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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Role Model
City By The Sea is an excellent video for my collection of
DeNiro movies, keep up the excellent movie making.
Published on March 24 2004 by A. DeBalis

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars an ok drama with dry climaxes
Robert DeNiro and James Franco make this movie work, with son accused of killiing a cop and a father who wants to bring in his son alive and not dead. the end is washedout and leaves no suspense(when DeNiro gets shot in the back). but in the end is works out and its a great view. Eliza Dushku is great also as Franco's wife and McDormand is added nicely in as Franco's momma
Published on Oct. 10 2003 by Michael Bolts


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4.0 out of 5 stars Good acting, Very Good storyline., May 27 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: City by the Sea (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
This is a movie with a good handle on reality-- warts and all. It focusses on imperfect characters who feel completely real-- incuding DeNiro, whose acting, bad haircut, extra weight, and "average joe" clothing all successfully overcome our preconceived notion of DeNiro as a top-of-his-game mafiosa.
Instead, we see DeNiro, but AS THIS CHARACTER: a warts-and-all cop & bad father, looking for a second chance.
Also, DeNiro's star power doesn't overshadow this movie's second plotline, about a junkie (DeNiro's son), also looking for a second chance....and some kind of family life.
Likewise, the physical setting and peripheral relationships all have a REAL feel. Viewers will come away with the feeling that this is the seamy, redeemable side of real life.. a place you wouldn't want to live, but a state you can recover from.
*spoilers ahead. Stop reading now, if you hate spoilers.*
We get a happy ending, but not a Hollywood unbelievable ending. Some of the relationships STAY fractured, and other elements of the resolution also have that real, imperfect, but therefore acceptably non-saccharine happy ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Role Model, March 24 2004
By 
This review is from: City By the Sea (VHS Tape)
City By The Sea is an excellent video for my collection of
DeNiro movies, keep up the excellent movie making.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Sins of the Fathers . . ., Feb. 27 2004
By 
Debbie Lee Wesselmann (the Lehigh Valley, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: City by the Sea (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
"City by the Sea" begins as a typical cop drama - Vincent DeMarca (Robert DeNiro) is a good solid New Jersey cop with a history. His father was executed as a "baby-killer", and now Vincent's own son Joey (James Franco), whom he abandoned as a young boy, is a strung out junkie suspected of killing DeMarca's partner. The scenes are predictably dingy and muted, with Frances McDormand popping out of her apartment now and then as DeMarca's girlfriend. The first part of this movie honestly felt like the pilot for a new television drama - with calculated character introductions and back story. But then something marvelous happens: the quality of the acting kicks in to elevate the film beyond its script. James Franco is astonishingly convincing as a junkie who both loves and despises his father, and DeNiro fools us into believing he's just an ordinary guy until the moment when all the layers are stripped off. Frances McDormand does a competent job with what she is given (not much) while adding a needed texture to DeMarca's life.
This film is probably the quietest cop drama I've ever seen because it's not about crimes one can be arrested for. It probes the fragile relationship between fathers and sons, and the obligations each needs to face. The film never picks up the slow paces it sets up in the beginning, so those hoping for the high action of traditional cop dramas will be disappointed. Make no mistake: this is a three-star movie raised to four stars by the performances of DeNiro and Franco. Still, the pivotal scene is a powerful one.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A good movie trapped inside a bad one, Dec 6 2003
By 
Wheelchair Assassin (The Great Concavity) - See all my reviews
"City By The Sea" commits what is, in my opinion, the worst cinematic sin of all: wasted potential. Even with a cast featuring Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand, and James Franco, this movie never quite gets off the ground. Or, to put it more accurately, it gets off the ground only to come crashing back to it as things wear on. The concept is promising enough: with his estranged junkie son on the run from a murder rap following a failed drug deal, De Niro's veteran homicide detective must try to bring him in safely while simultaneously facing up to his own shoddy record as a husband and father. This led me to expect an interesting take on the traditional cop fare, especially during the movie's admittedly strong first half. Set in New Jersey, "City By The Sea" is helped by the some great visuals of a decaying suburban landscape that perfectly augment its overall mood of despair.
The problem is, the people who made this movie don't know when to quit. This is the classic drama that tries too hard, becoming increasingly more earnest until it collapses under the weight of its own seriousness. One problem after another gets piled on the embattled De Niro, and it seems his principal response is to become ever more befuddled by his situation. With its combination of cop drama and family drama, "City By The Sea" takes on some serious subject matter, and it ends up becoming TOO serious, with nothing to lighten the emotional load on the audience, especially when the characters start speaking in sound bites and monologues. Even the occasional moments of humor found early on dissipate after a little while. The best and most entertaining thing about this movie is William Forsythe's mullet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good, well-paced story and excellent actors. Recommended!, Nov. 23 2003
By 
Linda Linguvic (New York City) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: City by the Sea (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
Starring Robert DiNiro, this film is based on a true story. It's about a cop, himself the son of a convicted murderer, whose junkie son is wanted for murder. That's the theme, although the facts of the case were changed in order to make the film play well to the largest possible audience. Even the location was changed. It's supposed to take place in Long Beach, New York, a place I'm somewhat familiar with. However, the setting didn't look at all like the Long Beach I know. It was only later that I found out it was shot in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It might seem like a small detail to those not familiar with the geography. But to me it sounded a discordant note throughout.
