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Month: February 2012

Chronicle Review

I’m pretty much inured to the prospect of the ‘found footage’ film by now. By far the most successful exponent of this technique is still, for my money, The Blair Witch Project, though to be fair quite a few of the other entries in the genre I have not seen (was Cloverfield good? I don’t feel like I’ve missed out, to be honest), and 1998’s less-known indie horror The Last Broadcast would probably have taken it, had they not ruined things right at the end (still worth a look though, if you like that sort of thing). Why the producers of Chronicle felt it necessary to construct this film as such, especially given a couple of major plot points/holes that make it pretty pointless, is a bit of a mystery. Well, actually it’s not really, as fairly soon it becomes clear that the filmmakers know exactly the audience they’re going for (teenagers), and how to construct both a narrative and a framing device that speaks directly to the core of their experience (and that of anyone else who was ever less than thrilled with their life as a teenager). To sum it up, Chronicle can be described best with the following diagram: The story is pretty straightforward, and as long as you forget the X-Men films exist, is reasonably unique: three teenagers gain superpowers from a mysterious glowing rock,...

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The Artist Review

The Artist has been making waves in critical circles since it was first released at the 2011 Cannes film festival: opening to stunning reviews, it reached UK cinemas in November of that year, smack bang in the middle of Oscar season. It’s garnered 10 nominations (and is many experts’ pick for best film winner) whilst building a surprisingly respectable box office. It’s easy to see why it charmed so many but in all honesty, I both loved and loathed The Artist and am still struggling to reconcile the two responses. The film opens in 1927 and tells the (fictional) story of George Valentin – a famous silent film star. We see the premier of his latest action epic: A Russian Affair, which involves dastardly villains, damsels in distress and heroic Valentin saving the day, with the help of his canine co-star “Jack” – a Jack Russell Terrier. Obviously, given the time period, A Russian Affair is a black and white silent movie. However, as we pan away from the screen to see both the audience and the anxious stars behind the stage, the main conceit of The Artist is revealed: the entire film is black and white, and silent. All the classic tropes are in place – title cards, anxious pauses, over-exaggerated mannerisms, and a near constant score. I’m not adverse to black and white or even silent films...

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The Dark Knight Rises – Opening Credits

Ok, so the headline was a bit of a cheat as these are a fake set of credits, created by one Doğan Can Gündoğdu. However, what makes this a cut above you’re average you-tube fake trailer is that its not just a set of re-used clips from films but a fully original creation, seemingly inspired by the classic opening credits of Se7en. Take a look – The Dark Knight Rises – Opening Credits Project Impressive no? Obviously using something like this would leave the film somewhat out of step with the rest of the trilogy but its an awesome concept none the less You can see more of his work here –...

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Troll Hunter Review

We’re firmly back in the ‘found footage’ genre once again with Troll Hunter, the story of three intrepid students on the hunt for what they believe initially to be a bear poacher. A large group of registered hunters have massed in a remote part of Norway after a bear carcass is found, which all swear they did not kill. The film makers get a tip off about one potential suspect, Hans – a virtual recluse who lives in a caravan and has been seen in the area recently. They track down Hans, who refuses all attempts to be interviewed. Undeterred, the team agree to stalk him, following on one of his late night “hunting” trips. However, what Hans is hunting is something far more dangerous than bears. From the title of the film, you’ll likely have guessed what Hans is after (it’s a troll). Unfortunately, the film drags this mystery out for a good 20 minutes or more before the ‘big reveal’. Had the movie been given a more opaque title and marketing campaign, this could have been a really effective opening, leaving us in doubt as to the true nature of the story. Sadly, the “real” film makers chose to go in a different direction removing all tension from this section. I say “real” so as not to confuse them with the documentary film maker characters shown on...

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