Customer Reviews: New York, I Love You [Blu-ray]
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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon February 15, 2010
A dozen stories. Ten filmmakers. 103 minutes. If you do the math, you will draw the same conclusion I did - that there isn't much time for a viewer to make an emotional connection with every episode presented in this all-star 2009 omnibus tribute to New York. An eclectic group of global filmmakers, some well-known, others on the verge, had to meet certain requirements to make the final cut - they were given only 24 hours to shoot, a week to edit, and the result had to reflect a strong sense of a particular NYC neighborhood. The cumulative effect makes for a moody portrait of the city through various couplings, but due to the contrivance of its structure, the film falls short in bringing a deeper emotional resonance to the themes the creators want to convey.

With a couple of key exceptions, the film appears to be more of a valentine to Lower Manhattan. Consequently, there is a fashionably edgy look to the short stories. Israeli-born French director Yvan Attal epitomizes this feeling in two episodes. The first deals with an aggressively talkative writer (an irritating Ethan Hawke) throwing a barrage of romantic and sexual overtures at a sleek Asian woman who appears to have heard it all (Maggie Q). The other is marginally better, focusing on a chance conversation outside a restaurant between a woman taking a cigarette break (an effortlessly sexy Robin Wright Penn) and a man intrigued by her emotional availability (Chris Cooper). Both have O. Henry-type twist endings that make them ultimately entertaining.

A couple of other entries feel more gimmicky by comparison. Brett Ratner's mostly comic entry features Anton Yelchin as a naïve high-school student and Olivia Thirlby as his unexpected prom date with James Caan as her pushy pharmacist father. Mira Nair directed a flat culture-clash encounter between two savvy souls - a Hassid woman about to marry (Natalie Portman) and a Jain diamond dealer (Irrfan Khan) - who become mutually intrigued by their price negotiation meeting. Other episodes feel even more cursory. Portman wrote and directed a brief episode focused on an ebullient toddler (Taylor Geare) and her father (Carlos Acosta) having a play date in Central Park, highlighted by a brief dance performance from Acosta at the end (he is a Cuban-born principal dancer for the Royal Ballet). Chinese director Jiang Wen led Hayden Christensen, Andy Garcia and Rachel Bilson on an empty roundelay of deception and humiliation among thieves at a bar.

Japanese director Shunji Iwai was at the helm of a slight episode featuring Orlando Bloom as a frantic musician working against deadline, while Turkish director Faith Akin shares a brief story of obsession with Uður Yücel as a solitary artist who wants to paint the face of a local Chinese herbalist (Shu Qi). The entry from Allen Hughes (of the Hughes Brothers) consists mostly of a continuing voiceover of two regretful lovers (Bradley Cooper, Drea de Matteo) hesitant to follow up on their passionate one-night stand. The oddest, most dispiriting entry comes from Shekhar Kapur who directed a script from the late Anthony Minghella (to whom the film is dedicated). It stars Julie Christie as a renowned opera singer returning to a posh Fifth Avenue hotel where she bonds with a palsied, Slovak-accented bellboy played by an overly sensitive Shia LaBeouf. The nature of their relationship is never really divulged, but it ends on a surreal note of little consequence.

Directed and written by Joshua Marston, the best episode is perhaps the least ambitious as it features Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman as an aged, bickering couple on their way to the boardwalk in Coney Island for their 63rd anniversary. The reassuring way she places her head on his shoulder is easily the most touching moment in the film. All in all, this stylish hodgepodge will appeal mostly to those who are drawn to the short story format. Benoît Debie's sharp cinematography at least brings a consistent sheen to the film as it tethers the various storylines to a New York that feels mired in a cinematic fantasy. I just think Woody Allen's "Manhattan" executes on the same approach far more effectively. The extras on the 2010 DVD include a handful of additional scenes (though not the two deleted segments directed by Scarlett Johansson and Andrei Zvyagintsev), interviews with five of the directors and the original theatrical trailer.
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on February 2, 2010
"New York, I Love You" is quite an ambitious project. It represents part of what is referred to as the "Cities of Love" series, which was started by the successful "Paris, je t'aime" (2006). Like its predecessor, "New York, I Love You" tries to capture love in all its facets, provided by the vision of several directors, resulting in a charming and touching film.

