Monday, May 16, 2005

WCBE 90.5 FM: "Kingdom of Heaven," "Kung Fu Hustle," "House of Wax"

DeSando & Clay Lowe
Producer/Director: Richelle Antczak, WCBE

Reviews: “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Kung Fu Hustle,” “House of Wax”
Taped: 4:00 pm, May 4, 2005
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, May 6, 2005
Streaming live on the web at .

The Script:

"Kingdom of Heaven” is a hell of an epic . . .

"Kung Fu Hustle” is a comedic take-off on folk tales, Hollywood musicals, and martial arts extravaganzas . . .

“House of Wax” heats up the screen with drippingly delightful dumbness . . .

Columbus is alive this weekend with the Deep Focus Film Festival at the Arena Grand Theatre . . .


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 (“Kingdom of Heaven”)
Clay, In Kingdom of Heaven, Orlando Bloom plays Balian, a former blacksmith turned knight, at the siege of Jerusalem in the late 12th century. Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) takes care to make this knight as ideal as Chaucer made his in The Canterbury Tales. In the process Balian becomes just too perfect, perhaps because of Bloom’s cross gender prettiness and the intonations of his dialogue.

I probably missed a moment of light-heartedness, if there is one.

Scott has forsaken the grittiness of Russell Crowe for the saintliness of Bloom, making Kingdom of Heaven a parable about virtue rather than a hardscrabble tale of violence and intrigue.

Credit the director and writer for balancing the guilt among Christians, Jews, and Arabs. For a history lesson with modern relevances, see this epic; for a lighter touch, see Brian Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale; to have it all, read Chaucer.

Clay (“Kung Fu Hustle”)
John, from Chaucer, to the Bible, the Koran, and the meditations of Buddah, there’s so much religious fervor on-screen this week that you might be convinced we’ve all died and gone to heaven. Au contraire. Because in both “Kingdom of Heaven” and, believe it or not, in “Kung Fu Hustle,” it is religious zeal that’s behind much of the violence that drives these films.

Thankfully, “Kung Fu Hustle” is clever and funny. Set in the slums of Shanghei in the 1940s, the movie features a Master of Kung Fu, who’s as arrogant as a toad. A passive young girl, who’s in need of constant rescue. And a would-be hero, who when he fails to protect her, takes up with the villains instead.

Then, top it all off with a climactic scene, pitting the slum’s residents against a dancing-prancing band of axe-carrying bad guys, and you’ll find yourself laughing your head off in spite of the violence.

And, oh yes, for the coup de grace, watch to see if Buddah joins in on the rescue.

John (“House of Wax”)
TRASH, I say, PURE TRASH! And I’m not referring just to Paris Hilton. House of Wax, in which she plays a surprisingly stupid, strip- teasing bimbo, is, as the cliché demands, so bad it’s good.

In a year when the best horror films have been Ring Two and Amityville Horror, House of Wax is easily the winner, a meltdown if you will of horror expectations loaded with the usual vacuous young people, false frights, severed body parts, and gratuitous sex, only more of it all.

The climactic scene when everything and everybody take the heat is worthy of the original. Meanwhile, female and male boobs dominate a laughably entertaining slasher with old-fashioned makeup and CGI so effective that a severed finger looks like it came straight from Wendy's.

As the female lead exclaims, “This place is a freak show.” Welcome to the best freak show of the year.

Clay (“House of Wax”)
John, freak show indeed. But best of the year? Come on, has anyone ever told you that, Number One: you overuse superlatives. And, Number Two: how can I say this? You have a tendency to premaTUREly prog-NOS-ti-cate. Sorry, but that’s what buddies are for.

But back to the “House of Wax.” Stylistically, the movie is sharply edited, cleverly shot -the director just loves those overheads, and because he knows the medium-is-the-message, everything he shoots is always on the move. He’s not gotten this far in music video without learning his lessons well: You can never anything go limp or go drag on the screen.

And that lovely cast? My guess is that they are sensual and bland enough to survive longer on TV than they will be on film. Vincent Price, where are you? Your blood curdling movie has become just another dasher-slasher film that’s just one cut above made-for-TV.

But enough of religious zealots, blood-gushing weirdos, and bosoms galore because, John, it’s grading time.


“Kingdom of Heaven” gets a B because a BLOOM is not a Crowe . . .

“Kung Fu Hustle” gets a “B” because its visual effects are brilliant

“House of Wax” earns a B because BIG BRASSIERES are only the BEGINNING of the fun . . .

“House of Wax” gets a “C” because the action is razor sharp but the writing and acting is super slurppy . . .

Clay, I wonder if women ever get scared that waxing their legs will make them stupid like Paris Hilton. I'm going to ask the nearest Russian translator for her interpretation.

I’m outta here.

You’re a leg up on me on this, one John, but while you’re losing yourself in translation I’ll be checking in at the Arena Grand for this weekend’s very first Deep Focus Film Festival . . .

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.


© 2005 John DeSando and Clay Lowe