Koch on Film


By Ed Koch

‘Kill Bill: Vol. 1’ (-)

This movie is one big joke, a put on and put down of the movie going public, and really, really bad. But I also didn’t think much of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and both received rave reviews by a number of reviewers. See it and you will weep for your lost time and wasted money.

What is it about? I really don’t know. There was some sword play and more lopping off of heads and limbs than you’ve ever seen before in one flick. The two great wielders of swords are two women, one, Black Mamba (Uma Thurman) is Caucasian and referred to by her female opponent in physical contact as a bitch. The other combatant, Cottonmouth (Lucy Liu) is referred to by fellow Asians as a Chinese-Japanese-American-Caucasian bitch. But, she lops off the head of one of the Japanese organized crime leaders meeting to elect her as the new boss of bosses, when, after she is elected, he insults her. When anyone loses a limb, there is a spray from the amputation that looks like a seltzer bottle gone wild. Our wild Caucasian swordswoman has a list of names that she keeps writing on a pad, and everyone on the list must be killed. Why? I don’t know.

In addition, she whacks with her sword about 100 thugs who are protecting the organized crime leader, Cottonmouth. The Japanese technology of Anime (high tech cartoons) is used and woven throughout the film. Again, it is nonsense and much ado about nothing. Don’t get me wrong. I liked Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs,” but he is now someone who believes he can pee all over us and tell us it’s liquid art. Baloney.

I am not going to the sequel which he has already done. I would rather see “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” for a second time.

But I will give Tarantino one plus — the musical score. It keeps you awake.

‘Mystic River’ (+)

This is a wonderful movie with superb acting, a fascinating script, and the interesting locale of north Boston. Great attention is paid to detail and everything looks and sounds just right.

The film opens with a flashback. Three boys about ten or eleven years old — Sean Devine, Dave Boyle, and Jimmy Markum — are playing hockey in the street. A black car pulls up and a man with an apparent police badge steps out, berates the boys and forces Dave (Tim Robbins) into the car. The man is an impostor and one of two pedophiles in the car who later sexually abuse Dave for four days before he escapes. The experience ruins Dave’s adult life.

We meet the three boys once again about 30 years after the kidnapping. Sean (Kevin Bacon) is now a detective; Dave (Tim Robbins) is a drunk and, at times, spaced out; and Jimmy (Sean Penn) is a grocer who served time for robbery committed in his earlier years.

Sean’s wife, who left him about a year earlier while pregnant, calls him regularly on the phone but isn’t able to talk. Sean, who wants her to come home, fills the void with his comments to her.

Dave is married to Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden), and they have a son about eight years old. She is spectacular in this film.

Jimmy’s first wife died and he is now remarried to Annabeth (Laura Linney). They have three daughters, one of whom is about to receive her First Communion. The oldest, Katie (Emmy Rossum), is planning to elope with her boyfriend Brendan (Thomas Guiry). Brendan’s father had ratted on Jimmy years ago resulting in Jimmy’s arrest and imprisonment so Jimmy is opposed to the romance.

Katie is mysteriously murdered, and Sean and his partner, Whitey (Laurence Fishburne), investigate the crime. There are a number of suspects.

The brilliant acting of the stars and the Boston setting reminded me of the fine film, “Road to Perdition,” set in Chicago’s suburbs.

All in all, this is meat and potatoes for those who take their movies seriously. Interestingly, as I waited through the crawl at the end, I was surprised to see that Clint Eastwood had not only directed this film but also composed the musical score. In the next California general election, he is my candidate for governor.

– Ed Koch

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