Movie Review: The History of Time Travel

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The History of Time Travel * 2014 * Ages 13+ * 1 Hour 11 Minutes

😸😸😸😸🌑 4 Happy Lap Cats

“One small step for Russia, one giant leap for Communism.”

The History of Time Travel is a quiet, low budget fictional documentary that asks the question, “What would happen if time travel were developed secretly, for personal reasons, by a single family of scientists? Would anyone notice the changes?” It answers the question as the documentary is being made, in small increments, that require the viewer to keep up with the details of the storyline. Easter eggs abound, as the story plays out on both the intimate scale of a family drama and the large scale of 20th century history.

The story is told through fake interviews, staged photographs and stock footage. The science of time and time travel are explained early on. We’re introduced to physicist Dr Edward Page (Daniel W May), who’s assigned to work on the secret Indiana Project during World War 2 after President Roosevelt is informed that the Germans are disturbingly close to developing time travel. Dr Page works diligently on the project throughout the war, becoming obsessed with his subject and ignoring his family.

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Undone Season 1 Episode 2: The Hospital Recap

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In Undone episode 2, Alma wakes up in the hospital after her accident and discovers she’s been in a coma for a few days or weeks due to the severe head injury she sustained at the beginning and end of episode 1. Episode 2 is where the nonlinear storytelling aspect of Undone is at its peak, showing off the flexibility that the animation techniques used in the visuals give the narrative.

Cool as the visuals are, pay close attention to the use of sound in the episode as well. Alma’s hearing impairment isn’t just a plot device and the various environmental sounds in each episode aren’t just cool effects. Information is being warped and kept from Alma, by herself and by the other characters, and it’s through sound that we’re sometimes made aware of the missing facts.

Recap

Episode 2 begins with an overhead view of Alma’s accident from up in the sky, which gradually descends to ground level, then into the car, then focuses on her unconscious face. She’s slumped over the steering wheel, her forehead dripping blood, one arm thrown up over her head to try to break the impact. We can hear static from Alma’s cochlear implant, ominous musical tones and one long, high pitched whine, like the sound a heart monitor makes when a patient flatlines.

It could be feedback from the implant malfunctioning or tinnitus from Alma’s injuries. Or it could be that Alma flatlined. We’re never clearly told what her injuries were or how long her coma was. Though the narration appears to come from outside of Alma, there are strong signals in this episode that we always, and only, see what she sees and know what she knows, through her altered point of view.

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Prime Video’s Undone Season 1 Review/Episode 1: The Crash Recap

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Prime Video’s new animated series for adults, Undone, is a unique show that explores mind-bending themes, mental health and family drama in 8 short, 22-24 minute long episodes, making the most of its stellar cast and experienced animation team in each episode. Creators Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy (BoJack Horseman) used the animation technique of rotoscoping to give the series a surreal quality that takes it a step beyond magical realism.

Rotoscoping involves filming the actors in live action, then tracing over the filmed images to create a polished animated product. Undone is the first serialized TV series to be fully animated using rotoscoping. Probably its most famous previous use was in the film A Scanner Darkly. The same team, Minnow Mountain, did the rotoscoping on both that film and Undone.

Undone is the story of Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar), a young woman who is struggling with her goals and identity, in addition to the lingering trauma from her father Jacob’s (Bob Odenkirk) death when she was a child. Outwardly, her life seems Happy and Fine. She lives with her nice boyfriend, Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay), and has a decent job at a daycare center, working with her good friend and boss, Tunde (Daveed Diggs). (Who wouldn’t want to work with the voice of Daveed Diggs?)

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The Man in the High Castle Season 1 Episode 1: The New World Recap

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Heil Hitler! We’ve got about 2 months before the November 15 release of the final season of Amazon’s chilling alternate history series The Man in the High Castle. Since I haven’t recapped season 1 yet, I’m going to spend some of that time catching up. Recaps of seasons 2-4 are here, at the show’s tag. Season 2 was one of the first seasons I recapped on the blog and I was still figuring out my style, so if I get time someday I may revisit it more thoroughly.

For now, let’s journey back to both the Amazon Prime Video of 2015 and an alternate version of 1962, where the Nazis and the Japanese won World War 2. The Germans developed the atomic bomb first and dropped one on Washington DC, leading the US to surrender. 17 years later, Hitler continues to lead the German empire, while the Japanese continue to be led by Emperor Hirohito.

The two empires have divided the world between them, leaving various swaths open as lawless neutral zones. The eastern and midwestern portions of the former United States are now part of the Greater Third Reich. The West Coast states are now the Japanese Pacific States.

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Hanna Season 1 Episode 8: Utrax Recap

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Hanna season 1 reaches its conclusion with episode 8, Utrax, which takes place at the Romanian facility where Hanna was born and where the program was restarted after Marissa helped shut it down. Erik and Marissa continue to face their pasts while Hanna learns more details about who she is. Marissa and Sawyer face off. Erik and Hanna attempt to set the new trainees free, but there are complications.

Recap

Episode 8 begins with the trainees still in lockdown at the Utrax facility. As they sit on their beds and fidget, the voice on the loudspeaker reminds them of the rules: Stay in their rooms. Stay away from the windows. They’ll be told when the lockdown is over. Even the most obedient of the girls is growing anxious from sitting still too long.

249 goes to the window and listens to a conversation between two guards in a room on the other side of the courtyard. One tells the other that something went wrong during the operation at the motel, she can’t find Sawyer, and they’ve lost Erik and Hanna. She doesn’t know what’s currently happening out in the field.

