Title: New York Lately
Director: Gary King
Starring: Susan Cagle ... Truly Hanssen Jenn Dees ... Veronica Darling Jared Asato ... Jared Ishii Mark DiConzo ... Mark Wagner John Weisenburger ... Ringo Barnes Jeremy Koerner ... Elliot George Vanessa Streiff ... Samantha Thompson Kether Donohue ... Pam Molly Ryman ... Andrea Stratten Bridget Trama ... Julianne George David Winning ... David Bultmann
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Kitchen Table Films
Running time: 92 minutes
Official Website: http://www.nylately.com/
Writing film reviews and criticism can be a little like building book shelves. You may enjoy the work but ultimately you only hold the creations of other people in them. However, every once in a while you get the opportunity to discover a true genius. Gary King, writer, director, producer and editor of NEW YORK LATELY is an auteur in the making if not already in fact. He has crafted an original, funny and poignant slice of New York City that harkens back to the great early work of Woody Allen combined with the modern flavor of the best of Paul Haggis (Crash, 2004).
Like Seinfeld (1990 TV series), NEW YORK LATELY is about nothing. Just the every day trails and tribulations of eight New Yorkers going about their business and social lives. They rise and fall, bump and stumble along trying to make decisions day to day. Sometimes good ones, sometimes not so good. But always with a New York kind of pessimistic and sarcastic optimism. The stories are so mundane and the acting is so brilliantly understated that you cannot take your eyes off the screen. Every role is well cast, every character is believable, and every dialog is nailed.
Cinematographer Jason Varner, Composer Ben Romans and Music Supervisor Nate Campany seem to be in complete simpatico. The lighting and mis en scene are impeccable and suit the mood at every cut. The music is almost non present but yet perfectly complements the action. There are so many red herrings that I anticipated scene endings two and three times in my mind only to be surprised by the actions finally taken.
The writing is wonderful. Mr. King has created a tableau that gives a flat arch-less slice-of- life plot-line while simultaneously sending every character on a three act journey in their own story; ending with both closure and open ended possibilities. Mr. King also appears to be a master in the cutting room as well. His edits create tension and then release it, create humor and then expel it. He wields his ‘knife’ with the precision of Sweeny Todd and makes his stories speed up and slow down at his will. Mr. King did a great job hiring his hair and makeup department; which plays a significant role in helping to express the moods of the females and sometimes the males.
All this is complemented by the balanced casting of Rajni Narasi.
To say that this is a brilliant troupe of multicultural actors is an understatement. I would list the ones that stand out the most, but they all stand out equally well. It is remarkable to see such a balanced cast of obviously well trained actors who are virtual unknowns. From facial expressions, to timing, to action and reaction they are a joy to watch. They reeled me into their drab wretched lives like I was flounder or something. They get to the truth of their characters and so do we. And that truth is frequently unspoken.
NEW YORK LATELY is a ninety two minute film that was reportedly made for $100,000. It would be a tremendous effort for a seasoned filmmaker much less the freshman feature outing for Gary King. Remember his name. You will be seeing it again and again as the years go by. A new film auteur in the pantheon of filmdom is born. Oh, and don’t forget to go out and buy a copy of the DVD too. You will probably want to see it more than once. FIVE STARS.
Title: New York Lately