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Meet the Next Clint Eastwood!

Independent film director and actor Tom Linskey could have Hollywood in his hands, if only he was on the radar.

Interview by Michael Breton ‘12 | Style and Culture

Title card from "The Last Signals"

Many young, ambitious people today aspire to reach stardom in Hollywood. As in any dream, there must be two things in the equation: talent and passion. Some have the talent, while others could only exercise the passion. Tom Linskey is an independent director who has both; he is also only a college student at Pennsylvania. His latest masterpiece, The Last Signals, is an example of not only his directorial visions but also his acting roles in which he played the co-star. The film was well received on youtube.com. The only problem is, he is oblivious to the industry. Tom’s films have this gritty, heroic theme going on that it reminisce those films of director and actor Clint Eastwood; less western, more Letters to Iwo Jima.

1.What are the themes that are portrayed in your films? Explain them.

Most of my films, especially these last few years, have all had the same theme; history and heroism. I really enjoy recreating true tales of bravery and inspiration with the backdrop of some major event in it. The Last Signals, of course, is no exception. It focuses on Harold Bride, the assistance telegraph operator of the Titanic. His chief was John Phillips. Phillips remained at the telegraph sending distress calls long after the captain allowed him to make a run for it, and Bride stayed, too, refusing to abandon his friend. They stayed in the room until it flooded out, which is a remarkable act of courage considering how much electricity flowed through that room.

2.Who are your favorite filmmakers?

This is a very tough choice. I know you’re specifically asking for film makers here, but I can answer the question of favorite actors easily. I think every generation tends to have a few actors who -almost no matter what they’re in- they pull it off, and often make it a good movie simply due to their presence. Far back, we’ve got Jimmy Stewart, previously we’ve had Steve McQueen, then Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks. Most recently, and still active, I’d say this generation’s top actor is Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio (and I’m not biased towards him because of James Cameron’s Titanic film- I genuinely feel he’s a talented actor).

Now, I’ll take a stab at film makers, but I can’t answer it as thoroughly. I’ve always enjoyed the work of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, especially when they team up, but my style doesn’t fully reflect them, though it used to. I’ve noticed my movies have tended to lean towards the style of Clint Eastwood’s most recent productions.

3. Your recent film, The Last Signal, was well made and seemed like a lot of effort. How did you decide to film this particular picture?

Thank you. I’ve always had an interest in the Titanic- for as long as I’ve had an interest in filmmaking, actually. When I read the story of Harold Bride (again), I was in high school, and it hit me- this story would make a great film, especially with the twist of seeing Phillips dead on the boat. When I thought about it more, the fact that the majority of film took place in the one wireless room, it suddenly became extremely possible for me, a high-schooler at the time, to pull it off. Harold Bride’s tale is one of the most important tales of the sinking, and if not for he and Phillips, no ships would have been aware of the sinking, and those in the lifeboats would have drifted almost indefinitely. This was 2 years before the completion, so the 100th anniversary wasn’t even on my mind. I realized it towards the end of production, and set the goal to be finished before then. This wasn’t originally intended to come out alongside the countless other Titanic related films for the anniversary.

4. Who or what are your influences as well as inspirations?

A lot of my inspirations are more on a personal level as opposed to related to film, such as T.E.Lawrence and William Murdoch, etc. With filmmaking, I’d have to say a lot of the names listed above in the favorite filmmakers. Quite frankly, however, I don’t pay too much attention to what others do in the film industry. I focus mainly on what I want to do, so I’m not actually heavily influenced by anyone, save for my friends who film alongside me.

5. Your films have this gritty, masculine feel to them. Most of your films are about war battles and disasters. Why these subjects in particular? Will you ever make “chick-flicks”?

I guess I always tend to lean towards the more epic kinds of films, as they’re the most exciting to shoot and create stories for, in my opinion. Would I ever make a chick flick? If by chick flick we’re talking like Twilight, or anything with Sarah Jessica Parker, then no. But, I’m not adverse to shooting a film more geared towards women, though I’m honestly quite surprised: according to youtube’s analytics, one of my strongest following is Australian girls age 18-24. Not complaining, of course 😉 . I also, for some odd reason, have a female following of 47%, which I wouldn’t have anticipated. Unfortunately, due to the fact that most of my films are war, and The Last Signals focused on Titanic’s crew (which was 800 some men and only around 20 women), most of my films tend to mostly show males. The film I’ve shot most recently, and all of my next three actually have prominent female roles, so my trend seems to be broken.

