City Island (2009/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)
B-/C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C- Feature: C
work on the underappreciated The Lost City (2005), Andy Garcia has been playing it commercial
and safe. That helps pay the bills, but
it also stops him from becoming the peak big name many though he could (and
still can) become, but big commercial and critical success have eluded him and
Writer/Director Raymond De Felitta’s City Island (2009) is a lame,
formulaic affaire that will not change anything.
a corrections officer in New York City who wants to become an actor of some
kind when he is encouraged to do so and finds an agent (Emily Mortimer of Harry Brown, Redbelt and Match Point)
and gets support form an unlikely source, prisoner and con artist Tony (Steven
Strait of Stop-Loss) he allows to
leave prison and stay at his family home, something that does not go over well
with his fired-up wife (Julianna Margulies).
The two teen children have a mixed response and this critic had a bored
believed any of this for a second, starting with Garcia’s poorly-written
voice-over work, though he tries to read it convincingly. The supposedly natural Italian family is
borderline stereotypical and for that matter, in the wrong era, but that’s a
separate essay. The jokes never work,
the humor is sometimes condescending and if it were not for some likable actors
(also including Alan Arkin) and how this could have been good if a good script
was supplied, this is a package deal dud.
Felitta could make such a good film out of Two
Family House (2000, reviewed elsewhere on this site) is beyond me, but he
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is supposedly shot in 35mm film, but
this transfer is soft with motion blur and other flaws throughout, a problem
extended more so on the anamorphically enhanced DVD version that has even
weaker detail and lighter Video Black.
Director of Photography Vanja Cernjul did a better job on the telefilm The Bad Mother’s Handbook (reviewed
elsewhere on this site) and the overall image in both cases looks a little
washed out for no good reason.
5.1 mix on the Blu-ray and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD are almost equally
weak and poorly recorded, with weak dialogue, a faint soundmix and even
location audio issues you would usually encounter on a lower-budgeted
production. The Jan A.P. Kaczmarek (Hachi, Finding Neverland) score barely sounds better than the rest of the
audio and the PCM mix is barley warmer or richer than the Dolby on the DVD.
include Deleted Scenes, Dinner With The
Rizzos featurette and a feature length audio commentary track with De
Felitta and Garcia.
- Nicholas Sheffo