Tag Archives | film

Duck And Cover: The Citizen Kane Of PSAs

duckandcoverFew films, let alone ones running under ten minutes, have been as frequently referenced, reproduced and satirized as Duck and Cover, yet it is never regarded seriously. Conelrad gives this key piece of cinematic history the treatment it deserves:

We have spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER’s production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away.

Just how did the term “Duck and Cover” become universal shorthand for the paranoid excesses of the Cold War and for every geo-political panic attack since? The film is, after all, the Citizen Kane of American civil defense motion pictures. Clips from this movie are used almost every time a news piece is produced on the 1950’s or the Cold War.

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The First Science Fiction Film

Le_Voyage_dans_la_luneDreamy and surreal, it lives up to its name:
A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la lune) is a 1902 French black-and-white silent science fiction film. The film was written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston. It is based loosely on two popular novels of the time: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells. It is the first science fiction film and uses innovative animation and special effects, including the well-known image of the spaceship landing in the moon's eye.
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Sarah Palin’s Feature Length Film To Premiere In June

Photo: David Shankbone

Photo: David Shankbone

When is enough enough? Real Clear Politics reports:

Shortly after Republicans swept last November to a historic victory in which Sarah Palin was credited with playing a central role, the former Alaska governor pulled aside her close aide, Rebecca Mansour, to discuss a hush-hush assignment: Reach out to conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon with a request. Ask him if he would make a series of videos extolling Palin’s governorship and laying to rest lingering questions about her controversial decision to resign from office with a year-and-a-half left in her first term. It was this abdication, Palin knew, that had made her damaged goods in the eyes of some Republicans who once were eager to get behind her potential 2012 presidential campaign.

The response was more positive than Palin could have hoped for. He’d make a feature-length movie, Bannon told Mansour, and he insisted upon taking complete control and financing it himself — to the tune of $1 million.

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23,000 Defendants Sued In Biggest Illegal Downloading Case In History

stalloneMovie makers are suing thousands of individuals who downloaded and watched Sylvester Stallone’s latest film? Shouldn’t that read vice versa? Via Wired:

At least 23,000 file sharers soon will likely get notified they are being sued for downloading The Expendables in what has become the single largest illegal-BitTorrent-downloading case in U.S. history.

A federal judge in the case has agreed to allow the U.S. Copyright Group to subpoena internet service providers to find out the identity of everybody who had illegally downloaded the 2010 Sylvester Stallone flick — meaning the number of defendants is likely to dramatically increase as new purloiners are discovered.

All told, more than 140,000 BitTorrent downloaders are being targeted in dozens of lawsuits across the country, many of them for downloading B-rated movies and porn.

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How To Start Your Own Religion

One of the best films I saw at South By Southwest (SXSW) this year was Vikram Gandhi's documentary Kumaré, in which New Jersey-born and raised Gandhi decides to pass himself off as an Indian guru (he is of Indian descent) to see if people will buy into his fake persona as a spiritually enlightened teacher. He succeeds all too well and faces a dilemma when it's time to reveal the fraud. Essentially Gandhi's point is that spiritual gurus are frauds and anyone can be a guru if he can (so long as they are prepared to dress up, grow long beards, make up strange chants, etc.). With that in mind, I found a course on how to start your own religion, offered by 3rd Ward. I'm not sure if I'll take it yet, but they do say the fastest way to make a million dollars is to become a millionaire...
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Is Competitive Laughter Becoming A New Craze?

LaughologyThe documentary Laughology is helping set off a new fad with the discovery that competitive laughter can be entertaining.

The film makes the case that laughter itself is the primary motivator of laughter, so jokes aren’t necessary for people to have a good time. After a laughing contest in Montreal where the audience was in stitches, a competition made headlines in Tokyo. This Saturday a laughter contest hits America in the form of the California Ultimate Laughing Championship. Linda Massarella reports for the Toronto Sun:

So there was this American state called California with one of the highest unemployment rates on the continent and citizens fretting about losing their homes to foreclosure … when in walks this Canadian guy.

Yes, it’s Toronto documentary filmmaker Albert Nerenberg to the rescue of the depressed and anxious around here [San Luis Obispo, CA] next Saturday when he brings his movie, Laughology, to a film festival just north of L.A.

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DreamWorks Studio Buys Rights To WikiLeaks’ Book

wiki4It was only a matter of time there was a movie about Assange. Looks like Spieldberg’s studio got to it first. The Guardian reports:

Steven Spielberg‘s Hollywood studio looks set to oversee WikiLeaks: the Movie after securing the screen rights to WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange‘s War on Secrecy, the book by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.

Reportedly conceived as an investigative thriller in the mould of All the President’s Men, the film will be backed by DreamWorks – the studio founded in 1994 by Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

Leigh and Harding’s book charts Julian Assange’s life and times, from his itinerant childhood through to the creation of the WikiLeaks website in 2006. It also provides the inside story of Assange’s explosive partnership with the Guardian and the release, last December, of more than 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, said: “The Guardian’s unique collaboration with WikiLeaks led to what some have described as one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years.”

[Continues at The Guardian]

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Brainsploitation: Rise Of The Neurothriller

Annalee Newitz writes for io9:
Inception cleaned up in the effects categories at the Academy Awards because they go to movies built around cool ideas. In this case, literally. The centerpiece of the film is a machine that allows clever intruders to enter other people's dreams and steal their ideas - or implant new ones. Inception is the latest standout example of the mind-manipulation movie, following in the tracks of Memento and classics like George Cukor's Gaslight. Call them neurothrillers.
What makes neurothrillers relevant now? Sure, we've always had psychological suspense flicks, but over the past decade they've been coming fast and thick...
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The Military’s Long-Lost Nuclear Apocalypse Film

The National Security Archive has the The Power of Decision posted in its entirety, making it available for public viewing for the first time ever. Produced in 1956-57 by the U.S. Air Force, it is perhaps the only government film depicting what the descent into nuclear holocaust would be like, a grim future in which "nobody wins a nuclear war because both sides are sure to suffer terrible damage," yet, "success" (i.e. the United States' prevailing with only some millions of casualties) is possible. It's not entirely clear why this was made -- perhaps to prepare military officers for confronting a nightmarish scenario:
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Preparing America For ‘See Something, Say Something’

The "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign that's so familiar to New Yorkers is going where no New Yorker can: Walmart. Scaring the crap out of middle America appears to be a priority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reaching into formerly safe havens such as the Mall of America. With that in mind, a group of independent filmmakers from New York have created a short film entitled Terminal Night that should help get the rest of America in the mood for the constant vigilance demanded of them by Janet Napoletano and the gang at DOHS.
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