City of Angels (1998)

Wim Wender's WINGS OF DESIRE gets a (loose) update in this pleasant 
love story that delivers a powerful message about the human exper-
ience.  Nothing profound, mind you, but thought-provoking enough to 
hold your interest when the emotions surrounding the characters 
(occasionally) fails to.  (The plot:  Nicholas Cage's mortal exis-
tence-obsessed angel meets Meg Ryan's spiritually challenged heart 
surgeon.  Swelling strings ensue.)  From humor to heartache, we're 
served up a little bit of everything in this one.  Nothing terribly 
gushing, thank Cage's character's creator, at least until the final 
reel.  The full-circle ending wants to be three-hankie worthy (or 
worse), but a couple things keep us keeping our distance.  Tricky 
is the last half-hour, which is rushed and doesn't give us enough 
time with the characters to fully appreciate (or sympathize with) 
their fates.  Trickier is Cage's performance, which is soft-spoken 
almost to the point of parody.  If you can get by that ultra-
intense puppy-dog gaze of his, you've got it made.  Myself, I was 
ready to send him back to John Woo.  With Andre Braugher and a 
colorful Dennis Franz.  Brad Silberling (CASPER) directs.  John 
Seale (THE ENGLISH PATIENT) did the fabulous photography, largely 
sans special effects.  (Rated "PG"/120 min.)

Grade: B

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: April 12, 1998

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