Garcia does double duty on “City Island;” Swedes deliver tattooed lady
By Skip Sheffield
“City Island” was the opening night film a few weeks ago at the Miami International Film Festival. Now the new comedy, starring favorite son Andy Garcia, is open in area theaters.
“City Island” is the name of a fishing village within the Borough of The Bronx, New York. You can see it on your left from the expressway on the way to the Throggs Neck Bridge. I always wondered what that little neighborhood was like. Thanks to this film, now I know.
Andy Garcia is Vince Rizzo, a prison guard (he prefers to be called “correctional officer”) with a “worst secret vice.” He wants to be an actor.
Obviously Garcia was attracted to this character, created by writer-director Raymond De Felitte, because it is an actor’s showcase. There is a double edge to this sword. Since it is such an “actorish” role, Vince Rizzo does not seem like a real guy.
The good news is this is a very funny film. De Felitte has recruited a crack supporting cast for Garcia, headed by Julianne Marguiles as his suspicious, harping wife Joyce. Joyce wonders what really goes on at the poker games Vince seems so devoted to.
Of course, Joyce suspects an affair, and it doesn’t help that Vince’s acting partner is Molly, a comely lass played by Emily Mortimer.
Vince isn’t the only Rizzo family member with secrets. Daughter Vivian (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) has lost her scholarship and is working as a stripper part-time to pay for college.
Son Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller) has a thing for fat women and watching them eat.
If the house weren’t volatile enough, Vince brings home an ex-con, Tony Nardella (Steven Strait) who has a whopper of a secret himself.
“City Island” is best appreciated by people who have endured the trials and tribulations of being an actor and having to audition. For them, the scenes with Vince’s tough acting teacher (Alan Arkin) are alone worth the price of admission.
“Alan is a dear friend of mine, and he has a passion for acting,” revealed Garcia in a recent interview. “The hardest part for me was to keep from cracking up.”
Garcia not only stars; he is the film’s producer.
“It’s tough work,” admits the Miami resident. “It took me two and a half years to get this off the ground. The thing about being a producer is you want to see it happen. You have to really believe in what you are doing.”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is an intriguing and complicated little mystery from Sweden that won the Swedish equivalent of an Oscar and an audience award as Best Film at Palm Springs Film Festival.
The film is based on the first book of a trilogy called “Millennium” by Stieg Larsson.
Famed Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist plays Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading magazine journalist whose fearless reporting on an industrial fat cat has earned him a jail term.
Rising star Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander, a rebellious, outspoken 24-year-old who is a genius computer researcher.
His career in ruins, Blomkvist accepts the assignment of 82-year-old industrialist Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), who challenges the reporter to solve the mystery of the disappearance and presumed murder of 16-year-old Harriet Vanger in 1966.
It won’t be giving away any state secrets to reveal the middle-aged reporter and the young punk researcher join forces to discover a deep, dark, terrible and life-threatening secret.
Be forewarned there is some really rough stuff in this thriller, but the suspense is high and the action fast-paced, even though the film is more than two hours long.