Picks and Pans Review: Also Playing

updated 10/10/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT


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What's a widowed mom (Jodie Foster, below, right) to do when her child (Marlene Lawston) disappears midway through a transatlantic flight? Not take it sitting down, that's for sure. Foster does her heroic best to keep this so-so thriller set on a jumbo jet aloft, but even an actress of her estimable skill can't overcome a mediocre script that goes laughably limp near the finish. Peter Sarsgaard costars. (PG-13)

Oliver Twist

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It's obvious why director Roman Polanski (The Pianist), who spent his childhood living by his wits in World War II-torn Poland, was attracted to Charles Dickens's classic tale about a hungry orphan (Barney Clark, above) wandering the streets of 19th-century London. The disappointing surprise is that Polanski brings so little of a personal touch to this straightforward, almost prettified version of the story. Ben Kingsley, Jamie Foreman and Leanne Rowe costar. (PG-13)


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This sci-fi adventure flick is based on Firefly, a failed 2002 TV series created by Joss Whedon (TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer) that later flew out of stores on DVD. Though fans of Firefly may be thrilled, it's unlikely this stolid film will win over new ones. The characters sometimes get off a world-weary wisecrack, but neither the plot nor the action scenes come across as fresh or different from countless other space-set TV shows and movies. Nathan Fillion (below, left) and Adam Baldwin (right) star. (PG-13)

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