Isaacs Picture Conclusions


As The Good and Kind and Loyal and Beloved Reader may or may not remember or even ever noticed that I have badgered pestered bird dogged people to contribute their valuable time and creativity to gain untold fame and fortune by writing something up for this place; in all of the time I’ve been producing such quality product these posts, I have had exactly one. Well – all of that changes today as my good friend Lemuel (now added to the IPC STAFF) not only convinced me to speed up and watch Chronicle but also added that he had some input – SWEET! I kind of struggled for a little bit to figure out how to present the material but, after a lengthy session of diagramming, white-board-style, I went with the concept of “the double take”. So here it is – I hope you enjoy (and I will always take your submissions 🙂 )



I remember seeing the trailer for this before some movie that I can’t remember and I thought it looked good, but gimmicky, and it didn’t seem like something I wanted to see in the theater – plus it’s PG – 13 and that usually puts me off – oh and it’s not a horror movie. So now it’s out for renting and such but it still didn’t have a big draw for me over other things so I just figured that I would catch it sometime for free until Lem came up with this idea.  I watched it the other day and I actually really liked it – well – I liked it OK until the wicked ass last twenty minutes! I mean – that was pretty awesome (in fact I watched the last 20 twice). I don’t really know if I would consider this a “found footage” type of thing – but it’s definitely first person POV which I thought was interesting until it got pretty old – and when I write old I mean – who is filming all of that shit going on up in the air above the Space Needle? Another problem I have with these types of things (if it’s not done right) is this: with everything going on and all of the chaos happening and you’re in a car that’s flying through the air and falling off of a building – you’re really still filming everything? You’re not crapping your pants? You’re not having a fear filled seizure? Hmmm – blogga please.  Aside from that business, I thought these three schmucks talked WAY TO MUCH but I have always been a sucker for telekinetic type of movies, so I really enjoyed this – especially the end and – really – especially how someone meets his fate there in that plaza.

So three kids (Dane DeHaan as Andrew, Alex Russell as Matt and Michael B Jordan as Steve) come across something alien underground (filming everything constantly, mind you) and develop super powers. Well, wait, not super powers I guess, but the ability to be able to do unbelievable things with their minds. At first they do things like blow wind up cheerleader’s skirts and fly baseballs around the yard but soon enough they start to get stronger and more bold and do things like fly around and smash cars with their new abilities. This is all fun and good but soon Andrew has had enough of his dad drunkenly beating him and things start to go pretty bad. I am not sure why he didn’t just telekenetickly steal his dying mom’s medicine from the drug store, but he dresses up in his dad’s fireman outfit and goes and does some wrong doing resulting in a gas station blowing up. Obviously this doesn’t make his pops too happy and they have a violent conflict in the hospital room and things get pretty awesomely crazy from there.

I watched this on my iPad – and I thought the special effects were damned good. Who cares, right? The only reason I mention that is because I watched Final Destination 5 (and yes I liked it!)  on the iPad and I thought the effects in that were pretty good too but then someone came around and yelled at me that the F/X sucked 🙂 – so there’s my qualifier. I think it was an old Beetle Bailey cartoon I read when I was a little kid where Snorkel challenges Beetle to jump over a ravine and he just kind of floats over it in his slacker way with his hands in his pockets that made me always want to be able to float / fly so I really liked what they did here and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



I’m always looking for a movie that I can watch and possibly enjoy with my teen daughter – Sometimes we luck out –  Her favorite movie is Inception – and we got a lot of entertaining mileage out of the Harry Potter franchise…

Other times… it’s a ‘miss’ – for one of us  – – I can’t do Twilight… she didn’t dig Contagion (we had to turn that one off within about 15 minutes) – and we both tried but couldn’t stand Planet of the Apes…(for different reasons)…

Chronicle was another opportunity and on paper it seemed like it would be perfect –

High School setting (always a plus for the teen viewer) – some super power angle – and what I perceived as some kind of buzz – – I really thought there was a positive groundswell of support for this movie (I’ve not gone back to see if this was true or if I just imagined it — these days my memory is poor – and apparently there is much that I imagine)…

Mind You – -none of us in the household have the vast experience with the ‘found footage’ genre that the big boss at the IPC has – – so – the rest of this should be viewed as the reaction of some Found footage novices…

The two people watching the movie besides me wanted to turn it off within about 15 minutes – – I think it was about minute 10 that my daughter said “this is terrible.”  My take was that she was reacting more to the look of the movie than to the plot – so I ‘fought’ to keep watching – but for sure before we got to minute 30 – they were ‘dun’ – ‘no mas’ – and I was still thinking that the 6 bucks had already been spent so I was going to sit there and get through it.  Alas, I was out-numbered…so off it went – and we spent the next few hours getting through Season 4 of “Supernatural”…

…the next day – – again – not wanting my 6 bucks to go to waste – – I watched the rest of the movie.  I really wanted to like this movie.  I really thought I would like the movie – and there were moments – that I really did like – – but ultimately – I felt boondoggled…(but before I get into that)…

My daughters’ reaction made me wonder – what was the perceived audience for this movie?  On the surface it would seem that “youth” teenagers, possibly high school and college age people.  The idea likely being – these kids watch homemade videos on youtube all day so they’ll dig the shaky cam – verite.  Here’s the thing – and teen IPC readers correct me if I’m wrong – but these kids were raised on gorgeous-looking, big budget Harry Potter movies – so I’m not sure that is really the audience for any found footage foray into filmic fancy.  So who is the audience? – perhaps the Comic Con crowd? And by the way – this movie opened bigger than it’s budget – – so who am I to second guess the audience – or lack thereof – but really – kids out there – do you like the found footage?

