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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Autumn In New York
Autumn In New York
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 4, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:


"Autumn In New York" touched off a little event late last Summer when it was not screened for critics. Not screening for critics is nothing out of the ordinary - it happens often. But, for "Autumn", stars Winona Ryder and Richard Gere spoke out in opposition to the studio's decision. Maybe they should have let it wash over. About the only thing I found enjoyable about this "Autumn" is that it is beautifully filmed, capturing New York with a wonderful wash of rich colors and beautiful scenery. But that doesn't make for a good movie, which "Autumn In New York" is not.

Gere plays Will Keane, a famed New York restaurant owner and ladies man who meets Charlotte Fielding(Ryder), a 22-year old who makes nutty hats. According to the movie, the two have chemistry. On that point, the movie is a big liar. I was really surpised at how well Gere was able to play against Julia Roberts - she really brought out an energetic, fun performance from Gere. This time around, Gere seems like he's on autopilot, and there isn't the slightest bit of a spark between him and Ryder.

Charlotte reveals (rather suddenly to Gere's character) that she's ill, and then things between to get more and more dramatic from there. Will is scared to commit, but genuinely likes her. I believe the trailer gave this away, but I don't quite remember. MGM's DVD doesn't even include the trailer, so I couldn't check on this. The film's dialogue doesn't feel real, or generally is it even that well-written. The film is predictable, and we really aren't given a reason to care about the characters. The only attempts at humor are Ryder's character goofing on Gere's for being old. After what seems to be the millionth "old" joke, it gets tiring. The drama, or what little there is to the movie, is weak and flat - the movie often seems to move at a glacial pace.

Maybe this would have made for a better picture had the screenplay been more believable and characters better developed. The final product is simply an unengaging tear-jerker - beautiful looking but often dull.


The DVD


VIDEO: MGM's record for their new releases used to be more consistent; now, for the last few months it seems to have fallen short as the studio seems to be going towards quantity of releases not the quality. "Autumn In New York"'s beautiful scenery deserves a fine presentation, but MGM only grants it a fair one. Sharpness and detail are generally pleasing; a few dimly lit scenes seem slightly soft, but when the film shows daylight scenes in New York, the image often looks beautiful with the fall colors.

Problems are not major, but pop up more consistently than I'd like. There are some occasional print flaws; a little dirt and wear, the occasional mark and scratch. Slight edge enhancement and pixelation also is noticable briefly.

And yet, colors are certainly gorgeous. The autumn colors of the trees show through wonderfully when they are on-screen. Even during some of the other scenes in the film where the sets are richly decorated, colors look pleasing and well-saturated. Overall, MGM's presentation is decent, but nothing exciting. There is a 1.85:1 presentation on one side and a pan&scan version on the other.

SOUND: "Autumn In New York" offers one of the duller audio presentations I've listened to recently. It seems that this is one of the quieter New York periods as the Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation offers hardly any background sounds of the city - almost unnaturally quiet. The light, subtle score stays in the background, and doesn't really have much of a presence in the proceedings. Surround use is very minimal, just light use for the score - no more, no less. The great majority of the film is simply dialogue-driven and not much more than that. Dialogue sounded a bit thin a couple of times, but usually came across clear and without noticable flaw.

MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds.

EXTRAS: Here is where I was quite surprised at MGM's work - or actually, lack of it. "Autumn" did not recieve great reviews, but at least it did decently at the box office. You would think a trailer would be included, or maybe a featurette or music video. Instead, we get...not a thing. MGM has not included any extra features.

Final Thoughts: As for the movie, I didn't believe the relationship between the two actors - and that may have been a fault of the screenplay more than anything else. MGM's DVD again shows that they do not seem to be attempting to improve their output.

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