#2,111: Project Almanac
Locke - ★★★☆☆
Maybe I like real time and confined space gimmicks in movies because they present a challenge? I always want to see someone pull off a great magic trick. On the continuum, this is perhaps not as much fun as Buried, but a lot better than Phone Booth. Good concept, good actor, but a story with an ending slightly more inevitable than surprising.
Cheap Thrills - ★★★½☆
This feels like the real American remake of Funny Games, not Haneke's. If only they'd actually hit rewind when it came up in the dialogue. I was sure hoping.
Zero Charisma - ★★★☆☆
I heard of this one from Nerdist employees who found it strange that the company would buy and distribute a movie that sets their boss in its crosshairs. I watched with a little bit of voyeuristic curiosity because of the nebbishy main character's similarity to an ex-roommate.
This is a movie about a loser. It seems harsh to put it that way, but then you see him lose in every encounter. Even when he turns out to have been right about his rival, or about his mom, it doesn't keep him from losing. Who's side is the movie on? Who's side is the audience supposed to be on? And why? (Show your work for full credit.)
Project Almanac - ★★☆☆☆
At first I thought that someone named their time travel movie after a Back to the Future reference, but after I saw it I did some hunting around online to see if this was in some way intended as a spiritual sequel to Project X. (As far as I could tell, it is not.)
Although it's presented with a thick veneer of fun, this is a pretty flabby movie. A lot of the scenes in the incredibly long 'time travel is great' section cover the same ground without addressing the parts I was curious about. I can only assume that there are just piles of dead Davids stacked up beyond the edge of the shaky frame.
As a found footage movie, all the mistakes are made: wildly unmotivated filming, "wait who's holding the camera?" moments, privileged shots where there's clearly no camera in the room. I like found footage as a technique, but it didn't help anyone here.
Hopefully whoever goes back to undo this mess will start their script right about where this one ends.