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"New York, New York" - {Blu-Ray}
Reviewer:
Roxanne Romero
Studio: MGM
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
6/7/2011
Special Features:

Introduction by Martin Scorsese, alternate takes, deleted scenes, commentary, the New York, New York stories, Liza on New York, New York, trailers Rating: PG

Review:

Martin Scorsese's tribute to the 1940's era of musical, "New York, New York" opens on Jimmy Doyle (Robert De Niro), an in-your-face saxophone player, who is going to meet his friend at an underground USO celebration on VJ Day in 1945. He moves from girl to girl, trying to make a connection, until he encounters one who simply refuses to acknowledge him. She is Francine Evans (Liza Minneli), Jimmy's opposite in quite a number of ways. A USO singer, she is there because her friend requested it. Despite being lonely for company, she continually refuses Jimmy's advances. Through some clever talking, Jimmy convinces Francine to come to an audition with him. But as it begins going south for him, she steps up and begins singing, encouraging him to play along with her vocals. The night club owner offers them a job as a boy/girl duo, but Francine ends up leaving for another opportunity. Jimmy tracks her down and they begin their partnership, romantically and musically. It is tumultuous sometimes and good others. Jimmy has trouble containing his jealousy at Francine's popularity, which causes several outbursts. As things are going good for them, Francine learns she is pregnant. They separately return to New York but, the pressure of keeping their music careers in line with their lives together takes its toll on the pair. The film follows the rise and fall of their careers before and after their separation.***

I found myself tapping my foot along to the music twenty minutes into the film, and just wishing there was more of it. There were moments were Jimmy began to border on unlikable with his constant selfish attitude and abrasive behavoir. At times, it makes you want to give him a smack to knock some sense into him. But then, he connects with Francine in the next scene and there's fire and chemistry that you can't pull your eyes from. Francine was dazzling and strong in the face of such explosive behavior and she really held her own. But the real star of this film is the music. All the different kinds, from Liza Minneli belting out classics or the soft tones of the piano that Robert De Niro plays after he returns to New York to the score that emphasizes all the moments in between, the music is the connecting thread of it all. Music is what forged their relationship and music is what helped break it down.***

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray version of"New York, New York" looks quite incredible. While there are a few spots in the picture here and there, it is barely noticeable compared to the detail transfered. Skin tones don't appear too red and all the color holds strong as it's meant to. At times, the film seems to go into a type of soft focus, but those are more than likely do to the way the film was shot not because of the Bluray transfer***

Looking at this film from a musical standpoint, the audio surpasses expectations for the songs. They sound superb as does the dialogue of the film. Liza Minnelli certainly can belt out those notes. Though, all the audio seems to come only from the front, I can't honestly say it's something I noticed until the second time around.***

Special Features:

On the Blu-ray version there are quite a number of special features offered up for our viewing pleasure. Firstly, we have the audio commentary with director Martin Scorsese and Film Critic Carrie Rickey. This piece is my favorite of all the features offered because of Scorsese himself. So much of his passion and vitality come across as he discusses different aspects and anecdotes about the film and the process behind it. The fact that this commentary provides two commentators scored it a few extra points. We are also given selective commentary from the cinematographer, Lazlo Kovacs. It is very technical, but interesting.***

Next, we have "New York, New York Stories: Parts 1& 2", which is a long, detailed look at everything in the production, including problems they encountered, actor's choices and Scorsese's artistic goals. Most of the cast, as well as Mr. Scorsese and the producers speak in this documentary. A shorter version of this is also used as the "Introduction by Martin Scorsese". Following on the tails of this is a similar feature called "Liza on New York, New York". If 'New York, New York Stories: Parts 1& 2", covered the major player's perspective, than this is all about our leading lady's perspective. She talks bout her experience during the making of and her general good feelings about the film itself.***

We also have quite a few deleted scenes and alternate takes, and both the theatrical and teaser trailers for the film. ---

Final Words:

While "New York, New York" might not be for everyone, I highly encourage anyone to give it a chance if they haven't already. De Niro and Minnelli had wonderful performances. The music is charming and powerful -- the kind that gets in your head and makes you hum it without even realizing it. Maybe Scorsese didn't score a success according to the critics, but as a lover of all films, I must disagree. It's worth your time.

 

 
 
 
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