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Pushing Tin

The high-pressure world of air-traffic control makes an unlikely but electric backdrop for this original, satisfying dramedy from director Mike Newell. John Cusak and Billy Bob Thornton star as rival hot-shot air-controllers whose ego-driven games of one-upmanship threaten to destroy not only their fragile marriages but also the lives of everyone flying in or out of New York's busy air space. First-time screenwriters Gary and Les Charles (well, movie first-timers -- the brothers created and produced the sit-com Cheers) based their lively, unusual narrative in a fascinating, seldom-seen environment, and Newell burns through it with crackling pace. Cusak and Thornton are excellent, balancing their roles perfectly on the fine line between comedy and drama, and Cate Blanchett gives another in a series of impeccable, chameleon-like performances as Cusak's neglected wife. Sometimes Pushing Tin moves so fast through the chaos of its characters lives that it stops making sense, but even in those moments it retains its bright, fun tone. Also featuring Angelina Jolie in another of her trademark moody-erratic-slut roles. Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Surround. Trailer, keep case.

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