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NEW YORK -- The modest similarities between Robert Zemeckis's last live action film, 2000's "Cast Away," and his latest, "Flight," are interesting. Both begin with a plane crash that changes a man's life, a man who goes on a journey of finding himself and restarting his life anew. Both are films about rebirth. One chooses a tale of a company guy stranded on a desert island to convey the theme. The other chooses that of a pilot caught up in a malfeasance nightmare.
Each commits to film one of the most harrowing plane crashes ever seen*, but while Tom Hanks's time-obsessed protagonist in "Cast Away" learns to take his time through life, Denzel Washington's addiction-afflicted hero in "Flight" learns to admit his problem to the one person he's still fooling: himself.
And that's what the film is about. It may have elements of action filmmaking and courtroom drama, but it is, ultimately, a character study about the sickness of addiction. It captures the embarrassment, the denial, the rage and, crucially, the chronic fallibility that comes with it. The screenplay, from writer John Gatins, pulses with an authenticity that suggests personal experience, but married to a narrative that all but asks whether impairment might have sparked the inspiration to save a hundred lives in a bold way, it becomes something more complex.
1. Taylor Swift: Billboard rejiggers its genre singles charts to incorporate download sales and streaming, along side radio play. The move catapults Swift to the top two slots on the Hot Country Songs chart. The loser? Carrie Underwood, whose song “Blown Away” gets blown out of the potential top spot by Swift.
2. Ke$ha: The “Tik Tok” singer is writing her memoirs, which will be illustrated. Does the book come with a box of crayons?
3. Yekaterina Samutsevich: The Pussy Riot member is freed from prison. One down, two to go.
4. One Direction: Not only is the boy band the first U.K. band to ever debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its first release, now they hold the record for the highest bow on Billboard’s Hot 100 by a U.K. group as “Live While We’re Young” comes on at No. 3. Is it me or is that just crazy?
5. Rolling Stones: The veteran rockers show they still have it 50 years down the line with new single, “Doom & Gloom.”
6. Aerosmith: Steven Tyler causes a few tremors when he says the group will consider self-releasing future projects “IF THE BAND STAYS TOGETHER.” Huh? These guys will never, ever be done with each other.
7. Drake: He gets paid $3 million in royalties from Pandora. That’s a nice chunk of change, even though we're sure he'll find some reason to moan about it.
8. Mumford & Sons: They handily stay No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a second straight week, smacking down fellow British band Muse.
9. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Seattle rapper Macklemore and producer Lewis will be a secret no more as their new set, “The Heist,” will be the highest debut next week over such legends as Kiss and Barbra Streisand.
10. Led Zeppelin: The group reunites, but only for a screening of “Celebration,” the film of their 2007 concert. And no, they still aren’t reuniting again. Don’t be a schmuck.
LONDON - At no other festival I've attended is the faintly absurd bubble we film critics live in made more apparent than the BFI London Film Festival -- a buffet far more concerned with serving the public the best world cinema has to offer, whether or not another festival got to it first, than with providing media outlets with grabby exclusives and world premieres.
For me and many of my colleagues, a Cannes-premiered film like "Rust and Bone" is already old news, despite not having officially opened yet; for London cineastes in the real world, tonight's gala screening, with Marion Cotillard in attendance, is an eagerly anticipated event. That is as it should be: one of the things I love about my hometown festival is that it re-sparks thoughts and conversations about such films in a much more lively public context.
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...? ?
It’s another busy week on the Billboard 200 as seven titles are poised to bow in the Top 10 next week.
None of the septet of debuts will prove strong enough to knock Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” out of the pinnacle. The title is projected to sell up to 110,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double, for its third week at the top.
After “Babel” comes four new titles, including two from legendary veterans: Rapper and DJ combo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s debut album, “The Heist,” will bow at No. 2, besting rockers KISS, whose new set “Monster” will come in at No. 3 with sales of up to 70,000. Bad Boy rapper MGK (aka Machine Gun Kelly) comes in at No. 5 with “Lace Up.” Barbra Streisand lands at No. 5 with “Release Me,” a collection of 11 previously unreleased tunes.
Pink’s former No. 1, “The Truth About Love” is at No. 6, but then we return to more debuts. Coheed & Cambria’s “Afterman: Ascension” comes in at No. 6. Duking it out for No. 7 are four albums, including two more debuts: newcomers All Time Low’s “Don’t Panic” and British singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding’s “Halcyon” are in dead heats with returning albums “Kaleidoscope Dream” from Miguel and “The 2nd Law” from Muse. Each title is on target to sell between 30,000 and 35,000 copies.
The Best Original Song race is starting to fill out. We've added a few more to our contenders page in recent days, including tracks from "Celeste & Jesse Forever" and "West of Memphis," but today comes the news that DreamWorks Animation's "Rise of the Guardians" will feature a tune from acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming
"Strike Back" just wrapped up its second Cinemax season (and third overall), and I have a quick review of the season coming up just as soon as I shoot you with both hands tied behind my back...