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Talent of Cusack, Thornton salvation of 'Pushing Tin'

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"Pushing Tin"

Directed by: Mike Newell

Starring: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie

Rated: R

Screenwriters Glen and Les Charles are masters of the milieu. They're the guys who looked into the world of New York City cab drivers with "Taxi" and the microcosm of the neighborhood tavern in "Cheers."

Their latest screenplay, "Pushing Tin," takes us to another esoteric and interesting locale, inside the world of air-traffic controllers at the busiest air-site on the planet. While adept at creating these settings, the Charleses also suffer from dreaded sit-comitis, and in the end, the film suffers from it.

Credit director Mike Newell and four actors at the top of their craft for taking a screenplay that eventually gets mired in clich?s and making "Pushing Tin" as good as it is.

Newell is best known for the box office success "Four Weddings and a Funeral," but he has done a number of other fine films.

Two favorites of mine are "Enchanted April," an unbelievably charming film about two Englishwomen who rent an Italian villa for a month-long getaway, and "Into the West," a fairy-tale sort of affair about two young Irish brothers, their alcoholic father and a mystical white horse. There's really no easy way to describe "Into the West," but it's a film that is worth looking for it's out on video but may be a bit hard to find.

As for the cast of "Pushing Tin," there's nothing to be said but "perfect." John Cusack is about the most likable actor around, always infusing his characters with an affability that draws the audience to him.

Billy Bob Thornton is emerging as this generation's Robert Duvall[[In-content Ad]]

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