March 5th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

1903 'Alice' gets a new lease on life

My first encounter with Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" was watching it on my parents' TV on a VHS tape - a format now thought of as a bit outdated. It was the 1951 Walt Disney version.

But what some of us think of as the first time "Alice" hit the big screen is a far cry from her actual film debut in 1903. That's right, 1903. The Wright Brothers hadn't even gotten their plane off the ground until the end of 1903. Since then there have been quite a few "Alice" film adaptations.

As fans eagerly await the release of Tim Burton's 3D spectacle full of special effects, they should consider watching the first ever Alice to truly appreciate how far the film has come.

According to the British Film Institute there is only one copy of the 1903 "Alice." It wasn't until 2009 that the fragile film could be digitally restored. Only eight of twelve minutes of the scratchy black and white film were salvaged and have been published on the BFI's Youtube channel.

The seemingly magical appearance of the giant Cheshire cat - an actual cat - is an astonishing effect for its day. And even though the film is silent, the whimsical piano accompaniment moves the story right along. If I'd been a kid in 1903, I'm guessing I would have been blown away by this film. Just as I'm sure I'll be blown away when I go see Tim Burton's version.

Alice, you've come a long way.

March 5th, 2010
01:19 PM ET

Sean Penn says critics can all get rectal cancer

Actor Sean Penn, most recently embroiled in a paparazzi scandal, had a few choice words for those who believe his service in Haiti didn’t come from a pure willingness to help others.

During an interview on CBS’ “Sunday Morning,” CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan asked Penn if it made him angry when people talked about his work in Haiti in a cynical way.

The Oscar winner responded that he hadn’t “had an awful lot of time to pay attention” to the cynics, before adding, “you know, do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah, you know, but I’m not going to spend a lot of energy in it.”


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Filed under: Celebrities
March 5th, 2010
01:12 PM ET

Taylor Swift is not so 'Fearless'

Taylor SwiftCountry and pop music juggernaut Taylor Swift opens up to Elle magazine for the latest issue, and it turns out the “Fearless” songbird still has her fair share of anxiety.

Just three days from her 20th birthday when she sat down for the interview, Swift told the fashion magazine that while she’s “had countless opportunities to do some really bad things” by hanging out with the wrong crowd, she’s avoided those pitfalls.

Thus far, her biggest mistake has been forgetting to write diary entries while rehearsing for "Saturday Night Live," a clean record likely fueled by her biggest fear: “me making a bunch of bad decisions and embarking on a painful, slow, devastating tailspin.”

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Filed under: Celebrities • Music • Taylor Swift
March 5th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

Oscar's 'new math': How best picture will be picked

Oscar oddsmakers have "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" in a virtual dead heat for best picture.  So it's a sure bet that one of them will win on Sunday, right?

Not necessarily.

Voting for best picture – and tabulating those votes – isn't a simple case of majority rule.  For one thing, with 10 nominees this year, it's more likely than ever that no film will receive 50 percent-plus-one of the vote: If "Avatar" and "Hurt Locker" are as close as believed, even if the other eight nominees combined drew, say, just 15 percent of the votes, that likely would be enough to keep either of the favorites from reaching 50 percent.

In the past, that wouldn't have mattered: the top vote-getter would take the trophy, end of story.


March 5th, 2010
08:40 AM ET

'The Office:' It's a girl!

'The Office's' Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski
'The Office's' Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski

The arrival of Cecelia Marie Halpert made for an uproarious one hour episode of "The Office" Thursday night. If nothing else, this show comes through for the big episodes (see the Super Bowl and the wedding). This season has been all over the map, but as usual, it really clicks when Jim and Pam are the focus.

As Jim mentioned during this episode, he hates to be frazzled, but seeing this couple lose it (like when Pam discovered Michael was dating her mother) is rare and hilarious when it happens. This took place quite a few times, firstly when Pam refused to go to the hospital and wanted to be distracted from her contractions - Michael Scott to the rescue! Andy's performance of the "Evolution of Dance" (no music, please) and Erin's ability to remember every Triple Crown winner were highlights of Distraction Fest 2010.

Soon, and despite Pam's protests, it was time to head to the hospital, and of course, Michael wanted to be a part of the whole experience, driving them there, and later showing up with balloons in the delivery room (his look after leaving the room was priceless). FULL POST

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