New Releases for Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Directed by: Jacob Gentry
Run time: 100 minutes
The Lowdown: Wow.
Synchronicity is hands-down one of the best science-fiction films I’ve seen in a long, long time and possibly one of the best time-travel-centric films I’ve ever seen.
This is up there with “Timecrimes” and “Looper” and “Donnie Darko,” for me.
Synchronicity, much like its definition, is a movie about multiple simultaneous events that appear deeply connected but often disguise the tangle of roots that signifies more than a casual connection.
It’s the story of a physicist on the verge of a major history-changing breakthrough, ie the development of time travel.
It’s the story of an aspiring female author who is writing her first novel about a physicist on the verge of a major history-changing breakthrough, ie the development of time travel.
And it’s the story of a sentient being, who may be from an alternate universe, who happens to be a physicist who was pursuing a major history-changing breakthrough.
Yes, it’s complicated. No, it’s not as confusing as I probably just made it sound.
What Synchronicity is – the impact it makes – is thrilling and utterly fearless filmmaking by Jacob Gentry, the co-writer-director of “The Signal,” one of my most favorite head-screw sci-fi/horror/thrillers of all time, which was released in 2007.
Gentry does so much so well in Synchronicity that at times it boggles the mind. He creates a very believable world that looks and feels like our world but it’s clearly an enhanced version of the reality we know. He fashions expensive-looking set pieces involving the time machine itself that clearly were done on a limited budget. He expertly utilizes two genre icons from different generations to provide the necessary gravitas to give Synchronicity much-needed dramatic heft. AJ Bowen is this generation’s go-to actor with incredible range who has appeared in numerous genre films, including “The Signal,” “You’re Next,” “The House of the Devil” and so many more. And Michael Ironside, who plays a ruthless businessman intent on marketing time travel for unrivaled wealth and fame, represents the old-guard greats, having gained acclaim in the 1970s and ‘80s in films like “Scanners,” “Top Gun,” “Total Recall” and “Starship Troopers.”
Synchronicity has moments where it teeters, but it manages to consistently course-correct, always keeping its core story intact even as the multiple timelines begin to intersect and interact and implode.
You simply have to watch this movie if you’re a fan of heady science fiction. It will leave you giddy and grinning.
The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Brianne Davis is smoking hot.
Nudity – Yes. Gore – No.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Michael Ironside still has it.
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
The Boy (Universal, 98 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): William Brent Bell has made three other movies and two of them were not very good. Sadly, his fourth film, The Boy, while intriguing in premise and creepy in its initial story construct, just can’t sustain the necessary intensity throughout its not-terribly long run time.
Scars (Wild Eye Releasing, 108 minutes, Unrated, DVD): There’s a great movie trapped inside the awkward construct of Scars, a glorious ode to nihilism that boldly features two female protagonists who embark on an intertwined journey of self-discovery by slaughtering as many men as possible. Scars starts surprisingly strong for a low-budget feature, using interesting camera compositions to slowly unspool the first in a string of killings and the aftermath of having to clean up a big, bloody mess. But where Scars undermines itself is in its core set-up. Instead of focusing on both the female leads at the same time, the film instead opts to break their stories up through recurring vignettes, which creates a distracting sense of separation. As soon as you get involved in one character’s arc, the film suddenly shifts to the other character. There are times that both women share the screen, but early on, it’s not enough to keep a viewer captivated. I will admit, and this isn’t good, but if Scars does course-correct later on past its midpoint, I didn’t stick around long enough to find that out, which is a shame for a film with an audacious opening. Its talent and creative team deserve for viewers to watch all the way through.
New on VOD:
The Curse of Sleeping Beauty (XLrator Media, 89 minutes, Unrated, VOD): Pearry Teo makes gorgeous, gothic, erotic horror and sci-fi genre films that often too-closely resemble better movies that you’ve seen. His 2009 film, “Necromentia,” was an unnecessary riff on “Hellraiser” that needed more originality and less homage. “The Gene Generation” in 2007 was a cyberpunk version of “The Matrix” without Keanu or its mind-blowing freshness.
Teo’s latest, “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty,” now available on most Video On Demand platforms, looks just as stunning. It’s less of a copycat and more of its own creation, which is a welcome relief. I love Teo’s visual aesthetic. It’s so nice to see him finally fully embrace something that doesn’t feel like a retread.
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