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OK, but it's no 2001
This movie is undoubtedly beautiful, there's no denying that. And the performances are good. And a lot of the plot twists are smart and I didn't see them coming.
***A few spoilers ahead***
However, I have several issues with it overall. For one, it takes itself awfully seriously. This is part of Christopher Nolan's thing I guess, but if you notice, all of his movies have very little humor, and freight all the cool sci-fi or thriller stuff with really, really heavy emotional things. Memento? Guy's wife raped and murdered. Inception? Dude's wife commits suicide. This movie? All of humanity is in danger of extinction and a guy is estranged from his daughter. I guess you could write these things and still let the audience have some fun, but Nolan doesn't want to let you much for some reason. Watch a few other space epics, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, and marvel at how much more fun the suspense is.
And also, the science gets kind of ridiculous at a certain point (near the end). It's especially egregious when it's trying to force a happy ending on us.
Time Bandits (1981)
Loved it, hated it
This is a classic movie, and in some ways it really stands apart from movies of its time. The vision and scope is extremely impressive. However, it lacks a bit in execution. The story is very episodic, and it's hard sometimes to stay with it. The band of bandits is actually kind of unlikeable sometimes, and the kid isn't exactly the most proactive protagonist.
As a kid, though, I totally adored this movie. It was really really fun. it still holds some of that magic and wonder, and there are so many exotic locations and characters that if you get bored with one, don't worry another will be right around the corner. However likewise if you are enjoying one period, you don't get to be there for very long. In that way it felt a bit like a sketch comedy show or something, just higher budget and the humor is very dark.
I want to rate it higher, because I love Terry Gilliam, but I'd have to say this one is one of his more uneven efforts.
Groundhog Day (1993)
I don't often say a movie is perfect, but this movie is perfect! The premise seems so simple - a man repeats one day over and over - but the execution was incredible. Bill Murray is amazing. Harold Ramis did such a fantastic job of making us care for this jerk, and then follow him emotionally through this journey. One would think that the premise would lend itself to a very repetitive experience, but wow is it fun and interesting to see things develop.
Ms. McDowell is great too, a very charming but also very strong female character, who shows integrity and really serves as a kind of feminist moral compass throughout the story, which is wonderful.
I recommend this movie 100% to anyone interested in romance, comedy, or time travel / sci-fi.
The Time Machine (1960)
A Good Blast from the Past
I remember being genuinely scared by this movie as a kid, and finding it really compelling and immersive. After revisiting it as an adult, I was glad to find that it still had a lot of charm and power to it.
Obviously the effects are a bit dated, but dated in a way that I think still retains production value. In fact I'd say a lot of times these old-school special effects hold up a lot better than some of the late-90s / early 2000s CGI, which looks like terrible pixelated garbage.
The performances in this movie also have a sort of old-school charm to them, and while maybe not academy award material at times, the believability of the premise of a time machine is never really stretched for me, and I think that has a lot to do with the performances.
This is another movie that I question the remake of; I think the original was fine, and if they were going to remake it they should have done a better job than they did, or left it alone entirely.
I recommend this movie, and tell my friends who haven't seen it to check it out. I've been told more than once that in spite of someone not having seen it as a kid (and thereby not really having any nostalgia value to go off) they still enjoy this and find it compelling.
In Time (2011)
Overall Liked It
I liked this movie, for the most part. I guess I felt like something more could have been done with the concept, but in the end it was neat and fascinating and a fun sort of sci-fi crime movie.
I like Amanda Seyfried in it! And Justin is pretty good too. The rest of the actors sort of fade into the background for me, not bad but not that memorable either. I guess that's a good sign of a good movie.
The effects worked well too, the numbers on the arms look great. The practical futuristic locations aren't exactly mind blowing, but they don't need to be for this story to work.
I would probably recommend waiting for this on DVD / VOD, rather than seeing it in the theater, but I certainly wouldn't tell anyone to avoid it. Especially if you like sci-fi!
The Invasion (2007)
I mean, did this really need to be remade? The original was so awesome. I totally adore Daniel Craig, and Nicole is fine too, but this remake definitely fell into the category of "totally unnecessary" for me.
The updated story is fine, but the cinematography is really muted and blah, and the mood of the whole thing goes from what was a kind of fun crazy genre movie, into this really serious, heavy, "oh my gosh the child is in danger" type of vibe, which I find just tiresome. Please Hollywood, stop trying to take great genre material and turn it into heavy high-concept fru-fru meaningful academy award bait, it doesn't do anyone any service.
