February 3, 2012, - 5:09 pm

Wknd Box Office: Chronicle, Woman in Black, Big Miracle

By Debbie Schlussel

Only one of the new movies in theaters this weekend was semi-decent in my view.


*  “Chronicle>“:  I found this movie interesting, but be forewarned:  it is aimed at teens and 20-somethings and mostly at guys in that age group.  If you aren’t in this group, please do not complain to me later when you didn’t like it and went based on my recommendation.  You were forewarned.

Although I did not like the herky-jerky style of a movie videotaped by someone (hasn’t this been done to death already?) and I did not like the ending, I found the idea of high school boys who suddenly acquire superpowers to be creative and entertaining.


Three high school friends attend a party, which one of them is videotaping, as he videotapes everything.  Outside of the party, they stumble into a mysterious tunnel, where some sort of outer space creature is hibernating.  The creature lights up and their video camera goes in and out.  After they leave the tunnel, they discover that they have strange powers to move objects with their minds.  Two of the boys are popular, but the third–a cousin of one of the other two–is bullied by both his father and classmates.

The movie explores what happens when a troubled kid who is hated suddenly has herculean strength and telekinetic power and how he uses those powers versus how the two popular kids use them.  And it shows us what happens when powers come without rules . . . or maturity.

I liked that it had a good guy character to balance out the bad one and do the right thing.  And despite the headache-inducing way parts of this was shot and the crummy ending, I found it entertaining enough.  But it’s not a “great” movie. Not a bad movie, either.  It is rated PG-13, but I believe it deserves an R for violence, language, and sexual themes.

ONE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS
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Watch the trailer .  .  .

*  “The Woman in Black“:  I didn’t partiularly like this long, boring horror thriller starring Daniel Radcliffe of “Harry Potter” fame.  He’s trying to play against type, and it doesn’t work for me.  He’s just too dull.  There’s no spark or charisma.  And while parts of the movie were scary (and caught me by surprise, as a good scary movie will do), overall I restrained my laughter (at parts not intended to be funny) so I wouldn’t offend and disturb the other people seated near me.

Radcliffe plays a widowed English lawyer and father of a young son in the early 1900s.  He’s has traveled from London to a seaside town to attend to the estate of a dead client, who lived in a giant mansion.  Several kids in the town have mysteriously died after willingly killing themselves, and it appears to be connected, somehow, to the mystery of the mansion.  The woman in black is seen briefly during each of these episodes.  Who is she and why does she do this?  That’s the mystery that the movie explores, if you care to stay awake enough to find out the drab story, which was neither interesting nor exciting.

There were a lot of special effects, ghosts, and seeming illusions in this movie, but it was just plain boring and I wouldn’t have paid ten bucks to see it. And the plot was kinda confusing and cockamamie.  I’ve seen better.  So have you.  There’s a reason this came out in early February.  It’s not that good.

HALF A REAGAN
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Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Big Miracle“:  This was screened on the Jewish Sabbath, so I went to see at the Midnight show, last night, instead.  And I struggled to stay awake amidst the movie’s attacks on (and lies about) Ronald Reagan, businessmen, ANWR-oil drilling, and oil executives.  This is a “Save the Whales”/pro-Greenpeace movie that takes place in the ’80s.  And it just went on and on and on and on.  The one interesting thing in it is that when choosing the national news stories to put on the air, “NBC Nightly News” producers chose the story of three trapped whales, rather than Chrysler laying off 5,000 employees and tens-to-hundreds of people dying in a derailed train in India, because, “Brokaw’s a sucker for whales.”  Yup, three trapped whales are more important, right?  Only to a tree hugger.

And the movie defames President Reagan by revising history and reality.  The whales are trapped under the Alaskan ice and will die unless they are helped to break through the ice to swim South to breed.  The movie shows a local reporter who dreams of making it big picking up the story and getting the national media’s attention.  An oil company CEO is shown as an opportunist because he wants to drill in ANWR and allows his ice-crusher ship to be used, only because he wants good PR.  President Reagan is shown as caring only for PR, too.  And he’s shown as putting his hatred for Russian Communists before what’s right to save the whales. Reality Check:

Bonnie Mersinger (now, Bonnie Carroll), Reagan’s Executive Assistant for Cabinet Affairs in the West Wing, is portrayed in the movie (under a different name).  While she told USA Today that while the movie is pretty close to the real story, the movie doesn’t reflect her recounting of events. It shows her trying to convince Reagan’s Chief of Staff and then Reagan to help the whales, and both are reluctant.  But Mersinger/Carroll says otherwise:

[She] was asked by President Reagan to head to Barrow [in Alaska] to serve as a liaison between the President’s office and the National Guard’s rescue efforts.  “President Reagan was just a huge animal person, so he asked me to find out how I could help,” she says.

But none of that is how it’s portrayed in the movie or that it was Reagan’s initiative, not hers and not for PR.  Heck, it was in late 1988, as he was preparing to leave office, when he no longer needed to care about PR.

