City of Angels

  • Directors: Brad Silberling
  • Producers: Charles Roven, Dawn Steel, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, Richard Reitinger, Dana Stevens
  • Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Andre Braugher, Dennis Franz, Colm Feore, Kim Murphy, Deirdre O Connell

In Los Angeles, Seth (Nicolas Cage) is one of many Angels who watch over humans and protect them in unseen ways. The movie portrays angels in a somewhat traditional role without referencing a specific faith. Seth’s main responsibility is to appear to those who are close to death and guide them to the next life. As part of this task, Seth and one of his fellow angels, Cassiel (Andre Braugher), like to ask people what their favorite thing in life was. But despite their daily encounters with humans and their ways, they appear to have trouble understanding human beings and their ways.

While waiting to escort to the other world a man who will not survive heart surgery, Seth is impressed by the vigorous efforts of the surgeon, Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan) to save the ill-fated man’s life and her sincere anguish at her failure to do so. (The man is in fact standing with Seth watching Maggie try to save him.) Seth soon becomes preoccupied with Maggie and decides to become visible to her despite his obvious inability to give her many convincing details about himself, such as what he does for a living or even his last name. Despite this, they develop a friendship which soon turns to mutual attraction, although Maggie is already involved with one of her colleagues (Colm Feore) at the hospital.

The final scene recalls an earlier one with Nathaniel. It shows Seth at the beach where the angels meet every day at dawn and at sunset to listen to the celestial music and commune with eternity. With Cassiel and the rest of the angels watching, Seth expresses his joy in being human and the fact that he has come to terms with his new life by running into the water and playing in the waves. In a rare moment of emotion, Cassiel is seen laughing joyfully for his old friend.

Pearl Harbor

  • Directors: Michael Bay
  • Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay
  • Writers: Randall Wallace
  • Genres: Action, Romance, War
  • Actors: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding Jr, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Colm Feore, Mako and, Alec Baldwin

Childhood friends from Tennessee U.S. Army Air Corps First Lieutenants Rafe McCawley (Affleck) and Danny Walker (Hartnett) are reckless, but talented pilots under the command of Major Jimmy Doolittle (Baldwin). McCawley volunteers for the Eagle Squadrons serving with the Royal Air Force in the war. He meets Evelyn Johnson (Beckinsale), a Navy nurse, before leaving for England; Johnson and Walker get transferred to Pearl Harbor. In Japan, Admiral Yamamoto plans an attack on Pearl Harbor after the United States freezes its trade.

McCawley is shot down in combat over the English Channel; in Hawaii, Walker and Johnson are notified that he is presumed killed in action. While mourning for McCawley, the two have an intimate encounter and begin dating. On the day Johnson discovers that she is pregnant, McCawley returns after three months in occupied France; Walker and Johnson’s relationship estranges McCawley from them. After a fight the two men begin to reconcile, but are interrupted by Japanese Zero fighters, Val dive bombers, and Kate torpedo bombers.

The surprise Japanese attack sinks the USS Arizona (BB-39) and many other ships. While Johnson and other nurses struggle to help the wounded, McCawley and Walker shoot down seven Japanese aircraft using their reckless tactics. The heroes are both promoted to Captain and assigned to now-Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle for a dangerous and top-secret mission. Prior to leaving, Johnson reveals to McCawley her love for him, pregnancy, and intention to stay with Walker as the child is his.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Voight) wants to send a message that the Japanese homeland is not immune from bombing. Walker, McCawley, and others are to fly B-25 Mitchell heavy bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8), bomb Tokyo, and land in China. The two men succeed in their bombing but are captured by the Imperial Japanese Army in China. Walker gives his life to save McCawley, who promises to raise Walker’s son. The film closes with McCawley, Johnson, and their son Danny, Jr. visiting Walker’s grave.

Changeling

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Robert Lorenz
  • Writers: J Michael Straczynski
  • Genres: Drama, History, Mystery
  • Actors: Angelina Jolie, Jeffrey Donovan, John Malkovich, Jason Butler Harner, Colm Feore, Michael Kelly, Amy Ryan

In 1928 Los Angeles, single mother Christine Collins (Jolie) returns home to discover her nine-year-old son, Walter (Griffith), is missing. Reverend Gustav Briegleb (Malkovich) publicizes Christine’s plight and rails against the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for its incompetence, corruption and the extrajudicial punishment meted out by its “Gun Squad”, led by Chief James E. Davis (Feore). Several months after Walter’s disappearance, the LAPD tells Christine that he has been found alive. Believing the positive publicity will negate recent criticism of the department, the LAPD organizes a public reunion. Although “Walter” (Conti) claims he is Christine’s son, she says he is not. Captain J. J. Jones (Donovan), the head of the LAPD’s Juvenile Division, insists the boy is Walter and pressures Christine into taking him home “on a trial basis”.

After Christine confronts Jones with physical discrepancies between “Walter” and her son, Jones arranges for a medical doctor to visit her. He tells Christine that “Walter” is shorter than before his disappearance because trauma has shrunk his spine, and that the man who took Walter had him circumcised. A newspaper prints a story that implies Christine is an unfit mother; Briegleb tells Christine it was planted by police to discredit her. Walter’s teacher and dentist give Christine signed letters confirming “Walter” is an impostor. Christine tells her story to the press; as a result, Jones sends her to Los Angeles County Hospital’s “psychopathic ward”. She befriends inmate Carol Dexter (Ryan), who tells Christine she is one of several women who were sent there for challenging police authority. Dr. Steele (O’Hare) deems Christine delusional and forces her to take mood-regulating pills. Steele says he will release Christine if she admits she was mistaken about “Walter”; she refuses.

On the day of the city council’s hearing into the case, Christine and Briegleb arrive at Los Angeles City Hall, where they encounter thousands of protesters who are demanding answers from the city. The hearing is intercut with scenes from Northcott’s trial. The council concludes that Jones and Davis should be removed from duty, and that extrajudicial internments by police must be reviewed. Northcott’s jury finds him guilty of murder and the judge sentences him to death by hanging. Two years later, Christine has not given up her search for Walter. Northcott sends her a message saying he is willing to admit to killing Walter on condition that Christine meets him before his execution. She visits Northcott, but he refuses to tell her if he killed her son. Northcott is executed the next day. In 1935, David Clay—one of the boys assumed to have been killed—is found alive. He reveals that one of the boys with whom he was imprisoned was Walter. David, Walter and another boy escaped, but were separated. David does not know whether Walter was recaptured, giving Christine hope he is alive.