When I was a little kid, one of my favorite movies was called The Explorers. It starred River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke when they were like 15-years-old. It was about a bunch of teenagers who were really interested in science and they end up decoding a mysterious message they get from space to make a spaceship that they use to meet the aliens who sent it to them. It was awesome...when I was 7-years-old. I actually have no idea how it holds up now. The beginning of Project Almanac has a similar vibe and made me feel nostalgic and hopeful for a movie that has the same impact on a new generation. When it was over, it certainly made an impact with me and that impact was disappointment.
The plot for Project Almanac is almost exactly like The Explorers except instead of a spaceship they build a time machine. Now, it doesn't matter how good or bad a time travel movie is, I end up getting a migraine when it's over trying to figure out how it all adds up at the end. The finest example of time travel cinema is the Back to the Future trilogy and even that has its moments where it doesn't quite work out logically. Project Almanac does such a poor job of trying to have it make sense on a scientific level that it's actually easier to enjoy because it's so stupid. I know I'm being a stickler on that aspect so if you don't care about whether or not the impact of time jumping makes sense in the story than ignore this...just know that in this film it certainly does not.
The cast if filled with unfamiliar teenage faces which is usually a kiss of death but here you buy that they are friends and they actually have some pretty funny back-and-forth with each other. Allen Evangelista and Jonny Weston (Taken 3, Chasing Mavericks) are the scene stealers and actually are both pretty talented. The problem with the film isn't the cast, it's the director. I try not to come down too hard on first time directors, like Dean Israelite here. I especially don't want to rag on him considering Project Almanac is produced by director Michael Bay (the Transformers and Bad Boys movies). The man has a reputation for having an ego as large as his films' budgets and a mouth that's even bigger. I would imagine working under that is very, very difficult...especially for a newb.
The reason why the direction is what sunk this film is because it uses the "found footage" vehicle as the narrative. This shaky, hand-held, first person approach to movies has beaten a dead horse so hard that it's beaten through it and is now beating the ground under it. In 1999, I sat in the Anjelica Theater in lower Manhattan and watched The Blair Witch Project, the first film to bring this style to the mainstream. At the time, the "found footage" approach made everyone in that theater think they were watching a snuff film that really showed the deaths of three people in the woods. It was terrifying because we didn't know any better. That was 16 years ago and there have probably been 100 films done that way since and it's no longer effective.
Project Almanac is the kind of film that's easy to pummel as a horrible time in a theater. That's probably why a lot of critics will. I personally didn't think it was all that bad once you get past the exhausting and implausible first person camerawork, illogical science in a science-fiction and meaningless, empty romantic subplot. However, if you go see it and can't get past all that, you may find yourself wishing the device for time travel was real so you could go back and avoid wasting your time.
A couple of years ago, his movie about a teddy bear that came to life earned the distinction of being "the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time." That's according to comingsoon.net, and why would they lie?
On June 26, Ted 2 will hit the theaters, and the trailer for it hit the internet yesterday.
Mark Wahlberg is back as Ted's best friend, and Morgan Freeman is part of the cast.
Jason got to interview one of his childhood heroes, WWE Legend Sgt. Slaughter.
WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter came to 107.9 the End to help promote WWE WrestleMania Axxess, which takes takes place Thursday, March 26 through Sunday, March 29 at the San Jose Convention Center.
WrestleMania Axxess is an interactive fan festival where fans can meet the WWE Superstars, witness live in ring matches and view rare memorabilia. Tickets go on sale the morning of Saturday, January 31.
Tickets for the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at SAP Center are currently on sale through Ticketmaster. The event takes place Saturday, March 28.
Listen to Jason interview with WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter: