City Of Angels

It’s all the more grotesque because of its evident sincerity. This misguided Hollywood remake of Wim Wenders’s 1988 Wings of Desire, said to be the swan song of the late Columbia Pictures president Dawn Steel, is about angels in Los Angeles watching over human lives; one of them (Nicolas Cage) falls in love with a heart surgeon (Meg Ryan) and decides to become human. Wenders’s angels were derived from the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke; the only literary reference this film makes is to Hemingway’s mean-spirited memoir A Moveable Feast, which is celebrated here for its sensual descriptions of taste. If you’ve never seen the lovely Wenders film, maybe you’ll be charmed by this low-grade variation, all of whose best qualitiessuch as the airy crane shots poised over city vistas and freewayscan be traced back to the original; otherwise you might run screaming from the theater. (Reportedly the film made more sense before some of the actors decided to improve the script with their own dialogue.) Directed by Brad Silberling (Casper) from a script by Dana Stevens (Blink); with Dennis Franz and Andre Braugher. (JR)

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