Thursday, March 24, 2005

WCBE 90.5 FM: "Miss Congeniality 2," "Born into Brothels," Melinda and Melinda"

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

Reviews: "Miss Congeniality 2," "Born Into Brothels," "Melinda and Melinda"
Taped: 4:00 pm, March 23, 2005
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, March 25, 2005
Streaming live on the web at .

The Script:

"Miss Congeniality 2" is stupid stuff . . .

"Born into Brothels" is the obverse of “Bride and Prejudice” . . .

"Melinda and Melinda" gives Aristotle new spin . . .


Richelle Antczak
"It's Movie Time" in Central-Ohio, with John DeSando and Clay Lowe . .

I'm John DeSando

And I'm Clay Lowe.

John ("Miss Congeniality 2")
Clay, How utterly uncongenial of me to walkout out after an hour of Sandra Bullock’s sequel, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. I should have been armed against such a loser film, and she was not fabulous by any standard.

Why am I not surprised?

Not working undercover anymore after saving the United States Pageant from sabotage in the first installment, Bullock as Gracie Hart becomes the face of the FBI.

Gracie’s black bodyguard, Ray’s Regina King, has anger management problems never explained, Gracie’s male stylist has female traits of only the most stereotypical kind, and on and on with vapid, uncreative caricatures and stock situations so dull, I began wondering why Bullock’s breasts are so small for a major movie star and why Dolly Parton’s large ones don’t make her fall over in a chase sequence too stupid to describe to our audience, One hour was one hour too much for a reviewer who loved Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Go figure.

Clay ("Born into Brothels")
John, do we live on another planet? While you were previewing a movie that caused you to reflect on the relative merits of various-sized bosoms, I was across town seeing “Born into Brothels.” A movie you WON”T want to walk out on

Muted colors, grainy texture, crowded streets, the brothels in Calcutta are a universe away from the elegant displays of wealth as portrayed in “Bride and Prejudice.” But “Bride” was one of pure fantasy. The world of Zana Briski’s “Born into Brothels” is the real stuff. For in this documentary she gives cameras to eight children of prostitutes and encourages them to go out into back alleyways of the Calcutta slums and bring back what they’ve seen through the eyes of their cameras.

Not since Life photographer Gordon Parks went into the slums of Rio, in the early sixties have we been give such moving insights into what the underside of the world looks like as seen through the eyes of its children.

Ah, the sweet, dangerous powers of children and cameras.

John ("Melinda and Melinda")
Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda is a petting zoo of needy urbanites who most of all want to find love, which eludes them right up to the last cliffhanging moment.

The setup is two artists telling the same story differently about an uninvited guest, one story a romantic comedy, the other a tragic tale of a desperate loner.

A great line comes from Susan, a director, who discloses the title of her newest film, “The Castration Sonata,” as putting “male sexuality in perspective.”

The Woodman returns in fine form to try to fulfill his own hope when he said over a quarter century ago, “If my film makes one more person miserable, I’ll feel I’ve done my job.” I predict you won’t be miserable. This is the best Woody in years.

Clay "Melinda and Melinda"
John, of course, I disagree. But it IS an interesting, if not always amusing movie. Framed from the beginning with a dinner table scene stolen right out of “My Dinner With Andre,” we listen in as we hear two playwrights discuss the relative merits of comedy and tragedy. Nothing new to theatre goers, of course, who know quite well, that the symbolic two-faced mask of drama displays the smiling and the frowning faces of the muses of drama.

From then on Woody delights us with confusions as he cuts back and forth between narrators, and the stories of Melinda the tragic, and Melinda, the comedic. All a little bit confusing for me because it features two different casts tied together by one schizoid actress.

Lots of praise to Radha Mitchell, as both Melinda's, for helping to pull it all off. And a tip of the hat to Will Ferrell for joining the army of stand-by, wanna-be, would-be Woodys. But in my book, most of all thanks to two of the bit players who light up this movie whenever they appear on screen: Chit-i-wal E-gee-wa for (Dirty Pretty Things), and Brooke Smith (Silence of the Lambs). It would not be the same movie without them.

Ride on Woody, ride on . . .

But enough of brothels, bullocks, and the Woodsman because it's grading time.



"Miss Congeniality 2" appropriately earns no grade . . .

"Born into Brothels" gets an “A” because it’s touching, compassionate, and never panders . .

"Melinda and Melinda" earns an A for its ATTENTION to the disjointed details of urban romance . . .

"Melinda and Melinda" gets an “B” because most Woody Allen films are BETTER than other films because they make both you laugh and think . . .

Clay, I don't know if life should be called tragic or comic, but a comedy like Miss Congeniality 2 sure is tragic.

And who would pick a castrated bull as a name anyway!

John, by bad mouthing Sandra B’s name, you may have offended well over a hundred Bullocks who happen to live in Columbus.

I’m outta here.

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. (Plug Grandview Library Woody Allen series coming up: 6:30 pm, Thursday evening, April 7th at the Grandview library, featuring "Annie Hall.")


© 2005 John DeSando and Clay Lowe

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Closing Quote From and Closing Thoughts On: Jerzy Kosinki's Passion Play

"He would set the stage for the play of passion for one for whom passion was no longer a mystery and enigma. Always careful to keep his fantasy in check, so as to release the imagination of his listener, Fabian might explain the art of horsemanship, talk of strategies of combat to one for whom victory was beyond reach, chronicle the embraces of lovers to one who would embrace no more."
-Jerzy Kosinki, Passion Play, 1979

Note in the closing margin:
The idle, solitary wanderer never quite giving up on that play of passion where reason's of no avail . . . CKL