he can be. He's only 18 and because I'd left my laptop open on this page, he thought it would be clever to spoil the movie for those who had not seen it and thus respond to your insult. I gave him a massive bollocking over it but he just laughed it off as a prank.