• PG-13, 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Raymond De Felitta
    In Theaters:
    Mar 19, 2010 Wide
    On DVD:
    Aug 24, 2010
  • Anchor Bay Entertainment

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City Island Reviews

Page 1 of 59
Alice S

Super Reviewer

May 23, 2010
Fiery, loud, and funny! Everyone in the Rizzo family harbors secrets: smoking, stripping, stealing. They're hinted at in cute, little montages, and then they explode in a huge, Greek climax that shouldn't work in a creative writing sense, but the humor and absurdity of it all is a juggernaut that compels the audience to just roll with it.

I only know Andy Garcia from "The Godfather III" and "Will & Grace," in both of which he played tough, smarmy guys, so I was really impressed with his insecure, sad-sack dad/wannabe actor. I'm always a little bit annoyed at Emily Mortimer - so dainty and puckered - but even more so in this film since she gets all the quirky, pretentious lines. *Spoilers* Furthermore, I watched this movie again on DVD with subtitles on, and they indicate that Molly changes her British accent to American preceding her confession. I couldn't tell the difference at all when I saw this in the theatre without subtitles, which makes me wonder how Mortimer gets cast for so many American roles!
Alireza64ir
Alireza64ir

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2010
A lovely and enjoyable comedy.Not flawless and unique but instead it has many hilarious sequences.
Anatoliy D

Super Reviewer

August 29, 2011
city island, test string
maxthesax
maxthesax

Super Reviewer

August 16, 2011
Perhaps meant as a look inside an area of NYC, similar to Brooklyn Lobster, City Island shows us a very dysfunctional family while giving us a narrative tour of the feel of the title area.

The script is reasonable enough and holds enough humorous moments, especially in the closing confrontation where mistaken assumptions collide, but I felt that, especially in the case of lead character Andy Garcia, it laid on the goomba a bit too thickly.

Garcia plays a corrections officer who is secretly taking acting lessons in an attempt to fulfill his childhood dream. He was going to go to college and perhaps pursue that dream, but then life kind of got in the way - so now he's taking classes on the sly, telling his wife that he's going to play poker on the nights he's taking classes.

While at a class the teacher (nice cameo by the always wonderful Alan Arkin), asks the class to pair up and then tell your partner your deepest secret. Garcia pair up with Emily Mortimer (who is perfectly cast), who slowly tells not only her own secret, but gets Garcia to open up about his own dark secret and then to act on it. She also coerces him to attend a casting call where, in a bit of unbelievability, he lands a call back for a feature film.

But reading between the lines, there is a tale of life and a certain brand of love that comes from life experiences. Julianna Margulies plays the "hurricane" of frustrated wife to a tee - knowing her man and loving him, yet frustrated by some of his failings. She and Garcia don't really communicate anymore and keep secrets from each other - from silly things like their continued smoking to much deeper things concerning feelings and desires.

In the middle of this there is the all too bright teenage son who has a secret passion for large women. I've heard of this and some of its variations, like feederism - but this is the first film where I've seen it openly presented as a mainstream, almost natural, obsession. Kudos to the scriptwriter for bringing this to light without making a huge joke out of it.

While not a work of high art, this film held my interest in spite of a bit of heavy handedness, combining enough of the underlying heaviness of keeping secrets and not following through on life, with a strong bit of natural humor.
Shawn E

Super Reviewer

March 14, 2011
This movie is outrageously funny! It has a heartfelt story of a dysfunctional family who all have their secrets to hide. The secrets the family members hide from each other continue to pile up and make this film impossible not to laugh out loud at least once. All the actors in this film were great and I'd certainly recommend this funny quirky film to anyone looking for a laugh.
axadntpron
axadntpron

Super Reviewer

January 22, 2011
Surprisingly charming little film. Unfortunately nothing more than that, but a fun watch if you don't want to have to think much.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

January 20, 2011
Had a fun last half hour.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2010
A dysfuntional chuckle all the way through with a very satisfying ending. The truth all came together for a heart warming finish. Andy Garcia was wonderful as usual, and Julianna Margulies gave a top performance. A really good adult comedy. Very enjoyable.....and Steven Strait has reeeeally grown up. :) nice. nice.
familiar s

Super Reviewer

September 17, 2010
Exactly the kind of family dramedy I was looking for since quite a while, but wasn't able to find one. Liked how the plot is set & executed without coming across as a drag: It's about how almost every main character has their own set of secrets & how they try their best to keep it, but it all finally comes out for good.

The only, yet the biggest, drawback of this movie was Emily Mortimer's unnatural performance. Her overacting (and it's not like she was meant to act that way) really got on my nerves (otherwise, my rating would have been greater than 7/10). It's one of the worst performances by any actress I've seen in quite a while. Andy Garcia, as usual, is excellent. The rest of the cast is good enough.

