Volume 79, Number 12 | Aug. 26 - Sept. 1, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


FILM

Koch on Film

By Ed Koch

“Inglourious Basterds” (+)

I thought this flick was based on some historical facts. It is not. It’s a spoof. If you view it as such and don’t get super-sensitive thinking one should be extremely careful when engaging in a spoof that involves elements of the Holocaust, you will enjoy this film.

Interestingly, Brad Pitt’s performance does little to heighten the enjoyment. He portrays Lt. Aldo Raine, a Tennessee hillbilly in charge of eight Jews. The performance of Christoph Waltz, playing the Nazi Gestapo figure Col. Hans Landa, is the highlight of the film. His ability to convey courtliness and sympathy and then go to commit the cruelest of horrors is simply superb.

The plot is simple. The U.S. Army authorizes Lt. Raine (Brad Pitt) to take eight Jews with him, parachute into Germany and then simply kill Nazis. He states that each of them owes him 100 Nazi scalps before they are through with their campaign. They proceed to kill their share of Nazis and literally scalp them.

The Jew hunter, Col. Hans Landa, pursues Jews in occupied France.  There is an enormously touching scene showing a French farmer giving up the Jews he had hidden in his house out of fear that he and his three daughters would be killed. The heroine is a Jewish woman, Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), who does us all proud. A fictional finale involves an apparently successful effort to kill Hitler, Bormann, Goering and Goebbels at a French theater. The film at that point becomes a rollicking musical without the music. All I could do was hum “Springtime for Hitler,” which I liked immensely.

Quentin Tarantino, writer and director, did it again.

PT said: “I didn’t really enjoy the film, although it was very well produced and quite realistic except for the outrageous bits:  Brad Pitt as a hillbilly, Jewish soldiers trying to pass themselves off as Italian filmmakers, and other unrealistic flights of the filmmaker’s fancy. I just couldn’t reconcile the serious parts of the film such as the giving up of the hidden Jews with the comedic elements.”

1 hour, 52 minutes; Rated R.

At the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 (850 Broadway). For screening times, call 1-800-326-3264 x628. For the Box Office, 212-253-6266. Also at, among other places, Chelsea Clearview Cinema (260 West 23rd Street). For screening times, call 212-777-3456 x597. For the Box Office, call 212-691-5519.


“District 9” (-)

This horror/sci-fi film received kudos from the critics, some giving it four stars.  Ridiculous.  Stay away.

The picture reminded me of the serials or chapters that I watched as a child every Saturday afternoon. For one dime I saw two films and also received a free soda and a comic book.  Of course, “District 9” cost a lot more to make because of the technology involved.

A spaceship, unable to move from its position in the sky, appears over Johannesburg, South Africa, in the 1980s. The alien craft is invaded by members of the South African military and police force who find a million or so creatures onboard that look like insects and to some like crustaceans.

The extraterrestrials are initially treated humanely and placed in a refugee camp known as District 9. Relations deteriorate and they are soon viewed as social outcasts and referred to as prawns, a slur.  In an apparent allegory, the treatment toward the aliens by the blacks and whites of South Africa, with their history of Apartheid, becomes brutal. A war is declared to get rid of them and they are moved to an undesirable slum area.

I frankly thought it was all ridiculous, particularly so when an attempt to add a “buddy” component was introduced. One of the aliens, Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope), tries to help Wikus (Sharlto Copley) who was in charge of the aliens’ care.  After accidentally becoming infected, Wilkus starts to turn into an alien and Johnson promises to cure him.

I repeat.  Stay away.  This movie is an enormous waste of time and they don’t hand out free sodas or comic books. 

1 hour, 53 minutes; Rated R .

At the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 (850 Broadway). For screening times, call 1-800-326-3264 x628. For the Box Office, 212-253-6266. Also at, among other places, Chelsea Clearview Cinema (260 West 23rd Street). For screening times, call 212-777-3456 x597. For the Box Office, call 212-691-5519.

 

 

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