Saturday, February 16, 2013

Boston Sci-Fi Film Fest 2013 Day 4: S.I.N. Theory

Short day, although it really shouldn't have been. The theme for the day was "sci-fi mysteries/thrillers", and unfortunately S.I.N. Theory was not the greatest example of the genre. Frustratingly, Eternity played at 5pm, and while some of the folks who saw it seemed to like it (although they weren't throwing out superlatives or anything), there was no way that I was getting there on time; I would have had to leave work at 3:30pm or so, and that's not happening. I should have been able to see it on Sunday, but the blizzard-related shuffling pushed it off that schedule.

The 9pm show was scheduled to be something called Double Happiness Uranium, but apparently the filmmakers did not actually send a disc or DCP, but instead sent a link to a DVD image so that the fest could burn their own, only nobody apparently realized this until too late. Made for a frustrating day for festival honcho Garen Daley and projectionist Dave Kornfeld, who mentioned that it was on top of having the main theater booked for some sort of fly-fishing movie double feature, and so having some outdoorsy guy come into his booth and give him instructions. Yes, apparently they make fly-fishing movies, akin to the surf and ski and other extreme sports movies that have a lot of crazy action to be followed and slowed down and shown from multiple angles. Fly-fishing? Well, I suppose there might be some pretty cinematography, but an hour of it... twice?

On top of that, apparently everyone in the theater was drinking cheap beer, because the odor hit me like a wave as I left to hit the comic shop earlier than expected. I suppose I could have stayed for War of the Worlds: The True Story, but I saw that on Sunday and a second run-through was not needed, thankyouverymuch. I get the impression that this is one Garen really likes - he seemed quite surprised when he asked for response to it last night and the entire audience sort of went "eh". I kind of wish they'd re-run Eternity, but I suppose many of the folks in the theater were there for the 5pm show, because they don't work out in the suburban wastelands.

S.I.N. Theory

* ½ (out of four)
Seen 13 February 2013 in Somerville Theatre #2 (Boston Sci-Fi Fest, video)

If the initials in "S.I.N. Theory" stand for anything specific, I don't believe it is revealed in the movie, which is too bad. They imply material that's more salacious and exciting than what's on screen, and the movie could have used a dash of sleaze to distract from its silly, dull attempt at a sci-fi thriller story.

Dr. Michael Leimann (Jeremy Larter), we're told, is a brilliant mathematician. He teaches at a Toronto university where top students David (Farid Yazdani) and Evelyn (Allison Dawn Doiron) seem fond of him, but his real passion is a side project: An algorithm that can, with sufficient input, predict the actions of an individual, given enough input. Working on that got him fired, but with Evelyn's help, he completes it in his spare time - not only putting him on the to-do list of a hitman (Stephen Jacob Hogan), but also alerting him that Evelyn will die in two days.

Can we make it a rule that, before doing a film or other story that involves mathematically predicting the future in this way, the people involved should read Isaac Asimov's original Foundation trilogy? It's admittedly a big splash of cold water on the plot device, but sixty-odd years later, the idea that you can't apply the Seldon Plan to a single human being only fits what we know about math and human behavior better. Even if writer/director Richie Mitchell doesn't actually reference Asimov's "psychohistory" anywhere, he still seems to have some knowledge of the general principles, as they make their way into the dialogue, even though Michael's prediction algorithm works in opposition to them.

Full review on eFilmCritic.


Anonymous said...

Your review on S.I.N. Theory is hilarious, you’re bashing the shit out of a no budget $1,000 film. Big chops. And btw, it's not hard to figure out S.I.N. is an acronym for Social Insurance Number.

Jason said...

It costs the same amount of time and money to see as any other movie, and where it could make up ground on its more expensive counterparts - the writing - is where it's weakest, so why shouldn't it be judged by the same standards as the rest of the movies playing the festival?