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City of Hope

City of Hope (1991)

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John Sayles's City of Hope (1991) is a real Hope Diamond of a movie—from its crystal-clear depiction of the problems of urban life to its sparkling acting, this rock-solid flick really shines. It's the tale of one New Jersey city, its corrupt politics and invertebrate insiders, its small-time crime and high-up crooks, its rage and racial divisions, and the people—fifty-two roles in all—who make this urban microcosm what it is. Sleazeball contractor Tony LoBianco is trying to reach out to his souseball son Vincent Spano, but Vince doesn't budge an inch—he doesn't want to be like his pops, so he quits the family gig. He's got a feeling that he's about to experience something big, and it turns out he's right. In the meantime, the city's woes are about to overflow . . . and City of Home will leave you saying "Whoa!" when Angela Bassett bares her upper assets.