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Monday, February 27, 2012

Boston Science Fiction Festival 8

On the Saturday before the marathon I went in for two feature films both premieres. The first was a film called Time Again (2011) written and directed by Ray Karwel it is a story of fixing the past. It is not a bad first time out for Karwel The imdb plot description, "A mysterious woman helps prevent a notorious underworld criminal from getting his hands on a set of strange coins that can tip the balance between life and death." Does not quite explain this story. After her sister Sam (Tara Smoker) is killed by a thug named Mr. Way, Marlo (Angela Rachelle) is visited by an old woman offering her a chance to change the past. Mr Way (Scott F. Evans) is trying to get his hands on some ancient coins that allow the user to travel back in time. hmmm wonder how pretty little Marlo travels back? Since Marlo attempts to head back to save her sister and get the four coins so guess how many chances she gets? So the cycles of her trying to change things are destined to fail at least until she gets to her last try. Now lets give credit where it is due, the director earned some credit through the editing of this film. Holding back some pieces of information in each of the cycles and showing others the film remains pretty entertaining. The lead Angela Rachelle is a beautiful woman although she still needs to grow more as an actress. I saw her in the film The Kiss (2008) where her stunning blue eyes caught my attention. The film although not the best acting and the easy to see twist at the end is also limited by location blues. Made for very little money 125k it pretty much stays in one building and so is very limited in scope. It feels like a small budget film and but still does a lot with very little. We at these science fiction festivals are audiences that have seen many time travel films so we are hard to please. This one showed some promised but ultimately needed more money and time than it had to get a recommend from Soresport Movies.
The second feature was a wonderfully complete story of time travel and love lost called Dimensions: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads (2011) - A brilliant physicist haunted by the loss of friend in the past figures out a way to travel back in time and change the past in one of the infinite time threads that make up our universe. The film is well written by Antony Neely and directed by Sloan U'Ren it builds slowly but with a care to develop the characters and motivations needed to hold the audience. Set between the first and second world wars the film follows three young friends as they play together on the edges of wealthy society. The setting where the fathers of the children have not returned from war is a world where their Mothers set the supervision of the children. It leaves the children with way too much unsupervised time. Young Steven (Sam Harrison) and Victoria (Hannah Carson) are close friends with Conrad the third wheel but all are welcomed in this almost "out of time" childhood. Their reality is shattered by a horrible accident that leaves poor Victoria dead and both boys blaming themselves. Years later and still troubled with the loss of their friend Steven (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and Conrad (Sean Hart) work diligently on a time machine so they can go back and change their past.
Now that simple explanation is not even close to the depth that this film has. This is a film built through the characters and their relationships so it is not so easy to tell the story without giving too much detail. The young men driven through the genius of Steven are close to having their dreams come true. At this same time physics student Annie (Olivia Llewellyn) comes into the picture as an assistant to the men. She is soon very in love with Steven and her role is so heartbreaking. She ends up loving a man who can never return her love. Of course three people in interaction often create triangles and because of that new conflicts surface in the group. In the one really cliche moment in the film poor Conrad, falling for Annie walks in on a hug that sends his mind spinning. He moves towards a betrayal that leads to a death and leaves the three questioning the work.
When the climax of this film comes it is bittersweet but also a wonderfully and carefully built reveal. There are so many things I liked about this film. It deals with the idea of time travel a staple in science fiction. When "the Professor" (Patrick Godfrey) shares his ideas about it at the garden party he uses a mask with eye slits that becomes a visual queue throughout the film holding the time travel idea in the forefront. There is the use of the tree the children run around as a transition tool for moving forward in time to the adult versions of the characters. There were the mirror scenes of the fist fight at the well. The boys in the first occasion it being about the boys fear of going down the well and in the second about who should go down. The wonderful way film spends time with the characters and their motivations so every decision is organic and real.
Beautifully filmed it is an idyllic setting outside the turmoil of the world outside where the story is allowed to grow and come to completion. Cinematography is stunning and moody and the acting is excellent all the way through. If there were any criticisms that should be brought I would say that the music is a bit too strong and sentimental. It was strongly pushing the emotional impact points at times instead of accentuating them. Already mention the betrayal scene was initiated through a very cliche piece of writing and really was the only time I was pulled out of the story. Some may also point at the final scene and how it could come off as a bit gimmicky but I actual hope for that.
Overall this was a wonderful film and although received a bit luke warm at the Marathon I think the fact it was shown after a long night of films when people were tired that such a character driven film probably was not a good fit in the time slot. I loved it.

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