And while, despite all the blatant left-wing stereotypes and lying in this movie (environmentalist wacko–good!  President Reagan and oil execs seeking to drill in ANWR–bad!), the movie was entertaining at the beginning.  But it quickly became repetitive and long.  I only need to see five scenes of whales jumping out of water, not 500.  Ditto for the number of times I needed to see holes being drilled in the ice by Eskimos.  Yaaawn.  (Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Ted Danson, and Kristin Bell star in this, with Barrymore as a Greenpeace activist and Danson as a phony, opportunistic, big, bad oil executive.)

This movie, with all its left-wing disinformation, is being marketed to kids.  If  you take yours to see it, make sure you deprogram them and correct the BS afterward, as my late, great father used to do with me and my siblings when we were kids.

TWO MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

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18 Responses

Just once, I’d like to see the Liberals in the media recognize what a decent human being RWR was. He was capable of taking criticism well, too. For example, The Day After, which he saw, made him more determined to deal with the threat of nuclear weapons, which he did better than any President before or since—through strength, firmness, and decency.

Beautiful, useful reviews, Debbie. Thanks.

Occam's Tool on February 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Debbie, thank you for you’re review of Chronicle, because I really want to see this film, I saw plenty of promotions of this film for nearly a month and I said to myself that it looked kinda cool, and I also said at the back of my mindset, “I can’t wait for Debbie Schlussel’s review on this film Chroncile, I hope she gives it a good or great review, because I want to see this film and it looks very interesting!” So once again DS, thanks for the review of Chronicle.

“A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on February 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I’m an animal lover and I make no excuses for it. I am one and always will be one and I know it’s not for everyone and I accept that so much more NOW than when I was a Liberal (thank the Lord). It’s very visceral for me and the feelings can’t be helped.

That said, I always feel so angry and sad when DS speaks and writes about President Reagan. In reading her review of “Big Miracle” her annoyance of those who try to paint him horrible is palpable because she knew better. I wish I did. I feel cheated and I get angry when I read those who didn’t fall for the media narrative of EVIL Reagan (and you know it was there because even though I did not follow politics (other than following the Reagan/Mondale election…and I am embarrassed to say I was on the WRONG side of that) most of the time I felt and heard the narrative and believed it to be true) because they were in REALITY. I was stuck in horrible Liberaland!

So I get angry now and can only imagine how someone like DS who knew the truth at the time feels. I can’t even imagine because I get so annoyed but have learned the truth far too late.

I don’t like Greenpeace. And I am no fan of Drew Barrymore. She annoys me. In the 90’s she was (and still is) a huge animal lover (which is ok with me) BUT at that time she promoted vegetarianism and veganism…until she could not hack it anymore. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell someone else what to eat (or not to eat) but I took umbrage of her making a big deal about it and then quietly stopping when she wanted to chomp on a cheeseburger. It’s Liberal hypocrisy and MOST peeps who point and neon-light their vegetarianism and veganism are not just trying to big-note their love of animals but are also trying to make themselves better THAN. That’s the part I hate. She had a platform, she made a big deal about it and in the end couldn’t keep it up. She’s annoying.

Skunky on February 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Hummm,I had heard that the Big Miracle was a good movie,but I had no real idea what the whole movie was about,not that I d watched it,I am not an animal lover,just my ferocious looking but gentle as a child dane,other than that,no animal lover here….but anyhoo,thanks Debbie great reviews as always.

Juan on February 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Well, the evil kid in “Chronicle” is I feel what would happen if the cad depicted in “The Green Lantern” and most of the anti-hero types depicted in postmodern, feminist “superhero” movies would actually do if they got super powers. The only movie to accurately deal with this was “Megamind”, which despite several liberal conceits (bashing of the wealthy, the effects of underprivileged environments) did effectively make that conservative – and 100% true – point with the Hal/Titan character, who upon receiving superpowers did precisely what a person with pedestrian character would do: become evil.

Occam:

Asked and answered. Sort of. Tom Brokaw once said regarding Ronald Reagan that if a down on his luck guy who lost his job went to Ronald Reagan and asked him for help, Reagan would literally give the guy the shirt off his back. Meaning that Brokaw felt that Reagan was a fundamentally decent, generous individual in a personal context. Then Brokaw said that Reagan would go to his desk and sign legislation cutting that man’s housing, health care, unemployment benefits etc. and “see no contradiction whatsoever in the conflict between his private charity and his political actions.”

Yep, Brokaw, despite his middle America affectations, is just another liberal. Brokaw DID vigorously support a hard line against the Soviets and Cuba during the Cold War, but other than that, a liberal.

Gerald on February 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Too bad a whale didn’t come up and swallow Drew Barrymore. But then, I am an animal lover, and would never want any animal to have anything to do with Drew, a girl who at 15 disowned her own mother. Liberalism starts at home, lady.

