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Congratulations to my cousin Bill and his wife Tara, who, around 3:00 on Friday afternoon, gave birth to my tiny new second cousin Justin!

I dove into the Philadelphia Film Festival this weekend, beginning on Saturday with Winged Migration, an amazing nature documentary about migratory birds. Six film crews spent four years following countless species of birds all over the world, filming them with the assistance of all manner of ingenious camera-equipped flying devices. The resulting cinematography is gorgeous, and the birds—particularly their group behavior—are actually quite fascinating.

Beyond Re-Animator was up next, the second sequel to the landmark splatter comedy Re-Animator. As is generally the case with sequels, this one was that much less than Bride of Re-Animator as Bride was of the original Re-Animator. So, predictably, Beyond didn’t approach the brilliance of the original, but Jeffrey Combs’ Herbert West is always lots of fun to watch, and even if that wasn’t enough, the closing credits sequence (involving a battle between a rat and a severed penis) is certainly worth waiting for.

Curious Cartoons was my sole screening for Sunday, and it was disappointing. There were a couple films I saw last fall in Ottawa, including Chris Hinton’s awesome Flux, but not much else was really worth looking at. Half or more of the films in the program came from CalArts, and they were mostly pretty weak. The chief exception: Ben Zelkowicz’s The Erl King. I’m gonna have to see what I can do to represent Philly for next year’s animated shorts program.

Having skipped it yesterday, I was hoping to see the final screening of Spellbound tonight, but I have just now learned that it is sold out. Grr.