A shockingly lithe Robert De Niro stars as Monroe Stahr, a 1930s studio executive based on Irving Thalberg (a prolific producer who died at the age of 37, presumably from overwork). Stahr has lost loves in the past and a crushing chip on his shoulder in the present. He's a workhorse, but he wants something more out of life.
Continue reading: The Last Tycoon Review
A paper-doll sequel with paper-thin performances and avideo-game plot -- a ridiculously implausible presidential coup plannedby an arch-conservative Secretary of Defense (teeth-gritting Willem Dafoe)-- this is nothing but a sorry attempt to ride the explosion-shredded coattailsof 2002's "XXX"without bringing back its star. Vin Diesel apparently got a big head fromhaving the first picture custom-tailored for him, and was booted afterasking for $25 million to reprise his role as an extreme-sports-jock spy.
So instead, Cube plays a Navy SEAL imprisoned for insubordinationwho is busted out by loose-cannon National Security Agency honcho SamuelL. Jackson (tough-guying his way to an easy paycheck) and deputized asthe new Agent Triple-X after Jackson's underground headquarters is raidedby gadget-laden baddies in black body armor. Who these thugs are and whatthey were doing there is barely explained, and no reason is offered forwhy, with all its agents, intelligence and firepower, the NSA must relyon a lone prison escapee to investigate and thwart a takeover of the U.S.government.
But director Lee Tamahori (who helped dumb down the lastJames Bond movie) doesn't really care as long as the next 5,000-round shoot-out,five-story fireball or $500,000 sports-car chase is just around the corner.This is the kind of brain-dead action movie in which window-rattling, wind-generatinghelicopters inexplicably sneak up on people, characters "lie low"by squealing around street corners in Washington D.C. while driving tricked-out,iridescent pimp-mobiles, and federal agents have to be certifiable moronsin order for the plot to advance.
Continue reading: XXX: State Of The Union Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.