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Natalie Portman, Shia LaBeouf love ‘New York’


BY SEAN O’CONNELL stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we recommend:

‘New York, I Love You’

Producer Emmanuel Benbihy gets credit for the concept: Choose a major metropolis, then turn loose teams of creative filmmakers and hope to create movie magic.

The charmingly reminiscent “Paris, Je T’Aime” started this fast-and-loose franchise. Now the City of Light gives way to the City that Never Sleeps for “New York, I Love You,” a like-minded anthology of star-studded short films set in – and inspired by – the Big Apple.

As with its predecessor, “New York” is a mixed bag of direct hits and near misses. Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson and Andy Garcia dance through a cleverly edited clip on con men and thieves. Natalie Portman writes and directs a short about a bi-racial couple after starring in a different chapter regarding strict religious practices (directed by Mira Nair and co-starring the excellent Irrfan Khan). But Brett Ratner’s vacant chapter, “Prom,” with Anton Yelchin trying to get lucky with a handicapped Olivia Thirlby after the titular dance, lacks the finesse of the collection’s best bits. Why hand the game ball over to a freshman when the varsity championship is on the line?

Luckily, if one segment starts to drag, another one arrives minutes later. And if you like what you see, “Shanghai, I Love You” currently is in production, and due in theatres next year.

Until then, rummage through supplements on Vivendi’s “New York” Blu-ray disc, which boasts – in addition to the crisp visual transfer – a bonus segment written and directed by Scarlett Johansson, a trailer, and five director interviews.

The movie – **1/2 out of 4
The Blu-ray – *** out of 4


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