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Primer

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the spoilers-suck dept.

Sci-Fi 111

Time-travel thriller Primer has already gained some festival attention (it won both the Alfred P. Sloan Prize and the Grand Jury Drama Prize at this year's Sundance), and OSCON attendees got a chance to watch the film last Thursday. Primer follows a stretch of time (better said, a series of timeloops) in the lives of a group of young engineers (Aaron, Abe, Robert and Phillip) whose day jobs are just a distraction necessary to pay for their real pursuit: tinkering in Aaron's garage, laboring to come up with the Big Idea that will attract VC funding and make them wildly rich. Two of them certainly find something valuable, but it doesn't lead to easy wealth. (Read on for the rest.)

The informal engineering group has evidently come up with at least one minor success; in the movie's opening scenes (with just a touch of foreboding narration hinting that not is all as it appears), the four are spending a late evening around the kitchen table of Aaron's suburban house, which could be anywhere in Silicon Valley's version of middle-class neighborhoods, or in one of the country's other tech hotbeds. (According to the credits, the movie is actually filmed around Dallas.) They're stuffing padded envelopes with a device the size of a hard drive, and arguing technical and financial details of their next project. It's a tense interchange; the players are frustrated with each other, and it's clear they might not even want to pursue a single project as a foursome.

The dialog here and throughout is sharp; not comic like the trio of lead characters in Office Space, but with the same sense of frustrated white-collar ambition. The jargon (hip-and-hopeful engineerspeak) can be a bit grating, but it flows perfectly and realistically.

The conversation continues in snippets over the next several days or weeks, with arguments over who holds patents, and whether there's an easier way to achieve temperatures low enough for superconduction in parts of the next device. Aaron and Abe are the core of the group, it seems, and the more committed to working with each other; they keep working on it as a pair, ignoring the other two for a time.

The details of what they're really hoping to make are left fuzzy, to say the least; the audience mostly sees haggling and bickering over fine points; whether the palladium is necessary, whether cheaper parts could be substituted, and so on. Visits to machine shops and diagram-driven arguments reveal that they're building something which will emit some kind of field from small plates facing the inside of a rotating mechanism, inside an argon-flooded box.

The two discover that the tabletop mechanism they've been cobbling together has some strange properties. The first clue: once its rotating parts are in motion, disconnecting the car batteries that feed it doesn't make the machine shut off as it should. The machine's motion gradually dies down, but only after minutes of inexplicable motion. Was it simply a bad measurement, or did they they just extract more energy than they'd applied? A type of mold which builds up in the mechanism as they continue to tweak it makes things even stranger; they take a sample to an acquaintance trained in biology; he declares their story of its origin "a joke." The amount of mold they've been cleaning out of the mechanism every few days, he explains, should have taken years -- not days -- to accumulate.

From here, the pace picks up in several ways: inspired by the rapid mold growth, Abe decides to put his watch into the machine, and finds that time seems to have passed within the field much faster than outside it. He and Aaron repeat the experiment, increasingly excited. The obvious ensues, and soon (after literally locking out both Phillip and Robert, making some quick ethical calculations that might not hold up in a patent suit), Abe and Aaron not only determine how to reverse the transit of time within their device, but construct a version big enough for a person to fit inside.

The rest of the film grows more ambiguous and confusing, though no less entertaining. The ambiguity is necessary for the film to move forward: if the bull-session logic of time-travel were fully explored, and every logical contradiction examined minutely, the narrator might drop out of existence, the opening scene itself might start to loop, and the characters might disappear one by one as the hypothetical past circumstances of their interactions were altered. However, the line is drawn such that the story gets told without bogging down in the inherent paradoxes; instead, the problems with crossing time paths pop up just enough to keep things interesting -- which is guaranteed to happen when the past and present instances of each character start to do more than simply observe each other from a distance.

The first Doppelgaenger appearance is shown by Abe to Aaron; Abe wanted to gradually reveal his already implemented plan to put the full-size machine in a place that met their need for an inconspicuous, windowless, climate-controlled home for the device. He decided on the local storage-rental facility (which drew some laughs from the audience). Through binoculars, he allows Aaron a glimpse of his alter ego passing through the doors of the facility with an oxygen tank.

A second machine soon lets both characters travel back and forth simultaneously, breathing from oxygen tanks inside their argon-flooded boxes. At first, both characters spend their time in the past isolated in a hotel room, watching TV and eating junk food, slowly convincing themselves that nothing catastrophic seems to result, that the world goes on just as it always has. Their caution gives way to optimism, and they come up with an easier way to make Big Money: look up stock results in the present day at a small-town library where they're unlikely to interact with anyone they know, and buy index funds shares -- in the recent past -- in funds they know are about to rise. (With index funds, they realize, the gains would be less conspicuous than single stocks, despite the tempation for quicker gains.)