6. What is the film you were most proud of making?

The Last Signals currently is my pride and joy, but one of the next films I have in the making, I know for a fact, will be beating it out, if I can get the proper funding. The Last Signals was my only full length 2 hour film I’ve made. The youtube version is 42 minutes, but there’s a 2 hour version of it (which does feature quite a few women, in response to the previous question), but this film is limited in availability at the moment.

7. What would you like to achieve in the future?

I’d like to get my films to the point where I’m able to make money off them. None of my films as of yet have been for profit. I’d like to keep my films in the same themes that they’ve been following, and my main goal is to show people that history can be exciting to learn about. My main goal with a lot of my films is to show what truthfully happened; I want people to watch these films and, with or without realizing it, experience a fully accurate history lesson. The Last Signals did that.

8. Do you consider yourself an indie filmmaker or would you like to be a mainstream director? Why?

I’m independent right now. I hope to remain independent. I honestly think that’s the best way to be. If I were to go mainstream, I’d have high budget producers, legalists, and marketing agents constantly breathing down my neck making the priority of the film to make money as opposed to tell a good story. The majority of a high budget mainstream movie’s money goes to actors and overpaid workers. An independent film can pull off just as good of a job with a tiny fraction of the budget, as they won’t use big names. Granted, a lot of mainstream actors are talented, but I have worked with some actors who I feel are better actors than some mainstreamers! And I didn’t even have to pay them! I hope to stay independent, but reach the point where finding a budget isn’t difficult.

9. When did you realize you wanted to be in film industry?

Tough question… I always made films- my first film I remember was in kindergarten, yet I also remember I’ve been making films before that. When growing up I wanted to be a teacher, then writer, then archaeologist, only in high school realizing that I wanted to turn my lifelong hobby into my career, and that’s stayed with me since.

10. What is your favorite movie that you did not make?

Most recently, I’ve really enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes series with Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law (and secretly wish I directed them haha), but some of my favorite films of all time are more vintage. The Time Machine from 1960 tends to be my favorite film of all time, followed closely by A Night To Remember (1958) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) is up there too, along with The Great Race (1965).

11. What is your signature film style?

A lot of my films tend be to less focusing on the massive explosions and constant fighting, despite often being war or disaster related, and more dialogue driven and based on dramatics. For example, The Last Signals, the film about the Titanic disaster, only had about 5 minutes of intense action, while the rest before that was dramatics and build up of tension, yet, most people say they’ve stayed hooked from the beginning. The style I like shooting in is a vintage style- a lot of the violence being off screen, for example, and relying on the actors to give the story as opposed to special effects and massive scaled shots. Granted, I don’t have the budget for those, but even if I did, I wouldn’t utilize them much. I also have an almost OCD style when filming. I want all the details in my films to be historically accurate. In the Last Signals, for example, even the Morse Code used was correct, the stars in the sky were positioned right, and a lot of the dialogue was word for word. It doesn’t add stress or anything to the project, it just allows me to be more proud in the end, and for all of these details, I’ve been told that The Last Signals is actually the most historically accurate Titanic film to have been produced.

_________________

Website:  http://www.jkiltsfilms.com/

Film on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-AWbrdNo58

 

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The Toddler Doesn’t Need a Tiara

Toddler Pageants are ruining today’s tots

Opinion by Kate Fry ‘12 | Staff Writer

Please don’t be a baby beauty queen. I can see you now, standing up there on stage. You’re in a dress that costs far too much for how little goes into making it. That gown is your third change of clothes that night: you have already danced around in an outfit that would have done justice to a Vegas showgirl and a bikini fresh from the set of “I Dream of Genie.” But now a gaudy rhinestone tiara sits on your head, roses are awkwardly cradled in one arm, and as you wave to the admiring crowd, you cry. Your tears are cleaning that pound of makeup off your face.

But, in the morning, when your breath smells and you’re in pajamas and your pretty “face” is off in the pillow, I want to ask you,“Is it worth it, that little crown for all the pain and the warped ideas that these contests are giving you?” I’m just curious, because toddler pageants are making for some twisted tots.

For a case in point, look to CNN. They ran a story about a mom who sued three media outlets for “sexualizing” her five-year-old daughter, Isabella. The news organizations say that she was dancing inappropriately to the song, “Sexy and I Know It,” in an inappropriate locale for someone of that age. For this, the mother demands a sum of 30 million.

As it turns out, the girl was at a pet charity and was singing a popular song and dancing appropriately. So how could the media have thought she was doing something uncouth? It couldn’t have been the shoulder-baring, low-cut pink dress, could it? Or the obvious eyeshadow and caked-on foundation? These items are touchy for any self-respecting woman, but they are alright for a kid — really?

