New York, I Love You

Composed like a mini festival of short films on the subject of love, “New York, I Love You,” the second installment in the city-based anthology series, starts off strong before coming to a screeching halt. A majority of the best segments not only occupy the first half of the film, but they also have the most star power, including one by Jiang Wen starring Hayden Christensen and Andy Garcia as two men vying for the attention of a beautiful girl (Rachel Bilson); Yvan Attal’s playful two-parter (featuring Ethan Hawke, Maggie Q, Chris Cooper and Robin Wright Penn) about flirting with strangers; and perhaps most surprisingly, Brett Ratner’s charming tale of a young kid (Anton Yelchin) whose last-minute prom date (Olivia Thirlby) turns out to be more than meets the eye. Mira Nair’s segment about a Jain gem merchant (Ifran Khan) and Chassidic dealer (Natalie Portman) haggling over the price of a diamond (and bonding over religion) is also cute, but it probably would have made for a better full-length feature.

Portman also directs a segment that is easily one of the weaker entries in the anthology, while Shekhar Kapur’s story about a retired opera singer (Julie Christie) just doesn’t fit tonally with the rest of the film. The same can be said about Scarlett Johansson’s contribution, which was deleted from the theatrical cut and appears only as a special feature on the DVD. It’s probably a good thing it was removed, because with the exception of a hilarious final segment starring Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman as an old married couple making their way to Coney Island for their anniversary, the second half of the film is a bore. It’s also a little strange to see Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee sitting on the sidelines, because no one knows New York better than these guys. Maybe the producers will be smart enough to recruit them during their next visit to the Big Apple.

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Pathology

Though it spends much of its time dealing with the dead, you’d expect a movie like “Pathology” to have a little more life to it. After all, it was created by the writing team behind “Crank” – quite possibly the most over-the-top movie ever made. Of course, with Milo Ventimiglia headlining the cast, it’s no wonder the film feels a lot duller than it should have been. The “Heroes” star does his best Hayden Christensen impression as Ted Grey, a brilliant medical student who’s just joined the nation’s most prestigious pathology program. When he arrives, however, he’s seduced into playing a twisted game with some of the other interns that involves them taking turns murdering strangers, while the others figure out how it was done. Think of it as Medical Clue, but much more boring than it sounds, because there isn’t a single horrific or suspenseful moment in the film, despite the fact that that is how it’s being marketed. Even worse is that the audience has no one to root for. Sure, Ted is supposed to be the good guy in the movie, but are we really supposed to forgive all of his faults (cheating, killing, using, etc.) as someone who’s simply taken a wrong turn in live? Puh-lease. Only Michael Weston is given a role with any real meat on it, but even his crazy antagonist is never given the attention it deserves. Now, if the film followed him around instead of Milo, maybe we’d have something interesting to watch. It might not be “American Psycho,” but it would definitely be better than this.

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