City by the Sea - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

City by the Sea Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 13, 2013
3 3/4's--I rather liked this for what it's worth. Not a big blockbuster movie. A little slow, but it contains some really good actors...minus William Forsythe. I cringe when I see him in movies. All in all, this was an interesting film, and it was a lot better than I had anticipated. Excellent performances by both De Niro, Franco, and Mc Dormand.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2013
Michael Caton-Jones takes the helm for this low-key crime thriller about a veteran cop named Vincent LaMarca who becomes conflicted when he learns that the latest murder suspect he's after happens to be his estranged son Joey LaMarca, a troubled junkie.

Grim, gritty, and a tad grungy, this should be a great movie. It's got nice atmosphere, a decent set up, and a cast that includes Robert De Niro, James Franco, Frances McDormand, William Forsythe, and Eliza Dushku. However, this just kinda falls flat, especially towards the end.

It all starts off decently though, but the film ultimately lacks a strong amount of energy and drive, so the potential for greatness gets squandered, and the film just kinda drifts along without much purpose a lot of the time.

The performances are decent, though, and I like the location shooting, but in the end, this really isn't strong enough to warrant much of a recommendation. It comes close, though.
Super Reviewer
½ December 10, 2011
Vincent LaMarca: How'd we get this way son? I remember the day you were born. 
Joey: Yeah? Well, I remember the day you left. So we're even. 

"When you're searching for a killer... the last suspect you want to see is your son."

This is a very average movie with a few great actors and a couple horrible ones. With a better bad guy, this could have been a lot better, but they went the route of William Forsythe and that hurt the movie a lot. Then they threw in Elisha Dushku as Gina and that's pretty much a death sentence for any movie. Robert De Niro, James Franco and Frances McDormand do what they can to save this film from being what it is, but it isn't enough.

Vincent LaMarca is a cop who's father was executed for the murder of a baby when he was just eight years old. Now he is investigating a case of a murdered drug dealer and the prime suspect is his son, who he hasn't seen in many years. He has quite a conundrum on his hands. He has to decide how to play this thing. Then more and more things come to the surface which makes it harder and harder for Vincent to act on any impulse. 

City by the Sea isn't a horrible movie only because of the three excellent actors the film has. Without them, this would have only been a laughable, cliche, and extremely dull film. With them it manages to be entertaining to an extent. Just not enough to overcome the predictable story line and some of the other performances from actors that aren't excellent.

It is worth a watch if you really like De Niro or Franco. Just don't expect to be blown away by it.
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2010
When you're searching for a killer... the last suspect you want to see is your son.

Good movie. Very good acting role by Robert De Niro as always brings his best. James Franco did a superb job too as a junkie on the run. The story was sad and depressing in a way and I can imagine what a dad must feel like in that situation. All-around a fair enough good solid movie.

New York City homicide detective Vincent LaMarca has forged a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, making a name for himself as a man intensely committed to his work. But on his latest case, the stakes are higher for Vincent--the suspect he's investigating is his own son. He and Joey have been painfully estranged ever since Vincent divorced his wife and left the decaying boardwalks of Long Beach, Long Island for the anonymity of Manhattan and a successful career with the NYPD. He lives his life in solitude, keeping his girlfriend at arm's length; the closest relationship he maintains is with his partner, Reg--and Vincent makes sure that stops at the precinct door. As long as Vincent lives in the protection of the present, he doesn't have to deal with the pain of his past--or his sorrow over his broken relationship with Joey. But this murder investigation is drawing Vincent home to Long Beach, the self-proclaimed City by the Sea, where the past has been waiting for him to return. The agonizing memory that has tortured him all his life--the death of his father, a convicted murderer who was executed when Vincent was just a boy--still plagues him. In the course of the investigation, he discovers that his own unresolved pain and failures as a father have deeply influenced Joey's life, and now his 18-month-old grandson may be fated to follow their self-destructive paths.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2009
Not one of my favorite movies from Robert De Niro, but it is a decent film none the less. It has a lot of good casting choices, especially James Franco who did an amazing job. The story is a little weak, but it's mainly due to the reputation that comes with De Niro.
Super Reviewer
½ October 18, 2006
A film that questions family loyalty and doing the right thing. Strong performances by De Niro and McDormand and an intriguing story.
Super Reviewer
½ May 20, 2007
Long Island detective Robert DeNiro relives his past when his estranged son becomes a murder suspect. An above par cast bolsters an otherwise run of the mill cop thriller cum family drama that fails to deliver on both counts. The drama side of things is far too soapy, with McDormand having little to do except make two dimensional moralisations, and the thriller is superficial and contains some real flaws in logic. The cast keeps it watchable however; Franco is suitably downtrodden as the junkie son, but seeing a mulleted, pot-bellied and jumper clad DeNiro deliver a dewy-eyed, cliche riddled speech about second chances is quite embarrassing considering the power and intensity we all know he's capable of. Add to this uninspired direction and the result is far too cliched and simplistic to be taken seriously.
Super Reviewer
April 11, 2007
I like James Franco and Robert deNiro, but this movie is completely devoid of energy and it drags the whole cast down. I would have much preferred if this movie had been about the father's relationship with the son, instead of... whatever it was actualy about.
Super Reviewer
½ July 11, 2006
This movie is proof that Robert De Niro can be in mediocre movies. Forget about Showtime-- that was MEANT to be mediocre...this movie wasn't. Although the suspense and acting are good, the plot is all-too-familiar and the story moves in a more-than-predictable direction. Too bad Frances McDormand is in this too-- she's usually much better than this.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2007
Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand and James Franco all deliver powerful, affecting performances in an otherwise stiff and uneven crime-drama. There are some very effective scenes, but just as many uncomfortably weak ones.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2008
Wasn't great, but I enjoyed it.
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2009
"Do we have a choice? Or do we pretend we have a choice to help deal with the sentence?"