If you're looking for a good time-pass flick, go for it.
LWOODS04
LWOODS04

Super Reviewer

May 15, 2010
Cast: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Alan Arkin, Steven Strait, Ezra Miller, Carrie Baker Reynolds, Hope Glendon-Ross, Curtiss Cook

Director: Raymond De Felitta

Summary: When he recognizes his son, Tony (Steven Strait), whom he hasn't seen in more than 20 years, among a crop of new inmates in the jail where he works, Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) decides to bring the troubled young man home with him, much to the surprise of his wife and kids.

My Thoughts: "This film has all the dysfunctional family quirks that make a great Indie comedy. The script is fresh and very funny. This is a family built on secrets with hilarious sarcasm. The family is believable. I know families like this, I happen to be a part of one. Very loud and sarcastic. But also full of love. It was a great surprise. Didn't know much about the film before seeing it and I ended up loving it. Probably one of my favorite Andy Garcia films. Julianna Margulies was great at the sexually frustrated wife. But the one who stood out more for me in this film was Ezra Miller. Just a very funny kid. His one-liners where really funny. He was a natural. But the one who I don't think anyone will mind looking at in this film was Steven Strait playing Tony Nardella. Damn.. That's all I'm going to say on that.. lol.. To get back to the film, it was great and I recommend everyone rent this one. It won't disappoint."
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

February 21, 2010
"Oh dear. Greek in scope."

I haven't seen a family drama/comedy this good and refreshing in quite some time. I only decided to see City Island because Emily Mortimer was in it; the plot description that I read didn't exactly sell me on the movie, if I'm being honest. But, I ended up really enjoying it.

The plot's too complicated and spread out for me to go into detail, but it's basically about a family that lives on City Island in Brooklyn. A family that's full of more secrets and lies than should even be theoretically possible. The father is keeping his acting lessons a secret from his wife, and one of his sons a secret from everyone (including the son, who's fresh out of prison). His other teenage son is hiding a rather amusing fetish. His daughter is hiding her risqué job and the truth about her school. As you can imagine, endless complications and misunderstandings result that could have easily been avoided by a little honesty and trust.

Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, and Andy Garcia were all absolutely excellent in this. I'd go so far as to say that it's the best performance of Mortimer's career. The script is funny and emotionally engaging, and I really couldn't have asked for a better ending. If you even vaguely enjoy this kind of film, you would be doing yourself a favor by giving City Island a viewing. I found it to be a very pleasant surprise.
thefog1331
thefog1331

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2010
A quirky comedy about a closet full of family secrets that all come to a boiling point when an ex-con enters the fray. Lots of laughs and everybody puts on a great show with the talents of Garcia and Margulies leading the pack. Eccentric, witty and a thankfully low amount of warm fuzzies will have me checking this one out again as well as recommending it to those looking for a different kind of comedy.
Bill D 2007
Bill D 2007

Super Reviewer

June 26, 2010
Raymond De Felitta's "City Island" starts out great and gets progressively more superficial and cutesy as it goes. Even at its cutesy worst though, "City Island" is still a good film and worth watching. I wish De Felitta would challenge himself to dig deeper into his characters. He gets so close to depth here several times, and then pulls back for some reason. It's a real shame. I sense that he could be a major filmmaker.

There's an odd corner of New York City called City Island, which sits in the Long Island Sound with a bridge connecting it to the Bronx. De Felitta did a marvelous job penetrating this unique, insular culture, which seems to be a mixture of each borough of NYC, plus a touch of New England.

The main character is played beautifully by Andy Garcia, who clearly is ready for more challenging roles than he generally gets. Enough with the popcorn movies; this man is ready for film! There seems to be an actor almost of Al Pacino's caliber somewhere inside Garcia. I hope in the next few years we get to see more of it. I even suspect that Garcia might get his first Lead Actor Oscar nomination for 'City Island.' (His only previous nomination was for Supporting Actor in 'Godfather 3.')
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

June 21, 2010
Vince: My name is Vince Rizzo and I live on City Island. On City Island there are two types of people: Muscle Suckers and Clam Diggers. Muscle Suckers are those who have come from off the island to live here. Clam Diggers are those who were born on the island and decided to stay. I'm a Clam Digger.

A solid human comedy about a family who's individual secrets slowly become revealed to each other. The film stitches a number of subplots involving each family member together into a film that is quite funny and quite clever, and very entertaining throughout.

Andy Garcia stars as Vince Rizzo, a corrections officer (prison guard) living outside the Bronx on City Island. While he has had his job for many years, providing support for his family, he secretly wishes to become an actor. He hides this from his family, claiming to go to poker nights, when he really attends an acting class, with a teacher played by Alan Arkin. Besides this big secret he has, another larger secret stumbles back into Vince's life in the form of a convict, who is in fact Vince's son. The convict, Tony, played by Steven Strait, was born after Vince had walked out on his mother, but now he has managed to make his way back in Vince's life by landing in the jail Vince works at. As the crime was not that sincere, Tony can be let into someone's custody for a month and then go free, leading to a brash decision to be made by Vince. Even though he hasn't told Tony his true connection, Vince brings Tony into his home life.

