"New York, I Love You" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2010)

2/05/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2010)

"New York, I Love You"

Directed by Faith Akin, Yvan Attal, Alan HughesShunji Iwai, Scarlett Johansson, Shekhar KapurJoshua Martson, Mira Nair, Natalie PortmanBrett Ratner, Jiang Wen, and Andrey Zvyaginstev, Written by Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Alexandra Cassavetes, Hu Hong, Shunji IwaiOlivier Lecot, Joshua MarstonSuketu Mehta, Yao MengAnthony Minghella, Jeff Nathanson, Natalie Portman, Stephen Winter, and Andrei Zvyagintsev, 103 Minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

New York is such a diverse city. The five boroughs, the melting pot of a population, the high- and low-class, the many seasons--in many ways, it embodies everything about our country. It's surely been represented in film more than any one city, so one would expect an anthology film about it to contain something wholly new or interesting about the city that we may have never seen before. That's not the case with "New York, I Love You," but it's a fairly great film nonetheless.

The film, like its spiritual predecessor "Paris, Je T'aime," contains multiple stories all helmed by different directors. The previous film had a pretty diverse and relatively high-profile set of directors behind the camera--Alfonso Cuaron, Gus Van Sant, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Vincenzo Natali, among others.  But such is not quite the case with this film. They directors certainly are diverse, ranging from American to German to French, but most of them aren't nearly as high-profile or stylistically distinguished. This works for and against the film. While it may introduce viewers to a lot of directors they may have previously ignored, the film's segments don't differ that greatly in style, with a couple exceptions. There are also a couple filmmakers that aren't quite up to par with the others, which results in some inconsistencies.

All of that said, there are enough highly enjoyable segments to make up for the less interesting ones.

The best segment of the film, directed by Yvan Attal, stars Ethan Hawke as a would-be writer who meets a woman who may or may not be a prositute outside of a restaurant. Hawke, a veteran of dialogue-driven films about random meet-ups ("Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," to name a couple), is really incredible here, as is Maggie Q, who, despite generally being known as an action actress, can hold her own in drama. The segment eventually splits off and transitions to a similar story outside the same restaurant starring Chris Cooper and Robin Wright Penn as a struggling married couple.

A few other notable segments are one featuring a tete-a-tete between two con men (Hayden Christensen and Andy Garcia) fighting over a woman, one with a Hasidic Jew and a conservative Hindu (Natalie Portman and Irrfan Khan) imagining life married to one another, and a very artful and heartfelt story about a former opera singer (Julie Christie) returning to a hotel in which she stayed decades ago at the pinnacle of her fame. Shia LaBeouf gives a startlingly great performance as a Russian bellhop.

The biggest problem with the film is that, unlike "Paris, Je T'aime," it doesn't really show us much of New York itself--most of the stories take place in Manhattan--and, like I said previously, there are rarely any stylistic difference between the segments, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't really provide the film with the diversity it seems to be seeking. Still, the film says a great deal about the small connections and romances one can find in the city, and most of the writing and acting is superb. Overall, it's definitely one worth watching, and even if you don't like a segment, it's only a few minutes before the next.

Grade: B

View the movie trailer for "New York, I Love You" below. What are your thoughts?

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