I can easily see why the critics looked askance at the kid. In a semi-dark room, lit intermittently by a strobe light, sits a child in a skimpy outfit, smothered in makeup singing a song with loose lyrics. That’s a scene that could be torn from the pages of a bad novel.

But, behind this tragedy of errors where a mother fights for her daughter’s honor, the mastermind behind the madness is never mentioned.

Toddler pageants. Google the phrase and up pops many pages of pictures of children ranging in age from absolute baby to little child in clothes and makeup that would make a streetwalker blush. The children don false eyelashes, teeth, and tans to complete this ignominious illusion.

Add up all these factors, and you get the sum: beauty pageants are seriously warping today’s kids. All the makeup sets a tone saying that makeup is a must for beauty; so are false sets of teeth and lashes; modesty has no place in beauty; and to really wow the crowd, show all the skin you can without alarming the censors.

Are those the values we really want to teach our kids? Do we really want to give them the impression that only beauty matters, that no one is ever really good enough without fake accessories, that high self-esteem is only for a certain group, or that they are never good enough? Do we want to increase the likelihood that our young girls will develop an eating disorder, or will feel the need to get extravagant plastic surgery and youth injections when they get older? We want to make them more insecure as they approach their teenage years? We want them to pass this unholy show onto their children?

I don’t know about you, but I would like to return to a simpler time, where beauty was something you only worried about after thirteen, and had some limits to the extent of the fake things you could wear and still keep your reputation, where beauty wasn’t crammed down a child’s throat.

Get a Life, She’s Only 14

Controversial ad offends

 Commercial Against Obsesity Goes too Far

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Opinion Editor

A young girl is in her family room watching TV, chewing on chips while dreaming about being a star one day. The Covergirl commercial ends, and a dramatic black background appears on the screen. White words flash up with sudden sounds, “High Blood Sugar. High Cholesterol. Hypertension.” It goes on, and a black and white picture of a wide girl accompanies the words. “Get healthy. Get moving. Get a life. Cut childhood obesity down to size.” The bigger girl is replaced by a bone-thin child.

    The state of Georgia has been criticized for its ads against obesity, but none of them offended me until this. When I heard a bit about the ‘insulting’ commercials, I was curious enough to watch some on Youtube. The first three left me thinking, “Yeah, it’s sad — but the kids themselves are admitting they want to be healthy and it’s not fun to get picked on. The overall message is to eat healthy, so it’s ok.” The last one I viewed, though, was truly disdainful. The overweight girl portrayed did not speak for herself as in the other ones, and instead written words narrated her health issues — which was good because it was informative — but when it wrote “Get a life,” my jaw dropped.

First of all, this is a totally wrong approach to encourage kids- especially girls- to diet. A person that needs to lose pounds should be motivated positively, not by bullying. “Stigma and prejudice are intensely stressful. Stress puts the body on full alert, which gets the blood pressure up, the sugar up,” said Colombia University Health professor Dr. Peter Muenning in a NY Times essay by Harriet Brown. Basically, feeling ugly and fat will make person more likely to get depressed, sick and gain more weight. There are a bajillion different ways to say ‘eat properly’ or ‘eat in moderation for a longer life,’ but it is plain offensive when you insinuate that the girl has no activities or friends. They have no right to imply that she has no social life, or that she has no potential for happiness. This was an unnecessary smack in the face to insecure obese children, and the phrasing itself was mean.

Then it has the audacity to follow with the expression ‘cut childhood obesity down to size’ and replace the still of the overweight girl with a stick figure girl. Muscle is required for a person to be in shape. A kid 20 pounds heavier than the one portrayed as ‘healthy’ would be average size. Enough kids are depressed because they hate themselves. Overweight and obese adolescents exemplified suicidal rates of 26.8% – more than twice the average of studied subjects, according to Medical News Today.

The sponsors should not be blaming the kids. Children adopt eating habits from their parents, and size structure is also inherited- it’s not easy to be perfect. Instead, the commercial made me feel like obese people are unwanted, useless losers that need to “Get a life” and be emaciated like the last image.  That ad did not make any little girl aspiring to be the next Rihanna put down their chips and exercise. Personally, it made me feel ugly, and like there’s no fun in life if you aren’t thin.

You can watch it now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPyw_VGrC3o&feature=related

The 20’s Roar Again!

Michael Breton’12| Staff Writer

From this year’s fall to next years’ spring and summer, the 20s will roar. From fashion to the stage, what’s obsessing right now is the prohibition age where everything was sober, green($$$) and golden and clear that life was good, unlike America today.

This December, Australian film director Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge” and “Australia”) will premiere his much-awaited new film about a lovesick social climber called “The Great Gatsby”, which is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel of the same name published in 1925. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. An exciting new chemistry one couldn’t wait for.