I didn't know what to expect when I put this in my list. I think the only reason I added it was because I saw De Niro and thought it had to be a sure fire good flick. The movie starts out and I'm thinking, wow the footage playing is old and and I wondered if I was watching the right thing. Then it goes present day and there's James Franco. I was like damn, he had films besides Spiderman back then? He plays a druggie looking for a fix and then a serious incident happens and makes him question his life and choices. Enter Robert as a detective who happens to find a body tied with James character. Then, holy cow, another surprise. William Forsythe appears as another drug dealer. This guy is a great actor and I always enjoy seeing him in stuff. He's kind of the ring leader of the drug trade and is not the kind of individual you would want to cross. The story goes back and forth between characters showing off the different lives. I must say it is always interesting watching a larger than life actor like Robert, live in an apartment and carry on a small low key life. The way the plot unfolds and the more you see about characters is kind of shocking. The movie moves at a good pace not crawling and giving lots of depth to each of the characters in turn. I find it fascinating to see how the lives of all the people are connected in one way or another and the movie isn't quick to give anything up. It has a way of slowly giving peaks at the history tucked deeply within. The more I watch the more people I recognize as the type of individuals that get sprinkled in as like B grade actors. This isn't to say they aren't great actors convincing in their roles, but you always see them as support to bigger names and can sometimes get lost in the background. The movie is well written and executed by a star cast. It was not exactly shocking in some ways when everything starts to fall apart but at the same time I just couldn't look away. when there were some surprises that really jump at you. There are some pretty powerful moments in this movie that are pretty hard not to feel. All in all I think this is a good movie that anyone could enjoy really. I definitely recommend it.
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2007
Great movie!
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2006
I don't really know why I liked this, but I just did. Drug use makes me sick though. Eliza Dushku was really good and was really sad at the end.
January 18, 2009
I really enjoyed this film a lot! The ratings aren't great, but De Niro does a great job and with him and the story I call it a hit. I truly recommend it.
January 9, 2007
è um bom filme, uma bora trama. Uma situação que seria muito dificil pra qualquer pssoa lidar. è uma boa pedida...
½ June 14, 2006
Franco once again gives a great performance as a son who's lost and DeNiro is again doing what he does.
½ March 3, 2015
A surprisingly restrained performance by Bob Deniro is a welcome one, but isn't enough to turn this thick melodrama into something great. It's a shame Caton-Jones dwelled for so long (3 years) in the editing room on how to perfect City by the Sea, becoming depressed in the process and calling it the "low-point" of his career, only to muster this vapid schmaltz. The fact that the film is apparently based on true events is the only thing that saved it from becoming one big cliche. It's not a terrible film, I never wanted to turn it off, but the amount of talent involved left me feeling jilted.
October 28, 2014
It is your average American Joe police thriller but also it is a family drama that does provide some emotion to it and De Niro does well in his usual role as a well respected cop it could have been better but I have seen worse
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