Review: City Island DVD

STUDIO: Starz/Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Raymond De Felitta | CAST: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Steven Strait, Emily Mortimer, Ezra Miller, Alan Arkin
RELEASE DATE: 8/24/10 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $34.98
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes
SPECS: PG-13 | 104 min. | Comedy drama | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1; DTS Surround Sound | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The little independent film that could, City Island is a real crowd-pleaser, its winning tale of New York family dysfunction boasting terrific performances and lots of emotional and plot surprises.

Long Island resident Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) is a prison guard who decides to bring home a convict (Steven Strait) to help him get a fresh start. Vince, who holds many secrets and surreptitiously studies acting, is the head honcho in a family that includes a high strung wife (Julianna Margulies), a son (Ezra Miller) addicted to online fetish porn and a daughter (Dominik Garcia-Lorida, Garcia’s real-life daughter) who is attending college.

While Vince furthers his acting interest in a class taught by Alan Arkin, he gets close to a fellow student (Emily Mortimer) and even auditions for a part in a Martin Scorsese film. At the same time, the true lives of his other family members are revealed, from his wife’s interest in the young convict staying at her home to his daughter’s job as a stripper. Everything eventually comes to a head with hilarious and touching results.

Writer/director Raymond De Felitta (Two Family House) has the distinct talent of keeping things warm and fuzzy, but with a dark side, which makes City Island unique and quite winning. In some ways, the movie might remind audiences of the Danny Aiello starrer 29th Street in that it is a more profane version of a Frank Capra movie. There’s quite a bit of mood and plot juggling going on, and most of it is works, thanks in part to the top notch cast led by a lighter-than-usual Garcia, who also co-produced.

By the way, City Island is the name of a pretty seaport community in the Bronx. It’s also the name of a film that has put smiles on the faces of moviegoers since its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival last year.


Buy or Rent City Island
Amazon graphic
DVD | Blu-ray |
Instant Video
DVD Empire graphicDVD | Blu-ray Movies Unlimited graphicDVD | Blu-ray Netflix graphic

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.