New York Stories
On paper, "New York Stories" sounds a lot better than it really is, but one of the shorts contained within this anthology film is worth the price of admission many times over. A series of vignettes set in the titular city, directed by Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, and Woody Allen, "Stories" often feels far too lightweight to take hold. Coppola's piece, co-written and designed by a teenaged Sofia Coppola, is as shallow and vacantly beautiful as you would expect. Allen's, an attack on overbearing Jewish mothers, feels like a cousin to his witty short stories, but has none of the pathos of his film work.
Yet Martin Scorsese's short, the seminal "Life Lessons," is nothing short of a 45-minute masterpiece. Watching artist Lionel Dobie as he uses the imploding relationships of his life to fuel his art, we get a glimpse into how Scorsese has constantly employed his own anguish, sorrow, and disappointment into his films. There is tragedy everywhere here BUT in the art; Lionel's sublime work making up for the constant disappointments in his behavior. What begins as a study of a relationship grows into much more; a look into the intertwining connections between our art and our souls.
The other two shorts may disappoint, but "Life Lessons" - with its constant iris opens and swinging camera movements, it's as alive as Scorsese's best work - makes up for the lost ground and then some. This is an oft-forgotten classic, a perfect piece of cinema that is honestly comparable to works like "Goodfellas," "Taxi Driver," or "Raging Bull." Considering the budget price and perfect picture quality of this Blu-ray release, there is no excuse to ignore it any longer.
"New York Stories"