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Five Minutes, Mr. Welles

Five Minutes Mr. Welles

For years now I've been searching for a print of this rumored short film written and directed by Vincent D'Onofrio about the conception of Orson Welles's most famous line in the film The Third Man. It only screened on the festival circuit and wasn't available on DVD, so I had resigned myself to having missed this one for good. This morning, however, I finally stumbled across it online:

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A Cold Pittsburgh Skepchick Interview

A couple of weeks back, I hit Pittsburgh to meet up with fellow Skepchicks Maria and Elyse, along with atheist activist and vlogger Ashley, whom I brought along with me from Columbus, and a whole bunch of great Steel City skeptics, including Laura (who so awesomely made most of the arrangements for us). It was a really, really good time and despite the fact the bar closed at midnight (seriously, Pittsburgh, WTF), I met some great people and had some great discussion. Ashley also interviewed Maria, Elyse, Laura and me about skeptic activism on a very, very cold street outside the bar, and here it is, in all of its tipsy, profane glory:

It's been about a year, I think, since I started writing for Skepchick, thus introducing me to the larger skeptic community and leading me to work on reviving Central Ohioans for Rational Inquiry. Now, in Columbus, we not only have a flourishing skeptic group that meets regularly and the foundation laid for further community involvement, but a SkeptiCamp unconference that's already attracting a ton of people from across Ohio and out of state.

I keep hearing over and over again from people I meet in this line of activism that they were waiting for someone to organize something, so that they could connect with like-minded people. Here's my advice: don't wait. Start a reading group at your local library, create a Drinking Skeptically at the neighborhood bar, find or begin a Meetup.com group, or organize a speaking event with a local professor or doctor. (Like Maria says in the video above, we're happy to add any new group events to the Skepchick calendar, which reaches thousands of people across the US). Start a blog, make a video, record a podcast. Skeptic activism in this day and age is ridiculously easy - and there's already a wide-reaching network out there who are friendly, fun and willing to help anyone who wants to learn more. As the US enters a new governmental era, whatever your political leanings, it's been made clear that scientific education and rational thought is coming back in a big way. It's a perfect time to be a skeptic.

Smart Girls at the Party

Meet my new favorite person, Ruby:

Another person I've liked more and more lately, Amy Poehler, is heading up this new online show, Smart Girls at the Party, celebrating young girls doing some cool things. Pass it on if you know one in your own life.

But, of course, I have to say: sponsored by Barbie? Really? Sigh.

Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee

A fun video from TCM about the legendary video store Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee.

Zombie Girls

Zombies and girls (and zombie girls, and girl zombies, presumably) are in the film news lately - as well they should be.

I haven't even seen this documentary, Zombie Girl, yet, but already its star, Emily Hagins, is my new heroine. How could she not be? She's twelve years old, and she's directed her own full-length feature zombie movie. Check it out:

Also, io9's Annalee Newitz just produced an excellent piece on zombie feminism:

Along with other recent indie horror fare like Zombie Strippers, Deadgirl turns zombies into figures for militant social outcasts — preyed-upon women who return to wreak vengeance. Call it zombie feminism. It's a subgenre that goes back to the 1980s, and every time it dies, it just comes back stronger than ever.

The new film she's referring to is Deadgirl, which looks like a great arty horror film. (The trailer is at the io9 link - it's not overly explicit, but still might not be everyone's cup of tea.)

Question for discussion: is it a coincidence that as torture porn and its misogynistic appeal fades from the horror movie scene, there's a revival of female-centered revenge film?

Cowtown Film Series

Every Thursday for the next few weeks, hte Cowtown Film Series is featuring Ohio-grown independent films. $3 a show, or $10 for all of them, at the Screens at the Continent. Here's the trailer for tomorrow nights, Micky Fisher's Summer Nuts:

Me, Orson Welles, and Zac Efron

Anne Thompson says Efron makes good in Me and Orson Welles. Her opinion is generally good enough for me.

America is Graphically F*cked

Via Design Observer, a video I had to pass along: designer Aaron Draplin tells a tale of design unappreciation:


America Is F*cked.......(Graphically at least) from Jess Gibson on Vimeo.

