Friday, June 04, 2004

WCBE 90.5 FM: "It's Movie Time" - "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "Bon Voyage"

"It's Movie Time" with John DeSando & Clay Lowe
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "Bon Voyage"
Aired: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, June 4, 2004
"It's Movie Time" streams live on the web at, Fridays at 3:01 pm and repeats at 8:01 pm.

The new Harry Potter is the Creme de la Creme of his first three cinematic adventures . . .

"Bon Voyage" is a good summer voyage to the flicks . . .


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


I'm John DeSando

And I'm Clay Lowe.

John ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban")
Clay, like most human beings, 13-year-old Harry Potter is getting plain interesting as he gets older. The newest installment, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," is a testimony to testosterone and tribulation as the wizards meet the threat of mass murderer Sirus Black.

What makes Harry and buds more interesting than ever is that they care more deeply about each other and take more time to figure out their strategies, the way intelligent adults do. The use of time travel to set things right is not just a plot device but more a way of showing the importance of each decision along the way of life, a kind of existential anguish for teens.

The third year at Hogwarts more boldly than ever forces the young teens to confront the challenges of appearance and reality. Harry's life just became more complicated as he moves into the magic of real life in a magical movie.

Clay ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban")
John, Alfonso Cuaron's filmic translation of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is a text book lesson on how to make the written word come alive on the screen. True to the essence of the spirit of the novel Cuaron distills that essence and avoids the trap of trying to too slavishly reproduce the novel in all of its literary detail.

The movie's impressive visual settings also remain faithful to what it is that makes fantasy, fantasy. A surreal landscape of twisted trees, towering castles, and dark groves that sequester fearsome werewolves all combine to help us escape into a world far different from our own. (Unlike "Shrek 2," which took some of the edge off its charm by turning its fantasy village into modern day Rodeo drive.)

The young trio of actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and especially, Emma Watson, have grown into their parts, and in this film, fully win their ways into our hearts.

Solid once-upon-a-time storytelling, believable characters, and clever plot twists, that excite rather than confuse, make the latest "Harry Potter" a superior summer entertainment capable of charming the young as well as the old.

John ("Bon Voyage")
Vive la Farce Fran├žais!

Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau's "Bon Voyage" includes the usual farcical elements popular for thousands of years, but only the French have made it a sophisticated art form. It lives on in this melodrama set in the early 1940's as Germany is poised to occupy France to its recurring shame.

Viviane (Isabelle Adjani) is a French film actress pursued by a herd of adoring men, most prominent being the Interior Minister (Gerard Depardieu). Rappeneau keeps the action moving without slipping into slapstick, that bane of farce.

None of this is heavy stuff. Love is the prime mover rather than guns, which when used seem foreign, almost repugnant to the romantic French. Adjani's actress is too ditzy and deadly to be loved by a contemporary audience.

However, it is good to experience again the wartime melodramatic moralizing that underwrote "Casablanca" with its insidious German presence, French bipolarity, and traditional love triangle.

Clay ("Bon Voyage")
Love triangle John? Rather more a war-like pentagon, for at least four of the men in "Bon Voyage" are drawn like moths to the flames of Isabelle Adjani's movie-star charms. Actually, that Adjani's character has such an effect on men, has little to do with her charms. Able to seduce any man who merely looks in her eyes, Adjani is a movie star queen whose power comes from instinctively knowing that men WANT to be used and abused and she's more than willing to oblige.

That France is about to suffer defeat at the hands of the Germans doesn't keep the powerful French cabinet minister (Gerard Depardieu), nor the intensely love-struck young, Frederic, nor even Peter Coyote, who plays a delightfully wicked German spy, from being distracted and giving themselves over to her manipulations and enticements.

"Bon Voyage" is a lushly visual tribute to Hollywood's World War II romancers, as well as a latter day salute to Georges Feydeau, the dissolute master of French farce.

But, John, put away your Vichy Water and uncork the champagne, it's grading time.



"Harry Potter earns an "A" because he's not your AVERAGE teen . . .

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" gets an "A" because great directing ALWAYS makes a difference . . .

"Bon Voyage" gets a "B" for a 40 something BABE BLISSFULLY playing a 20 something BOY BASHER. . .

"Bon Voyage" gets a "B" because its BRILLIANCE is BARELY able to transcend its far too frantic pacing . . .

Clay, I've always admired your MAGIC with young actresses. Maybe it's that BIG . . . radio voice. I'm outta here!

All the world's a stage, John, but whether or not you choose to make it Big with an actress is entirely up to you.

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: John DeSando & Clay Lowe, 2004