Rapid Response: New York Stories

“New York Stories” is three interesting, if flawed vanity projects from some of the best directors living, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola.

How come filmmakers don’t make love letters to Chicago? That’s the movie I want to see. There are already enough odes to New York, and even in 1989 when Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen together made “New York Stories,” a collection of three short films taking place in the city, the three of them had already made movies in which the Big Apple was a vital player. None of these are as good as “Taxi Driver,” “Mean Streets” or “Manhattan,” and yet all three are at least interesting, if flawed vanity projects for some of the greatest directors living today.

New York Stories Life Lessons

“Life Lessons”

“Life Lessons” is so clearly a Scorsese film before the title credits even roll because of the stylization that dominates the film. Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” is blared at us as the camera lunges away from an abstract painting and swivels and edits with alacrity. It strongly asserts the magnetic, but strange relationship between the artist Lionel Dobie (Nick Nolte) and his young assistant Paulette (Rosanne Arquette). She’s returned to New York from a vacation in Florida even though she’s assured Lionel she is leaving and never coming back to him, a sure sign of how people may be reluctant to return to New York, but it always seems to call them back. Continue reading “Rapid Response: New York Stories”


“Warrior” is an ugly, jittery, annoying and contrived film that never relents in beating you.

The Fighter” isn’t exactly “Raging Bull,” but it’s a better film than most give it credit for. To call “Warrior” just a Mixed Martial Arts “Fighter” set in Philly however is giving “Warrior” way too much credit.

Watching “Warrior” I realized all the things “The Fighter” actually does not do. It has no split screen montages, no wives telling their husbands fighting is the wrong life for a family man, no shaky cam fight scenes, no unbeatable foreign behemoth, no money problems, no dark pasts conjured out of thin air, no legal issues, no dead mother, no washed up father lamenting his glory days, no fake SportsCenter clips and most of all, no parables.

“Warrior” has all of these things, and yet lacks a minute of the fun in watching Micky Ward’s train wreck of a brother, his posse full of trashy sisters, his tart and sexy girlfriend or his commanding and memorable mother. Continue reading “Warrior”