News Tom Hanks in the 2000 film Castaway

In a story similar to the plot of the film Castaway starring Tom Hanks, Jose Ivan was found on the atoll having floated 8,000 miles from Mexico

And this year's winner is ... unlikely to be a home-grown screen star

A world-weary Michael Caine in 'The Quiet American' receives nomination for best actor against Pacino and Nicholson

Television Review: Omnibus

IN HIS NOVEL Misery, about a popular author whose "number one fan" imprisons him and cuts off his feet, Stephen King produced the best-known and scariest satire on the cult of the celebrity author. So it was ironic, and more than a little disappointing, to see him fall victim, in a different way, to the same cult in last night's Omnibus (BBC1).

Paperback fighters

Forget the cluttered mustiness of the traditional bookshop. The gloves are off, and now the big booksellers are doing battle.

FILM: VIDEOS

YOU'VE GOT MAIL (PG)

Letter: Hyping Ryan

Sir: I wonder if Brian Sibley is being fair to the vision of Steven Spielberg in saying that Saving Private Ryan was over-hyped because it contains high levels of realism in its combat scenes ("Hollywood's most over-hyped films", 15 July).

The Critics: Videos

Saving Private Ryan (15) Steven Spielberg's half-hour opening sequence - a graphic rendition of the Omaha Beach landing - is everything it's been made out to be: visceral film-making that immerses the audience in what might be the bloodiest action set-piece in Hollywood history before any of the characters are introduced. (It eclipses everything in the fatuous Shakespeare in Love, this year's Oscar winner for Best Picture.) But it's disheartening to see how swiftly Saving Private Ryan reverts to war-movie cliches. The master manipulator's Second World War epic, hyperbolically lauded as "the greatest war film ever made" by many American critics, is concerned with the rescue of a Private Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Eight soldiers - a predictably diverse bunch, led by a stolid Tom Hanks - are ordered by the State Department to rescue Ryan. The supporting actors (including Tom Sizemore, Jeremy Davies, and Ed Burns) are mostly fine, and Hanks has never been more moving. But the film strenuously poses their mission as a moral dilemma, which here amounts to little more than a series of clumsily written monologues. The movie's failings are almost as indelible as its achievements: there's no more telling indicator of the suspect Spielberg methodology than John Williams's nauseating score, which hammers "meaning" into every scene it accompanies. And the grotesque bookends - a tear-jerking, flag-waving present-day visit to a Normandy graveyard - are among the most spurious images the director has committed to film.

General Release

AMERICAN HISTORY X (18, 117 mins)

Monday Book: Great minds made simpler

THE `INTRODUCING...' SERIES ICON BOOKS, pounds 8.99 EACH

The Oscas: Shame on you, Oscar

David Thomson on tonight's Academy Awards - and why a Holocaust comedy should not even have been considered

Real Style: Play crazy for me

Forget youth and beauty - the secret of winning that Oscar is a disability that tugs on the heartstrings, says STUART HUSBAND

You Ask The Questions: So, Germaine, since animals now have rights, how about men?

Germaine Greer's new book, The Whole Woman, which claims women have settled for a fake equality instead of true liberation, is published next week by Doubleday. Nearly 30 years after she wrote The Female Eunuch, she has been driven to write another feminist polemic by the complacency of a younger generation of women. We asked readers to submit their questions for Dr Greer.
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