The pair start living killingly long days; 24 hours, of course, have to be accounted for in the world of conventional time, and the rest in the recent past. By carpooling and calling in sick days, they contrive ways to conceal the double life.

If your system of belief suspension allows you to enjoy the movie so far, things get even more interesting. Despite their attempts to simply keep a low profile, avoid conversations with people they might see in their ordinary life, and so on, Aaron and Abe inevitably let their guard down, and then choose to ignore caution altogether when it means (they think) saving a life.

The interactions of past selves and present selves grows more sinister, and eventually downright treacherous. Who (and when) each character really is gets ever more difficult to sort out, for the characters as well as for the audience. The filmmakers have a clever idea of how a motivated and unscrupulous time-traveler might try to resolve the problem of tangling different time slices.

I suspect Primer will catch on, whether or not it soon reaches wide release. It's edgy in the same way as The Conversation . Primer comes much closer to the mind-tweaking of a Philip K. Dick story than this year's Paycheck did; while Paycheck was actually based on a Dick short story, it was dolled up and stretched for the big screen and in the process lost the original story's spare feel.

The technical goofs (some rough editing in spots, and an orangish cast, at least in the print shown in Portland) are easy to look past, and may even increase the creepy noir feeling. (Shane Carruth wrote and directed the film, and produced it on a budget of just $7,000; for that, a few choppy frames are hard to complain about.) The plot, too, has some rough edges (get out your time-travel dilemma blinders, and be prepared for some Star Trek-style technical doublespeak). On the whole, though, Primer is taut, smart, and well worth seeing.

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111 comments

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I have no response to that. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859677)

Well now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859678)

Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these films?

I, for one, welcome our sci-fi cinema overlords.

I dedicate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859681)

this 1st post to www.spankeys.com - keep admin awakeon sunday!

Labour, labour (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859689)

"Two of them certainly find something valuable, but it doesn't lead to easy wealth. (Read on for the rest.)"

Unfortunately it rarely does. Starting a business is like giving birth. If you knew what was involved, you never would have started.

Re:Labour, labour.... bullshit, bullshit (2, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859749)

If you knew what was involved, you never would have started.

I grant you that products are like babies: generally easy to conceive but hard to deliver. But, given the number of people who have undertaken their second or more venture and given the number of multiple-child families I think you have failed to make a case. In both case some sort of pain suppression or whatever seems to kick in and people come back for more.

Re:Labour, labour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859915)

If you knew what was involved, you never would have started.

I could help it! We'd had a few drinks and the business plan was so sexy...

Movie Fans . question. (2, Interesting)

zymano (581466) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859691)

How do movies get selected for Sundance ?

There must be a ton of movies for them to choose from .

Re:Movie Fans . question. (4, Informative)

Temsi (452609) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859910)

Usually, they get assistants and interns to view submissions (there can be thousands).
That is... they view the submissions that interest them after reading the synopsis.
They don't approve or disapprove a submission, but they make recommendations to the committees, who then view a handful of submissions and choose from those.
A lot of times they don't even view the whole film, just parts of it.
If you know someone there it also helps (I've seen enough Sundance rejects that were better than the ones accepted to know quality is not necessarily a deciding factor).
Basically, like every other film festival - there's a lot of politics involved.
At least... this is what I've heard.
If anyone here has evidence to the contrary, please post it, I'd like to know.

Re:Movie Fans . question. (2, Informative)

cdaneg (633157) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861493)

I found an interesting video that you may want to take a look at.

It's at http://movies.yahoo.com/movies/feature/sffoff.html [yahoo.com] . Scroll to the bottom of the page.

The video is called called "Sundance Speaks: 'Putting it Together'" and it shows the Festival Director discussing the film selection process.

Re:Movie Fans . question. (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#9862951)

thanks.

Re:Movie Fans . question. (1)

NineteenSixtyNine (775581) | more than 9 years ago | (#9862874)

Well, first of all, they have to suck purty bad.

Wow, sounds completely fucking terrible. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859695)

I seriously don't understand why I'm supposed to give a shit. This sounds like an unbelievably shitty movie.

FUCK SLASHDOT.

Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

jamie (78724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859700)

BTW, it's pronounced with a short I, the British way. [m-w.com]

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

BillsPetMonkey (654200) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859732)

Doesn't that make it the comparative of the adjective "prim", as in

"You're prim and proper but I'm even primer"

It's what we call Fanatical Support [tm] (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859735)

At RackSpace, our mission is simple.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

beeglebug (767468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859748)

What do you mean by the short 'I'? (i'm no good with those dictionary pronounciation guides)
Are we talking I as in 'eye', or the I in 'sit'?

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

sparrow_hawk (552508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860470)

That would be 'I' as in "sit," making the word "prihmer."

