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City Island
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Reviewed on 2010-04-17
Received[4]  out of 4 stars
GenreComedy / Drama
This sparkling example of independent filmmaking at its finest from writer-director Raymond DeFelitta (“Two Family House”) is about the secrets of the past catching up with the white lies of the present.

Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia from “Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Godfather: Part III”) is the patriarch of a blue collar Italian Catholic family living in the quaint titular fishing community located in the Bronx. Vince’s grandfather built the home where the Rizzos reside. Vince has been married for 20 years to Joyce (Julianna Margulies from “The Good Wife” and “ER”) and they have two children, Vivian ( Andy’s real-life daughter Dominik Garcia-Lorido) and Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller).

Vince makes his living as a prison guard at the nearby correctional center. He has a secret desire to be an actor. He is ashamed and embarrassed to reveal his thespian aspirations so he uses the excuse of a weekly poker game. Joyce thinks he is having an affair since the passion has been missing from their marriage for over a year.

Vince is regularly attending acting classes in Manhattan. His teacher (Alan Arkin from “Marley & Me” and “Little Miss Sunshine”) pairs the class up and partners Vince with Molly (Emily Mortimer from “Shutter Island” and “Match Point”), an attractive woman with a British accent. Their assignment is to reveal their most personal secret to one another. Vince discloses his and then acts upon it when he brings home convict Tony Nardella (Steven Strait) on a provisional 30-day release.

This opens up a can of worms. It turns out every family member has something to hide. The genuine and believable script about this dysfunctional family could not be better. This cohesive group of actors has great chemistry which is never more evident than a scene at the dinner table. Garcia, as always, is wonderful and in top form. He shines brightest before the camera while improvising a monologue during an audition for a part in a Martin Scorsese movie.

The comfortable authenticity is enhanced even more because the film was actually shot on City Island. This delightful family-oriented movie wears its heart on its sleeve. It won the Audience Award at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. You will find that it fondly grows on you and curries your favor. It is worth discovering and recommending to everyone you know during its exclusive limited engagement at the Leawood.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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