Wednesday, June 16, 2004

WCBE 90.5 FM: "It's Movie Time" - "Around the World in 80 Days (2004)," "Around the World in 80 Days (1956)," "Control Room"

"It's Movie Time" with John DeSando & Clay Lowe
"Around the World in 80 Days (2004)." "Around the World in 80 Days (1956), "Control Room,"
Taped: 11:30 am, June 16, 2004
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, June 18, 2004
Streaming live on the web at

"Around the World in 80 Days" is all go and no show . . .

"Control Room" is out-of-control good . . .


It's Movie Time in Mid-Ohio with John DeSando and Clay Lowe . . .


I'm John DeSando

And I'm Clay Lowe.

John ("Around the World in 80 Days")
Clay, When does 2 hours feel like 80 days?

When you watch the remake of "Around the World in 80 Days."

If I were a filmmaker, the only thing I would remake would be my wardrobe because the odds are not in my favor to improve any original film hit. Ask Gus Van Sant about remaking Hitchcock's "Psycho" or, more recently, Frank Oz about "The Stepford Wives." Neither director would welcome your inquiry.

Jackie Chan is better known than anyone else in the film, probably Disney head Michael Eisner's raison d'etre for funding this disappointment, as he did the recent failure, "Alamo". The remake does not even have a memorable melody, as the original famously did (Imagine a remake of "Dr. Zhivago" without "Lara's Theme").

Lord Byron's Childe Harold said, "This made the ceaseless toil of travel sweet." He was not referring to THIS film.

I couldn't wait to get home.

Clay ("Around the World in 80 Days")
John, traveling "Around the World in 80 Days" with Disney and Company was a strictly third rate experience. At least Mike Todd's original (now on DVD) had a distinguished cast who played their parts with MORE than a touch of class.

David Niven as Phileas Fogg is droll, witty, and impeccably urbane. [His mischievous valet, played by the much beloved Cantiflas, teams up with him as they bumble their way across three continents.] But the woman who transforms the uptight Fogg into a fully-feeling human being, is an Indian Princess, who remarkably resembles Shirley MacLaine.

From the all-male private clubs in London, [full of muttonchops and puffs of smoke], to the efficiently run British consulates across the the globe, Mike Todd's "Around the World in 80 Days" is a satirical tribute to the Brits who taught us about empire and the importance about taking time-out for tea.

John ("Control Room")
Clay, When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declares in the early stages of the Iraq War, ''Truth ultimately finds its way to people's eyes and ears and hearts,'' I knew I would like the film "Control Room." .

It is a documentary ABOUT THE ARAB SATELLITE STATION AL-JAZEERA cut to the best advantage of the Arab network and to the obvious discomfort of the 'occupying' coalition forces, especially the US.

Centcom Press Officer Lt. Josh Rushing provides truth , for instance, when he confesses, "Our rule back here is to not spin, but sometimes we catch ourselves doing a little spin on a story. You can't help it." When he sees film of suffering and dead American soldiers, he admits, "It makes me hate war."

Donald Rumsfeld claims about Al-Jazeera, "We are dealing with people who are willing to lie to the world to make their case." Takes one to know one, I always say.

"Control Room's" liberal view of the neocons' great war seems to me, well, believable.

Clay ("Control Room")
John, liberal, conservative? "Control Room" is about making and shaping the news, and it's the same the whole world over, it's the media who gets the blame. [Everyone wants the story spun, but they want it spun their way.] Facts, fictions, motivations, no two people see the same things in the same light, so what can you expect when you set down in front of a TV?

The audience for Fox TV wants it spun the American way. Al-Jazeera's audience would like the world to see it as the Arabs see it. No mysteries here, it's all a part of the game.

[That the Bush administration has effectively demonized Al-Jazeera is all the more reason for Americans to see for themselves what goes on inside the control room at Al-Jazeera TV.]

That Al-Jazeera was banned from covering the recent G8 Summit at Sea Island, and that the U.S. Marine liaison officer featured in the film has been forbidden to comment on it, is continued reason for alarm.

But enough of this gloom and doom, it's grading time.



"Around the World in 80 Days" earns a 'D" for a journey not worth a DAMN . . .

"Around the World in 80 Days" gets a "D" because it's so DULL even Jackie Chan can't save it . . .

Mike Todd's wide-screen original gets a "B" because in the fifties BIGGER was BETTER . . .

"Control Room" is an "A" 'cause its sure not ALRIGHT with the Bushies . . .

"Control Room" gets a "A" because Al Jazeera is not AS naughty as Donald Rumsfeld would like it to be . . .

Clay, Dick Cheney just called science man Mushalko to ask if it's possible for 3 men to fly a hot air baloon around the world? I wonder what the veep is planning? I'm outta here!

John, it's only a rumor, but I've heard that one of the 3 is the current chair of Halliburton. Bon voyage.

I'm outta here too.

See you at the movies, folks.


The Award Winning "It's Movie Time" with John DeSando and Clay
Lowe is produced by Richelle Antczak in conjunction with 90.5 FM, WCBE in Columbus 106.7 FM in Newark, WYSO, etc. Reviews on the web, etc., etc.


Copyright 2004 by John DeSando and Clay Lowe