koch on film

Pirates of the Caribbean (-)
I have never missed a Johnny Depp movie, even if it was panned by the critics. I’ve never regretted going so far as I can recall. Now, for the first time, I must admit it wasn’t worth it.

Depp and the movie were disappointing. The movie is from the Walt Disney studio. One assumes it was made, in great part, for children. I believe children will not like it, and young ones, five- to nine-years old, might be frightened.

The story line involves a curse on the possessors of the Montezuma Aztec treasure. I won’t reveal the curse, since it is an essential part of the whole ridiculous plot. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is a pirate captain clashing not only with the British garrison on the island where he has been taken prisoner by the British after having had his ship taken over, but also with a competing pirate, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). The female lead, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), is a tomboy who is longed for by Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), whose ancestry is suspect and who is learning to be a blacksmith and by Norrington (Jack Davenport), who is in charge of the British garrison.

Jonathan Pryce plays the British governor of the island. He’s gotten too heavy since his wonderful role in Miss Saigon. Depp is given lots of lines, spoken, on occasion, directly to the audience. It may have made sense to some of the viewers, but I found it senseless, boring and endless, the movie being two-and-a-half hours long. I’ve never been to a Disney theme park. Apparently, the script follows the theme of a Disneyland ride in Orlando, Florida.

My advice: go elsewhere for entertainment.

Northfork (-)
The week began with a flurry of what, appeared to be, a sudden rain of good films in a period of a huge number of bombs. Of all of the movies reviews I read, Northfork seemed to be my kind of film: quirky, interesting and well acted. It is all three, but still a bomb.

It is probably an allegory, but one I didn’t understand. The story takes place in the 1950s in Montana where the government is emptying out a town that we learn from the crawl was founded in 1776 in order to replace it with a lake and a dam to provide power to the area. That is as far as I could honestly understand the plot.

Irwin (Duel Farnes), a sick youngster about ten-years-old, is returned to an orphanage by a couple that is leaving the area. The priest, Father Harlan (Nick Nolte) berates the couple, but takes Irwin back. Irwin believes he is an angel and meets three other angels who come to the community dressed in oddball costumes. They are Happy (Anthony Edwards), Flower Hercules (Daryl Hannah), Cod (Ben Foster) and Cup of Tea (Robin Sachs). Apparently, they are there because of the death of the town. Six black suited men, led by Walter O’Brien (James Woods) are paid by the government to get the remaining resisting inhabitants to leave, and we witness their various adventures.

The photography depicting the land is extraordinary. The film, as a whole, is simply less than its parts. On reflection, I thought A.O. Scott’s review in The New York Times was overwrought when he wrote the quote that convinced me to see the movie, “There is nothing quite like this movie, and I’m not altogether sure there is much more to it than its lovely peculiarity. But at a moment when so many films strive to be obvious and interchangeable as possible, it is gratifying to find one that is puzzling, subtle and handmade.”

His comment beguiled me into going. Fortunately, you have me as your guardian angel protecting you from bad movies.

- Ed Koch


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