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Cameron’s underwater wonderland

James Cameron takes his underwater obsessions further with “Aliens of the Deep,” another Imax-size exploration deploying teams of marine biologists and NASA researchers to ocean depths so far down the sun is an unfounded rumor. Yet, as the film discloses, life not only exists in such seemingly unpromising circumstances, it floats, eats, discharges waste and even messes with the intruders’ equipment.

But this isn’t just a sightseeing tour. There’s a cosmic angle to the proceedings. It’s possible, the movie speculates persuasively, that whatever forms life takes on moons and planets too far from the sun will be similar to these exotic flora and fauna.

The movie’s simulations of future NASA expeditions to Jupiter’s moons, especially Europa -- where ice may conceal oceans as deep and potentially filled with extraterrestrial life -- are fairly seamless and show that we’ve come a long way since Werner von Braun narrated a staged lunar trip for kids watching the old Walt Disney TV series of the ‘50s.

In the end (and it’s not Cameron’s or the movie’s fault), you keep thinking of the Wes Anderson lark, “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” and trying to frame Cameron in Bill Murray’s goofy red cap. Though “Aliens of the Deep” flirts with Zissou-Murray’s divine madness, Cameron’s vision seems somehow cozier. No wonder he’s not yet ready for dry dock.

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-- Gene Seymour

“Aliens Of The Deep,” G. Running time: 45 minutes. At selected large-format theaters.

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‘Chaos’ gruesome and exploitative

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David De Falco’s misogynistic horror film “Chaos” presents itself as a cautionary tale for young women and their parents but proves to be pure exploitation. The first 30 minutes tread the usual genre path strewn with variable quality acting and wooden dialogue as two college-aged women are lured from a rave to a remote cabin before it plunges into an abyss of gruesome imagery so repulsive it precludes further watching.

-- Kevin Crust

“Chaos,” unrated. Gruesome images. Running time: 1 hour, 16 minutes. At Laemmle’s Fairfax Cinemas, 7907 Beverly Blvd., (323) 655-4010.


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