Having said all that, I guess there are worse remakes out there. Why the "Total Recall" remake happened, I can't even guess. If you like watching Daniel Craig though, this won't ruin him for you. He does a fine fine job as always. Nicole I always tend to find a little wooden and unbelievable, and she's no different here, but also no worse than usual.
I know this is considered kind of a classic in the time travel genre, but honestly I still am unimpressed. I've tried to watch it twice (really, truly I have) but I just can't get into it.
I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that I find Mr. Van Damme kind of wooden in his acting. The plot is OK. I guess maybe considering the age of the movie, the idea for it is somewhat original. The cinematography isn't mind blowing exactly, but it also isn't detracting so much.
Sorry all the fans out there, I really want to show some solidarity, but if you only have the patience to watch a certain amount of time travel movies in your lifetime, I think you can safely skip this one...
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Cool until Paul Reubens Shows up...
This is a tough one. I saw this movie as a child, and it stuck with me as something I loved. But then I revisited it as an adult, and it didn't hold up that well. I wish I could give two ratings, one from me as a kid (probably an 8 or 9) and then one for me as an adult (probably a 3 or 4 at best). To make the compromise I did a 5.
The story is fairly original, and the acting is fine. The spaceship effects hold up relatively well. I like the kid (what else did he do?? I feel like I didn't see him in much else).
I don't think this is a spoiler, or hope not anyway, but if you're at all concerned with things like then then read no further.
One place that really messes the movie up for me though, is when the alien ship AI personality makes a shift from this kind of cool mysterious robot voice, to the voice of Paul Reubens (AKA Pee-Wee Herman, doing his Pee-Wee Herman voice no less). I felt like as a kid this worked, it was kind of hip and cool and fun. But as an adult, it turns the alien ship into a really annoying character, and I feel a lot less sympathy for everyone involved.
Source Code (2011)
Well, if you liked Groundhog Day and you like time travel movies, then maybe this one will appeal to you. For some reason it left me feeling a little empty or something at the end. I won't spoil the ending, but I didn't find it very fun.
Also the time logic doesn't always hold together for me, especially at the end. I prefer a movie where the logic is consistent all the way through.
The characters are well acted though, and the story is relatively tight. It's also a terrorism story, which isn't all that fun either, it pretty much implies immediately that it's going to be a super serious story.
However, it's not a bad movie, and if you're on a time-travel binge then go for it!
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Good but Dark
This time travel movie is definitely up there in my favorites! Brad Pitt is amazing as the crazy side character he plays. Bruce Willis completely pulls off the confusion and disorientation of his time traveling. Terry Gilliam does an excellent job crafting a heck of a strange world for us to explore.
I am starting to notice a trend in time travel movies, where they end up dark and horrible. I guess maybe this is just a natural extension of what might happen if we actually did discover time travel was possible, but whatever it is, I like it! In a world of commercial movies where there's a lot of emphasis on having a happy ending, this movie (as well as Timecrimes, and some of the others in this genre) aren't afraid to show us just how scary things might get.
For anyone interested in time travel movies, I recommend this one for sure!
Los cronocrímenes (2007)
Suuuuchhh a Good Movie
For some reason I didn't hear about this movie for a while after it came out, but gosh was it amazing!
Somehow with very limited characters and locations they managed to make a very tight and nerve-wracking story. Only at one point did I start to feel like the time-looping started to get out of control to where I got lost, but even then I was so engaged and on the edge of my seat that I was totally with the movie.
If you like "Back to the Future" and want something that's a little more edgy (and don't mind reading subtitles) I totally recommend this movie!
Back to the Future (1985)
Pretty Darn Awesome
So I guess I'm not the first person to say this, lmao, but I love this movie! It's such a gem. It has a really sweet sense of humor, and romance, and adventure to it that you don't get in movies that much anymore. Well maybe that isn't totally fair, but you know what I mean.
And for a Time Travel movie, it doesn't really mess up too badly in terms of continuity or paradoxes. The movie handles it all pretty much in stride. I can get kind of nitpicky about stuff, and I never felt betrayed or hornswaggled by the filmmakers on this one.
I will always suggest this to friends, and if you haven't seen it then put it on your list!