Posts Tagged ‘Chronicle’

Metro Canada: Dane DeHaan breathes Life into James Dean biopic

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 11.36.36 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

When Dane DeHaan was studying acting at UNC School of the Arts he had a poster of James Dean on his dorm wall.

DeHaan graduated in 2008 and has gone on to star in the HBO series In Treatment, and films like Chronicle, The Place Beyond the Pines, Kill Your Darlings and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but one thing hasn’t changed.

“The poster is still on my wall,” he says on the line from his home. “I’m looking at it right now.”

In new film Life the twenty-nine-year-old actor plays Dean in 1955, just months away from the release of East of Eden. After a chance meeting a photographer played by Robert Pattinson becomes convinced the actor is the perfect subject. The two have an undeniable bond but Dean is hesitant, leery of exposing himself to the publicity machine.

DeHaan, who gained twenty-five pounds to play the screen icon, calls Dean one of his favourite actors.

“I was learning about acting and my acting teacher told us to go home and watch Marlon Brando and James Dean movies. I started watching them and he was just amazing. It was amazing to watch someone start the revolution of the kind of acting that most people do today but do it in such a beautiful way.

“It’s so exciting to watch those movies and see James Dean existing in this world with all these other over-the-top actors and just take them to school. The contrast was so jarring. Now you see a movie and there are obviously people who are better than others, but generally they’re trying to do the same kind of acting. In those movies that’s not really happening.”

DeHaan, who will soon be seen playing another real life character, Karl Rove in Young Americans, says “people think they know a lot about Dean but not many people really know much about him at all,” and hope Life will change that.

“Ultimately that was one of the reasons I took it on,” he says. “I realized that there are a lot of young people who don’t know who James Dean is, and that’s a sad fact. I would hope you would watch his movies first and then watch our movie or watch our movie and then watch his. I hope it opens a door for a lot of people to rediscover him not just as a persona but as an amazing talent.”


Dane DeHaan joins a long list of people who have played Dean since the icon’s death in 1955

James Franco became a star, and won a Golden Globe, playing the rebellious actor in the TV biopic James Dean. Franco got so into character he went from non-smoker to a two-pack-a-day habit — in real life Dean smoked more than two packs of unfiltered Chesterfields a day — and learned to ride a motorcycle.

In 1976, Stephen McHattie won praise playing Dean in the TV movie James Dean written by William Bast, Dean’s best friend and roommate.

Also interesting is the video installation piece Rebel which features a female James Dean in the form of performer Nina Ljeti, and an Animaniacs episode featuring Slappy Squirrel giving Dean a class in method acting.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2: 3 STARS. “the busiest superhero movie in recent memory.”

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-Movie-2_1386682323At two-and-a-half hours the new Spider-Man movie is almost equal parts action and story. The first fifteen minutes contains not one, but two wild action sequences that’ll make your eyeballs dance. If you haven’t had your fill of special effects for the week your thirst will be quenched early on. Then the onslaught of story begins. Jammed packed with plot, bad guys and lots and lots of moony-eyed love, it’s the busiest superhero movie in recent memory.

Fresh out of high school Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is being pulled in two different directions. He loves Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) but is troubled by a promise he made to her late father (Dennis Leary) that he would never let anything bad happen to her.

Meanwhile, Peter’s old friend Harry Osborn (Dane De Haan), heir to the OsCorp fortune, is battling a hereditary genetic disease he thinks can be cured with a dose of Spider-Man’s blood and Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a low level OsCorp electrical engineer, has an accident that rewires him into Electro, a highly charged villain with the power to control electricity.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is this is a movie with several well-crafted dramatic moments. Too bad most of them feel like they’re lifted from another movie and dropped into this one as placeholders for the action sequences. Peter Parker is shedding tears over his love life one minute, swinging on webby vines through the streets the next. Both tones are well executed, but they often feel forced together.

Garfield works to distance himself from Tobey McGuire’s Spider-Man. First thing you notice is that he’s not as mopey as McGuire; as Parker Garfield is nerdy and angsty, not downcast and ennui ridden.

Secondly, he’s witty when playing the web slinger. The Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” movies didn’t use Spidey’s comic book sarcasm but Garfield’s Mach 2 version isn’t shy to let loose with some entertaining trash talking.

His portrayal is bright, punchy and more akin to the comic books than anything McGuire or Raimi put on film.

Emma Stone’s football-sized eyes and smart smile rescue Gwen from the simply fulfilling the girlfriend role. She brings some spark to the character and shares some good chemistry with (real life boyfriend) Garfield.

Speaking of sparks, Foxx could have used a few more as Electro. A bundle of neurosis before his electro charged accident, Max becomes one of the rare villains who was more interesting before he got his powers.

De Haan, who was so good in “Chronicle,” is interesting as Harry / Green Goblin. His obsession with finding a cure for his disease is a springboard for his transformation into the Goblin and Da Haan embraces a malevolence that makes the character memorable.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has good actors—plus a fun cameo from Paul Giamatti—a love story and some good action—you will believe a man can swing above the streets of New York—so why does it feel somewhat unsatisfying?

Maybe it’s the two-and-a-half-hour running time, or the something-for-everyone mix of action, heartbreak and comedy, or perhaps it’s the fact that it feels like a well made copy of the first Garfield “Spider-Man” movie, which itself was a riff on the McGuire movies.

What makes a hero super? In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: February 01, 2012

chronicle-movieWhat does it really take to become a superhero? Wikipedia simply defines a superhero as “a type of stock character, dedicated to protecting the public.”

What? No mention of capes or crazy gadgets? I guess because there are so many types of superheroes, Wiki decided to keep the definition vague.

Take, for instance, the lads in this weekend’s Chronicle. After uncovering a mysterious crater they develop telekinesis, flight and invulnerability all without the aid of butlers named Alfred, secret identities or spandex suits.

They’re just ordinary guys with extraordinary powers. Civilian superheroes, if you will.

But they’re not the first everyday movie characters to make the leap (sometimes over tall buildings) to become superheroes. The flickers are filled with stories of regular folks who become crusaders — some with extraordinary powers, and some without.

In Defendor, Woody Harrelson plays a man whose rich inner life spills out into his real life. By day he is dead-end-job Arthur, but by night he is Defendor, a masked superhero do-gooder. His task? To clean up the streets of Hamilton, Ont.

Speaking in comic book clichés — “Look out termites,” he says, “it’s squishin’ time!”— and with a duct tape “D” on his chest, Defendor and his homemade arsenal of weapons patrols the streets looking for crime to prevent. He’s a bit delusional, but his heart is in the right place.

“Who writes your dialogue?” asks a bad guy, “Spiderman?”

“No, I do it myself,” he answers innocently, before teaching the guy a lesson he won’t soon forget.

Based on a wild indie comic of the same name by Mark Millar, Kick-Ass tells a couple of intertwining stories. First up is Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a fanboy who creates a superhero alter ego called Kick-Ass as a way to boost his self-esteem. In life he says his only superpower is being invisible to girls, but when he dons the suit he becomes… only marginally more super.

His exploits, however, grab the attention of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Moretz), a slightly psychotic father-and-daughter team of masked (and in Hit Girl’s case, wigged) avengers who admire Ass’s style and moxie. Defendor and Kick-Ass don’t have superpowers, but they do have cool costumes and the right attitude. That places them alongside other characters that helped redefine what it takes to be a superhero, the better-known movie heroes Batman and Iron Man.