I took a break from watching Nowhere Man on DVD this month and last to get caught up on some movies, including The Triangle, The Island, The Aviator and Flightplan.
Inspired by the resent arrival of a review copy of The Triangle soundtrack (Amazon), I’ve started watching the SCI-FI mini series on DVD, and been pleasantly surprised by it. I expected a bunch of mystical mumble jumble as four explorers try to unravel the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, but they make an effort to portray the main characters (well, perhaps except for the psychic) as rational people trapped in an increasingly irrational situation. More over, as things get weird they rely on science to figure out what’s going on, which was pleasantly surprising.
At the opposite extreme is The Island starring Ewan McGreggor which I can only imagine its his attempt at atonement for a crime too horrible to be imagined, let alone mentioned. That’s the only reason I can see why he’d want to start in this explosion-filled, brain-damaged Logan’s Run rip-off — it’s a horrible movie, not worth writing about save that my mentioning it might save you the pain of seeing it.
I’m usually skeptical of movies about genius capitalist inventors — Hollywood’s proven itself all but incapable of being sympathetic to the people who helped make America great. The Aviator though, is different. It’s the life story of Howard Hughes, eccentric (and later just plain crazy) airplane mogel who helped revolutionize the aerospace business. I was expecting a hatchet job against the man, playing up his oddness and playing down his genius, but this movie succeeds in balancing both — showing Hughes at his inspired best and his deranged worse, and most importantly, showing his struggle to overcome his own mental monsters to fight for his airline against the threat of a government-mandated monopoly in international air travel. His defense — of himself, of his company, of America — during the Senate hearings was inspiring.
The Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan is all atmosphere and no substance. In it, Foster’s character has recently lost her husband to a freak accident, and now must fly home with her distraught daughter for the funeral. All the while, her husband’s corpse rides in a coffin in the cargo hold. As the movie unfolds her daughter goes missing, and we’re quickly led to wonder if the girl ever really existed (there’s no record of her on the passenger manifest). The visuals do an excellent job of creating an oppressive, dark mood, but ultimately that mood serves as a heavy bank of fog, obscuring the emotion and terror that we should be feeling either because Foster’s character has lost her child or her mind.