By pure accident, I watched two movies last night that were predominantly NEW YORK. They would be Prime and Heights. Both 2005 leftovers (granted, Heights only went straight-to-dvd in March here)
Prime (2005, dir. Younger) - The word that I keep coming back to to describe this movie is... pleasant. There's nothing particularly WRONG about this movie (except for the Bryan Greenberg character. Why doesn't every character in this movie think he's funny?) but it doesn't really hit any big marks at all. It simply glides along at it's own pleasant pace all the while being pleasantly pleasant. Occasionally there are a few nice one-liners (almost exclusively from Meryl although Uma does get in a choice quote about circumsized men and crochet) and the film is GORGEOUS to look at - it is in love with New York City, non? I sensed a bit of low-grade Woody Allen in Prime's writer/director Ben Younger.
However, the whole thing could've been so much better if the character of David (Bryan Greenberg) was better written (maybe actually make him funny instead of just having every character say "You're so funny!") and given to a better actor. Sorry but this Bryan guy whoever he is just wasn't good. Good looking, yes. Great body, yes. The rest? er...
The movie just didn't have an edge that it needed to get it out of second gear. But for what it was it was pleasant. I'm having trouble getting a grasp of what Ben Younger is all about (the other movie of his that I have seen was another second-gear film Boiler Room). Does he want to be the next Woody Allen? Hmmm. That ending was silly as well. Silly 'One Year Later' codas are annoying. The film would have been better to end of the rather beautiful shot of New York at night that we see as it fades to black (and then randomly jumps to one year later). B-/Pleasant.
Fact - Prime has the distinction of being awarded IMP's Worst Poster of 2005 award. I couldn't agree more. That poster is atrocious. Seriously one of the worst posters I've ever seen for a non-indie film. ack.
Heights (2005, dir. Terrio) - The second film is another story about New Yorkers being New Yorkers in New York. A wonderful film from the 'take a bunch of connected characters and have them do stuff' sub-sub-sub-genre. This one has the advantage of being more of a destinctive entry due to it's cast. This could've easily fallen through the cracks and been relegated to being filmed on digital with a no-name cast. Instead we get the stand-out Glenn Close continuing her recent output. Add to that more surprisingly great stuff from people such as Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden and Jesse Bradford as well as, in smaller roles, Rufus Wainwright, Isabella Rossellini and George Segal.
Much like Prime, Heights is in love with New York (in fact, aren't most movies set in that big city?). Constantly filming the city from rooftops and distances that give us beautiful sights of this city. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next Chris Terrio project - here's hoping his promise with Heights continues.
And seriously, someone give Glenn Close a role that could win her an Oscar. She deserves it.