After their triumphant exit from the motel, Erik and Hanna have paused somewhere in the woods for Hanna to remove a bullet from Erik’s arm, using a knife and her teeth. She catches a rabbit with her bare hands for their breakfast.

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Hanna Season 1 Episode 7: Road Recap

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“The road is my home; my home, the road.”- Hedwig Robinson.

Episode 7 of Hanna, Road, brings Erik and Hanna back together for a nostalgia filled road trip. They each visit a birth parent and discover that the road is their home now and they are each other’s family. To be together, they must be on the run, but that’s likely Hanna’s fate no matter what, now that they know what she looks like.

Marissa also continues to confront truths about herself, the road and family. She has a reunion with Erik at the hotel where he and Johanna brought Hanna when she was an infant. Marissa proves once again that she’s meant to do more than work 9 to 5 and be a Parisian housewife.

While I’ve enjoyed the Sophie interludes, Hanna is at its best when its 3 leads are together in some combination. This episode might be the best episode of the season for overall character development. So many secret truths are revealed and so much of Erik, Marissa and Johanna’s pasts are explored. Hanna learns more about herself than she has all season, both factually and genetically. All three leads face moments of truth that will define them from here on. Hanna has been renewed for season 2, so that’s a more meaningful statement than it would have been a week ago.

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Hanna Season 1 Episode 6: Mother Recap

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Episode 6, Mother, reunites Hanna and Erik. But first, Erik is held prisoner by Sawyer and tortured, while Hanna has a fight with Sophie, then agrees to leave quietly with Marissa as her daughter/prisoner. There are some good character moments and fun action scenes, plus a major reveal. But the main reasons for this episode are to give Marissa and Hanna a chance to meet face to face at last and to move everyone toward their place for the final two episodes.

Recap

The episode opens on Sawyer visiting Erik in the basement dungeon where he’s keeping Erik nearly naked, on the floor, with an air conditioner blowing on him. The torture is made worse by throwing buckets of cold water on him at frequent intervals.

Sawyer wants to know where Hanna is. So does Erik. “I don’t know where she is because she didn’t tell me. She’s smarter than all of us. Don’t look so surprised. You made her that way.”

Sawyer is really nothing more than a glorified flunky with an out of control ego. Definitely not part of the team that made Hanna. Probably hasn’t even bothered to read the file. He’s gotten lucky so far. Marissa is the smart one, and I don’t think that Hanna actually is smarter than her. That makes me wonder, again, if Marissa is an early prototype for the Utrax project.

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Hanna Season 1 Episode 5: Town Recap

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In episode 5, Hanna has made it to London and is hiding out in Sophie’s garage, sleeping in the family’s camper van. She’s thrown head first into the deep end of normal teenage social life in this episode, which she does her best to navigate. Between her sheltered upbringing and her heightened responses due to her manipulated DNA, she has a tougher time than most girls her age. As always, Hanna’s common sense and abilities also come in handy when she needs to read people or defend herself.

Both Hanna and Erik struggle to deal with the consequences of Hanna’s discoveries about her background. Erik is seriously wounded, which stops him from searching for Hanna, leaving him in despair. Hanna is depressed, grieving the relationship she thought she had with Erik.

Sawyer and Marissa develop a power struggle over the case. Sawyer continues to use heavy-handed methods and takes Marissa off the case, despite the depth of her experience with Erik. As usual, Marissa takes matters into her own hands.

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Hanna Season 1 Episode 4: Father Recap

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Episode 4 finally brings Erik and Marissa (Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos) together for an extended confrontation. While Erik holds Marissa hostage and they reflect on their shared history and the ramifications of Erik’s decision to rescue Hanna as an infant, Dieter brings Hanna home to stay with his family. She’s exposed to another version of a typical family, this one functional and happy, with a very involved, kind-hearted father.

She’s also exposed to a range attitudes about her father, including the skewed information Marissa has fed the public. Hanna begins to question who Erik is to her and who she wants him to be.

Recap

After rescuing her from the chaos of the fighting, Dieter brings Hanna to his family home to stay with him for a couple of days, until things settle down. He introduces her to his sons, Armin and Bijan. The police search the area around the hotel, looking for Erik and his gang. Jacobs and his main henchman, Costigan, return to their hotel room, where they find the story is all over the news, with Erik Heller given as the suspect in the murder of Lukas Taylor.

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Hanna Season 1 Episode 3: City Recap

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As befits an episode called “City”, episode 3 of Hanna picks up the storytelling pace and keeps the characters in motion. Hanna and Erik are reunited and must work together against their nemesis, Marissa, who finally gets enough screen time in this episode for character building and to reveal her backstory with Erik. The episode also has some parallels with episode 2, as Hanna is thrown into another established, troubled family. In this episode they work with Erik’s old Army gang, where she’s again relegated to the role of child, even though she’s much more than that.

Recap

Hanna’s train pulls into Berlin, as Jacobs visits Sophie’s family to question them about her. He falsely claims that Hanna’s mother is alive and has asked him to find her daughter, because Hanna’s father, who she’s been staying with, is dangerous and unstable. Then he shows the family a photo of the two guards Erik killed on the Polish-German border.

Since the family don’t know they’re in an action-suspense series and this sort of thing is to be expected, it’s very upsetting for them. Jacobs and the family all keep pushing Sophie for any information she might be holding back, out of loyalty to Hanna.

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