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9861739)

Mirriam Webster is wrong. Nobody in the UK says "primmer" for primer. Although one can say prim, it would be unusual to say primmer in that context too.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (5, Informative)

beeglebug (767468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859762)

As a British person myself, I can gurantee you that when discussing an introduction to something, we would say Primer, with the I pronounced the same as in Private, or Primate. Dunno where you got your info about the 'small I' from...

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (4, Funny)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859806)

He's Arnold, Arnold, Arnold Rimmer, He'd never say "primer" to rhyme with grimmer, He's never said a word with the "I" strangely thinner, If you do then you are much dimmer.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

khuber (5664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860032)

I'm skeptical. Are you sure you're British? What is Big Ben?

Primer with a long I is a kind of paint.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860138)

That too, PRI-mer is also used to mean an introduction and is pronounced the same.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860633)

Big Ben is the bell, not the clock. Mind you, I'm a New Zealander, and I've seen an English show make the mistake of calling the clocktower Big Ben...

(and mistakes in making tea too - a British movie actually had somebody "upperclass" scold a "commoner" for adding the milk to the teacup first as if that was a terrible mistake of the lower class. The truth is, that is the correct way to do it! The theory is that it prevents the milk from being scalded by the hot water...similar to stirring a martini rather than shaking it, so as not to bruise the alcohol - another mistake all British Bond films make.)

So, long story short, just because they are British doesn't mean they'll get the answer right :)

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860645)

I think it's also a kind of book, for instance used when "catching up" on a university subject before classes start ... which might be applicable in this title.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9861850)

British English doesn't have any other pronounciations of primer. They're all (four distinct meanings listed in my desktop dictionary) like primate, private or prima facie, and not like prima donna.

Why is "prima donna" different? Because it's from the Italian, not from old Latin.

Big Ben is a bell. If I'd been born within the sound of it (or any of the other Bow Bells) I'd have been a Cockney and then my ideas on pronounciation would be as worthless as those of a New Zealand sheep farmer.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

rosbif (71236) | more than 9 years ago | (#9862820)

Cor blimey guv, doncha kna that real cockneys are born within the sarnd 'f Bow Bells which are the bells of the church of St Mary-le-Bow in the City of London (nowhere near Big Ben bell which is in Westminster). Garn, for' we chuck our rotten teeth at ya......

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860043)

Dunno where you got your info about the 'small I' from...

I thought that, for a book if introduction, the short 'i' was the universal pronunciation, but Merriam-Webster [m-w.com] agrees with the original poster, that the short 'i' is the British pronunciation.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

tc (93768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860171)

The British pronunciation is most definitely like 'prime' or 'private', whatever M-W has to say on the subject.

I also note that the audio clip on the site is spoken by an American, and pronounced the other way (i.e. closer to the French 'prime').

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860304)

And, taking a second look at the m-w.com listing, I think maybe I've interpreted their pronunciation guide backwards. It's not clear whether they mean "'pri-m&r, chiefly British" or "chiefly British: 'prI-m&r". Whatever. I'll take your word for it, mate.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860114)

THen you need to go back to school, because I e-mailed two British friends of mine and they agree it's pronounced with the short 'i' sound and not the long one. Maybe Daddy didn't have the money to send you to a good school like my friends went to.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860172)

Dunno where you got your info about the 'small I' from...

From watching "Contact"...

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

macdo10 (638771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860270)

But do you say cOntroversy - or contrOversy? cheers ! macdo

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859802)

BTW, it's pronounced with a short I, the British way.

Sheesh, what a snotty little bastard.

As commonly used in conversation in the U.S. it is indeed a long I, cheese dick.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860122)

Looks like you're the bigger cheese dick, since the short 'i' sound is what is used when describing an introductory text to a subject.

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860034)

Like primer? DUhhhhhh...... I haven't painted all these years to use prim base................

Re:Pronounced with a short "I" (1)

jamie (78724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861095)

I think I read the dictionary explanation backwards... the British way seems to be with a long I, says our English editor... anyway the point is that when Tim was explaining the movie to me he kept saying it with a short I, and I eventually had to ask him "is it spelled primer like the paint, or primmer like more prim?"

To which Tim looked at me like, what are you, on crack?

It didn't sound like a movie on how to exceed one's current level of primness, so I assumed it referred to an instruction manual or tutorial, pronounced the way I do not normally pronounce it.

You mean the proper pronunication..... (1)

rosbif (71236) | more than 9 years ago | (#9862898)

There's no such thing as British pronunciation. There's English pronunciation which includes "received pronunciation" sometimes referred to as "BBC English" (think Wilfred Hyde White), but also includes "Estuary English" (think Madonna), cockney (on no account whatsoever think Dick Van Dyke), "Scouse English" (think the early Beatles), and so on. Then, in deference to our celtic compatriots, there's "Glasgow English" (think anyone with 12+ beers inside them), "Welsh English" (think Catherine Zeta Jones before she went Hollywood) etc.

