Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Dennis Franz
Now that plans for Tim Burton's stab at a Superman film have been indefinitely postponed, it looks like Nicolas Cage will be denied the chance to wear his underpants outside his trouser. For the time being, his role in City of Angels will provide some consolation.
Although the picture claims Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire as its progenitor, the real inspiration for the film's pivotal dramatic dilemma lies in a far less prestigious source. When Seth, the angel played by Cage, puzzles over whether or not to exchange his divinity for domestic bliss with a mortal woman (Meg Ryan), he's following in the footsteps of the Man of Steel, who turned in all that saving-the-world poppycock for Lois Lane in Superman II. It always struck me that Wings of Desire would have been much more tolerable as a Hollywood tearjerker than a sombre European art movie. Accordingly, City of Angels is silly in the way that only serious-minded movies can be. The romance between Cage and Ryan is startlingly limp, and it's left to the director, Brad Silberling, to conjure some magic from the chaos of Los Angeles
DREAM WITH THE FISHES (18)
Director: Finn Taylor
Starring: David Arquette
Here's a recipe for disaster. Take an uptight suicidal loser preparing to throw himself off a bridge. Add a junkie with a month to live and a headful of hedonistic fantasies that he's determined to realise on his way to the grave. Give them a few weeks on the road together, stir in a sprinkling of zany supporting characters and leave to simmer until the inevitable tearful farewell. Serve with sick-bag at the ready. Perhaps it's the realisation that Dream with the Fishes could so easily have been a nightmare that makes its success seem refreshing and deserved. A movie about two young men learning to live in the shadow of death has no right being witty, effervescent and adventurous, but Dream with the Fishes is all of these things.
THE LAST TIME I COMMITTED SUICIDE (15)
Director: Stephen Kay
Starring: Thomas Jane, Keanu Reeves
A mannered and vacuous dip into the life of the Beat poet Neal Cassady, played by Thomas Jane, who believes that Cassady was a charmer, but portrays him as an egotistical sixth-former. There's lots of fast cutting and theatrical lighting, but the film just amounts to the same old Beat Generation cliches: blue smoke, white vests and black coffee, maaan.
Director: Peter Antonijevic
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Nastassja Kinski
There are also plenty of unexpected giggles in Savior, though given that the film is set in war-torn Bosnia, we should assume that they are mostly unintentional. In a bizarre pre-credits sequence, Dennis Quaid loses his wife (Nastassja Kinski) and son in a Paris bomb blast, then avenges their death by strolling into a mosque and gunning down a row of Muslims at prayer. I suspect that the editor dozed off at his Steinbeck, because the next thing you know, Quaid is a hired gun for the Serbs, shaking his head at various atrocities and taking a woman and her newborn daughter under his wing. When he sighs "This war sucks, man," you'd better cherish the line - it's the film's only shot at characterisation or political commentary.
POINT BLANK (15)
Director: John Boorman
Starring: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, James B Sikking
Re-release of John Boorman's finest film, a chilly and chilling existential thriller with Lee Marvin as the gangster Walker, his soul emptied but his mind full of revenge.
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