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City Island
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Reviews & Ratings for
City Island More at IMDbPro »

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114 out of 139 people found the following review useful:

Great movie

10/10
Author: mnemon07 from Chicago
21 December 2009

I stumbled upon this movie accidentally and haven't even heard of this movie until the night of watching it. All I can say is WOW!!! This is such a great movie. Andy Garcia performance is amazing.

This movie is not a Hollywood mainstream. In a way, its similar to Little Miss Sunshine: dysfunctional family, every character is a weirdo, Even grandpa from Little Miss sunshine is in this movie, but its different. Similarly to Little Miss Sunshine, its a low budget independent film. If you didn't like Little Miss Sunshine, and you don't like that genre in general, you probably won't like this movie.

Personally, I loved this movie and in my list, it is in the top 10 of this movies I've seen this year.

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92 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant ... just BRILLIANT!

9/10
Author: bwdude from Antigua and Barbuda
28 December 2009

Well, you maybe won't believe that this movie really IS brilliant if you are only 30 minutes or so in. At least I didn't.

I actually got bored by the multiple - but at first not very promising - story lines going on. But I like Andy Garcia, I like Emily Mortimer and after all it had a very high rating here.

It got better though, and in the last 30 minutes or so, when everything started coming together, I watched almost with my mouth open and sometimes I had to laugh really hard.

And while Andy Garcia is a pretty good actor in general ... BOY is he good in this one !! I predict an Oscar nomination for him this year, no I am SURE he will get nominated for this role!

So, all I am saying is: Just give it a chance and sit through it. You won't regret it and you will end up LOVING it !!!

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80 out of 98 people found the following review useful:

A Must See!!!

9/10
Author: lawrentzioo from Romania
1 February 2010

Really, it is a movie that shouldn't be missed, absolutely pleasing. I wasn't very sure of the movie in the beginning , I saw it with all my family and, man, we laughed and enjoyed this comedy more than expected. Now i am recommending it to all my friends and also to ones who read these lines, you won't regret. I cannot understand why this movie isn't presented to the public like other far worse movies, where you expect a lot seeing the trailer and get nothing. This is completely the opposite, you start from zero and go very high. I like the characters, i like the intrigue, everything, and i am not a big fan of Andy Garcia.

A big GO FOR IT, don't think twice !

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61 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Island Deluxe!!!

10/10
Author: meeza (themeezaman@hotmail.com) from Miami, Fl
13 March 2010

This movie "City Island" will take any city by storm! Writer-Director Raymond De Fellita's engaging & entertainment gem has been transported to my fantastical island of quality film-fare. Cuban-American thespian icon Andy Garcia stars as Vince Rizzo, a New York prison guard (I mean correctional officer) who resides in a New York suburban island called… see movie title. Vince has always aspired to be an actor but he has never told his family of his "wanna-be" thespian affairs. Julianna Margulies plays Vincent's "good wife" (just had to do it, it was too good) Joyce; in reality Joyce is not too good and has smoking passions of her own, but nevertheless she is the fervent mother of the Rizzo clan. Ezra Miller plays Vince Jr., the Rizzo teenage kid that has some hefty passions of his own that are unknown to his family. Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Andy's real-life daughter, plays daughter Vivian; a college student whose financial tuition difficulties have stripped her of all her money so she decides to be a stripper, of course not providing that naked truth to her family. And then we get a strait man enter the picture, that would be in the form of Steven Strait who portrays Tony Nardella, a convict prisoner who Vince takes under his wing to the Rizzo residence because of a deep secret; to be strait with you he just might be Vince's lovechild. Emily Mortimer plays Molly, a lonely acting student who Vince befriends. And we even get another Alan Arkin sighting in a dysfunctional family film, which is always a welcome. Arkin plays Vince & Molly's acting teacher. All this Rizzo secret madness is wrapped up into a convoluted, but yet, engaging narrative that you will most certainly adore. All the performances are first-rate! But the acting-god father of the group is definitely highlighted by Andy Garcia's charismatic & whimsical starring performance as Vince Rizzo. He belongs in Oscar Island at next year's Academy Awards with a Best Actor nomination. Marguiles was marvelous as Joyce, and Strait was straight as an arrow with his thespian work as Tony. And of course, much felicidades goes out to Writer-Director Raymond De Fellita for his comedic-delicious functional script on a dysfunctional New York family and his functional direction of the side-splitting narrative. So my friends, grab on to your cinematic passport and get on that pleasurable movie cruise to "City Island". ***** Excellent

