Plus, news about Eminem, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, the Coen brothers, Rachael Leigh Cook, Nick Hornby, Johnny Cash, Mary-Louise Parker, and others
Ja Rule

JA RULES Record buyers love Ja Rule‘s ”Pain Is Love,” sending the rapper’s album to the top of the Billboard chart its first week, with sales of 360,725, according to SoundScan. He ended the three-week reign of mentor Jay-Z‘s ”The Blueprint,” now at No. 2, selling 147,850 copies. Out nearly a year, Enya‘s ”A Day Without Rain” climbed to No. 3 (128,600 units). Alicia Keys‘ ”Songs in A Minor” slipped to No. 4 (122,600 copies). Nickelback‘s ”Silver Side Up,” at No. 5 (115,075 sold), is the third of three CDs in this week’s top five from the Island Def Jam music group (along with Ja Rule and Jay-Z). The rest of the top 10 are holdovers: compilation ”Totally Hits 2001” (No. 6), Linkin Park‘s ”Hybrid Theory” (No. 7), Usher‘s ”8701” (No. 8), P.O.D.‘s ”Satellite” (No. 9), and Staind‘s ”Break the Cycle” (No. 10).

Over on Billboard’s singles chart, Whitney Houston‘s rerelease of ”The Star Spangled Banner” is No. 1, having sold 60,000 copies this week. Since its release September 27, it has sold more than a million copies and raised $1 million for terror relief.

LEGAL BRIEFS A month after reaching a plea agreement, Paula Poundstone was officially sentenced yesterday for felony child endangerment and infliction of injury upon a child. She was put on five years’ probation, ordered to finish up her six-month stint in live-in alcohol rehab (she has 55 days left), ordered to undergo psychological counseling at least once a week for a year, sentenced to serve 200 hours of community service, and fined $1,000. She’s also prohibited from taking alcohol or drugs, taking in any more kids (at the time of her arrest, she had three adopted children and two foster children), and performing stand-up comedy gigs, at least until she’s out of rehab. This last was a point of contention, with her lawyer arguing unsuccessfully that she should be allowed to perform once a week or even once a month.