Posted Oct 28 2015

Project Almanac - This Movie Rocks Time

Dir: Dean Israelite

Starring Jonny Weston, Sophia Black-D'Ella, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia Gardner

Here we have a smart science fiction time travel story that manages to find a degree of uniqueness in its twisty turny paradoxical time-hopping shenanigans. And it’s a found footage film that manages not to annoy with that increasingly vapid form. Definitely more Chronicle than, say, The Pyramid.

Director Israelite finds a good deal of invention in his tale of a group of high schoolers who discover a time machine built by one of their dads, and get it working. Thus blessed with the gift of second chances they head off to right some wrongs, avenge high school bullying, win the lottery, and go to Lollapalooza. With access all area laminates no less (bought on eBay months after the event.) It’s all good fun but, inevitably, they are soon setting the space time continuum all out of whack – basket ball teams are losing, planes are crashing, dogs and cats – living together – that kind of stuff.

Israelite is served well by a young, personable cast, especially Weston and Black-D’Elia as the romantic leads. That said, all of the five main players are convincing and fun to hang with. There comes a point where the whole time travel conceit and its accompanying rules start to fall apart (as they nearly always do with timey wimey stuff) but Israelite displays enough ability to misdirect well and comes up with a strong ending that gets things firmly back on track.

The film is winningly knowing as well, referencing its antecedents, from watching Bill & Ted to name-checking the likes of Terminator, Looper and even a quick visual nod to Back To The Future. Never mentions 12 Monkeys though, which would appear to be a key (welcome) influence.

Project Almanac doesn’t solve the problem with time travel movies. But it acquits itself as a very worthy addition to the genre.


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