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39 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Name a better film for the first quarter of 2010

9/10
Author: (samofilmfan@aol.com) from Santa Monica, CA
27 March 2010

Plotted somewhat like a farce but as emotionally resonate as the best comedy-dramas, City Island is most aptly described, simply and literally, as wonderful. The cast is unfailingly strong with producer Andy Garcia giving himself the meatiest role – to great effect. A few too many "dems" and "dose" may lace his New York accent but he is funny, sincere, frustrated and perseverant in a wide panoply of scenes with actors who have either been TV-type cast (Juliana Margulies), indie-film type cast (Emily Mortimer) or not yet had a real chance to really strut their stuff (Steven Straight, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, and a promising Ezra Miller). Alan Arkin pops in with his usual world-weary Weltanshauung but it plays wonderfully here.

Still, you can see good acting in a number of films (though not an ensemble as strong as this). What separates City Island from the comedy-drama mainland is a story that is both fantastical and yet credible. The premise of what befalls this particular prison guard is a little over-the-top, as are the nonstop (funny) family feuds, but it all feels real. The story detours into little tide pools of drama for each character and here, too, every subplot provides laughs – and it all comes together in a tsunami of comedy at the end, true to its farcical roots. But there's a surprisingly strong current of emotion too in a finale that argues secrets are probably best revealed when you feel least safe in doing so.

The best film I've seen to date this year.

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39 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

A perfect dysfunctional family, with emphasis on "fun"

9/10
Author: imdb-3022 from Brookline, MA
10 March 2010

This is a terrific film, a testament to the brilliance of actor/producer Andy Garcia. It's got it all -- quirky but lovable characters and a great plot with twists reminiscent of the comedies of Oscar Wilde (very clearly updated, of course). As far-fetched as it might seem, it rings true from start to finish. Can't wait for more from writer/director Raymond De Felitta. It's smart, touching, hysterical, and trumps just about everything I've seen in months. Like everyone else, I don't know why this is running under the radar. Andy Garcia plays his role like a fine violin -- and he's totally captivating. All the actors deliver, and every moment is a treat. I don't know when or if it will get a wide release, but if you get the chance, see it while you can.

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49 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

Wonderfully directed and Underhyped

10/10
Author: surajitghosh37 from India
16 January 2010

I really wonder why is this movie so less known,i mean only 800 odd votes!thats bizarre,this is a brilliant movie.well directed and with some superb performances.especially from Andy Garcia.Im an Asian so it is understandable that most film goers are unaware of this movie as this brand of movies are less popular here and they do not get that much publicity,but what about other places?is it because perhaps it was poorly marketed?Because i strongly feel this movie deserves a much lager audience base.Characters are well portrayed and the story develops consistently towards an absolutely brilliant and worth anticipated climax.This is not what you can call a perfect example of a typical Hollywood brand of movie,it is different but it is refreshing,and is it certainly worth multiple viewing.

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32 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Do you want to know a Secret?

8/10
Author: David Ferguson (fergusontx@gmail.com) from Dallas, Texas
4 April 2010

Greetings again from the darkness. I am always amazed, amused and somewhat satisfied when a writer gathers up multiple stereotypes, massages the conflict and dialogue, and emerges with a script that captures interest and holds attention. Writer/director Raymond De Felitta has done just that with working class Italian New Yorkers.

All story lines revolve around the secrets each of the family members keep from the others. Sure, we all understand that two-way communication and trust create a much stronger and healthier family, but sometimes, it's just not that simple.

Andy Garcia plays the head of this secretive bunch and he sets the stage with two whoppers. The first is his slinking off to acting classes while chasing his lifelong dream of becoming an actor - like his inspiration, Marlon Brando. To cover this one up, he tells his wife (Julianna Margulies) that he is off to another poker game, unaware that she interprets this as code for his having an affair.

They have a daughter (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) who has lost her college scholarship and is saving money to re-enroll by working (secretly) as a stripper. Their odd ball son (Ezra Miller), who believes he is too smart to attend classes, develops an online fetish habit that ends up VERY close to home.

In most films, this would be plenty of ammunition to create havoc among the players. Not here. Garcia's second, and much larger secret, throws this dysfunctional family into a tailspin - and he somehow is the last to realize. Emily Mortimer, Steven Strait and Alan Arkin all provide strong support to the story and this "family".