Beyond Vince's secrets, the rest of the family are also hiding little things from each other. Vince's wife, Joyce played by Julianna Margulies, believes that the "poker games" actually mean Vince is cheating on her. Vince's son is taking starting to act on his fetish for larger women. And Vince's daughter (played by Garcia's real life daughter) is home for spring break, except she is actually missing all her shifts for work...at a strip club. Maybe having Tony around can help bring together this family for the better...

Vince: I wanna have a big home-cooked dinner tonight. You know, something special.
Joyce:...You want balloons or something?
Vince: No, I don't balloons or something, I'm just saying I want something nice.
Joyce: When do I not make it nice!
Vince: Make something nicer!
Joyce: Make it yourself!

The film was written and directed by Raymond De Felitta who has the tricky job of establishing multiple characters, all with there own stories and somehow bringing all of these elements together, which he does very well. This could have easily fell into territory that was way too sitcomy or mishandled, but thanks to a strong script that is very funny due to the quirky, Bronx accent infused characters and numerous awkwardly hilarious exchanges, as well as quality cast, the movie succeeds overall.

Garcia is very good in the lead. He brings both the attitude of his strong stature that he has developed over the years, along with a quiet insecurity that makes his secret desire to be an actor all the more endearing. Margulies is also good, mainly due to the chemistry she shares with Garcia, being able to have yelling matches with one another that give off a vibe that though they may do this often, they are an experienced married couple. Strait, miles away from his star turn in 10,000 B.C., is quite good as well, essentially playing the straight-man role, as he is introduced to the lives of this dysfunctional family. Emily Mortimer also stars as a friend of Vince's from his acting class, and its always nice to see her around.

The film certainly benefits from its strong cast of characters and it is once again, made better by its direction, along with a solid score for the film and some nice photography of the island along with some shots of New York.

All around, a very solid family comedy.

Vince: Truth is stranger than family.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

May 23, 2010
Good little black comedy about a family who are all keeping secrets from each other. Starts off slow, but once it picks up is well worth the watch. Maybe a little OTT once it all comes out at the end, but still pretty good. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with the teenage son and the girl next door, kind of sweet in a twisted way. Also the ex-con son and Emily Mortimer as a failed actress. Kind of like American Beauty.
Mark H

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2010
Pitch perfect comedy about the secrets a family hides from each other. Title refers to the area of the Bronx where the film is set. Everyone is superb in this ensemble cast, particularly Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies as the married couple at the center of it all. Script deftly handles multiple plot threads brilliantly, as it tells its tale of a dysncfunactyinal family. Genuine eccentricities on display, but in a delightfully amusing and at times, touching sort of way. You'll laugh, you'll cry and for all the right reasons. A warm hearted movie that deserves to be seen by more people.
MovieMaster12
MovieMaster12

Super Reviewer

April 30, 2010
According to prison guard and family man Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) there are only two kinds of people in City Island: "clam diggers" and "muscle suckers." Rizzo is a clam digger because his family has lived in the Bronx fishing village for generations. When we arrive on City Island we're muscle suckers because we're only there to visit.

More than anything City Island is a film about secrets. How they can tear us apart as they grow, but also how it's never too late to come clean. Vince and family reside on City Island. By day he's a tough guy prison guard, but by night Rizzos an aspiring thespian, studying the work of Brando in the bathroom with the door locked. Can he tell his family this? Of course not, what would they think? So he claims to be playing poker when he goes to night acting classes. There he meets Molly Charlesworth (Emily Mortimor) a fellow wannabe actor and the too develop a friendship in which they can comfortably confide in one another. Little does Vince know that he's not the only member of the Rizzo household thats got something to hide.

The strength of Raymond De Felitta's inde dramedy, is it's eagerness to let us in. It achieves this by blending irreverent quirky family comedy and touching nuances exposed in each characters private moments. The four principle family members are isolated in their own confusions, struggles, and regrets. The story scratches at the possibility of being a stranger in your own family. For example: they all smoke, but are all trying to hide it.

Our involvement is magnified and mirrored through Tony (Steven Strait), a down on his luck con, that the family take in. Tony really is a stranger, but begins to learn more about each Rizzo than they even knew about each other. We empathize with Tony, because we too arrive as a guest, though, are more family than we realize.

The film works as both an eccentric family comedy and a heartfelt human drama. By the end it may not quite sort everything out, but it has incredibly solid intentions and is far more textured than it's outward appearence would seem, but as we learn; appearences can be deceiving.

So... am I a clam digger or a muscle sucker? It's hard to say, but after the time I spent with this group I wouldn't mind diggin in.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

April 13, 2010
andy garcia, artist? who knew? but with this obvious labor of love (and his own daughter given a part) garcia tries his hand at the filmmaking racket ... and does pretty damn good, too. okay, it's not scorcese or coppola but everyone has to start somewhere, no, even an established property.
if i were trying the game from the inside for the first time i would be proud to put my name on this. kudos.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2010
"Truth is stranger than family"

A family's bizarre and layered lies to one another come unraveled.

REVIEW
This is a terrific film, a testament to the brilliance of producer/actor Andy Garcia. It's got it all -- quirky but lovable characters and a great plot with twists reminiscent of the social satires 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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