Sunday 16 February 2014

App of Time (2010)

Director: John D'Agostino
Stars: Will Hightower and Ruben Angelo
This film was an official selection at the 6th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Tempe in 2010. Here's an index to my reviews of 2010 films.
As I'm revisiting old selections from the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival and I've just caught up with Children of the Dust, a new short starring Will Hightower, I thought I'd combine the two approaches and look back at an earlier short of Hightower's that played that festival in 2010, padding out the slot of the short 78 minute feature, Everything's Eventual. Unfortunately it's not remotely of the same quality, being a cheap and cheerful piece that will make science fiction purists cringe. It does raise a few laughs here and there, but those are the high points of a mostly inconsequential short film which surely works best as the introduction for a more substantial feature. It does enough to quieten down an audience and settle them in their seats before the main attraction, but it doesn't do much more. Hightower's co-star, Ruben Angelo, has moved light years on from this, which is his earliest acting credit on IMDb, to helm a company of his own, Rangelo Productions, which has eagerly awaited titles due this year like Grief.

Hightower takes the lead, playing a nerdy programmer called Matt. He doesn't seem to be a particularly good nerd, given that the obligatory fantasy novel on his desk is by Stephen King and the movie poster above it is of The Phantom Menace. C'mon, The Phantom Menace in 2010? He needs to revoke his nerd card with immediate effect. I can buy the Watchmen background on his monitor, but I can't buy the fact that he only has one of them. What sort of programmer only has one monitor? Anyway, he turns out to be far better than he thinks he is, because the new cellphone app he's written not only works perfectly on its first run, without a single test, but works perfectly at a completely different task to which it was designed. The one time I see a film where the code actually looks like real code (at least as far as I can tell), it turns out to back up outrageous sci-fi gibberish. Given the title of the movie and the fact that the app Matt is creating is called 'The Time Machine', you can see where it's going to go.

Sure, 'The Time Machine' is supposed to just tell you what happened on any date in the past, but what it really does is actually send you back in time. That's what Bobby finds out when he drops in to see his friend and gets to use the app for the first time. Off he goes and back he comes, scared silly. From that point, you can write most of the rest of the story yourself, predictability being only one of its flaws. App of Time could have been a lot worse, given that we see and hear everything we're supposed to and the effects work is pretty cool. I was surprised when Bobby disappears, but only because the effect looks so good when compared to everything else. Hightower and Angelo only do what they need to like this was a rehearsal and I got the impression they should have been ten years younger; the camera is jerky as if it missed a couple of upgrades; and the whole thing is restricted to two characters in basic sets. So App of Time could have been a heck of a lot better too. It's a cute timewaster, pun intended, but no more.

App of Time can be watched for free on YouTube.

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