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Destruction in the air this weekend

Planetary calamities and punk rock

By Todd Leopold

The Core
The corps of "The Core": from bottom left, Hilary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci, Tcheky Karyo and Bruce Greenwood.

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(CNN) -- This weekend the focus is on the planet, an institution, and music.

Something in the Earth's center is causing all kinds of problems in "The Core." Chris Rock is running for president in "Head of State." A new book chronicles the explosion of Krakatoa. And the new White Stripes album comes out Tuesday, threatening to break some more guitar strings and drumsticks. Is Barry McGuire making a comeback? It sounds like the "Eve of Destruction."

Eye opener

"The Core" is getting all the attention, and no wonder: Movie trailers that show the Colosseum and the Golden Gate Bridge crumbling into nothingness don't come along every day. The film stars Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank and Stanley Tucci as "terranauts" who must burrow to the center of the Earth to fix whatever's causing all the mess. The science might be as inaccurate as "Fantastic Voyage," but if you want to see things fall apart with panache, this is the movie.

On screen

• Chris Rock is an idealistic Washington alderman who somehow ends up a major-party candidate for president in "Head of State." Bernie Mac plays his brother and running mate.

• John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson made a fine pair in "Pulp Fiction." Now they're co-starring in "Basic," except they're not exactly a pair. Travolta's a DEA agent investigating the disappearance of Jackson's drill sergeant and troops.

On the tube

• "The Pitts," a new comedy from Fox premiering Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET, details the life of America's unluckiest family. Perhaps they even watched "Married by America." Dylan Baker stars.

• The NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments narrow down to their Final Fours. The men's tourney is on CBS; the women's is on ESPN.

Sound waves

• Are they siblings? Married? Divorced? Friends from another planet? Regardless, the White Stripes make music that sounds like boiled-down Velvet Underground, if such a thing were possible. The band's new album, "Elephant" (V2/BMG), is out Tuesday.

Paging readers

• Now-former LAPD officer Harry Bosch is back in Michael Connelly's latest, "Lost Light." He researches a cold case and finds himself in deeper than he expected.

• Simon Winchester, who told the fascinating story of the Oxford English Dictionary in "The Professor and the Madman," turns his attention to the explosive tale surrounding the volcano Krakatoa in "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded." The volcano in what is now Indonesia exploded in 1883 with such force that skies were affected all over the world.

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