If it is so good, then why... (0)

Sasha Slutsker (799836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859702)

If it is so good, then why does it have a 3.3/10 on the link to IMDB? Judging by the other reviews, it seems like it hard to understand, but I can't judge the movie as I have not every seen it. (Or, for that matter, heard of it before I read this review.)

Re:If it is so good, then why... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859766)

Because 119 votes doesn't represent a useful cross-section of the IMDB population. If you take a look at the distribution, you'll see that there are 2 populations voting. One population is giving it good reviews, and the other population is giving it 2's.
Votes Percentage Rating
----- ---------- ------
27 22.7% 10
16 13.4% 9
9 7.6% 8
11 9.2% 7
8 6.7% 6
3 2.5% 5
2 1.7% 4
3 2.5% 3
34 28.6% 2
6 5.0% 1

Arithmetic mean = 6.0. Median = 7
Note that only the 'weighted average' is 3.3, but the arithmetic mean is 6.0 and median is 7.

If we ignore the 40 votes of 1 and 2 (these are probably idiots anyway), then the mean is 8.1 and the median is 9.

Re:If it is so good, then why... (4, Insightful)

usefool (798755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859813)

If we ignore the 40 votes of 1 and 2 (these are probably idiots anyway), then the mean is 8.1 and the median is 9.

What happens if we also ignore the 43 votes of 9 and 10 (these are probably directors and producers anyway)?

Re:If it is so good, then why... (1)

Sasha Slutsker (799836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859840)

How can you judge who is an 'idiot' and who is not? I mean, there are a lot of votes for 2's, but there are also a lot of 10's and 9's. So why do you ignore the 2's and not the 10's?

Re:If it is so good, then why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859866)

So why do you ignore the 2's and not the 10's?

Statistics. If a lot of people thought the movie sucked, why did they all vote for 2? Generally, if such a large number of people thought it was worth a score of two, the result would be a normal curve. A lot of people would vote for 2, a bunch for 1 and 3, quite a few would vote 4, even less for 5, etc. However, the spike for votes of 2 does not resemble a normal curve. One explanation could be ballot stuffing. Another could be that these people didn't like the movie, checked the statistics first, and then voted 2 since there more votes for 2 than the other low scores.

Since the scores for 10 downwards (not including 2), resemble a normal curve, throwing out 9's and 10's is silly unless you throw out the 8's, 7's, 6
s, 5's, 4's, and 3's. That's absurd to throw out that much data, when the more probable way to handle the anomalty is to throw out the 2's.

Re:If it is so good, then why... (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859850)

All the low votes are from the same guy. He keeps looping back in time and voting again. It's probably that TimeCube guy. [timecube.com]

Re:If it is so good, then why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860061)

interview with time cube guy [great-debate.com]

Re:If it is so good, then why... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860012)

The is good reason why IMDB use a weighted system. They weight the votes in favour of regular voting and that helps prevent vote rigging.

Just look at the user reviews of the movie. All the positive reviews are by people who have never commented on a movie before. All the negative reviews are from people who have reviewed lots of other films.

It happens all the time on IMDB, people trying to promote their own movies and its pretty easy to spot if you know what you are looking for.

Re:If it is so good, then why... (4, Informative)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860116)

Because it is ridiculously convoluted and unattractive to the average filmgoer. I saw it last month at the Atlanta Film Festival and you really have to be pretty heavily into Sci-Fi or just mind fucks in general to get into it.

With that said, I loved it. This review absolutely fucking ruins the film. Most (maybe even all) of the fun is trying to figure out exactly what the hell is going on. It's easy to make it to the final frame and still be thinking that. Shane Carruth, the director, was on hand at our screening and basically said that it was intentionally dense but all of the pieces are there.

He also said that this was his first film (a short) and he never went to film school. apparently he got a math degree and started out as a programmer and then at some point decided to do film. He shot the whole thing for 7 grand. It cost him 5 times that to get it blown up from Super 16 to 35MM for Sundance.

Maybe a more accomplished filmmaker could have made it more accessible but I thought that it was very effective the way that it was. Knowing absolutely nothing about it before I saw it, my brain was aching by the time that it was over. That is generally a bad thing but in the case of Primer it wasn't. It's always good to see something different.

I remember my time machine.... (2, Funny)

NightWulf (672561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859707)

I used it to go back in time, ended up in Dallas in 1964. I landed on some guy, Lee Harvey something...well long story short I had to get future JFK to go back in time with me to kill past JFK from the grassy gnoll. So after that little mishap I just use my time machine to go through time and make sure I'm within the first 5 posts of a Slashdot story. If you're good, tomorrow i'll tell you about that whole time when they thought my name was Jesus like 2000 years ago.

