HUNGARIAN VAGABOND (2004) probably loses more in translation than anything else I’ve seen: not knowing Hungarian history I was lost with a lot of scenes (as Magyar chieftains jump forward repeatedly through the centuries) until the obvious ones such as Nazis and Soviets. There’s also so much anachronistic humor (“I shall call it a Rubik’s cube—another Magyar invention!”) I wasn’t sure at first if they really were time traveling. And what’s the point of the chieftains mistaking Chinese characters for fellow Magyars? I assume if I were Hungarian this would have more punch (the fact Hungary is no longer under the thumb of foreign despots is a big point at the finish). “Why didn’t you shoot the letter through the window as befits a dramatic moment?”
THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME (2013) has an elderly Venezuelan woman convicted of murdering her family returned to her home to live out her remaining years. This leads to the revelation the weird events of decades before were the result of the house twisting time so that, for example, the shadowy Intruder one night was the woman herself. Starts slow but picks up once the time paradoxes start. “He believed that here he would find the secret of our creation.”
SAAWARIYA (2007) is a Bollywood fantasy in which a young musician falls for a local hooker, only to learn she’s devoted herself to waiting for her Lost Love. Despite some reviews that indicated things might be More Than They Seem, they’re not (but I knew this one was a long shot) so I don’t need to list this in the book. Can’t say it amounts to much in its own right, but Bollywood often doesn’t work for me.
COME BACK TO ME (2014) is a mediocre horror movie in which a woman becomes increasingly convinced her reality is not what it seems—and it turns out she’s right but for non-time travel reasons (a psycho with resurrection powers keeps killing and raping her, then bringing her back). Nothing to make an effort for and way too heavy on OMG It Was Just a Dream twists. “I’ve been shooting blanks, do you know what I mean?”
I tried watching JOHN DIES AT THE END (2012) once before and gave up as it appeared to be a non-contender (despite a couple of references claiming at least a minor time-travel element), but it turns out the weird experiences the protagonists are having result from an invasion via alt.history where computers have taken over. Off-beat enough it should have worked better for me than it did, but it left me completely flat. Definitely qualifies for the book though; Paul Giamatti plays a dead reporter and Clancy Brown is an evil AI’s chief acolyte. “Would you be willing to speak directly to the manifestation?”
CHOU KAMEN RIDER DEN-O AND DECADE (2009) is part of the long-running Kamen Rider series (part of which materialized in the US as Masked Rider) which includes multiple versions like Power Rangers (from the same studio). In the Den-O period, the protagonist is battling time-traveling bodysnatcher seeking to warp history, though in this movie the adversary are Oni trying to escape their destined extinction. Not my sort of thing but it’s hard not to feel some affection when the climax is a time-traveling train battling a time-traveling flying warship. “It looks like I’ll have to make a dramatic move!”
Switching to TV, ROOFTOP PRINCE (2012) is a Korean series in which a prince from medieval Joseon is transported into the future while investigating his bride’s murder. There he steps into his modern-day incarnation’s shoes (said incarnation having been murdered) and becomes involved in corporate intrigues and soap opera while finding the young woman putting him up in his rooftop apartment Obnoxious and Irritating. Cute, though I’m really not sure how the ending reunion works. “The one good thing about dying is that I can speak the words that have been in my heart.”
HARUKA: Beyond the Stream of Time was a 2005 video game-based anime in which young Akane and her friends are drawn back to the past to avert the Oni’s imminent conquest of Tokyo. This is a leaden, tedious series that doesn’t even work as a “male harem” story (a popular anime format) as nobody shows more than mild interest in Akane. Done now, happily.“There’s no way you would sit by quietly.”