Volume 22, Number 14 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Aug. 14 - 20, 2009

Koch on Film

By Ed Koch

Julie & Julia
As many of you know, I recently spent six weeks in the hospital and two weeks recovering at home. “Julie & Julia” was the first film I saw in eight weeks, and it was a wonderful choice. It is pure entertainment.

The title of the film should be amended to “Julie, Julia & Nora.” Nora Ephron’s script and direction along with the performances of Meryl Streep and Amy Adams add up to one joyous picture.

Ms. Ephron did something unique in basing the movie on the life of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and the experience of Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who wrote an on-line blog about her experience in cooking all 524 recipes in Julia’s cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”  She completed the task within her self-imposed deadline of 365 days. The film goes back and forth between the lives of the two women, and both actresses are totally convincing in their roles.

The supporting roles of Julia’s husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci), and young Julie’s husband, Eric (Chris Messina), are also marvelously performed. One scene of Julia and Paul becoming sensual in bed may cause some, who thought of Julia as a mother figure, to close their eyes feeling as though they accidentally violated the privacy of their parents’ bedroom.

The Hurt Locker (+)
This is without a doubt one of the best war pictures I have ever seen, and I have seen most of them.

The film follows three American soldiers in Iraq responsible for defusing bombs.  They often drive along dangerous roads in which bombs, intended to maim and kill American soldiers, have been planted by Iraqi terrorists.

Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) is assigned to the unit after his predecessor was killed disarming a bomb. James, clearly not your normal soldier, wants to competently perform his duties and return home alive. He has already disarmed over 700 bombs and seems to care nothing about his own safety. The second person in the unit, who prefers to operate by the book, is Sgt. J. T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie). Sanborn worries that James’ actions are endangering the lives of all three men in the unit. The third soldier, Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), believes that he was wounded because of James’ irresponsible behavior and unwillingness to avoid danger.

The United States is now scheduled to remove its troops from Iraq by December 31, 2011. We should get out of Afghanistan even sooner. It is not a country that can be saved, nor is it a plot of land that is worth saving. Last week, five American soldiers were killed in one day — and casualties will increase with each passing week. Remaining in Afghanistan is simply a waste of American lives and blood.

“The Hurt Locker” (I have no idea what the title means) was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The script, clearly based on fact, was written by Mark Boal (who was once enclosed with a bomb squad in Baghdad).

Don’t miss this film, every moment of which is filled with excitement. It is currently playing at the Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema on East Houston Street which has very comfortable, stadium seating.


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