Project Almanac

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Like Chronicle, this movie manages to make the found-footage trope seem relatively palatable… at least for the majority of the story. It is a great teen adventure, with enough clever aspects to even keep adults hooked until it is too late to doubt it all. While that may sound like faint praise, making the conceit  of the cameras work, both in concept and without making it physically unwatchable, is a significant accomplishment. That this was the first feature for both writers and director also makes the result surprising.

Generally, the story is a standard time paradox film that goes where you expect it to go if a group of teens got a hold of such technology. There are, of course, unplanned consequences that then drive the rest of the story. The plot is predictable, if amusing, and the rules are flawed and not applied consistently, which is a standard challenge in this genre. But the energy and pace of the film steamrolls most of it faster than you can consider the implications.

The cast has a nice collection of young talent, topped by Weston (Taken 3), Black-D’elia (The Messengers), Gardner (The Goldbergs) and Evangelista (Secret Life of the American Teenager). Landecker (Transparent) also has a nice role at the fringes of the fun.

This is a solid film for teens, a bit less so for adult, but not entirely without merit. It is probably worth seeing just for the names you’ll be seeing again and again over the coming years.

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