Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
Ugh, I do no like this cover at all. Garish is a good word, even though I usually like garish, this is the icky kind. It’s got that patched together section with a bunch of little faces of the people in the stories. This is possibly one of the most overused tricks of the cover design trade. Yes, it’s patchwork movie, does the cover have to be a crappy patched together clump of images? Would I have this as a poster? I say no. The menu isn’t any more exciting. It’s functional and I’ll leave it at that. I’m not sure what I want from a cover and menu anymore. I get annoyed when they try too hard, and I get annoyed when they pull something like this tired old rigmarole…face it,there’s no pleasing me.
- Bonus Segments – Two of the shorts were not included in the movie, and here they are. One is directed by Scarlett Johansson starring Kevin Bacon. It’s charming, if not a bit over stylized. The other is a voyeuristic little ditty about a young dude with a camera who films an apparent break up on a pier. It’s got a very European feel, but doesn’t quite pull it off. I say both of these are fine on their own as shorts, but don’t belong in the movie. Good call.
- 5 Director Interviews – Only 5 of the directors give short discussions on their movies. It’s good to hear things from the perspective, the only problem is it kind of reinforces my hidden little belief that filmmakers find themselves to be quite important……I LOVE movies, but they aren’t saving the world!!
- Theatrical Trailer –Not an extra.
The Movie: 7/10
The first five minutes made my brain yelp and whine that pitiful way it does when anything quite so pretentious comes crashing through my eyes and ears. It is hard to explain what it was that was so unappealing about the initial storyline, was it Hayden Christensen? Was it Andy Garcia? Was it the directing/editing/writing? Yes, yes yes. I like Darth, he’s OK, but this was a time when he didn’t shine. His demeanor came off as a young actor trying too hard to be cool, to be edgy, to be like those brooding fellows Brando and Dean. He’s not bad, just too fake, and along with the obnoxious storyline, the transparent hyper cutting of the editing mixed with the “I’m trying to be artsy and cool” directing style, well, it all made me worry a lot about what was to come in the next couple hours of my life.
I should explain, New York, I Love You is a patchwork or pastiche-esque movie. The kind that takes several story lines, a cross section of human interest dramas, pieces them together in some fashion. In New York, I Love You it’s a very linear kind of method, one story after the other with some reference or cross over characters, but mostly just separate tales stuck together. Another form of this kind of movie is the woven together type, where you go from one story to another in some way throughout the film until there is some kind of common end. Examples would be LA Stories, Short Cuts, Magnolia, Love Actually…you get the picture.
The good thing about New York, I Love You is that it’s got a flow that brings me into the “Ugh this is so obnoxiously pretentious” mode for a bit and then drags me kicking and screaming into stories and characters I can’t get enough of. I love that. Each tale is brief. We get some different types of relationships defined in either standard expected ways or in new better ways. A husband and wife have a conversation they’ve never had before. A young man meets an interesting girl to take to his prom. A woman contemplates suicide. There are several and each one is dramatic, some have an element of playfulness, and a couple are the most light-hear-ted, if you can stick that term into this kind of movie.
What I liked the most about the movie is that I didn’t like all of it. I know, sounds strange, but the truth is it’s a piecing together of different stories about a mish mosh of characters. In the real world I DO NOT like every person I meet, why should it be any different in the movies? I would say that each filmmaker has a point of view, a statement of some kind they want to make and in the mix some of them just rub me the wrong, or boring, or pretentious way, and that’s fine with me.
New York, I Love You is more about people for me and less about New York. I’m sure anyone who lives there or frequents the city would disagree, but that’s the thing. I’ve never been there so I can’t be all romantic and gaga about the city, just dig into the stories it has to offer. It’s a good talking movie, I mean, you end up talking about it long after you see it which is a very very good thing. Some movies are so forgettable it’s hard to dredge them up from the back of your mind after a week or two. This one, however, will linger, in a good way. It’s not fantastic. It’s not bowling me over. It has to hit in the above average category, wavering from story to story, but overall tipping the scales in a good direction.
Audio & Video: 7/10
The 1080P 1.85:1 image here is razor sharp and crisp at times and dull and lifeless at others. This is a movie shot by 11 different directors using all types of cameras and techniques so I give it an artistic pass when it comes to visual quality on Blu-Ray. Some of the shots of New York are stunning though and it really does showcase parts of the city people are used to seeing.
Being a talky type of film I wasn’t expecting to be impressed by the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, but I actually was. It’s not impressive in the way that an action film is, it’s impressive in a more subtle way. The short in the restaurant has some amazing ambient sounds it really feels like you are there, and music is handled by all five speakers which really lights up the room. LFE also makes a presence with Subway trains and cars and trucks rumbling in the subwoofers. New York, I Love You is quite a stimulating aural experience.
I’m giving the overall score a 7, kind of hesitantly. One minute I want to give it a higher score, and the next I want it to be lower. I would recommend it as a rental, and yet some people will truly fall in love with this movie for their own reasons. I don’t think the disc is a good value, average at best with the stipend of extras and a movie that left me with a variety of reactions, teetering between blase and awesome. 🙂
Overall Score 7/10