While it’s a mystery to this reviewer how Jodie Foster picks the films she’s in — since her superstar-making turn in 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs,” she’s played everything from an atheist cosmonaut (“Contact”) to a nun (“The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys”), to an Old West gambler (“Maverick”) — she seems to know how to pick ’em.
A good testament to that fact is her new film, “Flightplan.” A drum-tight thriller, with more than a few of those topsy-turvy, Hitchcockian moments when you think the person you’ve been rooting for might be completely in the wrong, “Flightplan” turns out to be much more than the “ ‘Die Hard’ on an airplane” schmaltz the plot seems to promise at first blush (and which it might well have become had the lead role been awarded to any other actress).
Foster plays Kyle, a recently widowed engineer flying back to New York with her 6-year-old daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) in the seat beside her and her husband’s body in the hold. It’s no coincidence that she’s aboard the latest super-jumbo passenger jet, taking a free ride on the maiden voyage of a plane she helped design. Trying desperately to hold it together, Kyle is shocked when she awakens — mid-flight — to find her daughter missing. What’s more, after a thorough search of the airplane with both the help of the crew and a gradually-more-pissed air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard), Kyle is informed that not only is her daughter not on the plane, the manifest says she never was.
While I don’t want to give too much away, suffice it to say that it all goes to hell from there.
Foster is terrific here as the harried mother lioness doing anything to find her cub. As in “Lambs,” her eyes, her brows, the corners of her mouth, speak volumes in the quietest moments of “Flightplan,” and it’s then that you know you’re looking at one of the best in the game. It’s a measure of Foster’s acting ability that — though there comes a moment when it seems as if all avenues for her character to be sane have closed — the power of her torment and anguish keeps you with her; keeps you rooting for the possibility that she might be somehow at the center of vast conspiracy instead of just off her rocker.
While I wish Foster would commit herself to more intimate fodder, she brings a depth and power to the blockbusterish “Flightplan” that simply wouldn’t have been there had any other actress been cast in the lead role. With a fast-paced and interesting plot AND Foster hitting on all cylinders, however, this is a thriller’s thriller — maybe one of the best you’ll see all year.
— By David Koon
Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock seems likely to cruise to re-election against largely unfunded opponents, including Libertarian Chris Hayes and Democrat Dianne Curry, but an independent group has entered the fray against Hill with ads attacking the former banker's votes helpful to big banks.
Sen. Bart Hester, a Republican from Cave Springs who's been endeavoring lately to end state support for the state-owned War Memorial Stadium among other attacks on government spending, distributed a news release today saying he was working on a proposed $105 million income tax cut.
This is one to watch in Arkansas. The New York Times reports on incidents nationwide in which Republican-controlled states where voter ID laws have been invalidated in courts have found other ways to make it hard for new voters to get access to the polls.
Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said