H’w’d presses hot-button pix

Fest previews pol pics

Hollywood unspooled previews of two politically charged pics, as MGM offered 40 minutes of “Home of the Brave” Monday afternoon, after Paramount’s Sunday-night screening of the first 26 minutes of “World Trade Center.”

Reactions to both were cautiously positive. Studios are using the fest to tap into the global media’s interest in hot-button pics.

In a press conference at the Carlton following the viewing of “Brave,” helmer Irwin Winkler said that although the Iraq war is mainly fought by American and British troops, “the political reality is that wars affect everyone in every way.”

Winkler said studios were not interested in the pic until footage was available.

“It was very hard to get American studios to put up the financing for the film, so it was financed by Millennium,” he said. Pic was produced by Nu Image/Millennium Films with Emmett/Furla Films.

MGM bought distribution rights to the pic when execs were shown the 40-minute clip. “They had to be shown what the film looked like in order to buy it,” he added.

“Brave” stars Samuel L. Jackson, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Jessica Biel as U.S. National Guardsmen returning home after fighting in Iraq.

At the Debussy, footage of Oliver Stone’s “Center” offered the beginning of the pic, the true story of two Port Authority officers (Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena) who were trapped in the wreckage of the Twin Towers on Sept.11, 2001, and ultimately rescued.

“Center” bows in the U.S. on Aug. 9. “Home of the Brave” will be released this fall.

“World Trade Center” has all the trappings of a major Hollywood pic, pulling viewers into the personalities of the individuals — the flip side of Paul Greengrass’ “United 93,” a raw look at the struggle that took place aboard one of the planes hijacked on Sept. 11, which screens here later this week.

“Brave” operates on a much more indie level and budget, bringing viewers on the ground in Iraq in a much more raw manner — in part because the images are less familiar than those from 9/11.

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