Re:I remember my time machine.... (1)

jmelloy (460671) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859827)

Way to rip off Red Dwarf.

Re:I remember my time machine.... (2, Funny)

Yeti7226 (473207) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859902)

Lee Harvey did not shoot JFK in 1964. Or any other year for that matter ;-)

Re:I remember my time machine.... (1)

kaladorn (514293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860103)

Don't I recall having JFK shoot himself as a Red Dwarf episode? Something about seeing what might have happened if he survived and the nasty road that led down convincing him that offing himself was actually the better option?

Re:I remember my time machine.... (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860701)

There was a great "What if JFK lived?" episode of the New Twilight Zone, called "Profiles in Silver." [steveandmarta.com]

~Philly

Re:I remember my time machine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9861637)

Yes, that was a great one. First they accidently mess up Lee Harvey Oswald. Then several botched attempts to get the assassination right later, Lister, Rimmer, and the Cat spring JFK as he's getting hauled away to prison for one indescretion or another, and give him a chance to restore the flow of time by killing himself. He ends up being the shooter from the grassy knoll...

Re:I remember my time machine.... (2, Interesting)

Alan Cox (27532) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860104)

Michael Moorcock sort of covered the latter in "Breakfast in the ruins" where in one story Jesus gets hanged because the entire crowd is in fact time travel tourists who have been told what they must shout for by historians not wishing to change the past

Re:I remember my time machine.... (2, Informative)

Mournblade (72705) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860745)

He also covered it in "behold the man". The protaganist is a time traveller who is given an opportunity to travel back in time to meet Jesus. He ends up actually becoming Jesus. It's an earlier book of Moorcock's, and not as well known (at least here in the States) as his other works.

Re:I remember my time machine.... (2, Funny)

robfoo (579920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861416)

"Michael Moorcock" - sounds like a pr0n star. Didn't he do Farenheit 9: 11 inches?

Re:I remember my time machine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9862471)

Jesus get hanged? Have they changed the past again? What do crucifixes look like in your world?

RMS calls for closed source software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859708)

Oh nigga, don't hate da playa! Hate da game!

Word life.

3.3 on imdb... (2, Interesting)

holdonot (762027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859709)

I do trust imdb....nothing like a grassroots voting system...it's been pretty accurate....

according to imdb and 119 votes, it received a 3.3

hmmmm....

Re:3.3 on imdb... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859731)

Here's the voting stats:

10 - 22.7%
9 - 13.4%
8 - 7.6%
7 - 9.2%
6 - 6.7%
5 - 2.5%
4 - 1.7%
3 - 2.5%
2 - 28.6%
1 - 5.0%

Strange that there's a lot of votes for 2.. that's suspect.

Re:3.3 on imdb... (2, Insightful)

Goldfinger7400 (630228) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859746)

And how many slashdotters are now going to vote it with 10's or something without actually seeing it...

Re:3.3 on imdb... (3, Interesting)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859772)

Yes, but it has a VERY strange [imdb.com] voting pattern. I suspect ballot stuffing.

imdb rating (1)

b374 (799492) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859868)

Yes... judging from ratings I guess I found some masterpieces here [imdb.com] , here [imdb.com] , here [imdb.com] , here [imdb.com] and mostly here [imdb.com] from this very gifted actress [imdb.com] .

Garage tech and barriers to entry (2, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859751)

A number of early systems makers and software shops (not to mention dozens of web sites) came out of garage-style operations when the barrier to entry was low. Thinking of starting a hardware operation in your garage now? Good luck, you are squaring off against massively funded incubator programs from the major manufacturers. Same with software. As for the web, the low hanging fruit has been picked and the cost of competing with "real" websites is getting higher every day. With biotech and other new techs the barrier is even higher.

Not to sound discouraging - there are always ways bright entrepeneurs outwit big money, but doing so with practically none of their own is getting unrealistic as the IT industry matures. VCs and angel funders can help close the gap, but that of course comes with a steep price later on should things work out.

I'm sorry. (5, Funny)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860060)

Did you just object to a science fiction movie on the grounds that the financial backing of the characters is unrealistic?

Yes, he did. (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860834)

That's almost enough for me to put together some kind of prize for comments that are that incredibly... I don't even know the word for it. None of the adjectives I can think of right now are strong enough.

Re:I'm sorry. (1)

general_re (8883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861158)

Well, yeah. And while we're at it, who's funding the rebel forces in Star Wars? We're not seriously supposed to believe that X-Wings come free, are we?

;)

Re:Garage tech and barriers to entry (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860176)

If you were an entreprenuer or maybe took a business course you would know better.

