“Chronicle” and “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”

Chronicle (2012)

“I remember you,” says Steve (Michael B. Jordan) to Andrew (Dante DeHaan), as the two of them walk to check out a hole in the ground. “You wore that hoody every day to homeroom.”

Subtle, isn’t it? In the first 15 minutes, Josh Trank and Max Landis’s “Chronicle” has shown us that Andrew has a screaming, abusive father, a dying mother, a gallery of exciting bullies, a cool cousin (a different kind of problem there) — and now, a habit of dressing like the kid who shoots up the school. Another title for this movie might be “X-Columbine.” But I don’t want to get too snarky, because the creators are both several years younger than me, and they’re there while I’m here.

“Chronicle” is a good-looking, diverting movie, but derivative as all hell. Non-nerds might not notice this. Nerds, the sort of people who’ve dreamed about the situation Andrew, Steve, and cousin Matt get into, will notice. The most evocative images call back “Superman” (you’ll believe a sociopath can fly!) or, more often, “Akira” (when Andrew levitates and some pebbles come with him; when he goes on a rampage wearing tattered hospital garb).

And is it good? It’s fine.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (2012)

Let us give thanks that producers keep giving money to Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. They don’t even try to hide that they’re in the business of avante garde, audience-limiting weirdness. So they made a movie about it: Tommy Schlaang (Frank Langella!) gives two idiots a billion dollars to adapt a poem about a guy who wears a suit made of diamonds. They spend the money on real diamonds and a Johnny Depp impersonator. (He does look like Johnny Depp.)