Koch on Film


By Ed Koch

“It’s Complicated” (+)

It really isn’t complicated at all.  The movie is similar to a television sitcom.  Regrettably, while amusing and worth seeing, it doesn’t approach the cleverness in dialogue or situations that “Seinfeld” did or the current “Curb Your Enthusiasm” show does (both co-created and produced by Larry David).

The situation involves Jane (Meryl Streep) — a famous chef and restaurateur who lives in a beautiful Santa Barbara home which she is expanding.  Adam (Steve Martin), the architect hired by Jane to oversee the renovation, is very attracted to her.  Jane has been divorced for ten years from Jake (Alec Baldwin) who is now married to Agness (Lake Bell).  Jane and Jake have three children.  One of their daughters is engaged to Harley (John Krasinski) — whose performance, including wonderful facial expressions, contributes a lot to the film.

The heart of the script involves the falling in love once again of Jane and Jake and the fulfillment of their sexual desires, which are as hot as any two college kids away from home giving in to their raging hormones.  One delightful scene involves a discussion among Jane and her girlfriends.  Not knowing that she is once again involved with Jake, they discuss the effect on women without a lover.

Alec Baldwin, who is a consummate actor, looks as though he has gained 75 pounds.  He shows his naked backside and belly in the film which, for me, emphasized his disregard for his health and appearance.  Streep is as beautiful as ever.

The movie won’t take you to the top of the mountain or leave you with memories and references for discussion, but you won’t be bored if you see it.  Without compromising my standards, I can give this film an unqualified plus.

114 minutes; Rated R. Now playing at, among other places, City Cinemas Village East (181 2nd Avenue). For screening times, call 800-326-3264. Also playing at Clearview’s Chelsea (260 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues). For screening times, 212-777-3456 x597. For the Box Office, 212-691-5519.

Sherlock Holmes” (-)

The reviews that I read of this film were mixed, ranging from 2 -4 stars. I come out on the side of those who believe the movie missed the mark.

The overextended plot involves the apparent sighting of Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who was hanged for crimes he committed.  An examination of his coffin, however, reveals another man’s body.  Lord Blackwood is back to take over the world, a la Hitler if you listen carefully to his speech when he takes the House of Lords captive.

Holmes (Robert Downy Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) are still living together at 221 Baker Street in London.  Watson is now considering marriage to Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly) and Holmes is pursued by Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).

This new version of Sherlock Holmes is different than the Holmes of yesteryear.  The current Holmes is faced with the perils of Pauline including buzz saws and railroad tracks.  I prefer the older version starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes who portrayed his character more cerebrally with a curled lip and snide remarks.  I especially enjoyed the end of those films when Holmes would pull together the lose ends and explain all that had taken place during the movie.

I’m a fan of Guy Ritchie who directed this film and thought his picture, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” was terrific.  Although there is a lot of action in this movie, the encounters of Victorian times can’t compete with the outstanding action films being produced today.  The Victorian sets are terrific and the performances of Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law, both consummate actors with a special style, are excellent.  Nevertheless, their performances are not enough to compensate for a less than stellar script.

Notwithstanding my opinion, “Sherlock Holmes” is second on this week’s gross income film list.  “Avatar” is first.  If you follow my advice and skip both pictures, you will save a minimum of $48 if you are on a date.

2 hours, 14 minutes; Rated PG-13; Action/Adventure/Drama. No playing at, among other places, Regal Union Square Stadium 14 (850 Broadway; at 13th St.). For screening times, call 212-253-2225. For the Box Office, call 212-253-6266. Also playing at Clearview’s Chelsea (260 West 23rd Street. For screening times, 212-777-3456 x597. For the Box Office, 212-691-5519).