New York Stories - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

New York Stories Reviews

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July 10, 2014
½ July 2, 2014
Worth seeing primarily for the Scorsese segment, though the Woody Allen segment is a lot of fun.
March 1, 2014
The Scorsese segment features great performances and direction, but isn't overly exciting.
The Coppola segment is an absolute bore.
The Allen segment is smart, fun and hilarious short making it the best of the three.
January 19, 2014
the first story is so and so, the second is really bad but the third is good and funny.
July 1, 2013
Looking at this as a whole it suffers because of the stinker in the middle.
½ June 3, 2013
The Scorsese segment disappoints, the Francis Ford Coppola I had to skip - but the Woody Allen segment is hilarious and its true saving grace
April 20, 2013
This film deserves four stars based solely on the strength of Martin Scorcese's contribution starring Nick Nolte.
½ March 30, 2013
A terrible idea for an anthology film. The directors each operate on such different levels that mixing their styles together was just supremely awkward.
March 7, 2013
Description: ''New York Stories is a 1989 anthology film; it consists of three shorts, with the central theme being New York City. The first, by Martin Scorsese, is about a painter who creates his works helped by high volume music and an attractive assistant; second, by Francis Ford Coppola, is about a rich and bold 12 year old who helps her separated parents to reconciliate; third, by Woody Allen, is a witty piece of comedy about the impossibility of getting rid of the son's role.''

Martin Scorsese's ''Life Lessons'':

The best of the 3 shorts. Loosely based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's short novel ''The Gambler,'' so the source material is a wise choice. It's great technically: camera panning, close-ups, slow motions, quick cuts... he packs it all in there (when it starts, it doesn't say whose short it is, but you never have a doubt in your mind once you see that camera move... classic Scorsese). Excellent use of music too. Nolte and Rosanna Arquette deliver great performances, but Nolte plays an obsessive creep which I couldn't relate to, so I was more sympathetic towards Arquette's character. The ending was pretty good, in a disturbing kind of way: Arquette escapes, but Nolte finds another mouse to prey on. It leaves you thinking: How long has he been sustaining his obsession and possession of women, manipulating them for his own benefit? A solid short about a tortured man's imprisonment in art. (4.5/5)

Francis Ford Coppola's ''Life Without Zoe'':

Easily the worst of the 3. A goofy little girl's story. It says written by Francis & Sofia Coppola, but it felt more like written by Sofia... she would of been 18 at that time, and it plays out like something an 18 year old amateur would write. Dull story, horrible acting and uninspired direction. I was just praying for the punishment to cease. It's all the more horrendous because it comes right after that great Scorsese short. I recommend skipping this one completely and moving on to Woody Allen's piece. (0.5/5)

Woody Allen's: ''Oedipus Wrecks'':

Funny and imaginative, but kinda disappointing. I initially thought it was going to be fantastic, with Woody exploring the life fact that while parents (or mothers in particular) can be a pain in the ass, when they disappear from your life, you're really going to miss them. But Woody didn't go for that. Instead he focuses on mothers only liking daughters-in-law that are similar to them? Eh. Great acting and soundtrack in this one, though. (4/5)

Overall, I'll have to give this a weighted score of 3/5 stars, but definitely see it for Scorsese's short and less enthusiastically, Woody's.
½ March 1, 2013
oedipus wrecks <3
February 11, 2013
I loved Scorsese and Allen's segments- these were wonderfully contrasted pieces. Coppola's, however, is rather pithy in comparision.
January 17, 2013
I only got to see Scorcese's story which was really good. I thought Nick Nolte was great, it showed how stressful it can be to be a famous painter. It shows how nuts he gets when he can't let go of a girl he use to love and she just plays with him. The story moved fast and kept you interested for a good 45 minutes. The filming was great as well, I really enjoyed this short.
½ January 5, 2013
A middle-aged artist obsessed with his pretty young assistant, a precocious 12 year old living in a hotel, and a neurotic lawyer with a possessive mother make up three stories.
December 7, 2012
New York Stories is rather a disappointment. With three great directors and many good actors, the results should have been better. Scorcese's part had little point to it, and Coppola's was simply a far less charming version of one of the Eloise stories. Allen's was the only part with anything to recommend it, and even Oedipus Wrecks was less funny by far than his earlier works, such as Sleeper and Love and Death.
November 18, 2012
Scorsese's segment is awesome, Coppola's is fucking terrible, and Allen's is just kinda there. It's a good thing that Scorsese's comes first, cause you should definitely shut it off after that one. Seriously, Coppola's is almost unwatchable.
October 29, 2012
100% skippable. Even the "good" parts are irrelevant. The actors all do an excellent job, but the material in all 3 stories is weak. And yes, Francis Coppola's is embarrassingly bad.
½ October 20, 2012
Overall not great but Woody Allen's part was genius
½ September 24, 2012
Back when this film came out in 1989, it was a bit of a competition between the three biggest directors of the time to see who could create the best film with the common setting being New York. The result was "New York Stories," a film that used the anthology genre which hadn't been utilized in some time to showcase the talents of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen.
The first short film is entitled "Life Lessons," and is the most successful out of the three films. Nick Nolte stars as Lionel Dobie, an artist desperately in love with Paulette (Rosanna Arquette). On numerous occasions, he makes it clear that he would do anything for Paulette (except, of course, tell her whether or not he thinks she has any talent as an artist).
Expertly written, convincingly acted and, with Scorsese at the helm, masterfully directed, "Life Lessons" is the best contribution "New York Stories" has to offer as an intriguing character study of a grizzly middle aged artist seeking inspiration from his romance.
Sandwiched in between Scorsese and Allen's films (to help us forget about it) is Francis Ford Coppola's "Life Without Zoe." Disjointed and lacking purpose or any unifying themes, this film is easily the worst out of the three. The plot involves an Arab princess, a flutist and a spoiled girl. These three elements seem vastly different and Coppola does such a lackluster job of tying them all together that "Life Without Zoe" doesn't once rise above mediocrity.
Finally, Woody Allen's film "Oedipus Wrecks" involves lawyer Sheldon Mills and his strained relationship with his mother. The film broke the string of drama (and dramatic comedies) Allen had been releasing since this film is purely comedic. The humiliation Sheldon experiences whenever his mother walks into the room is broad and universal, appealing to the side of us that harbors resentment at the person who granted life to us, provided for us but for whatever reason, failed us in one way or another.
"Oedipus Wrecks" transforms from comically exaggerated reality to a fun fantasy. The film is much lighter than Scorsese's, but succeeds as a comedy that works.
The film is definitely worth a look for Scorsese fans and I expect Woody Allen fans naturally gravitate towards it. I wonder what Coppola thought upon seeing Scorsese and Allen's finished products. I assume he experienced the kind of panic I experienced in grade school when I finished a project and, looking around at my other classmates' works, felt grossly inadequate.
½ September 22, 2012
Scorsese's and Allen's segments are enjoyable but didn't really care for Coppola's.
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