This is a good story though and it didn't matter that it wasn't authentic. It was well written, well paced and called for exellent actors. James Franco is cast as Joey, the drug-addict son. He made me feel disgusted with him as well as sorry for him all at once as I got caught up in his escalating predicament and his resultant terrors. He's a fine actor and I can see him as a rising star to watch. Patti LuPone plays his divorced mother. I could see she felt love for her son in spite of her anger and feelings of hopelessness. Frances McDormand plays DiNiro's girlfriend. She's a wonderful actress, and this is a small part for her. She plays it well though and I could feel her conflicting emotions as she is forced to deal with DiNiro's guilt and psychological burden. There's also Eliza Dushku as the young mother of Joey's child, George Dzunda as DiNiro's cop partner and William Forsythe as the bad guy. All are excellent. But the film belongs entirely to DiNiro, who is such a good actor that we tend to take his magnificent performances for granted. In this film I could forget he was acting and identify with this man who was trying to hide his feelings. His suffering comes through clearly and I could relate to him completely, especially in the scenes with his baby grandson.
This will probably be considered a small movie by the critics and not worthy of awards. It a way it seems like just another well-done episode from a cop show on television. The plot is predictable. There are some scenes worthy of a soap opera. And it's all done with a low budget. But I wasn't bored for a moment, there were tears in my eyes, and I found each of the characters so well developed that my heart went out to each of them. Don't discount this film. It's worth seeing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must see movie, Nov. 3 2003
By 
This review is from: City by the Sea (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
Vincent LaMarca,otherwise the famous De Niro, is a respected homicide detective of NYC but soon he's faced with the toughest case ever. His son Joey, is involved in a murder and he's on the run - haunted by a gangster and law too. Who will be the first to catch him???
Vincent's life gets harder each day. At the same time he has to serve the law but also try to save his son from a crime he could have never committed!
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3.0 out of 5 stars an ok drama with dry climaxes, Oct. 10 2003
By 
Michael Bolts (superior, wiusa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: City By the Sea (VHS Tape)
Robert DeNiro and James Franco make this movie work, with son accused of killiing a cop and a father who wants to bring in his son alive and not dead. the end is washedout and leaves no suspense(when DeNiro gets shot in the back). but in the end is works out and its a great view. Eliza Dushku is great also as Franco's wife and McDormand is added nicely in as Franco's momma
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1.0 out of 5 stars Long , Dull, Slow, and Ultimately Boring, Sept. 25 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: City by the Sea (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
This movie never really gets off the ground. In its effort to develop the characters, it moves at a snail's pace with no significant action. The whole mood of the movie is utterly depressive and the dialogue is monotone.
The plot involves Robert DeNiro playing a seasoned cop who starts investigating the homicide of a drug pusher. He soon finds that his estranged son in the prime suspect in the homicide and is brought back into the torments of his failed family life.
Yes, the movie does touch upon a failed father's attempt to show his son that he's looking out for him but, with that low-life heroin fiend son of his, you wonder: why? The son is portrayed as such a pathetic loser that the film simply evokes no sympathy for him. I came out feeling more for Robert DeNiro's character in having to accept his conception of such a pathetic wretch for a son.
Altogether a very forgettable film that perhaps would have been better as a book or one of those cheesy made-for-tv "Lifetime" films.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Drama, July 8 2003
This review is from: City By the Sea (VHS Tape)
For potential viewers expecting an adrenaline-induced action-packed cop caper, please look elsewhere.
CITY BY THE SEA is about fathers and sons. It's about guilt, frustration, abandonment, estrangement. Yet despite the bleak tone established by this movie--along with a lethargic pace--the bond between father and son perseveres.
Robert De Niro is almost one-dimensional throughout most of his role as veteran Manhattan Police Detective Vincent LaMarca. Vince stays on a fairly even keel, even though the audience knows he's suppressing a ton of emotional baggage and guilt. When at last his troubled son is on the verge of being taken out by a very motivated police force, Vince lets everything spill out: his guilt, his remorse, his pain--his love. It was marvelous acting, chilling to the bone. And extremely effective.
James Franco and George Dzundza headline a wonderful supporting cast. Unfortunately, Frances McDormand's character added nothing to the story, other than a sense of frustration when she exhibits less than stellar loyalty to Vince upon learning about all of his troubles. CITY BY THE SEA is highly recommended for all fathers and sons who have had to mend some fences over the course of their relationships. You will be affected--guaranteed.
--D. Mikels
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of DeNiro's Better offerings, July 5 2003
By 
A.M.Boughey "Poetmaster" (Rochester, MN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I missed the cinematic release of this movie, and really rushed to view it on DVD when released, after seeing the trailers. Sadly for me the concept of the film and script seemed to part company after about a third of the way in, and began to point toward an all too predictable ending. DeNiro plays a street wise, tough respected cop of many years, who reflects with melancholy on the demise of his childhood vacations, and home life in the title location, now turned into a run down haven for drug addicts, bums and criminals. A long standing divorce and estranged son, add to his already overburdened lack of inner peace along with the revelations of his fathers criminal past, played in flashback sequences. The movie revolves around these attempted sub plots, and his lack of knowledge about his sons fall from high school football hero to petty thief and drug addict. The two inevitably cross paths when the son is accused of a murder, and the investigation falls under the auspices of DeNiro and his long time partner. DeNiro must then juggle his loyalties whilst upholding his beliefs, and attempt to seek the truth at all costs. Sound's great, doesn't it? - well I thought so too, until about half way into the picture, when I found myself really not caring about it all, and just watching for the sake of it. Like so many great actors, DeNiro really should find solid material these days, instead of just churning out "formula" like this, Not an awful movie by any means, but rent before you buy!
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City by the Sea (Widescreen) [Import]
City by the Sea (Widescreen) [Import] by Michael Caton-Jones (DVD - 2002)
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