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Dean Israelite
Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia Gardner
Writing Credits:
Jason Harry Pagan and Andrew Deutschmann

Today is better the second time around.

A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$8,500,000 on 2,893 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Description
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/9/15

• Alternate Opening
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Endings
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Project Almanac [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 14, 2015)

When will Hollywoood tire of time travel movies? Probably about the same time they bail on “found footage” flicks: never. With 2015’s Project Almanac, those two genres intersect.

We meet David Raskin (Jonny Weston), a high school senior whose scientific talent gets him into MIT. However, he receives insubstantial financial assistance, and his lack of funds means he probably won’t be able to attend his dream school.

Desperate for money, David pokes around his attic. His departed father kept ideas for inventions there and David hopes to locate something that’ll help him get a scholarship.

David and his sister Christina (Virginia Gardner) find an old video camera that includes a tape of David’s seventh birthday party. As they view it, they discover something bizarre: the image of 17-year-old David in the video.

After a little exploration, David and his pals locate an invention of his dad’s: “Project Almanac”, a time travel device. David and the others explore various uses for this amazing invention, and we follow what happens to them, both good and bad.

As I alluded at the start, filmmakers likely will never tire of time travel movies. Even with the scores of tales about the subject, I think it remains a fun topic. Time travel opens up stories to virtually limitless exploration, so I go into flicks of this sort with interest.

Indeed, I would’ve seen Almanac theatrically except for the “found footage” presentation. I don’t mind movies of that sort, but since they tend to use lots of first-person “shakycam”, my sad little stomach finds them tough to ensure. Motion sickness isn’t much fun, so I save viewings shot like Almanac until I can view them on the smaller screen.

Almanac came with another negative: largely bad reviews. A Rotten Tomatoes rating of 35 percent isn’t absurdly low, but it shows a pretty strong consensus.

Still, I’ve seen plenty of poorly-reviewed flicks that I enjoyed, so with a chance to view Almanac at homes – where the shakycam wouldn’t literally nauseate me – I wanted to give it a spin. The premise seemed fun – how bad could it be?

“Not bad” would be my answer, as Almanac turns into a largely entertaining exploration of the issues that come with time travel. Granted, I couldn’t call it particularly original. Much of the movie feels like a semi-remake of The Butterfly Effect and it does little that stands out as new and fresh.

Also, the use of the “found footage” format adds nothing to the experience. I think Almanac could’ve been shot with traditional techniques and worked just as well – if not better. All that bad camerawork gets old after a while, and the first-person view doesn’t really go anywhere.

Still, Almanac offers enough fun and intrigue to keep me with it. The actors invest in their roles fairly well, and they let us experience the highs and lows that come with their adventures. The story throws the participants into a mix of emotional states, and the performers pull off these moments nicely.

The story also varies the action enough to bring us into the tale. The teens use the time machine for reasons both important and trivial, which makes sense. The parts of the movie that look at how kids would utilize time travel become its highlights.

Despite it flaws – most of which relate to its annoying camera techniques – I think Project Almanac ends up as an enjoyable movie. It provides a lively adventure that does more right than wrong.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Project Almanac appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. “Found footage” movies can look a bit dodgy, but Almanac offered pretty good visuals.

The weakest aspects of the image related to blacks and shadows. Dark material seemed a bit inky, and low-light shots came across as a little more opaque than I’d expect. These weren’t substantial issues, but they became the image’s only minor distractions.

Sharpness seemed positive. Despite a fair amount of “on the fly” focus, the movie usually came across as accurate and well-defined. No issues with moiré effects or jagged edges occurred, and I didn’t see edge haloes.

Print flaws weren’t a factor, as the movie looked clean. In terms of colors, Almanac favored blue/green; some orange and yellows also occurred, but the teal feel dominated. While those choices seemed tedious, the Blu-ray replicated the hues appropriately. Ultimately, this was a good transfer.

I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, as it opened up the material well. Much of the movie stayed with general ambient information, but scenes related to time travel gadgets/events broadened horizons well; during those moments, the soundscape used the five channels in a lively and compelling manner. A party also developed nice atmospheric material.

Audio quality worked fine. Speech appeared natural and concise, and effects seemed accurate and dynamic. The movie offered vivid sound without distortion or flaws. I felt the soundtrack complemented the story.

All of the Blu-ray’s extras revolve around various forms of cut footage. We find an Alternate Opening (3:29), eight Deleted Scenes (9:11) and two Alternate Endings (4:46). The “Opening” gives us a different way to introduce David and the other characters; it’s sillier and doesn’t reveal David’s intellect as well as the actual opening. The endings don’t do much to alter the theatrical version’s conclusion; they take a different path to the same location.

As for the deleted scenes, they tend to offer minor additions to the existing material. We get a little more in terms of character information but nothing that adds substantially to the experience.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Almanac. It includes previews but it lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.

As a film, Project Almanac comes with flaws, many of which stem from its annoying, unnecessary use of the “found footage” format. Despite those concerns, the movie manages to entertain much of the time. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio as well as a few supplements. Almanac doesn’t turn into a genre classic, but it offers a reasonably enjoyable sci-fi romp.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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