Sunday, June 19, 2005

WCBE 90.5 FM: "Batman Begins," "Howl's Moving Castle," "The Leopard"

It's Movie Time
Co-hosts: John DeSando & Clay Lowe
Producer/Director: Richelle Antczak, WCBE 90.5 FM

Reviews: “Batman Begins,” “Howl's Moving Castle,” “The Leopard”
Taped: 3:30 pm, June 15, 2005
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, June 17, 2005
Streaming live on the web at .

The Script:

"Batman Begins” is not only dark it’s a psychological mess . . . .

“Howl's Moving Castle” is a hoot . . .

Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard” screens at Mershon this Friday and Saturday evening . . .


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 (“Batman Begins”)
Clay, a Batman with psychological realism? Why not? The turn to character study in one of the darkest comic book characters of all time is timely and successful in Batman Begins.

You’re wrong.

The overly long plot relating to the bad guys is nothing special. But fascinating is Christian Bales' Batman overcoming his fear of bats and fashioning an ubercop for an anarchic Gotham City.

Part of Batman Begins’ success lies in Christopher Nolan’s (Memento) ability to keep us from Batman for almost half the movie, immersing us in the development of Bruce Wayne without our demanding the appearance of the caped crusader. Judging from the preview audience’s clapping at the film’s conclusion and their rapt attention throughout, this film may be the bridge to a deeper, more satisfying aesthetic experience of a preeminent genre, comic book adaptation.

In that day a man shall cast his idols . . . to the moles and to the bats." Isaiah ii. 20.

Clay ("Batman Begins")
Underground moles, bloody black bats, and American idols, Oh boy!

Folks, will filmmakers never get tired of inflicting upon us their tortured and tormented mind-groping heroes? Enough of psychodrama, I say. Enough of Freud and Jung and the psychological babble of Adler. What the world needs on the screen are real red-blooded comic book heroes who will stand up to the forces of darkness.

Christopher Nolan’s Batman, with no offense to Christian Bale, Michael Kane, or Liam Neeson; is simply a bore. The cinematographic is static and decidedly undynamic. And Gotham city looks like the backdrop of an ad for GQ Quarterly, BMW’s and Rolex watches.

Whatever happened to those simplistic story lines that pitted good versus evil? Are Bush, Cheney, and Karl Rove the only media savvy people left in this country who know that what Americans really long for are good old fashioned heroes? Too bad not even they are able to deliver.

John (“Howl's Moving Castle”)
Clay, now I know why everyone was excited about Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar winning animation because his new Howl’s Moving Castle is more original and thoughtful than any American entry in that genre.

A cumbersome castle on chicken legs right out of Russian folklore; a vain, kind, and immature hero; villains morphing into lovable friends; a fire that talks like Billy Crystal and surpasses Eddie Murphy’s wisecracking donkey are some of the touches of this hip Asian anime that comments on the folly of war promoted by very neocon-like leaders and the endlessly interesting conflicts between the good and bad angels of each character.

Shape-shifting heroine Sophie says, "I don't want to live if I can't be beautiful!" Now there’s my kind of lady--callow and heroic in the same film.

No one dimensional characters for this director, perhaps the most gifted animator in the world .

Clay (“The Leopard” - Visconti)
In the world of “Howl’s Moving Machine” and Miyazaki’s earlier “Spirited Away” evil was always lurking in the shadows and living things were always morphing into objects and creatures quite different from themselves.

In the films of Luchino Visconti the lead characters almost always appear to exhibit an outward appearance of elegance and charm, but often conceal within themselves a proud spirit capable of doing much harm. Burt Lancaster’s land owner in “The Leopard,” for instance, is fully aware his family’s wealth and power is slipping away, but nevertheless he continues to keep himself under control but never stops in his attempt to control others.

Now John, get this. If ever there were a filmmaker who was born with the pedigree needed to fully understand Bruce Wayne’s Batman, Visconti would have been the one. And if ever there was an actor capable of capturing the full intensity and dark power of Batman, it would have been Burt Lancaster. Too bad no one ever asked.

But enough of Batman, Miyazaki, and Luchino Visconti, because it’s grading time.


"Batman Begins" earns a "B" because BATMAN can sometimes be BEAUTIFUL, other times BORING. . .

“Batman Begins” gets a "C" because even the Batmobile needs a CRASH COURSE in aerodynamics . . .

Howl's Moving Castle" moved me to give it an "A" for for AWARD-winning ANIME. . .

“Howl’s Moving Castle” gets an “A” because the ANIMATION is ASTOUNDING and the story telling is super fantastic . . .

Clay, there's no decorative codpiece for the new Batman. Do you think cussing Dick Cheney also influences Hollywood COSTUME DESIGN?

I don’t know John, but don’t put Batman in between Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson during next year’s Super Bowl. Can you imagine what would happen if you had a malfunctioning codpiece?

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.


© 2005 John DeSando and Clay Lowe