New York, I Love You Various Directors

New York, I Love You Various Directors
Dovetailing from where Paris, Je T'Aime left off a few years ago, this instalment in how a metropolis affects the love lives of a series of interconnected couples has a hit-or-miss effectiveness. Each segment is helmed by a different director (most notably, Fatih Akin, Mira Nair, Shekhar Kapur, Brett Ratner and even Natalie Portman), rendering each narrative with a unique style and arc. Compelling stories include Ethan Hawke's cigarette sex talk with Maggie Q, Orlando Bloom's phone romance with Christina Ricci, Drea de Matteo and Bradley Cooper's one-night-stand monologues, and Julie Christie, Shia LaBeouf and John Hurt in a sumptuously filmed hotel tragedy penned by the late, great Anthony Minghella (to whom the film is dedicated in memory). New York, I Love You uses a lot of the same storylines employed in Paris, Je T'Aime ― cross cultural lovers, elderly, enduring love, married couples role-playing ― some of which are forgettable the moment they disappear from screen, which is the trap of short films with such a limited time to capture the audience. Standout performances include Robin Wright, Shu Qi and Natalie Portman (who was also in Paris, Je T'Aime) as women struggling through the disasters inherent in their relationships. DVD extras include not-so-enlightening director commentaries (save Shunji Iwai, who retells his filming tales in an animé style) and bonus segments cut from the original feature. The best narrative chopped from the final edit was "Apocrypha," directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, with Goran Visjnic and Carla Gugino in a quiet yet haunting score of heartbreak amongst strangers (with some WH Auden poetry thrown in for good measure). Scarlett Johansson's directorial debut is also in the bonus segment and was rightly axed from the final edit, as it tediously features Kevin Bacon eating a Coney Island hotdog for five minutes. New York, I Love You still trumps all the other ensemble rom-coms out there that attempt to achieve this kind of depth and meaning, but ultimately fall into old tropes. This is more Love, Actually than He's Just Not That Into You. A gallant addition to the franchise, now we just have to wait for the Toronto edition that will accurately sum up our city: T.Dot, I Love You, But I'm Not Ready For A Committed Relationship. (E1)