Pilot Frank "Shut 'Em Down" Towns (Dennis Quaid) arrives in Mongolia to close down an unprosperous oil rig and fly the disgruntled crew home. Along for the ride are his partner A.J. (Tyrese) the oil company's fetching but feisty female foreman (Miranda Otto) the company man (Hugh Laurie) assorted grease monkeys and one very odd hitchhiker (Giovanni Ribisi). Townes foolishly decides to fly into a sandstorm instead of turning back resulting in a forced landing that has them stranded in the middle of the Gobi desert with little hope of rescue. Moviegoers will likely be comparing the film not to the original but to TV's similar plane crash story Lost. Like Lost there's a reluctant leader a spunky babe a wise Arabic guy and lots of life-or-death tension. (Sorry no polar bears). Once they realize no rescue is coming they concoct a risky plan to get home although not everyone's sold on the idea.
Dennis Quaid is his usual roguish self as Towns a crusty arrogant but still charming guy who might be Harrison Ford's brother from Six Days Seven Nights. Heavy lifting isn't required by the actors in a film like this but indie fave Giovanni Ribisi turns in a nicely twitchy performance as Elliott the fellow who turns out to be strangely important to their survival. Miranda Otto (Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings films) is once again believably self-sufficient and is spared any romantic overtures from her fellow survivors. Hugh Laurie's character is at first merely "the suit " but gradually pitches in with the blue-collar workers. Tony Curran and Tyrese buddy up as they pull together to salvage what they can from the wrecked plane. As the chef Jacob Vargas supplies much of the comedy while desert know-how comes from Kevork Malikyan.
John Moore who also directed the rah-rah actioner Behind Enemy Lines clearly likes stories about men in desperate circumstances leavened by unlikely bonding and humor. The Gobi desert never looked more beautiful or more ominous with its mysteriously shifting sand. The plane crash might not be able to rival The Day After Tomorrow's tornados or jaw-dropping tidal wave but is still horrifyingly riveting. If you can't predict every beat of the finale however you clearly haven't seen enough movies.
The Disney Channel began an on-air campaign Thursday to help children cope with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, with the first lady, Laura Bush, talking about her feelings on the situation, The Associated Press reports. The network designed the campaign to target children aged from 6 to 14 and plans to bring in Hollywood celebrities to join.
The attacks on New York have not changed PBS' plans to air the final episodes of New York: A Documentary Film on Sunday and Monday at 9 p.m. The film, compiled by filmmaker Ric Burns eight years ago, details another period in the city's history when it faced challenges that seemed insurmountable, like the post-World War II and its fiscal crisis of the 1970s. "The message, of course is that the city is simply too strong, too resilient, too important," Burns told Reuters. He also plans an eighth installment looking at the impact and meaning of the World Trade Center tragedy.
Rolling Stone magazine has compiled a roundup of rock star reactions to the tragedies, relating stories of how some interrupted their daily lives to help out on Ground Zero. Ozzy Osbourne sought solace in a Manhattan with wife Sharon after witnessing the attacks from the roof of their midtown hotel. Alanis Morissette clung to her boyfriend all day in Los Angeles. Beastie Boy Adam Yauch delivered food and socks to volunteers at the scene.
Los Angeles detectives served a search warrant at boxer Mike Tyson's mansion after a woman accused him of rape last week. "We obviously don't consider Mr. Tyson a threat to the community, otherwise we would have done something immediately," Las Vegas Police Capt. Dennis Cobb told Reuters. Tyson was said to be "cooperative" during the search. Details of the allegation were not available.
Jonathan Glazer's gangster film Sexy Beast, the London comedy South West Nine and the indie film Jump Tomorrow lead the pack with five nominations at the fourth British Independent Film Awards, to be held Oct. 24 at London's Park Lane Hotel. Sixteen prizes will be handed out at the ceremony, Reuters reports, including the Daily Variety Personality of the Year Award, which goes to scribe Richard Curtis, of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bean.
India's popular film star, Amitabh Bachchan, will play the lead role in the Indian version of Hollywood's legendary The Godfather, Reuters reports. The film, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, was based on Mario Puzo's bestseller and traced the rivalry between Italian Mafia families in the United States, Amitabh, who was voted actor of the millennium in a BBC poll will play Vito Corleone, producer A.G. Nadiadwala told Reuters on Friday.
In the spring, ABC will mark the 50th anniversary of American Bandstand with a two-hour primetime special. Host Dick Clark, 71, will show classic moments from the shows and introduce performances by music superstars spanning five decades, AP reports. WFIL-TV in Philadelphia began broadcasting the show in 1952, which eventually moved to Los Angeles before ending its long run in 1989.
Michael Jordan's leap into NBA basketball has failed to fire up advertisers, as many wait on the sidelines to see whether the basketball player's comeback will be successful, analysts told Reuters on Wednesday. Media buyers and sports consultants believe Jordan's decision to come back and play for the Washington Wizards, a team he partly owns, should help jump-start the team and draw fans into the sport.