Flightplan

After her husband falls to his death in Berlin, a propulsion engineer (Jodie Foster) takes a commercial flight back to the U.S. with her six-year-old daughter and awakes from a nap to find that the girl is missing and no one on board remembers seeing her. This thriller is effective if you can accept thatas with some of John Dickson Carr’s locked-room mysteriesthe trickiness counts more than any plausibility. There’s also some pointed if unstressed social commentary, and pitting Foster’s engineer, with her knowledge of planes, against everyone else makes for some lively moments. Robert Schwentke directed a script by Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray; with Peter Sarsgaard and Sean Bean. PG-13, 98 min. (JR)

Published on 23 Sep 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Searching For The Wrong-eyed Jesus

Made for the BBC, this travelogue of America’s southern backwoods is both blessed and cursed by its fascination with the colorfullively alt-country sounds and fancy word spinners like novelist Harry Crews. As a native of the deep south, I was pleased but also troubled by the locals’ eagerness to put on a folksy act for director Andrew Douglas; the camera makes awed touristic pans of the various locales, and guides offer an uncredited swipe from Faulkner’s The Wild Palms and charge $100 a day to rent a 1970 Chevy. This plays like a documentary but also credits a writer, Steve Haisman. 84 min. (JR)

Published on 23 Sep 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Everything Is Illuminated

Alas, the thing most illuminated here is how blotchy digital video can look in the wrong hands. Actor Liev Schreiber makes his writing and directing debut with this adaptation of a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, about a young American Jew (Elijah Wood) traveling to a remote Ukrainian village in search of the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Alternately mawkish and strident, with lots of fades to white and dog reaction shots, this can be recommended only for its good intentions. With Eugene Hutz and Boris Leskin. In English and subtitled Ukrainian. PG-13, 104 min. (JR)

Published on 23 Sep 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Dear Wendy

American teens in a depressed mining town form a secret club based on the twin tenets of pacifism and gun ownership; predictably, they wind up in a shootout with police. This Danish allegory (in English) was directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration) but written and produced by Lars von Trier (Dogville), whose hypocrisy and facile anti-Americanism are much in evidence. Vinterberg and von Trier may consider themselves pacifists, but they don’t seem to mind using violence to attract an audience. Well acted and directed, yet outlandish in some details, this 2004 feature is basically watchable tripe. 101 min. (JR)

Published on 23 Sep 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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