Columns
4:54 pm
Tue April 30, 2002

Summer Celluloid

"It's Movie Time" previews this summer's coming attractions...

When WCBE's "It's Movie Time" film critics John DeSando and Clay Lowe were asked to do a feature on what they were looking forward to seeing at their favorite art houses and multiplexes this summer, here's what they suggested might be worth catching. As might be expected they have asked that they not be held responsible for their miscalculations.

BLOOD WORK

DeSando's Choice

After a heart transplant, Clint Eastwood's retired FBI profiler returns to service to track a ruthless serial killer who murdered Clint's heart donor. The screenwriter is Brian Helgeland of "L.A. Confidential"; just as promising is the fact that Eastwood directs himself, changing the novel's protagonist from a 42 year old to one roughly Clint's 71 years.

DeSando:

This is the thirteenth time Clint has produced, directed and starred in his films. He's rarely disappointed me.

Clay's response:

Note also that Eastwood is the director who botched up "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and further note screen writer Brian Helgeland penned the disastrous "The Postman." Deal with disappointment, DeSando.

THE FAST RUNNER (ATANARJUAT)

Clay's Choice

Filmed in the breathlessly beautiful North Baffin region of the Canadian Arctic, this Inuit language film (the first ever) is a love story about Atanarjuat and his love for Atuat who has been promised to another man. Winner of the Camera d'Or for the best feature at Cannes this past year.

Clay:

I missed out on this film at the Toronto Film Festival, but will be first in line at the Drexel when it premieres in Columbus. It had great audience buzz.

DeSando's response:

This sounds like Shakespeare on ice, so if I can sit through its frigid 3 hours, I'll probably head right for sunny Cannes to thank them for the tip.

FOUR FEATHERS

Clay's Choice

This re-make of Zoltan Korda's four-star 1939 film is a study in bravery (much like John Huston's "The Red Badge of Courage") and details the story of those British who are attempting to put down an uprising in Sudan.

Clay:

If the track record of the movie's director and writer have anything to do with the odds of a picture's success then the teaming up of director Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth") and writer Michael Schiffer ("Crimson Tide") should bode success for this film. Though I'll still keep my money on Korda's earlier version.

DeSando's response:

Well, Schiffer's "Peacemaker" was no prize with dialogue like Nicole Kidman saying to George Clooney, "Give me a man who knows how to take orders from a woman." Clooney of course bullies her for the rest of the film. I'll keep my money for a surer bet.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

DeSando's Choice

In 1890s England, two young gentlemen use the pseudonym "Earnest" to avoid entanglements only to fall in love using that name with women who threaten to entangle the men in mistaken identities.

DeSando:

Oscar Wilde gained his fame one hundred years ago with this play -- now with prominent British actors Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, and Dame Judy Dench, I can't wait to return to England for some dry wit and classy castles.

Clay's response:

My introduction to the world of theatre was in high school when I was cast as Algernon in this delightful Oscar Wilde drama. If only Reese Witherspoon had been my Cecily. The rest of the cast looks great too. Don't miss it.

THE LADY AND THE DUKE (L'ANGLAISE ET LE DUC)

Clay's Choice

Erich Rohmer uses the latest in digital technology to tell this tale about a Scottish upper class lady who gets caught in Paris during the outbreak of the French Revolution.

Clay:

I did catch "The Lady and the Duke" at Toronto and found it visually exciting and intellectually intriguing. The look of "L'Anglaise" is like something you've never seen before. Though Rohmer is now into his eighties he was among many of the other directors who have experimented with digital technology this past year.

DeSando's response:

Rohmer's interiors are allegedly well suited for 18th century Jacobin pornography. I'm willing to give this master of sexual manners a skeptical scrutiny.

LAGAAN

DeSando's Choice

After an Indian community complains about its "lagaan" (excessive tax) to the ruling British authority, an official challenges them to a cricket match to determine if the tax will be dropped for 3 years or tripled. "Lagaan" is a 3+ hour musical about the waning days of the British Empire.

DeSando:

Local film expert Chris Stults of the Drexel Management Group says this best foreign language film Oscar nominee is "one of the most enjoyable films you'll watch all year." He adds that "this will be the film to introduce the magic of Bollywood to American audiences." When Chris speaks, I listen -- he's rarely wrong.

Clay's response:

When both Chris Stults and John DeSando speak you better listen. Ignore at peril the advice from these two galloping gourmets of cinematic pleasures. It should be a five course treat.

MINORITY REPORT

DeSando's Choice

Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report" is a thriller set in Washington D.C. in 2054. Police use psychic technology to arrest and convict murderers before they commit their crimes. Tom Cruise, as head of the Precrime Unit, is accused of the future murder of a man he hasn't met.

DeSando:

Spielberg's magic directing touch (Even the flawed "A.I." was memorable), science fiction writer Philip K. Dick's successes with "Blade Runner" and "Total Recall," and Cruise's considerable acclaim for his "Mission Impossible" make this film impossible to ignore.

Clay's response:

"Minority Report's" trailer has that blue-light-computerized-image-look used last year to sell Spielberg's "A.I." Recall it was a fizzle. Cruise may bring it alive, but it looks to me like just another video play station thriller.

ROAD TO PERDITION

DeSando's Choice

Tom Hanks plays Michael Sullivan, a mid-western Depression-era hit man for an Irish gang. When his wife and a son die as a result of his work, he and his surviving son set out to revenge the deaths and maybe find themselves as they go.

DeSando:

What a pedigree: Two-time Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks ("Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia") and Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty"). Add in Paul Newman, Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Stanley Tucci, and you have my undivided attention. Dreamworks usually knows what it's doing -- I'm riding with them on this one.

Clay's response:

The only thing that could cause "Road to Perdition" to dead-end is its lousy title. The solid cast (which also includes Anthony LaPaglia from "Lantana") and its super-talented director, Sam Mendez, should keep this highway on destination.

TROUBLE EVERY DAY

Clay's Choice

"Trouble Every Day" is a bloody tale steeped in macabre images that its critics have found to be both disturbing and fascinating. This story of a honeymoon in Paris gone berserk should attract more than thrill seekers, however, because it has been directed by the highly-respected French filmmaker Claire Denis.

Clay:

Though screen violence is not my thing, I'm drawn to "Trouble Every Day" because I found the preview film clip from the film to be both beautiful and provocative. But then trailers are probably the worst evidence of how good or bad a film is going to be.

DeSando's response:

Sounds like lurid Wim Wenders crossed with crazy David Lynch and way-out David Cronenberg (I still have distinct images of "Crash"). I'll go right past the trailer and into this promising thriller.


A special note from DeSando and Lowe:

"Happy summer viewing and happy listening, fans, because we'll be here all summer long helping you beat the heat. Don't forget, we don't make 'em, we just review 'em. If they're good, we'll tell you; if they're bad, we'll let you know. You can count on us to disagree. We're outta here."