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PROJECT ALMANAC

SYNOPSIS: A brilliant high school student and his friends uncover blueprints for a mysterious device with limitless potential, inadvertently putting lives in danger.

Review by Louise Keller:
Time travel and playing God are the themes of this teen fantasy in which ambition, self-interest and altruism play a part. The film has an appealing energy and a fresh young cast, but its stylistic, shaky hand-held camera quickly becomes tiresome and irritating. Of course the up side of this approach is the immediacy it creates and there is no question that we are taken right into the centre of the action as a result. The camera forms part of the narrative and there are frequent references as to who is holding it, complaints about its intrusion and being taken out of the reality when it is clear that it is not possible to justify anyone filming it.

Jonny Weston is appealing as David, the bright protagonist whose scientist father died 10 years earlier, leaving behind a blueprint for the time machine. While David and his friends are science nerds, they are also regular guys and we become involved in their enthusiasm as they experiment in the garage. Initially, it is David's kid sister Christina (Ginny Gardner) who is holding the camera, but it soon is in others' hands - a bit like pass the parcel, with no prize at the end. David's best friends Adam (Allen Evangelista) and Quinn (Sam Lerner) help him with the experiments and then Jessie (Sofia Black-D'Elia), the school hottie joins the group. Black-D'Elia has a lovely presence, although it would have served the plot better had she had a definite role to assist with the experiments, other than simply having extraordinary legs.

After the group discovers how to successfully go back in time, they start indulging in the self-serving: improving their school marks, getting a backstage pass at a rock concert and winning the lottery. All rather shallow, but entertaining in parts. The initial aim of their returning to David's 7th birthday, 10 years earlier when his father died in a car crash seems to have been forgotten. It is the budding relationship between David and Jessie that triggers the breaking of the rules that they all travel together. The ripple effect is wide reaching as there are consequences to playing God.

There is plenty here to entertain the film's young teenage market - as long as they don't get fed up with the jumpy camera.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

PROJECT ALMANAC (M)
(US, 2015)

CAST: Amy Landecker, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Virginia Gardner, Agnes Mayasari, Katie Garfield

PRODUCER: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller

DIRECTOR: Dean Israelite

SCRIPT: Andrew Deutschman, Jason Pagan

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew J. Lloyd

EDITOR: Martin Bernfeld, Julian Clarke

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Maher Ahmad

RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 26, 2015







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