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World Trade Center (2006)
powerful, moving ***spoilers**
I was lucky to view this film at a sneak preview, and was moved by it. I was happy that it didn't dwell on terrorism or politics, but instead dwelt on courage and faith and hanging on. Nice performances all around, especially by Pena and Cage, and a fine job by director Oliver Stone. Though the story of these real-life survivors was powerful, the true impact of the tragedy was brought home to me by the list of fallen Port Authority officers, shown at the end of the movie. The film helped me get a grasp on the enormity of our nation's loss. Interesting note: I've never been in a more quiet movie theater.
I know the Marine character was based on a real person, but he seemed almost robotic or superhuman. Seemed unrealistic.
The montage of shocked reaction shots from people around the world was a bit much.
I found it hard to believe that "missing" signs, some very well made, and at least one of a pet, appeared in the hospital less than 24 hours after the tragedy.
Why were Maria Bello's eyes that weird shade of blue, instead of her normal brown? It took me awhile to recognize her.
The river of rescuers gathered to bear Nicolas Cage's stretcher along seemed a bit excessive. They were all gathered at that one scene? Even if it was true, it seemed too much.
How were those large chunks of cement lifted off Nicolas Cage so easily, basically by one guy?
Those Wisconsin firefighters were on-scene, handing out grilled brats, less than 24 hours after the event? Again, even if it was true, that seemed like a stretch.
I know - lots of quibbles. But despite that, it really is a good film.
Hanover Street (1979)
I love romance, AND Harrison in a bomber jacket, but...
the script for this film just about ruined it for me. Some really silly dialogue. But I like the Harrison/Leslie combo, and they do the best they can. And Harrison really knows how to hold a woman in his arms (fellows, take note!). The music, by the great John Barry (also composed the music for "Out Of Africa", "Sophie's Choice", and "Born Free", among many others), is marvelous, very evocative of the era, and helps the movie a great deal. But if you've one of the classic romance movies, like "Casablanca", or the Vivien Leigh version of "Waterloo Bridge", this one pales in comparison. Compared to what passes for "romance" in films these days, though, this one's fine. **SPOILER/ADULT CONTENT WARNING** There's a topless scene, and some bad language. But "Hanover Street" is worth a couple of hours of cable TV on a rainy afternoon.
The Man in the Moon (1991)
Break out the Kleenex!
Though you could just look at this film as a sweet, old-fashioned tear-jerker, it's more than that. Its sensitivity reminds me of greats like "To Kill A Mockingbird". The tears it invokes are well-earned after introducing memorable characters and involving the viewer in their lives. And it's beautifully shot and scored.
The performances are wonderful, all-around. I saw this before Reese Witherspoon was a star, and had a feeling she would grow up to be the success that she has. It's a mystery why her co-star, Emily Warfield, didn't find the same notoriety.
Whether you're in the mood for a good cry, or just looking for a very good movie, I highly recommend THE MAN IN THE MOON.