Two that don’t qualify for my book—
AMITYVILLE: It’s About Time (1992) was part of the second phase of the long-running franchise, in which the evil from the house enters various pieces of furniture, all of which end up in other houses … (this began with the TV movie Amityville: The Evil Escapes). In this case developer Stephen Macht brings home an antique clock which starts giving everyone weird hallucinations, which neighbor Nita Talbot warns is Very Very Bad, but will anyone listen? The ending might qualify this for my “marginal time travel’ appendix, but maybe not even that. In any case, mediocre—I haven’t watched crappy horror like this in a long while and I haven’t missed it. “Necromancer—it’s French, it means ‘eater of the dead.’”
PAYCHECK (2003) is John Woo’s Philip K. Dick adaptation in which Ben Affleck discovers that in return for three years of work for Aaron Eckhart (which has been erased from his mind for security) all he got was this stupid envelope of obviously useless bric-a-brac. These of course, turn out to be the exact things Eckhart’s precognitive computer told Afflect he’d need to stop Eckhart destroying the world. Unfortunately, this twist doesn’t work at movie length and the climax is way too much Woo-style hyper-action. Uma Thurman, as Affleck’s forgotten girlfriend, is a brilliant scientist whose only purpose in the script is to be in love with her man. Joe Morton plays a suspicious FBI man. “Was it fate? No, fate was on our side.”
Three that do:
PREHISTORIC WOMEN (1967)has an English hunter stumble into a Forbidden Land in Africa from whence he’s hurled back to the ancient era when Martine Beswick’s raven-haired amazons keep blondes as slaves. Beswick’s powerful screen presence and the eye candy factor are all this has to recommend it (though Beswick does make a great evil queen), and so much time is devoted to Primitive Tribal Dancing this is almost a musical. Definitely not recommended, but just as definitely it belongs in my book.
PLANET OF THE APES (2001) doubles pretty well with the above, as unlike the original film the humans here are intelligent, articulate and enslaved, until Mark Wahlberg crashes through a time rift and reluctantly becomes the liberator (as my friend Ross says, it’s not that far from a Stargate episode). While the visual details of ape society are neat, the film is too generic to work for me; well cast though, with Helena Bonham Carter as a human-rights supporter, David Warner as her father, Tim Roth as an evil chimp general and Stargate’s Michael Clarke Duncan as Roth’s more compassionate right hand. “This is the day you’ve waited for—this is the day you get to stand up to the apes!”
MEET THE ROBINSONS (2007) is an uneven Disney flick in which a genius pre-teen orphan finds out that his new invention is the linchpin on which the future turns, leading to the attention of an annoying future boy and a mysterious bowler-hatted man. This spends way too much time on the wacky Robinson family, probably because the kids’ book it’s based on focuses on them; here it just feels like annoying filler getting in the way of a surprisingly complex time-travel plot. Second-rate, but not without redeeming features. “Everyone will tell you to let it go and move on—instead, let it fester inside you!”