Laurence Fishburne

FISHBURNE RELEASED --- After two-and-half seasons, Laurence Fishburne is leaving the mother-ship version of CSI. According to sources, his deal was up and he chose not to renew it. He joined the CBS show when original star William Peterson left in December 2008. His take on the character of Ray Langston to me started off very slowly, but really came full circle in the last year, with him delivering some rather spectacular scenes with some very well-written scripts. I mean, I was really to count this show out years ago ... but, this year has seen some of the their best shows ever! Let's face it ... he's an actor's actor. His take as Thurgood Marshall, via the TV-movie Thurgood was exceptionally good. Hard to believe that the future star of The Matrix series, along with Keanu Reeves, began his acting career as the driver of the boat in 1979's Apocalypse Now (as Tyrone 'Clean' Miller). He'll return to features full-time with his next outing in Steven Soderbergh's Contagion. Several people who have seen an early cut of the movie say he is sensational. A terrific actor, we wish him all the best. Several have notes that if they can't bring Peterson back (which they really should attempt to do as he was simply sensational), they should bring in a younger actor to replace him on the show, which moves to Wednesday this fall. Not a bad idea.


WEINER TOASTED --- As we posited last time, Anthony Weiner, is guilty as sin. Honestly, was there ever really any doubt? His apology and explanation was simply pathetic. I really do think for him to continue, and yes, there are those who feel he should stay on (though I would recommend immediate medical consultation for them), would be a major disservice to his constituents everywhere, as well as to the country in general. He is, a complete and utter disgrace. Toasted and gone!


Brad Pitt

LIFE TREE --- We caught director Terrence Malick's Tree Of Life this past weekend and really enjoyed it. His somewhat indulgent take on a lone family's life, from start to finish, is not that startling, but rather moving and atmospheric. Brad Pitt, who has turned into one fine actor, is terrific as the father of three boys; Jessica Chastain as the mother was utterly brilliant as well. A simmering, slow-burn take as the repressed mother and wife just waiting for the moment to perhaps escape into her own world. In those days, couples stayed together despite whatever transpired ... but, at some cost for sure. Parents didn't divorce; as that word in those days was like a scarlet letter on your back. Malick's rebel reputation has produced some stunning works over the years; not too many movies, but movies that make you burn brain matter when you leave the theater; movies not for the faint of heart shall we say. Personally, his Badlands and The Thin Red Line were always favorites; but, again terrifically self-indulgent. On this latest opus, he seems to favor more than anything, somewhat atmospheric bursts of oddly colored objects, bathed in beautiful light... almost as if he's giving the viewer a proper moment to consider what you've just witnessed onscreen; an adult time-out if you will. The haunting music, courtesy of Alexandre Desplat is just outstanding and a star of the movie it its own right. Sean Penn also stars as one of the grown boys. Boy, he's aged magnificently ... older, but still a compelling and bold onscreen presence. The closing scene of the movie is one where all the cast members meet on a beachhead; compelling and captivating. One thing's for sure, no one knows what Malick's game plan is, but you sure can't take your eyes off the screen. A brilliant, singular vision for sure.


Tom Hanks

CROWNE CROWS --- I don't know if it's the passing of time or what, but the commercials and trailers for Tom Hanks' forthcoming movie Larry Crowne (which he both wrote with Nia Vardalos and directed), just slay me. I haven't seen it nor read any reviews yet, but the story concerns a somewhat successful individual, Hanks, who get unceremoniously downsized because he never went to college. He goes back to college and meets Julia Roberts in a class … and, the sparks fly. No, not an earth shattering Spielbergian-story for sure, but with two talents like that onscreen … how can it be bad. Hanks to me is such a consummate actor that I fear many take him for granted. Think of his body of works and you'll immediately see there's been some important work there; his take in Philadelphia was, for me, just so outstanding. Ever since Erin Brockovich I've been a huge Roberts fan. They're opening the movie next month … well after all the summer blockbusters, but I can't wait to see it.


Meredith Viera

ADIOS MEREDITH VIERA --- Earlier today was Meredith Viera's last day on The Today Show. Hard to believe five years have passed since her joining the team there. I first met her back in the day and have always found her to be simply an outstanding personality; always up and always looking for that next big get. It will be interesting to see where she winds up next … as, she definitely will surface again. The surprise appearance of Carole King performing "You've Got A Friend" was just outstanding. So was Jimmy Fallon as they sang her out with most the Today Show cast to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." We wish her nothing but the best … and, she deserves.


David Cook

SHORT TAKES --- Looking forwards to tomorrow WPLJ show at the Hard Rock Cafe for American Idol's David Cook. The event will be hosted by the station's Race Taylor; and, right after is Hour 23's Your Time To Give – a benefit for Japan in conjunction with The Red Cross at the Nickel Spa. We also enjoyed our times this week's with Steve Leeds and Spencer Mindich up at Sirius/XM; and, AJ Hammer up at Showbiz Tonight at CNN.

Photos By: RD.Leon/Walter McBride/Kirkland/Rob Kim/Retna