Cantor Fitzgerald LP Chief Executive Howard Lutnick settles some scores -- mostly without tears -- in Danielle Gardner’s “Out of the Clear Blue Sky.”
When American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, Lutnick’s bond trading firm lost 658 employees, including his brother Gary Lutnick.
Sobbing through TV interviews, the grieving Lutnick, who had taken his son to school that morning and missed the attacks, initially won hearts and donations.
The mood turned when Lutnick announced that his company would not send paychecks to the families of the dead.
“He is questionable, in my opinion,” Bill O’Reilly of Fox News said, prompting a tsunami of hate letters vilifying Lutnick.
Gardner, who lost her brother in the attacks, rebukes those critics, clarifying the strategy that allowed the company to survive and pay 25 percent of its profits for the first five years. As she points out, Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund has sent more than $180 million (and 10 years of health insurance) to the families. Had the company continued paying salaries, it probably would have closed.
The sympathetic approach has its rewards. Lutnick and other major Cantor Fitzgerald players cooperated and appear at length, offering valuable accounts of 9/11 and its aftermath.
“I don’t think anybody even said, ‘I’m sorry,’” says Lee Amaitis, then head of Cantor Fitzgerald’s London office, recalling a Sept. 12 conference call with major Wall Street banks to discuss the re-opening of the U.S. bond market.
“There was already an agenda about opening the market and it had been set without regard to our ability to open or not,” says Lutnick. “I don’t think there was any reason to open on Thursday instead of Monday other than a tremendous push by our competitor who saw this as a great opportunity to profit.”
Gardner would have better served “Blue Sky” by dropping some poorly executed reenactments while adding some outside voices (especially from BrokerTec Global LLC, the competitor referenced by Lutnick).
“Out of the Clear Blue Sky,” from Area 23a and Asphalt Films, is playing in New York, with one-night-only screenings on Sept. 11 in select theaters across the U.S. Rating: *** (Evans)
Each of the mothers, best friends since childhood, falls into bed with the other’s son -- both 19, and also best friends. The situation quickly becomes normal to them. But not to us.
The blitheness with which these Australian lovers accept the outlandishness of their situation makes the first half of “Adore” unfurl more like a porn movie than a tangled romance.
For a long while, the boys (Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville) are undifferentiated “young gods.” One is blond and the other brunet -- that’s how you tell them apart.
Robin Wright and Naomi Watts, who play the older women, do give the roles the force of their personalities. Christopher Hampton’s script, based on a novella by Doris Lessing, strives to rise above the lurid subject matter.
Its complications are movieish ones, involving not the weirdness of the situation but the peril of its being exposed. When the boys, inevitably, look toward younger flesh, the women don’t behave like the Marschallin.
Anne Fontaine, the director, enfolds their idyll in a sun-drenched romantic swoon: The lovers gambol in the glittering surf, or dine on the decks of glass-sided houses above it.
All this mesmerizing beauty may stun some viewers, as Fontaine intends, into seeing her tale through the lovers’ eyes. I was mortified and could feel the squirming around me.
“Adore,” from Exclusive Media, is playing in selected theaters across the U.S. Rating: ** (Seligman)
J.D. Salinger, according to director Shane Salerno’s hackneyed documentary “Salinger,” once snapped at girlfriend Jean Miller, “Jean, you’ve got to learn not to say the obvious.”
To which his ghost might add, “Shane, you too.”
Distributed by the Weinstein Company (and scheduled for airing on PBS’s “American Masters” early next year), “Salinger” has been hyped for its supposed revelations, a campaign that speaks more to Harvey Weinstein’s marketing skills than the film’s significance.
The six or seven minutes of interest arrive at the end, when on-screen titles summarize the five publishable Salinger books that Salerno and David Shields (co-author of the film’s companion book) claim will hit the market beginning in 2015.
A quick Internet search will turn up the same information, and spare all but the most feverish fans of Holden Caulfield the two-hour padding of old news footage, cheesy re-enactments and one musical cue more overbearing than the next.
“Salinger,” from The Weinstein Company, is playing is select theaters. Rating: *1/2 (Evans)
What the Stars Mean: ***** Fantastic **** Excellent *** Good ** So-So * Poor (No stars) Avoid
(Greg Evans and Craig Seligman are critics for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are their own.)
Muse highlights include New York and London weekend guides, Lewis Lapham on history and Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater.