Cinema has seen plenty of found footage and time travel films, but rarely have the two concepts been combined. Enter Project Almanac; Produced by Michael Bay and directed by Dean Israelite, it works well as an entertaining teen movie without doing anything revolutionary with the aforementioned narrative devices.
Project Almanac centers on David Raskin (Jonny Weston), a 17-year-old science whiz who is desperate to get into MIT. The answer may lie in his deceased father’s old belongings, as David discovers an old video clip of his seventh birthday party which unexplainably features glimpses of his current self, along with blueprints for a time travel device his father was working on. Together with fellow classmates Quinn (Sam Lerner), Allen (Adam Le), his sister Christina (an underused Virginia Gardner) and high school hottie Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia), the group construct the device and begin putting it to use but it doesn’t take long before their actions in the past start producing dangerous consequences in the present.
Picking up four years after the Battle of Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction sees amateur robotics inventor Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) discovering Optimus Prime (voiced superbly once more by Peter Cullen) while searching for junk to refurbish. The gravely wounded Autobot commander has been in hiding from a covert black ops team led by Harold Attlinger (Kelsey Grammer), who has teamed up with Cybertronian bounty hunter Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan) in a bid to destroy all shape-shifting robots. Meanwhile, tech tycoon and billionaire inventor Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) is busy reverse-engineering his own Transformers with a view to having an army of robots under human control.
Towards the end of the latest offering from film critics’ favourite punching bag Michael Bay, a character states: “The truth is stranger than fiction.” It is a particularly apt idiom for Pain & Gain. A docu-drama masquerading as an action-comedy, it’s easily one of the craziest films of the year. Unexpectedly, it’s also one of the funniest.
Read the rest of this review at Flicks and the City here.