The stories, as its name implies, take place in New York City, of which we see some of its scenery, but it could have really taken place anywhere else. They feel like universal stories and each one embodies the particular vision of its director, which included Yvan Attal, Allen Hughes, Shunji Awai, Wen Jiang, Mira Nair, Joshua Marston, Brett Ratner, Natalie Portman (her directorial debut), Shekhar Kapur, Fatih Akin, and Randall Balsmeyer. Kapur's segment was originally slated to be directed by Anthony Minghella, who passed away just before the filming began. Two segments, directed by Scarlett Johansson and Andrey Zvyagintsev, were not included in the final version of the film, but are added as extras on the Blu-ray release.

Mixing ten to eleven stories in one movie means that each one has to be short in time, and that is precisely what we get in "New York, I Love You." There is a story about a Jewish lady that is getting married to a Jewish man, but is attracted to the man of Indian descent (he is also to her) who sold her the nuptial ring. This is my favorite segment of the film. There is also the story about a thief that unknowingly steals from the girlfriend of another thief, just to gain her affection. Then, there is a segment about a pick-up artist that meets his match. Another favorite is the one in which a pharmacist convinces a young man to take his daughter to the prom. Unbeknown to the young man, the girl happens to be handicapped. Although each story is different, some of them are somewhat connected with the same characters, but most of them are not. However, continuity is not really an important factor here. It's all about different kinds of love in the big city.

"New York, I Love You" has an impressive cast - old and new Hollywood -- that includes Natalie Portman, Andy Carcia, Bradley Cooper, James Caan, Ethan Hawke, Julie Christie, Hayden Christensen, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Robin Wright Penn, Chris Cooper, Rachel Bilson, Eli Wallach, Cloris Leachman, John Hurt, and many more. The music and the cinematography are also impressive, and really enhance the stories. Can't wait to see the next installment of this very interesting series. The BLU-RAY includes interviews with director, Brett Ratner, Mira Nair, Yvan Attal, Josh Marston, and Shunji Iwai; the two additional segments not included in the film; and the theatrical trailer. (France/USA, 2009, color, 103 min plus additional materials). Reviewed January 31, 2010. Vivendi Entertainment. Reviewed on January 31, 2010 by Eric Gonzalez exclusively for [...].
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VINE VOICEon January 17, 2011
The producers of the bold, uneven yet ultimately rewarding Paris, Je T'Aime (Paris, I Love You) tried to recreate the magic in New York. Unfortunately, they've fallen short. 'Paris' was 18 short films of about seven minutes apiece. Many worked, some did not. The best thing is that each film was a totally separate piece. For the entries you didn't cotton to, you knew there might be a gem just a couple of minutes down the road.

By contrast, the New York film is comprised of 11 longer pieces of approximately 10 minutes apiece. More notably, characters from separate pieces often cross paths...and some pieces are cleaved into parts and reappear later in the film. That means you might see Hayden Christensen or Ethan Hawke later in the film...even when you sag your shoulders when they pop up in the first place.

The only piece that will stick with me was submitted by the always wonderful Mira Nair (The Namesake,Monsoon Wedding). Her film with Natalie Portman and Irrfan Khan is transcendent. The smiles emitted by Portman and Khan in their duely imagined ceremony (you have to see the film to appreciate what I mean there) makes the entire viewing worthwhile.
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One of the advantages or disadvantages of being my friend (depending on who you ask and after which film) is that I will undoubtedly make you watch a movie you might not ordinarily have chosen for yourself. Usually this works out well and we can uncover a little gem or perhaps an ambitious picture that doesn't quite hit the mark but is noteworthy nonetheless. Rarely, however, do I have to apologize. Unfortunately, that's precisely and instinctually what I did when the credits rolled on "New York, I Love You." I turned to my friend and said "I'm sorry." What seemed like a can't miss proposition--talented directors, top notch cast, a charming template in "Paris, je t'aime"--became one of the most disappointingly painful experiences of my movie year. Where "Paris" had romance and charm amidst its highbrow artiness--"New York" just has self-conscious pretensions.

