New York, I Love You
- Street Date:
- February 2nd, 2010
- Reviewed by:
- Aaron Peck
- Review Date: 1
- February 17th, 2010
- Movie Release Year:
- Vivendi Visual Entertainment
- 103 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated R
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Following in the footsteps of 'Paris je t'aime,' 'New York, I Love You' is a collection of romantic short stories set around the Big Apple. Each story is directed by someone different. 'Paris' featured directors like Joel and Ethan Coen ('A Serious Man'), Gus Van Sant ('Milk'), Wes Craven ('Red Eye'), and Gurinder Chadha ('Bend it Like Beckham'). According to IMDb.com, 'Paris' featured a whopping 22 directors all blending their original stories and visual styles into something completely unique and exciting.
Seeing as how 'New York, I Love You' is taking the same idea, but making an Americanized version of it, the question is whether this is as unique as 'Paris, je t'aime.' The short answer is no, but this American version does have its own flashes of brilliance every once and a while.
Featuring only half the number of directors as 'Paris' (11) 'New York' is hindered by the lack of storytellers navigating the narrative. Natalie Portman ('V for Vendetta'), Brett Ratner ('Rush Hour 3), and Allen Hughes ('The Book of Eli'), among others, take a stab at directing their own vignettes. Featuring famous names such as Bradley Cooper ('The Hangover'), Shia LeBeouf ('Transformers 2'), Ethan Hawke ('Before the Devil Knows You're Dead'), Orlando Bloom ('Pirates of the Caribbean'), and James Caan ('The Godfather'), 'New York, I Love You' is a journey into the hearts of random New Yorkers. How they deal with love, loss, and lifelong companionship.
The film begins with Hayden Christensen ('Jumper') as a pick pocket who falls head over heels for a girl he sees in a bar, played by Rachel Bilson. The writing and dialogue come off a little hammy and cheesy. Christensen is as cardboard as ever, but we've come to expect that from him. Elsewhere in the city a struggling musician (Orlando Bloom) is struggling to complete his work. He's fallen for his manager that hired him, but he's never met her in person, they've only had phone conversations. Here is where the witty banter begins to pick up and gives the viewer a better sense of what can be expected from the rest of the film.
One of my favorites was the segment directed by Brett Ratner - don't stone me until you watch it. Anton Yelchin ('Star Trek') wants to go to prom. He ends up taking a local store owner's (James Caan) daughter (Olivia Thirlby). What follows is a segment straight out of a John Hughes film. It's funny and deeply thoughtful. I dare not say anymore for fear of spoiling it.
Some of the stories work better than others. There's a very stylistic piece that seems to travel back in time (you'll see what I mean), which stars Shia Lebouf as a close-to-crippled bellboy who helps an older lady (Julia Christie, 'Finding Neverland') with her bags. Lebouf's performance is a departure from the stuttering, stammering youth, which is a plus, but overall, the piece doesn't seem to mesh with the film as a whole. Even in a movie with so many diverse stories, plots, and characters, it just doesn't seem to fit anywhere.
Without rehashing each and every story contained herein, suffice it to say that there are at least two or three stories that will appeal to each and every person's individual tastes. 'New York, I Love You,' is filled with eclectic tales and some clever filmmaking
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
While it won't wow the pants off of you, 'New York's 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation is delicately nuanced, and is definitely quite impressive. The film features a variety of visual styles – some scenes pump up the contrast, while others tend toward the darker side of the spectrum – but they are always consistent with the intended look. There is a thin layer of grain that persists throughout the film. It isn't heavy grain that distorts and softens the picture though; instead it adds a very cinematic feel. Many of the scenes take place at dusk or nighttime where blacks are rich and great delineation makes fine facial details visible in even the lowest of lights. Colors are lively and varied. A segment filmed in Central Park features vibrant greens from the surrounding vegetation. Fine detail is perfectly visible. No glaring artifacts were spotted, although there were a couple tiny cases of background aliasing, nothing major though. Overall, this presentation is very strong and should please discerning high definition viewers.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Being a dialogue-centric film you wouldn't expect this 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation to pack much of a wallop, but it performs well enough with what it's been given. The dialogue, which is the most important part of the film, is presented clearly and audibly through the center channel. The voices are never muffled or drowned out. Even whispers can be heard easily. The surround channels come across a little flat, and the subwoofer is little underwhelming. So, while this track isn't completely immersive, on the whole, it's a satisfactory experience for this kind of film.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
- Bonus Segment: "These Vagabond Shoes" (SD, 12 min) - Written and directed by Scarlett Johansson, starring Kevin Bacon, this segment didn't make the final cut of the film. It's confusing why any segment specifically made for this film would be cut. Granted Johansson's segment seems too artsy for its own good, but it would have been an alright edition to the final cut.
- Bonus Segment: "Apocrypha" (SD, 13 min) - Written and directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Another short film that was inexplicably excluded. The cast includes Carla Gugino, Nicholas Purcell, and Heather Matarazzo.
- Director Interviews (HD, 16 min) - Five directors are included here. Brett Ratner, Yvan Attal, Josh Marston, Mira Nair, and Sunji Iawi. The interviews are mildly interesting and give a little insight into what the directors were thinking about their respective pieces and how the movie works as a whole.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 min) - The original theatrical trailer is included, rounding out this moderately-sized special features section.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no HD exclusives.
No matter your taste in film, you're bound to find a few stories here that will catch your interest. 'New York, I Love You' isn't all that unique, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in heart. Some of the segments are better than others, but in the end they mesh together into a kaleidoscopic look at life and love in the Big Apple. The strong video and moderately decent audio push this release into the (lightly) recommended category.
- 1- BD-25 Single-Layer Disc
- English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
- English SDH
- Bonus Segments
- Director Interviews
- HD Theatrical Trailer
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