Small business account for most of the new innovations that are produced, not large budget research and development labs. I might not be able to build the next plane to compete with Boeing in my garage but there are plenty of great ideas that come out of the average person every year. Knowledge comes out of people's minds and a quirky or different way of looking at things. Not from the bottom of a big pile of cash.

Re:Garage tech and barriers to entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9861693)

Sometimes is the lack of funding what forces innovation. The film itself had a very low budget!

Re:Garage tech and barriers to entry (1)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 9 years ago | (#9863011)

Ah, there still may be a bit of room at the bottom for the "little guys"; they'll just have to make up their own industries. Tucker didn't have much luck tilting at the automotive windmills because they had already grown too big (I was tempted to insert an "800-pound-gorilla" reference there, but I figured I'd already mixed-in enough metaphors...) Ditto with the web and biotech, as you pointed out, and probably almost everything else all the way down to mousetraps.
Space travel, however, still seems to hold some promise for the just-above-average guy -- launching humans is a niche market and always has been (and may be a niche market of some real note in the future, once there's a real selection of places to go ), but launching stuff is getting to be pretty popular (hey, even the French are doing it!!) and there's still plenty of room for competetion...

timothy always has the best stories (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859763)

And he has little Bobby to thank for that! It was only a few months ago when his eyes caught the Bobby's glance across a crowded playground. Visions of his uncut, smooth cock full of the vigor of youth and curiousity that sent timothy to trembling with abject desire.
He recalled the long, late nights on #!!!!!gaydadshollandmichigan on slashdot's IRC network. He was always upset by the people who had never touched a young boy let alone installed Linux but always boasted about watching a young lad take a piss or how Mozilla is teh best browser evar.
Now was his chance. He grabbed Bobby and stuffed his old, crusty gymsocks in Bobby's young and tender mouth. "ESR's gonna be so cheesed when he hears about this!"
An hour later, our hero timothy was covered in Bobby's blood and timothy's spent seed so he went home to recompile his kernel and post more news for nerds, stuff that's duped.

Strange Plot? (3, Interesting)

usefool (798755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859797)

One interesting line is that people cannot seem to be able to stay out of 'trouble'. If the characters can resist to interact with people and just get on with their businesses, nothing bad should happen.

However, why did they want to go back to past and buy index funds? Can't they just go forward and 'predict' a lottery number?

If going back to the past is the only option, here's one way to do it:

1. Rent a place to build the machine
2. Wait for 1-2 months to past
3. Move built machine to the rented place
4. Go back to 1-2 months
5. Interact with yourselves as much as you want since your past-self already know you're coming
6. Tell him/her to buy whatever index funds.
7. (Obligatory) Profit!!

Lottery (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860215)

Winning the lottery attracts a lot of attention. Winning it twice would start some investigations. Being excessively "lucky" at gambling, such as betting on sports results, would also create problems. The stock market would be safer, but even there, the SEC and other regulators are looking for suspicious patterns that might indicate insider trading.

Re:Lottery (1)

usefool (798755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860231)

I was actually thinking of winning it once, with some Powerball jackpot at over $200-$300 millions, I believe that's enough to carry on with my normal life, rather than doing the hard labour of sitting in a machine going back and forward multiple times risking a machine failure of some sort.

This is completely off-topic, I know, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860855)

Your comment about machine failure reminded me of the first Command & Conquer: Red Alert. (The opening cutscene were Professor Einstien travels back in time to meet Adolf Hitler as a street punk in the 20's.) I may be remembering wrong, or misinterpreting what happened, but it seemed to me that he shook his hand, and then disappeared, and then was back in the lab. Where did Hitler go? That's always bugged me.

Imagine how much it would suck.... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860869)

If half of you went back a week and the other half week back six days? Well, I guess it wouldn't suck for you, since you'd be dead pretty much instantly, but imagine how much your buddy would be hating life... He just finishes cleaning up the mess from the first time you exploded all over the machine, and then your other half appears and messes it all back up.

Here is a link to the trailer. (3, Informative)

Vehrdiet (566590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859804)

http://www.primermovie.com/ [primermovie.com]

Movie Site w/Trailers (4, Informative)

No_Weak_Heart (444982) | more than 10 years ago | (#9859812)

Here's the official site w/trailers:

http://www.primermovie.com/ [primermovie.com]

mod do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859817)

Slashdot Broke Firefox (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9859828)

Dateline: Holland, Michigan

An obese CmdrTaco lays in bed with his boy-bride while surfing the internet on his Windows "boxen" with the most standards compliant web browser available to mortal men.
Internet Explorer.
"You know this open source shit is for the birds. How can I be a homosexual and not get on the internet? I spent five hours, five hours trying to configure PPP because Holland doesn't have broadband yet!" he proceeded to whack the young, horny lad in the head for using teeth.
"That's why we configured Firefox to poorly render our page by using Microsoft's robust ASP technology. Cowboyneal's already teaching himself Visual Studio 6.0!"
If Slashdot was standards compliant and lived the open source rules they espoused in this poor excuse for a web log then maybe there'd be fewer dupes, fewer trolls and more gay niggers.

thanks a lot.. (3, Informative)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860042)

could have atleast mentioned that the entire article spoils the movie..