Constructed, just like "Paris," in vignettes by varying directors--"New York" never succeeded in bringing a unifying sense to these disparate stories. Some were baffling, some out-of-place, some seemingly without point. The one thing they all had in common was an air of stifling self-importance. The complete lack of playfulness, humor and absurdity (or color, this is a very white New York) really does a disservice to a city of great vitality. But based on these maudlin tales, I wouldn't be offering this DVD up for sale at the tourism bureau. I have a feeling that those who love this movie will think that everyone else has missed the point--perhaps aren't sophisticated enough. But having been called a film snob, seen almost everything in existence, taught graduate studies in film--I can assure you that I didn't miss this film's "point." I missed its heart and soul.

Oddly enough, the segment that sticks out like a sore thumb is Brett Ratner's (the film's most commercial an oddest choice of director) piece. Why? It is the only segment with humor and an actual through-line plot. So out of place, but at least it works with a little actual feeling in its slight story. Other than that, I enjoyed exactly one other moment when international star Maggie Q avoids an attempted pick-up. "New York, I Love You" really is put together by talented people--I have other films by some of the directors in my DVD collection. I wished they had attempted something less "significant" and more real. With Shia LaBeouf, Natalie Portman, Bradley Cooper, James Caan and the wonderful Julie Christie--even these draws couldn't bring me back to "New York" again. KGHarris, 9/10.
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on January 28, 2015
This movie began well but soon became boring. I didn't find any single scene worth watching in spite of the surprises that came up which were not that great anyway. Whatever the film was trying to convey, I certainly didn't get it and gave up on watching the movie.
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on July 29, 2015
From the opening vignette in a cab, I was afraid this was going to be one of those lots-of-characters-cross-paths-searching-for-love-in-the-big-heartless-city mashups, but this is so much more. I waited the first scenes out to discover lovely little glimpses into some very interesting souls -- some humorous, some heart-breaking, some bordering on the supernatural. True, paths do cross, but only in the slightest, brushing-elbows-in-the-station kind of way. I found the scenes with Natalie Portman, Robin Wright, Chloris Leachman, and Uger Yucel to be particular standouts. (But, frankly, all the stories were touching, and well acted.) The story presented by Julie Christie and Shia LaBeouf was a hauntingly, achingly, visually beautiful mystery that will stay with me a long time.
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on April 17, 2013
I would like to mention that this movie is made in memory of Anthony Minghella. I first became his fan when I saw "The English Patient" movie he directed. Director Mira Nair assembled 10 different directors who each shot a sort of short story about love lost and found in a city that never sleeps. In this film characters come from all cultures and races and even if they meet for a brief moment, they leave lasting impression on each other. Each story is independent but also each one complements the others. Many of th actors are carefully chosen and I say they all perfectly fit their roles.

To me personally, the most powerful story is the story with Julie Christie and Shea LaBeouf. It is surreal compared from all others which in my opinion made is stand out in a good way.

Some of the dialogue is fast paced and witty, while other is more reflective and quiet. In any case, it is uniquely New York City type of movie with characters and situations that are believable and at times heartbreaking. Lovely movie, but seemingly not for general audiences. Film does call for some self-reflection and that is why I loved it so much.
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on May 1, 2010
This movie isn't for everyone. You have to be able to appreciate the big picture. It has a common theme besides taking place in New York, diversity and love. Each director based their short film on these themes. It is interesting to say the least but if your looking for easy entertainment, this isnt it. All star cast and everyone is tied to one another in some way. Not much to say but it is interesting if you appreciate diversity.
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on June 8, 2015
Terrible! We gave up after 20 minutes and turned it off. This is almost 20% of the total length of this film. During this time we could discern no plot or story line nor did we see any interesting characters. A total waste of time.
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on March 14, 2010
I really enjoyed this movie.It was really funny.It has a great cast.There is something and someone for everybody in this movie.I would definatley suggest this movie to anybody who likes romantic comedies.
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