Posted on Friday, April 27th, 2012 by Jordan Hoffman
This week’s column comes from the future. As such, I already know what comments you are going to make. (Three of you will be scandalized that Time After Time wasn’t included and four of you will agree with one joker who feels that anyone who hasn’t seen Primer yet has no business reading this site.)
Nevertheless, I’ve come back to my original spot along the timeline. Not so much because I want to maintain an semblance of “the correct outcome of events,” but because I can’t seem to find my keys.
With that, charge up your flux capacitors (or soak in your hot tub) it’s time to look at time travel.
Sound of My Voice (2012); Zal Batmanglij, director.
I know not many people have seen this one because it doesn’t come out until today! But I was lucky enough to catch this at film festivals and, as such, you can watch the above trailer to see me throw impressive adjectives around in blurb form. (To the one person who always asks, no, we don’t get paid for that – and half the time we don’t even know we’ve been quoted til it’s already in there.)
Sound of My Voice is co-written and stars Brit Marling, a charismatic cult leader who may or may not be a traveller from fifty years in the future. It’s been a while since a movie leaves the right amount of ellipses in its plot, making it ambiguous, but not frustrating. (To hear the filmmakers talk, however, there is a definite answer to the film’s central questions.)
More importantly, SOMV uses the hook of time travel to get inside the heads of its lead characters, investigative journalists worried about the future of our civilization and the ways in which we cling to groups for survival.
The Philadelphia Experiment (1984); Stuart Raffill, director.
If only we could go back in time to when I first saw this movie on Cinemax. (I don’t know why I remember that it was Cinemax, but it definitely was.)
I was gripped by the drama and blown away by the special effects. Here was the TRUE STORY of what really happened to the mysterious naval experiment I saw on “In Search Of. . .”
According to the film, during the secret “cloaking” experiments on the USS Eldridge that may or may not have happened, two American sailors were sent from the deck of the WWII-era ship to our current day, and now the government has to cover it up!
Perhaps the strangest thing for me was, when I started to get into “serious film” I kept reading about the landmark George Cukor comedy The Philadelphia Story and would always picture this movie instead.
Primer(2004); Shane Carruth, director.
Perhaps right beside Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi never has the budget of a film been so lauded as with Shane Carruth’s Primer.
This complex (and maybe even a little aggravating) time-looping drama was, yes, made in a garage for the cost of a Happy Meal, but what truly impresses is its pretzel logic script. I’m not 100% convinced that the movie actually makes sense (though I wish I had access to this infographic when I first saw it) but I’m willing to go easy on anything that scratches my hard SF itch this well.
Carruth has allegedly been toiling on a massive follow-up project ever since. . .we’re all assuming it is a movie and not an actual time machine.
Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982); William Dear, director.
So I allowed myself 2 of the 8 picks to be a film that, thanks to the mists of time, has retained a place of prominence in my mind.
I’m sure Timerider is pure cheese, but, hey, it’s got Fred Ward on a motorcycle in the old west and sinks its teeth into the grandfather paradox. Whether or not it is as good as George Romero’s Knightriders (which features Medieval jousters on motorbikes) remains open to discussion.