Project Almanac

Five high school friends build a time machine and begin rewriting their own history, which leads to unforeseen results. The premise has been done to death, but screenwriters Andrew Stark and Jason Pagan give it a fresh and pleasant spin by using it as a vehicle for adolescent wish fulfillment—the kids arrange for themselves to win the lottery, contrive to manipulate their academic and social lives, etc. The disastrous ripple effects are well handled too; the ringleader jumps back again and again in hope of rectifying them, but every adjustment creates more problems. Unfortunately someone decided to shoot this as mock cinema verite, supposedly captured by one of the kids on a ten-year-old camcorder, though the jiggly images are higher definition than you’d expect and there are the usual narrative convolutions to capture moments that probably wouldn’t have been. Dean Israelite directed.