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TIME TRAVEL on Cruise control

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"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop culture offerings is just what we need. With that in mind, here is what's on the radar screen in TV, music and film for the coming week.

BIG RELEASE: Edge of Tomorrow (June 6)

BIG PICTURE: This one is Groundhog Day meets Looper meets War of the Worlds meets... MY. WORST. NIGHTMARE: Being stuck in a time loop with Tom Cruise in a suicidal battle against aliens! My greatest sympathies are reserved for his co-star Emily Blunt. Cruise and Blunt play futuristic soldiers killed on the battlefield against an unbeatable foe -- but inexplicably thrust into a time loop that allows them to slowly learn from their mistakes, and come one step closer to defeating their E.T. nemesis with every re-do. (My guess is Katie Holmes wrote this script based on her marriage).

FORECAST: Hollywood has created a real-world time loop. Cruise versus aliens was a big office draw back in 2005. While his star has faded, audiences still love a time-travel plot. But can Cruise compete against another time travel blockbuster, X-Men, for the same box-office spoils? Right now, I bet there's a drunk studio executive somewhere too scared to find out, frantically trying to build a time machine in his basement with Play-Doh, a toaster, paper clips and a cuckoo clock.

HONOURABLE MENTION: The Fault in Our Stars. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort prove you don't need a dystopian future to tell an honest story about teenage love. Based on the best-selling novel, this tale's touching young lovers meet at a cancer support group. There won't be a dry eye in the house.


BIG EVENT: Famous in 12 (June 3, CW, 10 p.m.)

BIG PICTURE: Would your family members be willing to sell their souls, suffer humiliation and expose their delusions of grandeur in front of a national audience? No? Hmmm. Would they be willing to watch some other family do it? (CW is betting on "yes"). Famous in 12 follows the fame-hungry Artiaga family, under the tutelage of TMZ's Harvey Levin, as they move to L.A. and seek celebrity for their varied "talents" -- from acting and singing to modelling. Viewers can even feed the flames of fame by supporting the family members' social-media accounts and boosting their star power. (I know what I won't be doing all summer.).

FORECAST: Famous in 12 does give me an idea. I'm going to call up my 90-year-old grandmother and form an aspiring family hip-hop duo and pitch a reality show to the CBC (something needs to fill that pending hockey void). America doesn't own the market on families willing to debase themselves for fame. (First, I need to teach grams how to use Twitter).

HONOURABLE MENTION: Orange is the New Black (June 6, Netflix); 2014 Miss USA Competition (June 8, NBC, 8 p.m.). For TV-starved summer viewers, the brilliant female prison dramedy Orange is the New Black releases all 13 episodes of Season 2. It's time to binge! For bikini-starved viewers and people with three hours to kill, there's Miss USA. It's like The Hunger Games, only the weapons are plastic smiles and vapid thoughts about world peace. And minus the death.


BIG RELEASES ON JUNE 3: 50 Cent (Animal Ambition), Miranda Lambert (Platinum)

BIG PICTURE: It's been a decade since 50 Cent's 2003 debut Get Rich or Die Tryin'. He's still with us and he's a wealthy one-man business empire, so his original ambition has been reached. New tracks such as Hustler and Winner's Circle promise more grand-standing rhymes -- and they also promise to be incredibly catchy. Meanwhile, country queen Miranda chooses an ambitious title for her new album of barnyard stomps. Do enough people buy records to even go platinum anymore? The record industry needs to develop a new scale. You sold five records! Your album "went tinfoil!"

FORECAST: Who knows where 50 Cent's Animal Ambition could take him? With a starring role on Power, a summer series on STARZ network, the rapper seems to be following the Will Smith blueprint: Become a hip-hop star, transition to TV, then transition to silver screen A-lister, make bad choices and become a has-been in all three.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Only Run); Fu**ed Up (Glass Boys). CYHSY is an addictive indie rock outfit from Philadelphia, beloved by aging hipsters -- who will be excited to find The National's Matt Berninger lending his voice to the song Coming Down. Meanwhile, "they who must not be named" tackle the personal perils of fame and fortune. These esteemed Toronto punk rockers are hardly made of glass. Rock on boys.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 1, 2014 ??65525

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