Project Almanac, the fun found footage film about time-travelling teenagers, is released on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital HD next week. Here's the trailer:
And a deleted scene:
When better to look over the long and interesting history of the genre? If you're a fan of time travel films you'll have seen all the Back to the Futures, The Terminators, Looper, maybe even the more well known indies like Primer and Timecrimes, so here are four you may not have heard of.
1: Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself With Tea (1977)
This film from '70s Czechoslovakia is a convoluted comedy that combines identical twins, mistaken identity, plots and time travel. In the future time travel is as routine as air travel, taking tourists to whatever era of history they fancy. Jan's twin brother Karel is a corrupt time travel pilot who's agreed to take some Nazis back in time to give Hitler the atomic bomb, but when Karel dies (he chokes on a croissant) Jan impersonates him and gets caught up in the plot. It might be a little dated in its humour and political references but some things never go out of style – the enthusiastic American tourists who want their picture taken with Hitler, or the way trips in time end up doubling or tripling characters and the darkly funny way those doubles are “taken care of” – and as a whole the film is still a fun watch.
2: Idaho Transfer (1973)
After the runaway success of Easy Rider in which he starred with Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda tried his hand at directing. His second film, Idaho Transfer, was made in 1973 although the distributor went bankrupt and it wasn't seen again until its video release in 1988. In it scientists at a facility that has discovered time travel learn that humanity will soon be wiped out by an ecological disaster and decide to send a group of young people into the future to restart civilization (only those under 20 can survive the process). When the government intervenes in the project, the youg people are trapped in the future. The optimism of the hippie generation fails to materialise - the group end up fighting among each other, leading to a very stark, bleak ending. It's not a great film by any means (the actors are amateurs and the characters can be annoying), but has some interesting ideas and is ripe for a remake.
3: Sans Soleil (1983)
Bit of a cheat this one. Chris Marker, whose best known work La Jetée was the inspiration for 12 Monkeys, made this film out of silent 16mm footage of his travels around Iceland, Paris, San Fransisco and Tokyo. He combined this with a voice-over of a series of letters from a fictional cameraman. It's convoluted and dense, requiring a few viewings to start understanding and appreciating it – digressions include a tour of the filming locations for Hitchcock's Vertigo, and at one point he tells a story about a time traveller from the year 4001 when people can no longer forget things. At its core it's about the different ways we experience time, history and memory, and how that relates to cinema.
4: Detention (2011)
Joseph Kahn, better known for his music videos (including Taylor Swift's Bad Blood), self-financed this off-the-wall sci-fi-horror-comedy starring a pre-Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson. The plot is hard to describe, isn't important and might not even exist, but it's one of the most stylish films you will ever see, as if The Breakfast Club, Scream and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World had a mutant meta-baby fuelled by energy drink and '90s references. It's undoubtedly not for everyone, but if you can get on its wavelength it's a lot of fun.
Project Almanac is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on 15th June.