Isn't that original sign delicious? If you'd like to browse some other great examples of mid-century motel signage, Lileks has the goods. I go through this gallery again every few months for new additions. Happily, many of these are still in use.

Aidan 5

The winner of the Columbus 48-hr Film Project is Aidan 5, an intriguing mix of not only sci-fi and noir, but also hand-drawn sets and live-action characters. Really cool:

We're Excited about Your Vagina Ring

Sorry. I couldn't resist using that title. Well, I probably could, but I bet using it will bring a whole new wonderful era of funny search keyword hits to my stats.

Oh, Here We Go - The Women

I've been complaining about the forthcoming remake of 1939's The Women for quite some time, even before it was given a definite release date. That's some dedicated whining. And now that the remake is scheduled to be unleashed upon us this September, I can take my whining to a whole new wonderful level.

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead

I'm not too sure about this film. It looks like it will either be awesome or horrible, or possibly awesomely horrible. But I like dark humor, I like vampires, and I like playing with Shakespearean themes, so we'll see.

In the meantime, enjoy a bit from the film version of Tom Stoppard's original Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead:

Used Kids

From Columbus's own Earwig. Also, Donewaiting has a interesting remix.

Kari Byron's McGyver Girl Tricks

So I was watching the Mythbusters mini-marathon this Sunday and decided I want to cut my hair like Kari's. I went searching online for a picture of said haircut. Whereupon I discovered that her legions of geek fans have some very, very disturbing internet shrines to her. However, I also turned up this not un-charming video of her discussing the tips and tricks of a girl in the shop:

Skepchick Video Contest

Are you into hot, smart, critically-thinking girls? Then maybe you should make a short video about how awesome Skepchick is and win some prizes. The lovelies Elyse and Jill dish the details in the video below.

MacHeads

"I've never knowingly slept with a Windows user. Ever. Ever. That would never, ever happen." - Violet Blue

MacHeads: The Movie.

Machead the movie

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Bang a Drum, 1-100

Simple concept: a short film of a hundred people, ages one to one hundred, each banging on a drum. Give it a watch:

(Hat tip: Snarkmarket.)

Teeth

Last month, I received an email from a friendly film publicist who sounded like he actually might have read at least a bit of my blog and forwarded press info on a movie appropriately relevant to my feminist/film slant: Teeth.

In case you haven't heard the rumblings about this indie horror flick yet, it caused a bit of a stir at last year's Sundance with its subject matter - a reworking of the vagina dentata myth. Brush off your Latin, and, yes, that means what you think it means: toothed vagina. The myth is often seen as a warning to men about having relations with strange women, and a symptom of dread about women's sexual power.

As for Teeth itself, it goes something like this: "High school student Dawn (Jess Weixler) works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group's most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad's increasingly provocative behavior at home. A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth." (from publicist email).

Reports about the film paint it as extremely violent, appealing to women, and disturbing to men. And although it has "strong feminist undertones" (also from publicist email), it also seems to have a current of dark comedy running through it. This is definitely a film impossible to call worthwhile or worthless until it's actually viewed - and I think, if only for curiosity's sake, I'm anxious to do that.

Update: I just came across an IFC interview with the director of Teeth Mitchell Lichtenstein, and it makes clear he approached this with the intent of twisting the vagina dentata myth around from the subjugation women to the empowerment of them. Also interesting is his description of some men's intense reactions to the film:

There are often guys who storm out at some point in the movie, which I usually find satisfying. We were at a film festival recently, and I came back for the last 15 minutes. After the dog incident, these two guys stood up and walked out, saying, "Thanks for that." It was really funny that they would last that long, and then five minutes before the end, that was the last straw and they couldn't take it anymore. Men react differently to certain parts of the movie more viscerally than women do, and I've heard about men who were disturbed about just how into the movie their girlfriends were.

