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Movie review

  • 2005-11-16
The Cave
Flightplan
Serenity

The Cave
Though you might not expect too much from a movie with the tagline: "Beneath heaven lies hell. Beneath hell lies: The Cave," you'd never guess it could be this big a catastrophe. In a nutshell, a group of professional cave explorers get to investigate an ancient cave. As it turns out, something evil has been brewing there for decades, and they soon find themselves hunted game. Non-scary, non-thrilling, non-funny, "The Cave" rips off the "Predator" and "Alien" movies, but uses it for, well, absolutely nothing. And there aren't even any spectacular deaths to enjoy. You can, however, spend your time playing the game "now, who's the next expendable character?" The best part about this is, the movie's so horribly cliched and predictable you win every time.
( Julie Vinten )

The only novel thing about this agonizingly bad film is that it is set in a Romanian cave: everything else is so thoroughly predictable that you can only sit there and guess every single scene before it happens. The story revolves around a group of scientists who go deep underground to chart the course of one of the world's largest subterranean rivers. But they soon discover that monsters live down there, which "frickin' fly," as one of the non-characters explains. And then they all get killed one by one, according to their relative moral merits. "The Cave" even has the nerve to set up a sequel in the final scene. It will probably be set in an unexplored cove in Kazakhstan to really set it apart. Isn't there a law against films like this?
( Tim Ochser )

Flightplan
After her husband's death, Kyle (Jodie Foster) and her six-year-old daughter, Julia, fly his coffin home to New York. Once the plane is in the air, Julia disappears and there are no records of her ever being on board. Foster carries this psychological thriller extremely well, but the movie as a whole doesn't live up to her strong performance. "Flightplan" does boast an eerie atmosphere and some good suspense for a while. In fact, the movie was doing so well that I was starting to hope it would be able to avoid the strong cliches that the premise unfortunately encompasses. Of course it couldn't, and with the third act's hackneyed plot-twist everything goes haywire. It pretty much ruins everything the movie had accomplished until then.
1/2 ( Julie Vinten )

Like so many Hollywood thrillers "Flightplan" begins promisingly enough. Kyle (Jodie Foster) is a recently bereaved woman flying home from Berlin to the U.S.A. with her young daughter on an enormous new passenger plane that she helped to design. But once the flight gets underway, she loses her child and no one, from the passengers to the crew, has any recollection of seeing her. Only a sympathetic air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) seems willing to help. The film is genuinely tense for about an hour, creating a griping sense of claustrophobia and paranoia as Foster battles between her emotions and senses. But then the film plunges into sheer ludicrousness, and not even Foster can save it from crashing. It's really a shame that "Flightplan" couldn't have found a more subtle way to land.
( Tim Ochser )

Serenity
Sometime in the 26th century, the outcast crew of the spaceship Serenity pick up two fugitives 's one of them a telepathic girl with a big secret. Soon the crewmembers find themselves battling not only the cannibalistic Reavers, but also the Alliance, which holds the universe in an iron grip. With the current shortage of good sci-fi movies, "Serenity" is quite a treat. This character-based, adventurous sci-fi/action piece boasts a cast of cool and interesting characters, and it's sure to keep you entertained through its wit and cheeky humor. The well-turned story fortunately works for people that haven't seen the TV-series "Firefly" on which the movie is based. But it's well worth checking out the series for a more intimate look at the characters' background and relationships.
1/2 ( Julie Vinten )

This is the most thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi film I have seen for a long time. The opening sequence alone has more inventiveness and class than the entire Star Wars franchise put together. Based on a short-lived TV series, "Serenity" follows a rogue team of robbers led by Mal (Nathan Fillion), who are being chased by a skilled assassin desperate to get hold of their human cargo, a seriously troubled teenager named River (Summer Glau). The plot is too complex to summarize in a few words, but suffice it to say that "Serenity" is an excellent film. The dialogue is sharp and witty without ever being preachy, and the story gleefully mixes all sorts of mythical sub-elements into it, which makes for riveting viewing. I hope there's a sequel in the pipeline.
( Tim Ochser )
 

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