City of Angels (15). Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire continues to resonate in many ways - as a tender love story, a wide-eyed urban fantasy, a wistful meditation on the trials of modern life and the vagaries of history. City of Angels is none of the above, less a remake than a despairingly imbecilic perversion. Director Brad Silberling and writer Dana Stevens have drained all the poetry, grace and humanity from Wenders's 1987 tale of invisible seraphim among contemporary mortals, whittled it down to a precious gimmick, and - the final insult - imposed on it the exigencies of Hollywood romance, or what passes for romance in the age of Titanic. Nicolas Cage plays a rebel angel who develops a libido when he lays eyes on Meg Ryan's morose heart surgeon. Cage, an actor who can normally survive the worst drivel, utters his uniformly awful lines in a slow, whispery monotone that suggests dementia more than divinity.Reuse content
Happy Together (18). Wong Kar-Wai's finest feature to date is one of the most gorgeous, moving and credible films ever made about the final days of a love affair. Adrift in Buenos Aires, a gay Hong Kong couple (Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung) break up, make up and break up again, for reasons that are never articulated (and so universal that they don't need to be). Leung's character is stoic and conscientious, Cheung's reckless and trouble-prone. Their relationship is as passionate as it is destructive and, as such, it involves plenty of petty bickering and sulking, as well as some achingly intimate and stunningly romantic gestures. A "gay film" by a straight film-maker, Happy Together is remarkable for its depiction of sex and sexuality - both daringly explicit and comfortably offhand. (A film about false starts and new beginnings, it also addresses the mixed feelings surrounding last year's handover.) With its evocative score (Astor Piazolla, Frank Zappa) and Chris Doyle's vibrant photography (rich black-and-white and singed, high-contrast colours), the film is a pure sensory delight (the meandering plot entails pilgrimages to scenic Iguazu Falls and Tierra del Fuego). Wong plunges head-on into his characters' feelings of homesickness and heartbreak, emerging with a mood of sensuous melancholy all his own.