Volume 75, Number 36 | January 25 - 31, 200


Koch on Film

By Ed Koch

Transamerica (+)

A host of films, including “Brokeback Mountain,” the story of homosexual cowboys, are now being accepted by mainstream critics and audiences and recommended as solid movies worthy of patronage. “Transamerica,” about the trials and tribulations of a transsexual, is also well on its way to becoming a cult film.

Parts of this movie are quite boring, but it becomes engrossing when we are introduced to the family of Bree (Felicity Huffman), who is born into the body of a male. Bree is heading to Los Angeles to have her final operation that will allow her to physically become the woman she has been emotionally for many years. The second principal character is Toby (Kevin Zegers) a 17-year-old street hustler. It is unclear whether he is homosexual, heterosexual or simply uses sex to earn money. The relationship between Bree and Toby is mysterious and shocking when finally fully disclosed.

The movie is a tour de force for Huffman and Zegers, allowing them to display their enormous acting abilities. It reminded me of the acting in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” starring Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. Both of these terrific actors could have played the principal parts in “Transamerica.” Depp with his sensitivity could have portrayed Bree the transsexual and DiCaprio could have played Toby.

“Transamerica” is not a masterpiece, but it is interesting, particularly if you are keeping tabs on this genre of movie.

The Matador (-)
It is difficult for me to review this film adequately. It is certainly not a good movie, but it is not really bad. On occasion, because of the fine acting of Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan, it is even amusing.

The Post critic, Kyle Smith, gave it one star and summed it up as vulgar, gauche and loathsome, the adjectives being reserved for Brosnan’s character.

Julian (Pierce Brosnan) is a professional assassin. On assignment, he meets Danny (Greg Kinnear) who is a businessman trying to close a very big deal. The movie can’t be characterized as a buddy movie, although it has strong elements of such bonding, even a verbal sexual move by Julian on Danny. It also has a strong heterosexual element when Danny attempts before leaving the house one morning to have sex on the kitchen table with his wife, Bean (Hope Davis). Their coupling is interrupted by an act of God.

I like all three of these actors, which is why I went to see the film. While I can’t recommend it to you, when it is all said and done, I’ve seen much worse. And, if you are amused by James Bond playing out of character, you might even like it.

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