THE TIME MACHINE
A once-over-slightly exercise in nostalgic wonder directed by the British-born great-grandson of H.G. Wells. Guy Pearce, cheekbones poking through his pale skin, plays the hero of Wells’ science-fiction classic, who climbs into his elegant, handmade contraption for tripping across the centuries and tries to restore his murdered fiancee to life. After learning that he can’t change destiny, he’s off to the future, where he discovers the Eloi, a native tribe locked in battle with the Morlocks, the underground cannibals who have split off from the human race. Wells spun a what-if allegory of life after world war, but director Simon Wells just makes the postapocalyptic jungle setting look like some Hawaiian summer-stock version of The Road Warrior. Memo to Pearce: Stop treating yourself like a grade-B actor.