Speaking of “The Great Gatsby”, back in September during New York Fashion Week, American designer Ralph Lauren, who designed the costumes for the 1974 Gatsby film, designed his whole spring 2012 collection around the 20’s WASPy elite, Hampton’s extravaganza with fluttering sequined and feathered dresses to the most glamorous day looks ever. Very Mia Farrow.

“Luhrmann’s costume designer wife, Catherine Martin, is in charge of the clothes for the new movie, but Mulligan and her female co-stars need look no further than Lauren when it comes to red-carpet sparklers for the premiere circuit,” said Nicole Phelps of Style.com

Not only are the 20s’ inspirations making it’s way back into American Culture, the “golden twenties” of Europe shines again. For this season, Milan’s Prada was a sea of a pale, pinkish, sequined, checkered, snaked-skin, fur fantasy, a perfect wardrobe for a wild-card aviator heiress flying a jet across the Atlantic or the most fabulous paillette evening dresses for the war wearied House of Windsor after WWI.

For the French cinema, a groundbreaking ovation is the new French film “The Artist”, a black and white silent film getting a lot of attention here in the U.S. This not only portrays the rise and fall of a 20s silent film star, butt it is literally bringing back the glamour of silent silver screens which means no dialogue, only music. Will silent movies make a comeback?

Even our very own McNamara flapped for a 20’s musical comedy for the first play of the school year. “Anything Goes,” set sail during the fall season and met rave reviews from the audiences.

The question is, why the 20s for 2011? While there is no real, specific answer, it seems that with so many dilemmas of our time that are unremitting, like the economic downturn, people just want to escape to a world when life seemed Jazzy, glamorous, shiny, and rich.

TV Preview: ‘New Girl’ and ‘Secret Circle’

Christin Coleman ‘12 | Staff Writer

'New Girl' Zooey Deschanel is described as "simply adorkable" in the show's tagline.

With new shows premiering weekly, it is hard to guess making it hard to distinguish between which shows will grab and keep your attention, and which shows are going to have you wishing your teachers had given you more homework. Well, don’t fret: I’ve done the dirty work for you ! I’ve watched and followed two of the most anticipated shows of this fall. Here is my take:

New Girl: This show stars Zooey Deschanel as the very sweet and quirk, filled Jess. After her sudden break up with her boyfriend, she seeks residency at an apartment with three male roommates that she found on Craig’s List. By helping Jess get through her break-up and receiving her advice with their own matters of the heart, they begin to accept and bring in their new roommate as “one of the boys.” New Girl offers short and spontaneous, yet still original musical numbers by Jess, random dancing, and heartfelt moments that will have you smiling against your will. Nothing short of witty, charming, and downright hilarious, you’ll want to tune into New Girl every Tuesday at 9 on FOX.

Secret Circle: If your preference lies within the suspense or mystery genre ,I highly suggest “The Secret Circle.” When Cassie’s mother suddenly dies in a fire that was no accident she is sent to live with her Grandmother in the town where her mother grew up. Cassie, ignorant to her mother’s past and her own true identity, encounters many strange occurrences in her first days in the new town that eventually lead her to a group of teenagers called The Secret Circle. The Secret Circle is made up of young witches, and Cassie happens to be one.This show will leave you wanting more and more and counting down to the next episode.

Menopausal Drama Heats Up!

By Michael Breton ’12

When it comes to reality shows about rich people, count me in. And I’m certainly guilty of watching Bravo TV. It is in my opinion, the best collection of the most entertaining, amusing, and craziest nonsense in American reality television. One of my biggest addictions is the Real Housewives. For all of us who treat watching them like a religion, we all love the loud Atlanta housewives and Sheree’s “who gonna check me boo?” line, the glamorous New York housewives and their “class”, the Beverly Hills’ disposable, mind-blowing cash, New Jersey and their mafia-like behavior (is this the Godfather?) and the D.C.’s(unfortunately cancelled) political correctness.

