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City Island

Submitted by on April 20, 2010 – 11:31 amNo Comment

by Richard von Busack

Many movie are called The Little Film That Could—Raymond De Felitta’s film deserves the name; the tale has tallness as well as heart. It concerns a tangle of confusion hitting the Rizzos, a suburban family who doesn’t realize how extended it is. Andy Garcia excels as Vince, a prison guard from a hidden waterside enclave in the Bronx, On the job, Vince encounters his own son Tony (Steven Strait) from a long-ago affair in Jersey and he decides to bring Tony home to do some day-labor without telling his wife his true identity. But Vince has another secret: he’s been taking acting classes in Manhattan, without informing his hostile, lynx-eyed wife Joyce (Julianne Margulies, never better). The rest of the family has secrets of their own: son Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller) is a chubby-chaser with eyes for the 400 lb woman next door, and daughter Vivian (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) has been moonlighting as a stripper. The tangle of lies is resolved nicely. City Island sports fine waterscapes; Emily Mortimer is very soulful as the acting partner with whom Vince shares a deepening friendship, the ageless Alan Arkin has six very good scenes as a weary acting teacher who has seen generations of Brando imitators come and go. Provoking a family feud at a dinner table, or gazing at a BBW porn site as if it were the holy grail, Miller is also outstanding. Hard to tell whether this is the general snazz of a cocky young actor, or something more long lasting, but Miller has everything Robert Downey Jr had at the age when Downey was making films like Back to School and Johnny B. Goode…so time will tell. Noisy at times, but so is a good episode of The Honeymooners. Always gentle and likable, the movie comes out in favor of the sins of the flesh. It celebrates the actor’s life and the actor’s luck.

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