koch on film

Hollywood Homicide (-)
If you read A.O. Scott’s review of this film in The New York Times as I did, you would conclude that it is well worth seeing. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is silly and dumb.

One has to wonder why two fine actors, Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett, would get involved with this clinker — worse stinker. It is a buddy movie about two detectives, but it is badly written and the slapstick comedic moments are usually not funny. The movie is hyped as Harrison Ford displaying his great heretofore unknown ability to do comedy.

Joe (Harrison Ford) is a Los Angeles police detective who engages in real estate brokerage on the side, and his younger partner K.C. (Josh Hartnett) is an actor in his spare time. Both are studs and have active sex lives. Nothing in this flick struck me as real, including the longest car chase scene I’ve seen since the one in “Matrix Reloaded.” Just like that fantasy, a lot of shooting takes place by and at the two detectives, and nobody is wounded until the very end of the boring chase.

I had to fight the urge to sleep during this film. I stayed awake hoping it would get better, but it never did.

The Hard Word (+)
This Australian film is in desperate need of subtitles. About five percent of the film is in fact subtitled, but it was not enough for me. Nevertheless, the plot, acting and dialogue that I could understand is fascinating and adds up to a superb film.

The plot is a little complicated so I’ll help you in advance without ruining anything for you. The story begins in an Australian prison. We learn that three of the inmates are brothers: Dale (Guy Pearce) who is the leader, Mal (Damien Richardson) the friendliest of the three, and Shane (Joel Edgerton) who erupts in near animal rages and on one occasion has to be restrained with a straightjacket.

The brothers’ lawyer, Frank (Robert Taylor), and the warden of the prison are corrupt. They plot robbery capers and the warden releases the brothers to commit them. Dale suspects that his wife Carol (Rachel Griffiths) is having an affair with Frank. Griffiths is a brilliant actress who currently plays the role of Brenda Chenowith, Nate’s girlfriend, on “Six Feet Under.” Several capers involving large amounts of money take place and unexpected violence and deaths are involved in one of them. Crosses and double-crosses also occur.

The theater was full the night I saw this film, and I believe most of us were happy to have seen a good film during this season of so many bad ones. If the producers were to add full subtitles, it would result in total enjoyment of a splendid film.

—Ed Koch


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