Now – back to the boondoggle…

Here’s the thing – – IMDB says the runtime was 84 minutes – I’m pretty sure that includes all of the credits – I’m saying this movie was more like 75 minutes – – C’MON!

I mean really – – again – I don’t see or like nearly as many movies as the IPC honcho does –  and we have complained many-a-time about movies being too long….so maybe we are out of touch and maybe there are hundreds of movies being made every day that are shorter than they should be (feedback welcome on this ?  Is Rubber, more than 90 minutes?  Drive Angry? Friday the 13th?)…

(Editor’s note: Rubber credited at 82 minutes, Drive Angry 104, F 13 original 95)

But how do you get a movie made – how do you raise a 12 million $ budget with 75 minutes…

How do you get your 75 page (or less) script read by an agent, producer, how do you get this thing off the ground…and how could you even have the audacity to think that you even have a movie with less than 90 pages…haven’t you read any of the books?  Have you not memorized your Robert McKee -? –

Well the answer to this is simple…

You are the son of John Landis… Max Landis…

I’m here to tell you – I firmly believe that despite his protestations of not having the patience to sit there and write up ‘Raising Hell’ – that our fearless leader here at the IPC could come up w 75 pages in proper screenwriting format over a weekend –

(editor’s note: lol you are waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too kind there)

So – John Landis and Max Landis – I want my 6 bucks back – – I’ll repay you when you give me the additional 15 pages that I deserve…

A couple good ideas – and decent casting of the 3 kids…but…

I’m sorry – this is a gimmick – and a short story, maybe an after school special and not a full fledged full length movie.

I have typed and deleted and typed and deleted a whole bunch of negativity here – –

…maybe (probably) this review is more about the bitterness of aspiring creative types in the IPC orbit than it is about the movie at all…

But my in-the-moment reaction – at the end of the film was “That was too short”  but maybe kinda’ good – and then credits, Boom – “Max Landis” – and I literally groaned out loud – like I was watching a basketball game and the refs made a bad call or something – “C’MON!”

Bitterness or no – – in conclusion – 2 Tophats – – – give me the rest of the movie Max Landis – – and I’ll see if I can muster up any more tophats for you…

Perhaps if I came across this with no expectations at all, in the middle of the night, on cable – with no 6 ducket fee – it may have played better…guess we’ll never know.

One last note – – I actually loved the music they used for the end credits  – I mean – it was so good to my ears that it made me – for one second – re-think the whole movie – – but then I remembered – – I didn’t get my 90 minutes of entertainment – – I was cheated…

Thanks for letting me sit in with the IPC house band on this one – – it is an honor…

(editor’s note: absolutely! any time! Please let’s do this again!!)


  1. Mary

    Hey Lemuel – welcome to the team!! I love your write up! I must also say that after viewing your picture (sideways I might add) I feel MUCH better about the number of sticky notes that occupy my desk. 😉
    Thank you and again, welcome to the IPC staff! I look forward to reading more of your work!


  2. SALI!VA!!!!! Excellent excellent post, guys. Love the differences of opinion and the reasoning behind them. Lemuel, you raise a really interesting point about what kind of audience they were aiming for here and today’s teens being raised on Harry Potter. I’m forever trying to find movies to watch with my friend’s almost 12 year old and while there are some movies I know she’ll absolutely adore she immediately will shoot them down because of one minor thing or another.


  3. D’you know? I could take this from both angles. Great write-up guys. There’s no doubt that this done the business because of John Landis’ influence but I also think that’s unfair in the movie as a whole. As far as I’m concerned Shaky-cam is a tiring formula but this injected a bit of life back into it. The telekinesis allowed the camera to be elsewhere when filming events, rather than always being under the watchful eye of someone, and that is an idea that hasn’t been explores yet in this type of movie. I recently wrote a review myself (here comes the shameless plug…) I’m totally aware of the faults this film has but you can’t deny the ability in which it delivers it basic premise. Nepotism or not, I found this to be quite impressive.
    Great write-up’s!


    • theipc

      THANKS Mark!! I really liked Chronicle (as you could probably get form the writing) I just find it funny when everything around you is going batshit… you’re still filming…. oh well, though….


  4. Hmmmmmm… this has been on my watch list (burning through DeHaan movies and all that) and the premise looks interesting enough for me. I will have to make my way back here and let you know what I think when I get to it, but I must say I love the total contrasting opinions as well as the evidence to back it. Great work guys!


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