Jonathan E. Grant on February 4, 2012 at 10:43 am

Skunky I for on am glad that you rescued yourself from looney libland. President Reagan was on of the greatest presidents we’ve had in modern history. I had the pleasure to meet him when my grade school class took a trip to DC back in the early 80s. He was walking with several gentleman and took the time to talk to us. It was awesome and I saw why he drove he libtards nuts because he unlike our last republican president could talk circles around them. Also I happen to love animals especially my dog and cats. That is why people like Michael Vick will forever get my contempt. Along with crappy organizations like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. And don’t get me started on that twit Drew Barrymore. She is a worldclass hollywood leftist hypocrite. And I for one take personal satisfaction for her TV show Charlies Angels tanking only after a few shows.

ken b on February 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    You said it all Ken B! Bravo on all counts.

    I am not sure how many present day Conservatives have always been Conservatives (that means one has always been right!) but I like to let Conservatives know not to doubt themselves and what it is like on the other side (rotten and stupid).

    One thing good Conservatives must know is that Liberals are liars, they depend on their supporters not knowing the facts and they can’t compete in the marketplace of ideas.

    I especially feel cheated with Reagan because one part of the Liberal lie I just couldn’t bridge was how kind he seemed.

    Skunky on February 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm

It’s nice to see that Barrymore is playing a Greenpiece “Activist” and not a PhD scientist of some kind. It’s always laughable when someone like Barrymore, or Julia Roberts or George Clooney, etc. is supposed to be an accomplished professional. That’s when you know they’re not even good actors; they’re told what to say and their opponnets in the movie roll over and play dead and we’re still not buying it. Finish high school at least people. And not that fake-o “3-hours of tutoring on the set” crap.

Curtin/Dobbs on February 5, 2012 at 1:55 am

The movie explores what happens when a troubled kid who is hated suddenly has herculean strength and telekinetic power and how he uses those powers versus how the two popular kids use them. And it shows us what happens when powers come without rules . . . or maturity.

CARRIE, anyone? Really, we’ve all seen this before.

Miranda Rose Smith on February 5, 2012 at 5:06 am

Miranda, Carrie is a cautionary tale about (according to liberal Steven King’s perspective) what happens when an overly zealous and backward Christian mother raises her child with too much fundamentalist religion. King slammed “stupid” conservatives every chance he got. In contrast, Chronicle is a conservative cautionary tale about what happens when a teenager doesn’t have proper guidance by adults.

Burke on February 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Miranda, Carrie is a cautionary tale about (according to liberal Steven King’s perspective) what happens when an overly zealous and backward Christian mother raises her child with too much fundamentalist religion.

    But Mother Abigail, the fundamentalist Christian in The Stand, is a very positive character. So is the Christian little boy in Desperation.

    Miranda Rose Smith on February 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

      I’m sorry to admit that I never read Desperation. As for Mother Abigail in The Stand, was she really a Christian? I thought she was just a spiritual person. She reminded me almost exactly of the Oracle in The Matrix–a wise seer with extrasensory powers and strong intuition. Those types are popular with liberals who don’t want to embrace atheism (too close to Darwinism) but still despise stupid Christians. King takes a hatchet to conservatives every chance he gets, but never more so than in Carrie, where the mom at the end is executed in the same pose as Christ on the cross–“poetic justice” being King’s message here.

      Burke on February 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm

It’s hard to type or even go see such movies when I am caked with kitten blood. Maybe another time.

P. Aaron on February 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I saw Chronicle today, and I agree with Debbie on every point, including the following:

1) This was an interesting and entertaining film.
2) The film is aimed at teens, and that means there aren’t any fleshed out or admirable adults in the film to provide adult moral context. Teen films like this–and there are too many–give teens a solipsistic, narcissistic view of the world, encouraging them to think they are the center of existence. That’s a weakness of this film and the genre.
3) The ending, the coda, was truly “crummy” as Debbie writes. It was foolishly superficial. (I’m assuming Debbie here is referring to the last journey taken by the hero along with his trite and laughable eulogy.)
4) Aside from the teen narcissism, the moral subtext of the story was conservative, cautioning viewers against the dangers of teens who have power but no maturity. That’s always a good message.

This film had surprisingly lavish special effects. I realized midway through the climax (which was long and spectacular) that I was watching something equivalent to a comic book film (think Spider-Man) done in Blair Witch or Paranormal style. The spectacular explosions and feats at the end were much more involved than the trailers had suggested.

Burke on February 5, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Just listened to an interview of screenwriters Jack Amiel and Michael Begler regarding “Big Miracle”. They bought an 18-month option on the book for $1. The book had been brought to them 20 years ago by a sister who got it while working for Dan Rather at CBS News (!). Amiel would shop it around town every 2 years, but it was too dark a story about media obsessed with OJ, Tanya Harding, Joey Buttafuoco who glom onto this whale story. plus money-saving CGI didn’t exist until more recently. My sense is that 20 years of frustration, combined with 2012 elections, and the writers get the idea to pepper the script with leftwing messaging and slams against Reagan and the right. It worked, Hollywood loved it. The bonus being that Hollywood now knows Amiel and Begler are reliable hacks and will likely be given preferential attention in the future. Already they have two more film scripts in pre-production (one with Steve Carell).

PatrioticUSGlory on February 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Excellent information, Patriotic. Debbie’s review of the movie was beautifully and logically argued, also. This really is the place to go for good, useful, conservative analysis. There’s no other place like it.

Burke on February 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

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