For me, it was Sonja Morgan and her fellow six in the city who seduced me. And their fourth season premiered on April 8 with, of course, the glamorous fashions, the crazy petty drama, and the classiest behavior (cough!). Social climber and model(she can actually work it), Alex McCord, who found her feisty “voice”, meaning her will to speak her mind, has found a new feud with Sonja Morgan, the carbon copy of Samantha Jones (my personal favourite). While Queen bee Jill Zarin and Kelly Bensimon are still pretending to be victims of “systematic bullying”(whatever that means), Ramona Singer, is still in her “Ramonacoaster”. What surprised me was Countess Luann de Lesseps. This season, he has become less annoying and more relatable. But watch out ladies, there’s a new girl in town. Replacing Bethenny Frankel was Cindy Barshop, a spinster who could have it all minus the man. But honestly, Barshop’s addition wasn’t needed because she lacked interest and seemed like she didn’t belong. They could have done better.
It has only been in its second episode and even though the show is no longer the same without Bethenny, from what I saw from the first two episodes and its previews, it’ll be like Carrie and the girls sequel (they travel to Morocco like the movie) but even better with more hilarious menopausal drama than any reality shows could offer. But beneath it all, the show is about powerful women who aren’t afraid of opening their lives to show American women that they could make it on their own even without a man. It also is like psychology 101! (Viewers actually learn about social studies). If you don’t really know what I’m talking about, then give t

Not Your Ordinary Swan

The movie Black Swan is an interesting thriller that exposes another side to ballet

by Candace Brinkley ’12, Staff Writer

“I had the craziest dream last night about a girl who has turned into a swan, but her prince falls for the wrong girl and she kills herself.” This is the premise of the famous ballet Swan Lake, but the movie Black Swan adds an interesting twist to this traditional plot. Starring Natalie Portman, who recently won Best Actress at the Oscars for this movie, Mila Kunis, and directed by Darren Aronofsky, this psycho thriller leaves the audience in a state of amazement and frankly confusion as they attempt to piece the storyline together throughout the movie.

Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a young woman who is auditioning to become the principal dancer for her company. They plan on dancing Swan Lake their upcoming season. In Swan Lake, the prince meets a beautiful woman named Odette, or the white swan, who, because of an evil spell, turns into a swan at night. To break the curse she must find a prince to fall in love with her. She finds a prince that falls madly in love with her, but the evil sorcerer makes the him accidentally propose to another woman, a black swan who looks like Odette. She is depressed and commits suicide and the prince soon after follows suite.

To put in an interesting twist, the director of the company decides to cast both the white and black swan as the same person. Nina Sayers (Portman) is beautiful and graceful and has no difficulty performing the white swan. However, the black swan – with its dangerous and wild movement – poses a problem for the timid Nina. Throughout the movie she fights to find the black swan within her, but this process leads to many psychotic breakdowns as she desires to be perfect.

Nina had the difficult task of acting as two people with two different personality. Her need to be a perfect black swan drove her to insanity. She imagined situations and even feathers growing on her body. I truly enjoyed the scene were Portman “kills herself” during the intermission of the performance. She symbolically killed her timid self to make room for the black swan that was inside of her. It was a captivating spectacle in her impossible journey to absolute perfection.

Ballet. An art form that is beautiful to watch and seemingly easy to imitate. After watching this movie it is apparent that ballet is not only extremely difficult to master but places a ton of pressure on the dancer – pressure to be perfect with technique and with their body image. Black Swan exposes the dark side of ballet. I recommend that you come into this movie with an open mind and be ready for the unexpected twist and turns in the story.

(Photo Credit :IMDB.com)

If You Have to Cry, Go Read Kelly Cutrone’s Book!

Michael Breton ‘12
Staff Writer

When you were young, did your mother ever tell you the truth? Did she ever tell you that you will LOSE in life because you aren’t good enough? Of course not, because that is not what mothers do. They sugarcoat things and try to keep your hopes up when, honestly, your designs aren’t going to cut it for Vogue.

Want the truth? There is no one more honest than the frank and feisty angel who wears Prada, Mama Wolf herself, Kelly Cutrone. Kelly Cut-throat-trone is the leader and founder of People’s Revolutuion, the famous fashion public relations company that was portrayed along with Kelly herself on reality television shows such as MTV’s The Hills, The City, and her own show on the Bravo channel, Kell On Earth. She is tough, decisive, blunt, and fabulous. One minute with her and you’ll learn, Don’t mess with fierceness! But this fierce woman has a soft and sentimental side in her new book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside!

Although its title sounds frightening, it is filled with both friendly language and a couple of F words. Inside, she opens up and shows you her life at the beginning, when heroin was hot and defying your parents was not. With this, she demands you to learn from her mistakes when pursuing your path to becoming the ultimate power player. Doesn’t sound soft to you? She proclaims herself the Yogi Mama, preaching on how to reach your inner soul and spirit. She guides you on her wild path through the glamour and illusion of the fashion world, warning you not to turn to the dark side which she did but eventually came out of.

This hilarious, personal diary of a mad white woman in black, is not merely about fashion or how to get the mean look of a PR boss but is about finding your destiny and how to reach it in the honest truth. If you have to cry, go Read Kelly Cutrone’s book!