With the arrival of the multi-time repeating, race against the clock fueling, Jake Gyllenhaal starring flick "Source Code" hitting theaters April 1, Starpulse thought it only polite to give a little cinematic love to the movies that utilize the power of time travel. But unlike the vast number of top five favorites lists both big (yes, we all KNOW "Back to the Future" is king!) and small ("Donnie Darko" at #1 – how hip of you!) already in abundance on the net, this is a collection of five hidden gems you may not have heard of. So flux capacitors at the ready readers, cause here are five rip-roaring, across time leaping, seeing other time zones jumping flicks guaranteed to entertain and enlighten the cinefile looking for more source in their code.
Today’s category: Time Travel.
1. "Trancers" (1985)
Long before filmmaker Charles Band went crazy with all those "Puppet Master" and "Subspecies" sequels he made "Trancers", a complex yet wonderfully simple little tale about a time jumping cop on the hunt for a crook. With Mickey Spillane style tough guy Tim Thomerson as his no nonsense police man Jack Deth (“Dry hair’s for squids!”), Band creates a stylistic, funny, dramatic and at times romantic film that far exceeds the little money it took to make. (Plus an early and hot Helen Hunt as the love interest doesn’t hurt either!) As with all of Band’s work there were forgettable sequels, but the charm and inspired vibe could never be duplicated. An original in every sense of the word, "Trancers" may be a B-movie on the outside, but it has A+ greatness at heart.
2. "Timecrimes" (2008)
Man goes into machine. Machine goes through time. Bad guy is in the mix. Our bad guy. Proving you can make a thrilling film about time travel on a shoestring budget (take note Spielberg!), Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo makes an impressive debut equally worthy of the best and brightest the genre has to offer. Elaborate and nuanced, "Timecrimes" even manages to go one step further by daring to examine the effects and consequences of going through time and it’s downright chilling stuff. Not to mention that Vigalondo’s cast comprises of folks who seem like average Joes (including himself!), which adds even more suspense and immediacy to the shocking twists and turns. Detailed, intricate and utterly captivating (the time machine looks like a mushroom!), the real crime would be to miss this one.
3. "The Deaths of Ian Stone" (2007)
While there is the element of time travel in this one, "The Deaths of Ian Stone" is so much more. As a stand-alone hit from the usually awful 'After Dark 8 Films To Die For', Stone is a moody mix of scares (the horror element is ever present!), brain teasers (who the heck is Ian Stone?), and the classic theme of good and evil (friend or foe – watch out!) rolled into one dark twisted little package. The story of a man who is murdered every day and transported into different lives is so engrossing, so horrific and so delightfully disturbing that it begs for multiple viewings. Death may be inevitable for Mr. Stone, but this five star outing breathes fresh life into the familiar.
4. "Time After Time" (1979)
Everyone knows "The Time Machine" both old (morlocks still haunt dreams today!) and new (Orlando Jones as a…librarian?!?!), but only those with a finer motion picture palate know of this outstanding time travel cat and mouse mix. Clockwork Orange baddie Malcolm McDowell plays a convincing good guy this go around as legendary writer H.G. Wells who uses his time machine to go from 1893 to 1979 to pursue legendary serial killer Jack the Ripper. (Played with grinning gusto by "Tron" heavy David Warner!) Add a touching romantic element between McDowell and a pre-"Back to the Future 3" Mary Steenburgen, a clever fish out of water theme and the solid sci-fi direction of helmer Nicholas Meyer (he made Star Trek 2 and 6 - the best of the bunch!) and you’ve got a tasty outing that can be watched time and time again.
5. "My Science Project" (1985)
Cheesy? Possibly. Campy? Most definitely. But it’s hard to deny the pure 80’s pull of this comedy sci-fi flick that got buried under the likes of "Ghostbusters" and "The Last Starfighter." Like a guilty pleasure that keeps on giving, everything from the quotable lines (why wear shades at night - “when you’re cool, the sun shines on you twenty-four hours a day!”) to the top-notch cast (Fisher Stevens as Vince Latello steals the show!) makes this tale about an alien time travel device well worth a second viewing. Look, any film that has the late, great and always unpredictable Dennis Hopper as a buttoned down science teacher deserves to move to the head of the class.
And be sure to check out "Source Code" in theaters everywhere April 1!