Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New York, I Love You

OK so maybe I got carried away in my last blog when I professed my love for NYC based movies. I rented New York, I Love You mainly because I found its predecessor so charming, that being Paris je t'aime. That film collected well known actors and filmmakers from around the world and made 10 short films about romance in the city of lights. That film was charming, simple, and contained the work of stellar directors such as Alexander Payne and the Coens. This time around the setting is the city that never sleeps and we get 12 shorts with even more famous actors but less-than-stellar directors. Also, unlike the first film, characters appear in other sketches outside of their own shorts. The results are not charming, and are often pretentious and off-putting. Following is a brief description and rating of each of the shorts:
  1. Directed by Jiang Wen and starring Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, and Andy Garcia. The opening short follows a pickpocket attempting to woo a girl only to be outsmarted by an older con-man. Uninspired and Christensen is the worst. ** stars
  2. Directed by Mira Nair and starring Natalie Portman. A Jewish diamond saleswoman and an Indian haggle over the price of a piece of jewelry as the Indian begins to fantasize about the soon to be wed woman. Nice little short is the kind of work that is missing overall in this film. *** stars
  3. Directed by Shunji Iwai and starring Orlando Bloom and Christina Ricci. A musician expresses his discontent about a record producer on the phone to a woman he's never seen. This was one of the few I liked as well. *** stars
  4. Directed by Yvan Attal and starring Ethan Hawke and Maggie O. A brazen writer tries to pick up an attractive woman on the streets. This one was pretty pretentious. **1/2 stars
  5. Directed by Brett Ratner and starring Anton Yelchin, James Caan, Olivia Thirlby, and Blake Lively. A pharmacist asks a recently dumped young man to take his attractive daughter to prom, with more than just a few surprises in store. This was probably my favorite short though it was kind of disturbing at one point. ***1/2 stars
  6. Directed by Allen Hughes and starring Bradley Cooper and Drea de Matteo. Two people contemplate their first encounter on the way to their second date. This is probably the most stylishly filmed of the shorts, but pretty empty other than that. Ethan Hawke reappears at the end during a nice bit. **1/2 stars
  7. Directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Julie Christie, John Hurt, and Shia LaBeouf. A singer visits her favorite hotel and is waited on by 2 kindly butlers. Ludicrous short makes no sense and is laughable as LaBeouf sports an accent and a hunchback while playing one of the butlers. ** stars
  8. Directed by Natalie Portman. A man and his daughter take a walk in Central Park. That's about it. I don't even think this one had a script. *1/2 stars
  9. Directed by Faith Akin. A Chinese woman considers an artist's offer to paint her. Nice little short hits the mark. *** stars
  10. Directed by Yvan Attal and starring Chris Cooper and Robin Wright Penn. While enjoying a cigarette outside a restaurant, a woman teases a man while her husband waits inside. Irritating and more pretentious dialogue though Cooper does his best with it. ** stars
  11. Directed by Joshua Marston and starring Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman. A Jewish couple bicker as they take a walk in Coney Island on their 63rd wedding anniversary. Somewhat heartfelt but pointless. ** stars
  12. Directed by Randy Balsmeyer. Two of our stars meet up, form a bond, and a hand-held film of all our stars is shown before the credits. No dialogue and more pointlessness. *1/2 stars
The average of these twelve shorts comes out to 2.375 and I am definitely rounding down. This was a major disappointment