Blood Work. Clint Eastwood. An FBI profiler, Terry McCaleb (Eastwood), who's recovering from heart-transplant surgery, endangers his recuperation by taking on an investigation he can't ignore: finding the murderer of the young woman whose heart now beats in his chest. It's a great setup and a great part for Eastwood, who has been savvy about developing roles in which he still be a plausible action hero -- even in his ' '70s. Blood Work benefits from the strength of the original novel by hot LA detective writer Michael Connelly. It has one of those stories in which the many initially irritating coincidences and plot holes turn out not to be coincidences or plot holes at all. Some of the plot elements invoke memories of Wolfgang Peterson's 1993 In the Line of Fire, which remains the best crime thriller Eastwood's starred in since the '70s. Blood Work is not up to that level, but it's certainly better than Eastwood's other recent self-directed forays. Opens Aug. 9 at multiple locations. (AK)
My Wife Is an Actress. Yvan Attal. Opens Aug. 9 at the Plaza Frontenac. Reviewed this issue.
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams. Robert Rodriguez. Now playing at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.
xXx. Rob Cohen. Take the James Bond formula, shake it up (but don't stir!) with a bald, tattooed wiseass in the lead, and you get Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), a.k.a. "Triple X." The vodka martinis may be replaced with cranberry and club soda, the smoking is now a point of ridicule and our hero can quote Vandals lyrics, but he's still cocky enough to use his real name while undercover, seduces women PG-style (fade out after the first kiss) and even has his own personal Q, a computer geek (Michael Roof) living vicariously through Xander. Thankfully, the movie doesn't suck like recent Bond episodes have. Which isn't to say that xXx is the savior of spy movies, at least not yet. Diesel's a solid actor, and Samuel L. Jackson the perfect anti-mentor, but the script by Rich Wilkes (the Jerky Boys movie) has its problems. That said, what the movie lacks in story it makes up for in sheer loudness. Opens Aug. 9 at multiple locations. (LYT)