Mr. De Felitta explored some of these family topics in "The Thing About My Folks", but here he is working with his own script. The balance between comedy, conflict and insight is actually very good; though, the New Yorker habit of loud mealtime conversation is somewhat discomforting for this southern boy. Still, I have nothing but positive things to say about how the stereotypes end up providing self-realization to each of the characters, and even more importantly, an understanding of what their family really is. Good stuff here.

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42 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

A Perfect Film

10/10
Author: robshownews from United States
7 March 2010

It's a rare, exhilarating experience to see a film and not find a single false note within. This is one of the most well written, perfectly acted, impeccably directed movies I have seen in a long, long while. It has the feeling of comforting familiarity, and yet is surprising at EVERY moment, taking your expectations and turning them in the most interesting and unique ways. As the basis for the story has the potential to be unbelievable and over the top, it could have been a disaster in the wrong hands, but very early on you find yourself feeling so 'happy' with what transpires, that you are completely drawn in by the brilliance that's displayed. Achingly funny, and sweet without being cloyingly sentimental, it is an amazing piece of work. I implore you to see it, and tell your friends about it. This is a movie that deserves a wide audience. It is classified as 'quirky', which it most certainly is, but COMPLETELY accessible. In creating the specific world of 'City Island', Raymond De Felitta has given us a touchstone of universal emotions. Secrets, lies, mis-communication, love, and most of all, family. I URGE you to see this film. It is truly special.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

The best kept secret of the year

9/10
Author: Simon_Says_Movies from Toronto, ON, Canada
24 August 2010

Like a number of smaller films this year such as The Kids are All Right, Please Give, Winter's Bone and the first two films of the Millennium Trilogy, City Island is one of this years sleeper indie hits and it is easy to see why. Out on DVD today, it is one of the best movies of the year.

In many ways, City Island is a traditional dysfunctional family melodrama, and it revels in that mold. What elevates this dark comedy to something compelling and infinitely memorable are the universally strong performances, confident direction and most importantly -- one of the best scripts in years. Oddly, I found the same response to a very different film; Frost/Nixon. Boasting the same underlying strengths by way of actors and writing, both are perplexingly entertaining for movies with such a humble story arc and could easily be dismissed as pompous Oscar bait. This is far from the truth.

By way of an introductory voice-over narration we meet the Rizzo family who reside on City Island, a tiny island community in the Bronx. The residents of this picturesque hidden jewel consist of two groups, "mussel suckers" who are immigrants to the island and "clam diggers," who like the Rizzos, have resided there for generations. Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) is a prison guard but secretly aspires to become an actor, a masquerade so embarrassing to him it leads his wife Joyce (Julianna Margulies) to believe he is having an affair. Their son Vince Jr. has a secret fetish for more portly woman and their daughter Vivian is secretly working as a stripper to pay for school. To top things off, Vince has come across a paroled prisoner who just so happens to be his son Tony who he had abandoned during a relationship decades prior.

Basing your opinion on that description alone, it would be very easy to dismiss City Island as an outlandish comedy of errors, but the execution is so genuine and deliberate it borders on genius. As tensions escalate after Vince brings Tony home with him (under false pretences) everyone's secrets collide in a climax that ranks among my favorite finales of all time, drama, comedy, horror film or otherwise. As the writing behind the big finish shines through, so does the believable mix of fluctuating emotions exhibited by the cast. Words do not do this scene justice, so I urge you to simply experience it yourself.

Each principle member of the cast gives what I would call career-high performances, especially Andy Garcia who anchors the story as everything dissolves around him. He is hilariously deadpan at one moment and tender at the next, which sets off Margulies' fiery Joyce to even more palatable effect. Steven Straight as Vice's long-lost son is perfectly nuanced as an ex-con who is as puzzled by his new lodgings and the kindness of a supposed stranger as he is disenchanted with society. Emily Mortimer gets a great side role as a colleague of Vince's in his secret acting class; a relationship that stays refreshingly plutonic.

Every member of the Rizzo family is given enough screen time to become fully realized individuals but without taking so much attention away from another to degrade them to a caricature. Vince Jr. is sarcastic and annoying most of the time and in a lesser film he would have been overused and could have easily sunk the film. But writer/director Raymond De Felitta plays to each characters strengths and balances their interplay faultlessly.

Above all else, City Island is a film about secrets and how when kept bottled up can shred even the strongest of relationships but when shared can be a uniting factor. This theme seems fitting as this little treasure is the best kept secret of the year.

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