"City Island" is on 27 screens starting today in a total of 10 markets. The new markets added this week are: Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco. For more theater info, go to the movies ubiquitous Facebook page. It's link can be found in the right column of this blog...yeah, over there...keep going...it says "City Island's Facebook page..." You got it!

Good reviews are coming in from each city and more theaters have been added in the New York and LA suburbs. But instead of linking to a bunch of reviews (best ones, if you're interested, are Ebert in the Chicago Sun Times, Time Out Chicago, Boston Herald and Minneapolis Pioneer Press), allow me to print one in full that particularly pleased me.

In the San Francisco Chronicle. Amy Biancolli wrote such a nice goddam review, that I feel like printing it out rather than just linking to it. Clearly the movie surprised her--and hopefully her fine words will roust her local San Franciscans out to the theater this weekend. Dig:

"City Island" is one of those movies about big, screaming New York working-class broods, who deep down love each other like mad.

You'd be hard put to find a movie in current release with more characters yelling more loudly and more often than the totally bananas Bronx Italians in this noisy, eccentric, bizarrely lovable film. Begin by quadrupling the idiosyncrasy in "Moonstruck." Then move the setting out of Brooklyn onto a picturesque spit of land previously featured in "Long Day's Journey into Night" and (briefly) "A Bronx Tale."

Now fill it with a bunch of total flakes: Vince, a Brando-obsessed corrections officer (Andy Garcia); Joyce, his angry wife (Julianna Margulies); Vivian, his stripper-daughter (Dominik GarcĂ­a-Lorido); Tony, his illegitimate convict-son (Steven Strait); and Vinnie, his snarky teenage son with a mostly benign obesity fetish (Ezra Miller). As if that isn't nutty enough, they're all keeping secrets from each other. No one knows about Vivian's pole-dancing, or Vince's acting class, or Vinnie's furtive thing for feeding heavy ladies.

Written and directed by Raymond De Felitta, "City Island" seems devoted, at first, to the sort of quirkalicious comic melodrama that can turn unpalatable fast. But then something special occurs: The script defies expectation. Every device that seemed awful and doomed to failure becomes a cause for hilarity and joy, all of it romanticized in Vanja Cernjul's twinkling cinematography.

The cast proves game for anything, from Emily Mortimer as Vince's floridly English acting-class partner to a beleaguered, bewhiskered Strait, here displaying a comic prowess and fond knack for exasperation. As for Garcia, he digs hard into a regional working-class character bit and comes up with a fine, sympathetic, captivating turn as a humble man with enormous dreams. You needn't have colorful Italian relatives, like myself, to enjoy this boisterous and warm-hearted film, which sidesteps cliche while embracing the hope and love in loony dysfunctional families everywhere.

Thanks, Amy. And now, dig a video review from Boston Latino TV...see you with the weekend grosses on Monday!

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