So, looking at this through the lens of torture-porn apologists who think extreme horror featuring on the sexualized destruction of women is harmless - maybe the harm comes more clearly into focus for them when the violence has a different gender target? Maybe this film will at least convince those men who never understood before why some women object to those films why they in fact do.

Tales of Passion

Isabel Allende's TED talk about passionate lives and the need for feminism has been passed around a bit by now, but I hadn't seen it before and it brightened my morning. So I thought I'd share.

Christmas with the Devil

From Nigel Tufnel's family to yours. Happy holidays, everyone.

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics

Cleveland's Screaming

Akron native, Zen Buddhist master, punk band member, columnist for Suicide Girls, and director of the doc Cleveland's Screaming, Brad Warner, is going to be back in Ohio soon to talk about hardcore meditation and punk in NE Ohio.

That Novel You're Workin' On?

Yes, it's the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. Good luck.

Vintage Russian Animation Does Ray Bradbury

Thanks to SciFi Scanner, two trippy animated shorts from the good ol' USSR of two Ray Bradbury stories: "Here There Be Tygers," and "There Will Come Soft Rains."

The Miniature Earth Project

This has been online for a while now, but it's been making the rounds of the blogs again just recently, so I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon. I think I linked to it before but, a) I'm too lazy to find it, and b) I didn't actually embed it. So, behold! The embedded video of the Miniature Earth Project:

The IT Crowd: Season Two, Episode Six

I neglected to mention the release of the season finale of The IT Crowd last week. And it's too good to go without mention, so here's the first part.

Links to Part 2 and Part 3.

Ingmar Bergman, 1918-2007

From The Seventh Seal. More information about Bergman's life and death at Greencine.

The Darjeeling Limited

I understand why someone would not like the films of Wes Anderson. Sometimes it may seem as if the hip irony is in danger of crashing in on itself. But it never quite does, at least for me. He saves himself with the charm of his quirkiness and his genuine sincerity.

Therefore, I'm very excited about the upcoming The Darjeeling Limited.

Great Public Domain Movies Online

In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias ...I've been floundering with Filmtalk a bit recently, mostly because my movie intake has suffered from extra work and rent-by-mail issues. Turner Classic Movies naming of Katharine Hepburn their star of the month has helped considerably (Stage Door one night + Woman of the Year the next = great happiness). But to keep up somehow, I've put together a list of movies in the public domain you can watch free online. Of course, quality is a lot better if you get the remastered DVDs, but these will do in a pinch.

  • The Third Man - Do I talk about this movie enough? For all intents and purposes, it's my favorite. I've known it was in the public domain, because in high school the only copy of it I could afford was a generic VHS tape. This video file looks like it was taken from that same tape. But it's such a fantastic movie, it doesn't matter as much. And if you like it, you can snap up the new release of it that's coming out shortly. The copyright on this was renewed and its no longer in the public domain. Buy or rent a copy anyway - it's worth it.
  • Meet John Doe - From probably my favorite movie to probably my favorite director. This is the first of Frank Capra's "social justice" trilogy that rounded out with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I've always loved Meet John Doe because of Barbara Stanwyck's spirited performance.
  • His Girl Friday - Perfect, smart, fast-paced screwball comedy. It's all good.
  • M - This one's a German movie about a pedophilic serial killer stalking the streets of Berlin. So, in other words, not exactly light viewing. It's worth it, though. There's also a lot of interesting backstory about the Nazi atmosphere in which Jewish director Lang made the film, if you're so inclined to look it up after watching.
  • Freaks - This is the very definition of a "cult classic," not to mention a pretty good example what a true horror film is.
  • Detour - This is often called the first proper "film noir." First or not, it's a pitch-perfect example of the genre. Film noir just happens to be my absolute favorite genre. Therefore, I enjoy this film immensely.

The compendium I've from which I've linked all these choices is here, and there are a lot of other selections. However, some of these are not explicitly public domain, such as Monty Python and Sid and Nancy, so they could be pulled at any time. But it's an useful resource nonetheless. It's also a good way to check out some classics without investing a lot or time or money. Then you can name-drop the titles of what you've been watching lately, and, at the very least, I'll be impressed