Friday, November 26, 2004

WCBE 90.5 FM: "Finding Neverland," "Alexander"

IT'S MOVIE TIME with John DeSando & Clay Lowe
Producer/Director: Richelle Antczak, WCBE

Reviews: “Finding Neverland,” “Alexander”
Taped: 4:00 pm, November 24, 2004
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, November 26, 2004
Streaming live on the web at

The Script:

“Finding Neverland” tries too hard to be magical, imagine that . . .

"Alexander" is not as GREAT as it should be . . .


Richelle Antczak
“It's Movie Time” in Mid-Ohio, with John DeSando and Clay Lowe . . .


I'm John DeSando

And I'm Clay Lowe.

John (“Finding Neverland”)
In 1903 London it is hard to believe any artist besides Oscar Wilde could have energized the West End more than J.M. Barrie with his immortal "Peter Pan."

I agree with that.

John (Continues)
“Finding Neverland" attempts to tell how Barrie (Johnny Depp) was inspired through his relationship with widower Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her fatherless boys.

Depp underplays Barrie so that I longed for his swashbuckler in "Pirates of the Caribbean." The charges of pedophilia that pursued Barrie for most of his life are only hinted at.

Enough sentimentality is loaded on to the last third of the film to sink the "Titanic" without glacial help. But as always, Depp, the most versatile actor today, is still fun to watch.

Yes, he is.

William Blake has the last word on the joy and inspiration of children: “When the voices of children are heard on the green /
And laughing is heard on the hill, / My heart is at rest within my breast/ And every thing else is still.”

Clay (“Finding Neverland”)
Well, John, everyone is far TOO still in “Finding Neverland.”

Everything that happens is too controlled, too gentle, and too precious. No wonder Johnny Depp’s J. M. Barrie never wanted to grow up. For he lived in a world that was, at least in this film, as hushed as a nursery and as equally capable of inducing the desire to fall fast asleep. In keeping with the film’s lethargic mode, the movie is more often, than not, a series of tableaux vivants, when instead it should have been a glorious adventure into the world of imagination [and cinematic delight.]

“Finding Neverland” is, unfortunately, a rather sexless movie that is only occasionally capable of provoking our more wilder imaginings. But what about the movie’s handsome and charming cast? Well, they are handsome and they are charming, but in this movie, they are all dressed up with nowhere to go, but the theatre.

Which is good, but not great.

John (“Alexander”)
If a leader has been called “great” for over 2000 years, would you dare to film his life?

Only if my name were Oliver and I found myself stoned.

The “great” director Oliver Stone weighs in on “Alexander” starring Colin Farrell in the titular role with Angelina Jolie as his mother.

Well said.

Now that’s casting to get your incest subtext into full gear. Not that Stone is shy about Alexander’s male lovers either.

Alas, Stone fails to create a believably “great” Alexander. Where Alexander could be reputed “great” beyond all others, even “Alexander” Haig, is in his war strategy, but the battle scenes are a blur of rapid pans, ultra quick cuts, and swooping aerial shots too truncated to show an unparalleled strategist.

It’s difficult in art to capture the essence of a great man, just as Orson Welles told us in his “Citizen Kane," which is twice alluded to with Alexander’s ring-dropping death scene.

Clay (“Alexander”)
Well, John, in keeping with tradition, it’s the victors who get to tell the tale, but although Alexander was one of the greatest victors of them all, he wasn’t the who got to tell this tale. Instead, Oliver Stone has an old friend of Alexander narrate his way back to the past where the film finally begins. [A pretty traditional approach for such a non-traditional director.]

It’s not until you’re nearly a third of the way through the film that you become aware that you’re NOT watching a film you’ve already seen before. This is not Cecil B. DeMille’s “Samson and Delilah,” [although there are some scenes that Victor Mature might have found himself quite at home in]. And it’s not Joseph Mankiewicz’s “Cleopatra,” [although Elizabeth Taylor. in her day, would have battled Rosario Dawson to play the role of Alexander’s Roxanne.

Nope, this movie is all Oliver Stone, with a little help from the Greeks, the Romans, and Sigmund Freud. Driven to succeed by his power loving mother, and living in the fear that he would fail, as did his father, Alexander determinedly marched from Babylon to India and back in order to prove his mettle. Just think of what he might have done if his advisor had been Karl Rove.

But enough of Alexander, Babylon, Baghdad, and Bush, because it’s grading time. It’s grading time.



"Finding Neverland" earns a "B" because BARRIE's never depicted as the BAD BOY he might have BEEN . . .

“Finding Neverland” gets a “B” because why would you BE hanging out with a woman and four children, if you had a beautiful wife of your own all alone BACK home . . .

"Alexander" earns a "B" because BISEXUALITY is NOT enough to define "GREAT" . . .

“Alexander” gets a “B” because, surprisingly, there is more to this movie than BLOOD, sweat, and tears . . .

Clay, 2 of my significant others chose alternative life styles after leaving me. And I didn't even write a children's play or slay an enemy. I'm John The Great, I approve this message, and I'm outta here.

Well, John, two of my former wives were bi-pedal, so go fish.

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 and 106.7 FM in Newark.


Copyright 2004 by John DeSando & Clay Lowe