Volume 75, Number 47 | April 12 - 18 2006


Koch On Film

By Ed Koch

Basic Instinct 2 (-)
I was warned to stay away from this film by every reviewer I read, and after seeing it, I came to the conclusion that those other critics were too kind in their reviews. It is the absolute worst. The London scenes reminded me of the Masterpiece Theatre series “Prime Suspect” starring Helen Mirren, which was wonderful in every way. Other than the interesting locations, however, everything else about “Basic Instinct 2” is over the top and ridiculous.

Novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is suspected of killing a passenger in her car due to excessive speed and the use of drugs. Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey) is a court appointed psychiatrist who becomes her lover, and Detective Roy Washburn (David Thewlis) is a London detective bent on finding a serial murderer. Charlotte Rampling is surprisingly thrown in as Dr. Milena Gardosh, a psychiatrist friend of Dr. Glass. The script includes several murders, a house of prostitution Amsterdam style, a lesbian relationship, homosexual shagging, and an opening scene generally described by reviewers as Sharon Stone pleasuring herself. Because of the bad script and delivery, the film becomes a bad and unintended comedy.

All in all, after you have read this review, let me have been the last person to see this film, which was number ten last week in terms of box office attendance.

Thank You for Smoking (+)
I was put off by the title of this film and had no interest in seeing it until several friends recommended it. This underrated movie doesn’t give you any belly laughs but does provide a continuous tide of uninterrupted chuckles, and I am glad that I saw it. The screenplay is based on a book of the same title written by Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, Jr. Like his father, Christopher is a brilliant writer.

Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is a cigarette lobbyist who regularly appears on television shows alleging there is a lack of scientific evidence that cigarette smoking causes cancer. His backstabbing boss, (Robert Duvall), and Hollywood super agent, Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe), continuously discuss ways to increase cigarette consumption. Nick regularly lunches with Polly Bailey (Maria Bello), lobbyist for the alcohol industry, and Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechhner), lobbyist for the firearms industry, and their conversations about their opponents are very funny. Nubile reporter Heather Holloway (Katie Holmes) is eager to provide sex for a good story. Her pillow talk with Nick is very amusing. Nick’s intelligent son, Joey (Cameron Bright), who lives with his mother and stepfather, admires his father’s ability to debate and win an argument.

A question asked repeatedly throughout the film is, why do people engage in activities of which they do not approve? The answer, stated several times, is “the mortgage,” a reference, of course, to financial obligations. When Nick tells a friend that he is going to D.C. to testify before a congressional committee and that he feels like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” his friend replies that a better comparison would be to Oliver North and his appearance before the Congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra deal.

“Thank You for Smoking” is one of the most playful and stimulating films that I have seen in years. It is not being shown in all theaters, so I suggest you catch it while you can.

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