The career of Abel Ferrara is a bit of an enigma. As a director who started with gnarly exploitation flicks before moving into more philosophical tales of sin and redemption, Ferrara is barely a presence in the U.S. outside his native New York City, and he hasn't had a hit with either critics or the public for arguably two decades. Yet somehow he keeps plugging away, consistently scoring name actors and finding champions among the ranks of critics at French film journal Cahiers du Cinema.

I find his films better on paper that on screen, with ideas and casts that are enticing — such as Willem Dafoe and Christopher Walken in an adaptation of a William Gibson short story ("New Rose Hotel") — but which invariably lose momentum about halfway through and plod along to a series of indulgent monologues. (I suspect this is also precisely what the critics at Cahiers like about him: an indifference toward narrative drive.) However, his films all have their moments and, every now and then, Ferrara will hit one out of the park. (See "Bad Lieutenant" or "The Funeral".)

His latest, "Welcome to New York," is more like a choppy single where the runner just beats out the tag. Even the presence of Gerard Depardieu and a story ripped from the headlines about the sex scandal involving former IMF managing director and French presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn (often referred to as DSK), could not save this flick from going straight to video-on-demand in France.