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Friday, October 3, 2008

Indie Pick O' The Day: Sidewalks Of New York

Sidewalks of New York, written and directed by Edward Burns in 2001, is a must see Indie movie. It is engaging, funny, and speaks directly to the heart. All of the actors in this film bring a certain charm to their performance, which makes you want to like them even though their actions in the movie would tell you to do otherwise. This movie follows the love lives and drama of six different individuals who in some ways are going through things that many can relate to.

I first came upon the movie Sidewalks of New York at an FYE store. I was looking for a good movie to buy which I had never seen. So, after noticing that Sidewalks of New York was available I decided to buy it. I am so glad that I did What got my attention about this movie was how engaging it is. Each of the main characters speaks candidly (to an unseen interviewer) about their love lives. You get the perspective on love and sex from three different age groups: the young adults (the characters Ashley and Maria), the middle aged (the character Tommy), and the older adult (the character Griffin).

The best performances from this movie came from actresses Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, and Actors Stanley Tucci and David Krumholtz. They are all engaging. Brittany Murphy, playing the youngest interview subject Ashley, brings a vulnerability and emotional cadence to her role. Her character Ashley is a young woman who is having an affair with a dentist (Griffin). When you first get to know Ashley, you can see that this is a hardworking girl: she works as a waitress at a coffee shop and works long hours. She also, even though it may appear she is naive, is very smart and strong. A great scene that shows this is when Ashley confronts Griffin about why he can never take her out in public. All they ever do is go a hotel room, have sex. Ashley wants more out of the relationship, which Griffin won’t give. This is where the emotional side of Brittany Murphy’s acting comes out; she knows how to bring sweetness to her character, yet you get the picture through her speech and body language that this a woman who is getting fed up. She really wants an honest relationship.

For the young adult contemporary woman, if they view Rosario Dawson's character Maria, they may see a side of themselves. Dawson brings an honest, fresh, and funny spirit to her role. Through her up front conversation on dating, life, and the craziness of men, you can feel a certain kinship. You also forget that you are looking at Rosario Dawson, who has done good dramatic roles, and you see a young woman who is trying to live her life and not fall hard in love. One good scene in Sidewalks of New York which shows this is the one in which Maria and Tommy first meet in the video store. Maria approaches Tommy about a video he has. She wants the video, but Tommy says he needs to see it for work. It, at first seems awkward how the two connect: Tommy doesn’t seem so interested at first in Maria; Maria appears to be shy and apprehensive. However, when Maria walks out the store after losing her fight to get Tommy’s video, Tommy comes after her. It’s a good dynamic between the two; you can see that Tommy wants to get to know Maria, but Maria is standing her ground and not letting him into her space so easily. Great acting by both Edward Burns and Rosario Dawson in this scene.

Finally, for the men represented, you see two different sides . One side is sweet, giving; The character Benjamin played convincingly by David Krumholtz. The other side is savvy, yet charming; The character Griffin played by Stanley Tucci. Now when you first get introduced to the character Benjamin, at first you might think this guy is really desperate and needs a girl. Benjamin is a man who tries so-so, hard at love, but he just can’t seem to get it right. Actor David Krumholtz really makes you believe these qualities by how sad his character is after his breakup with Maria (that’s right, Maria from the video store and Benjamin dated), and also by how he stumbles when he tries to flirt with Ashley ( you guessed right again, this is the same Ashley who is having an affair with Griffin the dentist!... twists and turns all around!) A funny moment in the film, when Ben guesses something incorrectly about Ashley’s hometown; he feels so bad, like he truly messed things up! Krumholtz makes you really believe he is this young man who wants love through the innocence and heart he brings to this role; you can’t help but want him to win!

Changing direction from sweet to sleazy, Stanley Tucci’s character Griffin is one sneaky man! He is having an affair, cheating on his wife, yet lying and trying to live his life like everything is normal. Griffin is also a charming man too. Tucci really shows this, especially during the scene in which the film shows Griffin and Ashley first meeting in the park. Griffin charmed Ashley so well; any woman would have been knocked off her feet. Despite this feeling however, the love spell dies once it is seen how dishonest Griffin is being to his wife Annie (played well by actress Heather Graham). Tucci does an amazing job in his role as Griffin because you hate him and love him at the same time. You hate him for what a mess he is creating and how badly he is treating his wife, yet you love him because Griffin is not a horrible acting man. He has a nice quality to his personality, warmness shines through.

Overall, Sidewalks of New York, I recommend everyone seeing it. It’s a great date movie, has unforgettable scenes, and really made me want to experience New York for a day, feel the energy of the city.

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