Frequency (2000) — PICK

The Time Machine (2002) — PASS


New on Amazon Prime are two time-bending movies: one showcasing the power of its fantasy premise to speak to the heart’s longing to escape the tyranny of time and see the wrongs of the past set right and the other illustrating just how badly time travel can be botched.

The good one is Frequency, starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel as father and son 30 years apart, communicating via ham radio and a freak convergence of hand-wavy plot conveniences. Set in Queens, with Quaid as a firefighter in 1969 and Caviezel as a cop in 1999, the film’s conceptual problems are dwarfed by its emotional strengths.

The bad one is The Time Machine, starring Guy Pearce and directed by H.G. Wells’ grandson Simon Wells, who owes the whole family an apology. As emotionally leaden as it is poorly plotted, it’s a wash on pretty much every level.

 

Caveat Spectator: Frequency: Profane and harsh language; strong violence and gunplay; fleeting disturbing images (mostly crime-scene photographs). Teens and up.