Re:thanks a lot.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860074)

you should realize being a whining wuss about such things is the exception, not the rule. It was obviously a review with details to anyone who read the first half of the text, why did you finish reading it?

Re:thanks a lot.. (1)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860164)

Even saying that the film is about time travel is spoiling it.

spoils the movie? I hope not ... (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860088)

there are things I specifically didn't mention that I think might have, and I won't mention them here, either except obliquely:

- 2-second lead time
- collapsability
- mysterious late-night visit :)

timothy

a fantastic movie (4, Interesting)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860121)

Wow, interesting that this movie is getting Slashdot attention. When I saw this at the Atlanta Film Festival two months ago I immediately told everyone I knew about it. I've been using IMDB for a decade, but I created an IMDB account for the first time that day just so I could post the following user comment.

You remember the first time you saw The Matrix (please, not the awful sequels) and you could barely keep up with what was going on, trying to piece together the pieces of what you were being told into a coherent story?

This movie was exactly like that. The first half or so is fairly linear (despite the frenzied Altman-esque style of everyone talking on top of each other), but then it gets WEIRD and it just absolutely blew me away. This film won a major Sundance award, and normally that means I won't like it (especially the normally pandering audience award winners) but this movie, and first-time filmmaker Shane Carruth, deserves absolutely everything it gets. I am just blown away.

Did you like Pi? If so, go see this one.

By the way, the attention to detail in the beginning is great. Often in thrillers with technical content, if you have a technical education you have consciously ignore all the stupid movie crud that they pull to make it into a good story. But this movie pulls off an incredibly believable technical story, with only a few distracting gaffs. That is, the tech jargon is good enough that you don't get distracted and can focus on the story line.

Final comment: Yes, it is very hard to follow the story line in this movie.

Obviously I'm not going to spoil it, but I think the following fact will help when the movie gets kind of hairy towards the end: Aaron is the dark-haired guy, Abe is the blond-haired guy.

This movie now has distribution and you should keep an eye out for it in the fall.

I hope it's better than The Matrix. (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860413)

I don't understand why people use The Matrix as an example of a movie that was hard to follow. When I first heard reviews of The Matrix I was excited... it sounded like a great movie, with a lot of twisty confusing plot threads and a surprise at the end.

And that pretty much ruined it for me.

Because when I watched it, I saw a great straight-forward superhero movie with virtual reality as the superhero schtick. The bit where Neo has to be beat up and brought to the edge of death to gain his super powers is straight out of Anime, and there was no more than the usual annoying amount of bad science. Good movie, but all the build up had me looking for the REAL plot twists, the ones that never came. By the end I was waiting for them to reveal that the "Real World" was another level of simulation, or something equally impressive.

So...

I sure hope that Primer is really complex and hard to follow, and it's not just a matter of reviewers who aren't familiar with the time-travel genre freaking out about it. I'd hate to be disappointed like that again.

Re:I hope it's better than The Matrix. (1)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860825)

You won't be disappointed. This is a truly (and brilliantly IMHO) muddled film.

Re:a fantastic movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860681)

Did you like Pi? If so, go see this one.

Dude, turn in your geek card, you're no longer worthy.

Re:a fantastic movie (made for $7k) (2, Informative)

drxyzzy (149370) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861573)

Shane Carruth was at the Waterfront Film Festival earlier this summer talking to the audience after a screening of Primer about how the movie was made. I got the impression of an energetic, independent, and creative guy, relatively untainted by the business of the movie industry.

Here's an interview [makingthefilm.com] with Carruth that goes into some of the background, including the $7000 budget.

Sounds Interesting... just wish ... (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9860441)

...there were places to see it.

The website [primermovie.com] has not really been updated since June for additional screenings. Is it still being circulated?

It says on the site that ThinkFilm acquired the distribution but it doesn't say if Primer will be circulatiing their typical distribution of coffe house independent film venues or not.

Does anyone know where I can find an up to date showing list?

Frist Psot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9860503)

Ugh. More morally ambiguous asshole characters. (2, Interesting)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861283)

The last few of low-budget, funky movies I've watched seemed to have this as a common element.

--I'm thinking of "Being John Malkovich", "Cube", "Memento" and that film shot in Edmonton about office workers living and working in a mall/office complex who bet they can stay indoors for 100 days, (and which I forget the name of.)

All very clever, but sheesh! Don't Good Guys get to be in funky films once in a while? Any film which makes me hate the main characters loses at least one and a half stars just because I can't stand assholes and creeps in real life. If a Bad Guy is in a film, then he'd better get punched, shot, blown up, or horribly embarrassed, and he'd most certainly better not be the main character!

