Friday, September 25, 2015

Project Almanac Review

Why do they film everything?

Perhaps at the ripe old age of 31 I just don't understand. Perhaps the current crop of high school students actually film every damn moment throughout the day as if something important or meaningful will be worthy of documentation. If this is the case, if by some chance Project Almanac is a realistic representation of what it is like to be an adolescent in 2015, then I have some advice for you young folk out there: put the fucking camera down and live your life. Why? Because it's really annoying and ridiculous even in the realm of fictional cinema. I can't even imagine someone not putting the damn camera down in reality.

This isn't an awful film, but it's impossible to like because of the found footage aspect. Project Almanac has some interesting ideas and a few decent performances, but the entire way it is presented, with this frustrating, jittery and completely phony camera work that ironically tries to portray these events as "real" because of the illusion it is being filmed by one of them, this is a movie that never had a chance. I did my best to push aside the fact that I totally hated the every stylistic decision by filmmaker Dean Israelite, and the occasional scene is mildly entertaining and compelling, but as a whole I couldn't ignore the festering turd that is found footage haunting every frame.

It seems unfair to declare the entire sub-genre dead, because every time I wrote it off in the past a surprising movie seems to pop up that makes me rethink my stance. The Blair Witch Project is still a go to must watch every October for me, a film that was ground breaking upon its release and scared the living shit out of me the first time I witnessed it. The original Paranormal Activity didn't wow me the way it did so many others but it was a pretty decent picture, certainly good enough. Chronicle was one I judged too early based on the trailer, I assumed the worst and ended up really enjoying it. 

Project Almanac suffers from everything I loathe about the ones that don't work, that feeling that everything I am seeing is total horseshit from start to finish. Why do they film everything? Why? I mean, I get why someone would film major events like testing a time machine for the first time, but every lunch? Every banal conversation? Every class? 

Put the damn camera down, and no, I don't just mean the teenagers depicted in the movie. That goes for all the directors who think movies like this are still a good idea.


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