Volume 76, Number 38 | February 14 -20, 2007



Koch on film

By Ed Koch

“Puccini For Beginners” (-)

There are some good actors in this film, like Elizabeth Reaser and Justin Kirk, but the dialogue is ridiculous and at best frothy. 

Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) and her lesbian lover, Samantha (Julianne Nicholson), are breaking up. Samantha has decided to go straight and to marry Jeff (Brian Letscher). Allegra commences a relationship with Philip (Justin Kirk) but does not tell him she is a lesbian and also begins an affair with Grace (Gretchen Mol). We soon learn that Grace and Philip were once lovers. 

None of the relationships are believable nor do they generate any intensity. Allegra’s conversations with her lesbian confidants create no interest at all.  The title of the film is a mystery, although Philip does take Allegra to the opera.  I’d have to give this sex comedy a failing grade compared with the successful weekly television show “Sex and the City” now on reruns. 

On leaving the theater a young man said to me, “Will I be reading your review of this movie in The Villager?”  I said, “Yes.  There was nothing to it and I didn’t like it.”  He replied, “I liked it, but I’m not a professional reviewer.”  I’m not a professional reviewer either, so I leave it to you to decide weather or not to see it, but I think you will be sorry if you don’t follow my advice to skip it. 


“Mafioso” (+)

This 1962 film is somewhat interesting, but crime films have changed a lot since then and include a lot more blood, gore and violence. 

Alberto Sordi (Antonio Badalamenti), who runs a factory in Milan, is married to Marta (Norma Bengell) and has two children. He takes a vacation in Sicily where he was born which is a throwback to the old world. Alberto is asked by the godfather of the local crime family, Don Vincenzo (Ugo Attanasio) to take on a job, which he accepts. The interesting job won’t be revealed by me. 

“Mafioso” is just okay, meaning that if you want to see a flick and nothing else appeals to you, you might enjoy this one which produced several ripples of laughter from the audience.  (In Italian, with English subtitles). 


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