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New York, I Love You

June 16, 2011

New York, I Love You (2009)
Directors: Various

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Synopsis: A series of short films celebrating the city of New York.

Review: Sadly, for such a great city, New York: I Love You does little justice to the Big Apple, failing to match even the modest successes of the Paris Je T’aime feature of a couple of years previous. One of the problems is that there are only ten segments – in the Paris film there were thirteen – and this combined with the understandable but flawed tactic of having the short films intercut rather than standing alone as separate pieces of work on a particular district (as the Paris movie did), means that very little sense of New York is actually conveyed. It doesn’t help that a lot of the films focus too much on interiors and plots, rather than exteriors and moods, plus the calibre of directors is a step down from the Paris to the New York series (Cuaron/Coens/Payne/Van Sant/Assayas v. Kapur/Nair and a particularly weak effort from Natalie Portman). Of a mediocre bunch, the sequences that caught me eye were the first half of the Yvan Attal film which features a cracking sidewalk skit between Ethan Hawke and Maggie Q, and Allen Hughes’ seemingly glossy depiction of a metropolitan affair between Bradley Cooper and Drea DeMatteo is actually quite an interesting treatise on the notion that cities attract strangers looking for love and some form of human contact. Ultimately, I guess the flaw with the concept of the series – and this goes for the Paris movie too – is whether New York and Paris really need these slightly formal and strained cinematic odes when they’ve been covered so extensively and iconically by the movies in feature-length format already. (June 2011)

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