Bad guys aren't any fun to watch. They make me feel ill, and that's not why I pay the price of admission.

"Office Space", had a Good Guy for a main character. I wonder if that had anything to do with its success.


-FL

Disagreement (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861476)

I find films where who's the "good guy" and who's the "bad guy" is unclear to generally be far better. Real life doesn't have good or bad guys, just guys doing whatever it is that they feel the need to do.

A film that makes it plainly obvious who is good and who is bad is, very generally speaking, less interesting to me. I can't identify with the character, because his actions and motivations are usually very cartoon-like in their simplicity. He's the good guy, so *obviously* he has to run back into the burning building to save the kid instead of chasing the bad guy down the street. That sort of thing... I find it annoying because there's no surprises.. The characters have no depth, they're basically one dimensional, have to "do the right thing" type of characters. They're also uninteresting.

For the same reasons, many actors want to play the bad guy. The bad guy has more motivational range, more depth, more interest. I generally like the bad guys better in such films, because at least they are doing something different than the norm.

Films where the protagonists are themselves "bad guys" are usually quite good as well. Any thief movie sort of falls into this category.. The Italian Job, to pick an example, didn't have any "good guys" in it at all. And it was just excellent, I thought. Would have been better without Mark Wahlberg, but still a damn fine flick.

Re:Disagreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9861666)

what are your thoughts on George Bush?

Re:Ugh. More morally ambiguous asshole characters. (2, Informative)

theantix (466036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861710)

and that film shot in Edmonton about office workers living and working in a mall/office complex who bet they can stay indoors for 100 days, (and which I forget the name of.)

I do believe that the name of the you are thinking of is "waydowntown [imdb.com] ".

Bad guys aren't any fun to watch. They make me feel ill, and that's not why I pay the price of admission.

I must disagree with you, I thought the self-absorbed characters in waydowntown are a lot more realistic than most movies and thus their internal conflicts seem a more interesting to me. If a character is stereotyped as a "good guy" you know they will eventually make the "right" decision... just another fairy tale, and how interesting is that for adults?

It really depends on how you watch movies -- if you just want fun, I guess morality tales are an empty but pleasant way to spend a few hours. I do like a little bit more meat though, and flawed characters always make the plot more compelling -- especially in retrospect. There is certainly a legitimate place for both types of films, no doubt.

Rated PG-13 for brief language. (2, Funny)

berniecase (20853) | more than 10 years ago | (#9861471)

Rated PG-13 for brief language.

Hrm... just imagine if they talked more.

John Titor! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9861758)

See this website [johntitor.com] to read about this man who claimed to be a time traveller from the future.

Was he one of this movie's producers? Who knows?

problems with indy films... (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#9862086)

I am a indy film maker but it's impossible for me to get to see these acclaimed "good" films i hear about so much.

either the director/crew are stuck in the hollywierd though train of "mmmmm money! we'll be rich we better not let people see it!" or they dont care, just made it for the festival rounds and never EVER release it as a loq quality online version or sell a DVD/VHS of it.

I make my fils to entertain and to show them to people.

Why is it that it seems that I am the exception and not the rule?

Re:problems with indy films... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9862566)

Exactly. I'm just finishing a 10 month film project, feature length. DVDs are getting all setup now and I'm purposefully excluding copy protection so those that can't afford it or won't buy it can just copy it.

People that desire to support me will, and in the end eyeballs actually see my film is worth a lot more. (Not to mention it gets easier to find help for the next project)

Supplemental Viewing (1)

Odonian (730378) | more than 9 years ago | (#9862378)

Now if you are a fan of Reeely Bad movies, and also like time travel, you may want to also check out Time Travelers (The Four DVD set) [yahoo.com] . This is a collection of four very bad time travel movies that I found entertaining for their badness. The movies included are:

In the year 2889 - This is actually a post-apocolypse kind of deal, don't know why it's time travel related but is kind of amusing. Rich dude builds a bomb shelter house in a lead lined canyon and various people show up after the blast, while others turn into meat-eating mutants. Hillarity ensues.

Idaho Transfer - College coeds working on a secret project involving time travel in this indecipherable story that really doesn't go anywhere. Oh did I mention all the women have to take off their pants for some reason before activating the time travel device? It was the 70s.. enough said.

Journey to the center of Time. This is one of those early 60's bad scifi deals with people setting big dials and stuff.

The Day Time Ended - Well it has "time" in the title, but really this is invasion of the hippie pyramid ranch in the desert by aliens. I thought it was the least entertaing of the bunch, but hey four movies for like 7 bucks, you can't complain really.

Liberal use of Fast-Forward is recommended, but otherwise fun.

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