Friday, September 09, 2005

WCBE 90.5 FM "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," "An Unfinished Life," "The Constant Gardener" (Solo: John DeSando)

WCBE#234-Final (John Solo)
It's Movie Time
Co-hosts, writers & producers: John DeSando & Clay Lowe
For WCBE 90.5 FM

Reviews: "Exorcism," "An Unfinished Life," The Constant Gardener”
Taped: 1:30 pm, September 7, 2005
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, September 9, 2005
Streaming live on the web at .

The Script:

"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is a doubter’s heaven. . .

"An Unfinished Life" is an unimaginative film. . .

“The Constant Gardener” is not Candide . . .


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


I'm John DeSando, and I’m ClayLoweless today because our basso critic is reading and sleeping in Tobermory, Canada, for vacation.

John "Exorcism of Emily Rose" - Continues)
Ideas about heaven, hell, angels and demons were formed for me by the Sisters of St. Joseph, made real by their powerful teaching, and as quickly discounted under the rational tyranny of the Jesuits. So revisiting one of the Catholic Church’s most imaginative challenges, demonic possession and its nemesis, exorcism, is always a disquieting event for me.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a treatise on doubt, expounded by Laura Linney as Erin Bruner, an agnostic attorney defending a priest against charges that he neglected the welfare of Rose, who died in his process of exorcism. Lisa’s defense is based on the “possible,” an operative word for those agnostics of us who don’t find evidence of a spiritual realm but hope for an extension of this life into the next.
I can’t remember the last time I was stimulated to reassess my doubts, but I’m doing it now.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is agnostic heaven for a fallen-away Catholic critic.

John ("An Unfinished Life" - Continues)
Lasse Halstrom’s An Unfinished Life starring Robert Redford is a modern melodramatic oater whose plot once started can navigate on its own.

Redford’s Einer is a crusty old Wyoming cowboy taking care of a much milder buddy, Morgan Freeman’s Mitch, who has been mauled by an ubiquitous brown bear. Arriving in their lives is Jennifer Lopez’s Jean, Einer’s ex daughter in law with his granddaughter, about whose existence he had not known.

Besides the clichéd screenplay are numerous Redford close-ups to show his effective but limited actorly responses such as frustration and skepticism, and Utah-weathered face hidden behind his stubble. Speaking of “behind,” J-Lo tries to act like an actress, but she still is best at eliciting our smirks as she jokes with her daughter about pronouncing “butt” for “Butte,” Montana.

The bear as metaphor for violence and forgiveness competes for figurative heavy-handedness honors with the old pickup truck standing for the creaky Einer.

I was not in pain when I saw this beautifully photographed horse soap opera because Redford and Freeman demand attention even when they’re just jawing and fighting about nothing.

They are not ordinary people, and that reminds me of a fine Redford film . . . .

John ("The Constant Gardener" - Continues)
In The Constant Gardener, Kenya is a problematic place for a romantic government official or a devoted gardener for that matter. Both of those are in the character of Ralph Fiennes’ Justin (a just man), who marries Rachel Weisz’s Tessa, an activist inviting the wrath of global businesses determined to profit from vulnerable natives.

This is a thriller that engages on several levels: There are no easy answers when wickedly smart corporations are both helping the third world with needed drugs and endangering when they test and manipulate results to gain government approval (Vioxx anyone?).

The hand-held camera and close-ups are too many and too distorting, albeit they achieve the effect of claustrophobic chaos (at the expense of revealing character).

Conrad in H of D summed up the contentious world of colonialism and humanism and the dark talk of companies that save and savage: It was “ the talk of sordid buccaneers; it was reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage; there was not an atom of foresight or of serious intention in the whole batch of them, and they did not seem aware these things are wanted in the work of the world.” Halliburton comes to mind.

But enough of corrupt corporations, almost dead cowboys, and demons because it’s grading time!!

"The Exorcism of Emily Rose " earns an A because it makes AGNOSTICS look rational . . .

"An Unfinished Life" earns a “C” because COWBOYS are CLICHED CINEMA …

"The Constant Gardener" earns a “B” because BAD diplomacy is BLATANT today . . .

I wonder if the devil in me will ever be exorcised . . . unless I find a Jesuit who would believe that a randy altar boy is ready to follow the rules into the next life .

I'm outta here, and goodnight, Clay Lowe, wherever you are.


The Award Winning "It's Movie Time" with John DeSando and Clay Lowe is written and produced by John DeSando and Clay Lowe in conjunction with 90.5 FM, WCBE in Columbus an 106.7 FM in Newark.


© 2005 John DeSando and Clay Lowe