Thursday, July 29, 2004

WCBE 90.5 FM (NPR): "The Manchurian Candidate," "Metallica," "Gypsy 83"

“It’s Movie Time” with John DeSando, Clay Lowe, and special guest Johnny DiLoretto
“The Manchurian Candidate,” “Metallica,” “Gypsy 83”
Taped: 3:30 pm, July 28, 2004
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, July 30, 2004
Streaming live on the web at

Johnny DiLoretto
"The Manchurian Candidate" gives Michael Moore a run for his money . . .

John DeSando
"Metallica's" therapist makes sweet music. . .

Clay Lowe
"Gypsy 83” is at Studio 35 on her way back from New York to Sandusky . . .


Richelle Antczak:
It's Movie Time in Mid-Ohio with John DeSando and Clay Lowe with today’s special guest, ABC/Fox Newscenter's Johnny DiLoretto . . .


I'm John DeSando.

Johnny DiLoretto
I'm Johnny DiLoretto.

And I'm Clay Lowe.

John DeSando ("The Manchurian Candidate")
If allegory is a story with multiple levels of meaning, then Jonathan Demme's "The Manchurian Candidate" (Remade from the 1962 version) is a classic example. First level is the story itself of soldiers around the time of Desert Storm brainwashed to perform deeds that ultimately aim at the president of the U.S.

Other levels include the hypnotic rhetoric of war making a nation of slaves to the mantra of their own parties' political agendas and corporate corruption symbolized by Manchurian Global, a stand-in for today's politically tied Halliburton.

"Manchurian Candidate" is great filmmaking even without connecting the allegorical dots. Liev Schreiber as the programmed congressman and VP candidate competes with Meryl Streep as his incest-leaning senator mom, just under the scenery-chewing threshold as a Hillary-Clinton power broker.

In the end, this version needs no comparison with its ancestor to be one of the best American films of the year and the best thriller and political non-documentary.

Johnny DiLoretto ("The Manchurian Candidate")
I'm a fan of the original Manchurian Candidate, John, Clay, so I regarded this remake with some skepticism. especially since the last time Jonathan Demme remade something it was “Charade” and starred Mark Walhberg in the Cary Grant role.

But Demme, working from the original Manchurian's conspiracy template, remains faithful while working in some new twists. Not necessarily better but sufficiently different. Schreiber makes a great, naive yet menacing Laurence Harvey replacement. and Denzel wisely opts not to echo but entirely reinvent Sinatra's Marco role. He makes his Marco nervous and unreliable, whereas Sinatra's was morose and bitter. Demme adds nifty directorial touches, too, like a bit of skull dust to suggest the delicate penetrability of a brainwasher's drill. And the sharp iris-up that severely brightens the screen everytime the Schreiber character gets his trance-command from his evil commanders. The original Manchurian was urgent, tapped into some raw fears about the cold war. The new Manchurian doesn't nearly carry the same paranoid kick, but it's a fun, cannily directed retread.

John DeSando ("Metallica")
The debate over whether or not Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" should be called a "documentary" won't be heard hovering around "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" because it is a documentary, a seemingly accurate rendering of the rock group's long struggle to create its latest album, "St. Anger."

Although sex and drugs unfortunately play no role in the film and the groupie adulation is almost non present, making even the most out-of touch viewer skeptical, the battle of front man James Hetfield with alcohol and the group with dysfunction has the feel of authenticity.

By engaging "performance-enhancement coach" Phil Towle for $40,000 a month, Metallica puts its money where its mouth is-a serious effort to preserve the magic of a group that sold 90 million albums.

I still prefer classical and folk music, but I have to admit to a new interest in a musical genre I can share with my musician grandson Cody.

Clay Lowe ("Gypsy 83")
Well John and Johnny, if 70s music (with a little Bach in the background), was ever your thing, then you’ll find Todd Stephen’s road trip movie, “Gypsy 83,” is a four lane highway that will take you right into the heart of the Big Apple. And if you were from Sandusky, Ohio, you could understand even better why the two kids in this movie want to get out of town.

Named after Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hit, “Gypsy,” Sara Rue plays a young Photo Hut employee who comes to work everyday all decked out in black leggin’s and lace. But not to worry about her, because she’s adored by Clive, a young Goth lad who’s secretly gay, and drives by everyday because he’s in need of a mother.

So, whadda ya know, off they go, in Gypsy’s Trans Am, heading for New York in search of love and adventure. That the film’s moment of truth comes when they take on separate lovers at a highway rest stop along the way only further highlights their desperation.

“Gypsy 83” is a sweet-sad film in the tradition of “Welcome to the Doll House” and “Donny Darko” that will touch you deeply if you let it.

But take off your black duds, dudes, because it's grading time.



"The Manchurian Candidate" earns an "A" for AMERICAN paranoia at its cinematic best . . .

"The Manchurian Candidate" gets a solid "B" . . .

"The Manchurian Candidate" gets an “A” because America is not safer than it was before 9/11 . . .

John ("Metallica")
"Metallica" is an "A" because metal and music and group therapy make ANGST ART. . . .

"Gypsy 83" gets a “B” because lost souls need all the loving they can get . . .

Clay and Johnny, After seeing "Manchurian Candidate," I'm calling Cheney and Edwards to warn them about each other.

Then again, who will protect them from Jon Stewart and Bill Maher? Nobody's safe anymore! I'm outta here.

Johnny DiLoretto
John, I would have been disappointed if you had not overstated your enthusiasm. Good point, John.

Guys, thanks for the hospitality.


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. Special thanks to Johnny DiLoretto. Reviews on the web, etc., etc.


Copyright 2004 by John DeSando & Clay Lowe