Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia 'Ginny' Gardner
Written by: Andrew Deutschman (Andrew Stark), Jason Harry Pagan
Directed by: Dean Israelite
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language and sexual content
Running Time: 106
Date: 01/30/2015

Project Almanac (2015)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Our Time

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Yet another of the ultra-cheap "found footage" genre films, Project Almanac -- like so many others -- is not helped, only hindered, by this device of characters filming everything that happens to them. It's fine to film an experiment, but to film the construction of batteries, or continue filming while running for your life, is stretching it a bit too thin. The only reason to not film this story straight is that the "found footage" method is supposedly cheaper (and more profitable).

David Raskin (Jonny Weston) is a brilliant teen, an inventor like his late father, who gets into MIT, but whose meager scholarship doesn't cover much. He begins looking through his father's notes for something he can use and stumbles upon a time machine his father nearly invented. After many trials-and-errors, he and his pals finish it up and take it for a spin, using it to pass tests and win the lottery. But when David goes back alone to re-do a failed kiss with the prettiest girl in school (Sofia Black-D'Elia) he creates a ripple affect that must be repaired, and each trip only results in more catastrophe. In the end, drastic steps must be taken.

Other than its tired technique, this is an entertaining film with likable characters and fun situations. The nerdy, socially awkward characters are appealing, and the little romance that brews between the two leads is sweet, while the best friends provide some fun comic support. The visual effects are pretty cool, with rattling, damaging time jumps, and plenty of floating, flying objects. The movie fails to go very deep, and it ignores several interesting time-travel possibilities, but it's worth seeing overall.

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