koch on film

“Terminator 3” (-)
What a stinker. This film will vie with the others that opened during the last several weeks for “worst of the year.”

I liked “Terminator l” in which Arnold Schwarzenegger was the bad machine sent back from the future to prevent the birth of a child who would lead the human race against the machines that had conquered the world. In “Terminator 2,” which I didn’t like, Schwarzenegger turned into a good machine intent on saving the child messiah for the future.

In “Terminator 3,” Schwarzenegger continues to search for the messiah, now to protect him and his fiancé, Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), from the girlie machine T-X (Kristanna Loken). The latter rarely speaks except to ask her victims their names before she dispatches them. The machinery, either in car collisions or the Terminator colliding with T-X, make quite a ruckus, but there is no question as to who will win. In spite of all the noise and special effects, this flick is not at all fun and games. I was constantly thinking how much more, dear God, before I can leave and what did I do to deserve this punishment?

I like Arnold Schwarzenegger and admire his having taken a limited acting ability to such great heights. He trained his body to look the part of Mr. Universe, and the fact that he is growing older doesn’t seem to matter one whit. In his unique Austrian accent, he delivers his lines with irony and self-deprecation. His occasional television interviews, however, reveal his intelligence. Now a millionaire married into the Kennedy family, he will probably run for governor of California. Ronald Reagan, another actor, was a good governor and a great president so we shouldn’t automatically rule out Schwarzenegger, although he cannot be president because he was born in Austria.

“Swimming Pool” (+)
I spent the July 4th weekend on the dunes of Long Island in a beautiful house to which I have been invited for the past 35 years. My host DM makes wonderful cocktails, his specialty being a Gin Fizz, and BM, a great hostess, specializes in Chinese hors d’oeuvres. Our good friends BB and MB also joined us for the glorious weekend which consisted of eating, drinking and reminiscing.

When I asked for suggestions on a film to see, DM and BM suggested “Swimming Pool” which they had seen in France and loved. (My hosts also own a house in France so they can’t be faulted for violating my tourist boycott of that country.)

The film is excellent and unusual. Detective story novelist Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) is staying at a house in France owned by her editor, John Bosload (Charles Dance), hoping to write a novel of a different genre. John’s daughter, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), drops in unexpectedly and has several one-night stands with local studs. Her hedonistic conduct drives Charlotte wild, but on one occasion she partially joins in the fun at a disco and is attracted to the waiter, Franck (Jean-Marie Lamour). Explicit sex scenes as well as full frontal nudity occur as does a murder. The question is: are they real scenes or are they ideas being tried out in Charlotte’s mind for her new book? I can’t tell you without spoiling the film for you. The film is in English, the acting is superb, and the scenes are well done. I saw the movie at The Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in the early evening and the performance was sold out.

All in all, it was a wonderful July 4th holiday.

- Ed Koch


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