How do you get a film with over a dozen big name stars accomplished without it costing millions upon millions of dollars to make and produce? You split it up into a series of short stories, each with a different director. Following the same formula that Paris, je t’aime ran with in 2006, New York, I Love You is a set of ten short stories that all revolve around the tail of love. Some are predictable, some aren’t, and others are just…there. While it’s an interesting concept, if this becomes a series of films that all have the same end result then I’m not sure it can go on much longer…even if it does feature a cast that wraps around the entire border of the DVD/Blu-ray case.
In the city that never sleeps, love abounds 24/7. Some of the world’s most outstanding directors present a celebration of love that features an all-star cast, including Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper, Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Ethan Hawke, Blake Lively, Robin Wright Penn, Rachel Bilson, Drea de Matteo, James Caan, Anton Yelchin, Andy Garcia, Julie Christie, Maggie Q, and many, many more!
If you’ve seen Paris, I Love You then the setup here is the same. It’s a mixture of the good with the bad, as some of the short stories are pulled off brilliantly and others drag on a bit too long. It’s an interesting mixture and one I have to say I was enjoying at first…but there are really just too many drab moments here to be too enraptured the entire time. The constant revolving door of big name talent certainly helps stimulate the senses, but that may actually be the films biggest problem. It doesn’t stick with any one couple long enough. Just when you get into their story you move onto someone else and since none of them connect it’s hard to really find any common thread.
Ok so the thread is New York and the people that live in it that are in love. That’s obvious. But as far as the stories go they just progress from one to another and it’s nothing that really resonates with you. I admire what many of the actors and directors tried to do with the film, but honestly it just kind of felt…unfinished. Like it left you wanting more, but you weren’t sure what. It’s a strange feeling considering there are ten different stories, but I honestly just wondered what the whole purpose of it was; it would’ve served better as a TV series or a web series than it did sitting down in a home theater and watching it.
I guess it was too disjointed to be a real “movie.” It’s probably not supposed to be and I’m probably looking at it all the wrong way, but after watching this film I checked out the Paris one and I honestly found that one to be a lot more entertaining. The New York one just didn’t have the same caliber of stories in it (or maybe the actors really did just distract that much), but at the same time it was just cool to see the myriad of actors together in one film.
And that’s really what you’re going to see this film for. You’re going to look at the box on the shelves, exclaim “Holy crap! Look at all the people in this movie!” and then rent/buy it without a second thought. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as none of the actors are remotely disappointing or bad in any way, they’re just surrounded by either disappointing surroundings or unexciting stories. It’s a cool little “what if” style piece of filmmaking, but in the end it’s more unsatisfactory than anything.
Overall it’s worth a Rental but nothing more.
Vivendi Home Entertainment brings New York, I Love You to Blu-ray in a single disc Elite Blu-ray case. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and the AVC encoded 1080p transfer is solid and satisfactory. With ten different directors come ten different directing styles so some of the segments are a little bit more artsy than others, but that in of itself makes the video transfer all the more entertaining. It’s a very clean and clear transfer so you’ll be hard pressed to find anything wrong with it; plus since New York itself is another “character” in the film you see a lot of it shown off with fantastic detail. Any New York natives will no doubt enjoy watching this film just to see places they’ve been on screen.
Audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and it sounds…well, underwhelming. It’s a romantic film after all so it’s mostly dialogue driven, forcing the front speakers to be used more than anything. Surrounds do crop up here and there, but for the most part they’re silent aside from the occasional environmental/musical sound effect. It’s not a bad or disappointing mix by any means as all of the dialogue is crystal clear, but in terms of sound mix it doesn’t really blow you away with anything amazing.
Extras are pretty cool in that they include Two Bonus Short Films, one written and directed by Scarlett Johansson and another by Andrey Zvyaginstev. Neither are flat-out amazing, but it’s kind of weird that they didn’t just blend them in with the rest of the movie, although that would’ve pushed it over the two hour mark which would’ve made some people a little fidgety I guess. Other extras include a set of 5 Director Interviews and the Theatrical Trailer. Not a whole lot content past the bonus short stories, but they’re worth checking out if you liked the film. A commentary would be nigh impossible to construct on something like this, although they could’ve done small individuals pretty easy I think.
Overall a release that, like the film, is a Rental. It has its moments but overall it’s not something you’ll be revisiting anytime soon.
New York, I Love You is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.