Ah, the pleasures of the heist film. Something for nothing. Sticking it to The Man. Tricky problems solved by clever people both in the planning stages and on the spot. And, just to make it really fun, sometimes, as here, it is based on a true story. Yes, as they say, now it can be told. Once upon a time back in 1970, when cameras, cops, bank security, and princesses were very different from what we get nowadays, the sister of the Queen of England was photographed in a compromising position by an enterprising gangster who used the photos to blackmail the government. The prints and film were tucked away in a safe deposit box at a bank frequented by somewhat shady types. And it seemed to MI-5, the British equivalent of the Secret Service, that the best way to clear up this spot of trouble was to rob the bank. Efficient and discreet as always, they dispatched one of their officers to find some criminals to do the job.
Producer Sybil Robson-Orr talks to Erik Weihenmeyer and Sabriye Tenberken about the documentary “Blindsight” — the story of six blind Tibetan teenagers who climbed the Lhakpa-Ri peak of Mount Everest, led by Weihenmeyer, the first blind man to climb Everest. In a culture where blindness is still seen as shameful, Tenberken, founder of the school for the blind in Tibet, arranged for Weihenmeyer to lead the expedition. The students were enthralled at the idea that a blind man would come to their part of the world to climb their mountain. Tenberken discusses conflicts about how to define “success” for the expedition and Weihenmeyer talks about what inspired him about the teenagers.
Craig Detweiler and John Marks have known each other for twenty-five years. When they roomed together as sophomores at Davidson College, they were devout Christians. It was Craig’s first year in the faith, John’s last. After college, they parted ways, and when they met again, years later, they never talked about what happened… until now…
“A Purple State of Mind” is a new film they describe as “an 80-minute effort to bridge the cultural gap, to push past politics, and wade into the middle ground where most people live. Purple State, the web experience, extends that effort out into the homes, dorm rooms, churches, offices and playing fields where people are struggling to have their own conversations. In a world of increasing tension, we hope Purple State of Mind offers an alternative–a warm, humorous, genuine conversation that at the same time pulls no punches.”
Detweiler and Marks are appearing with the film across the country to start conversations and try to bring red and blue state voters together to find some purple middle ground.
“One Hundred and One Dalmatians” is one of the best-loved Disney classics (and the first of its animated films to take place in a contemporary setting). There is nothing more irresistible than 99 frisky spotted puppies and there has never been a more deliciously scary villain than the fur-mad Cruella De Vil. It is a great family movie because it is exciting and funny and because it is all about the importance of family and community and the love parents have for their children. And just because it is a lot of fun.
Like “Lady and the Tramp,” 101 Dalmatians is told from the perspective of dogs, this time two dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita, the cherished pets of Roger and Anita. Anita’s old friend is the aptly named Cruella De Vil. Her henchmen kidnap Perdita’s puppies and eighty-four others so she can make them into a dalmatian fur coat. Pongo and Perdita, with the help of their animal friends, undertake a daring rescue. The puppies are adorable, and the movie is delightful (with a sly poke at television and the kids who watch it).
Movieline magazine once asked actresses to name the most memorable female villain in the history of the movies — Cruella was at the top of the list. She just might be the most ruthless bad guy of all time. Hannibal Lecter may be “Hannibal the Cannibal” but he never tried to make darling little puppies into a fur coat.
This gorgeous new DVD has wonderful bonus features including a game that lets you adopt your own virtual puppy and a behind-the-scenes making-of feature. This was a transitional film between the hand-painted classical style of the fairy-tale Disney films and a looser, more modern look. It was the then-new invention of the photocopier that made this movie possible. Without that technology, the Disney artists would still be painting all those spots.
Families who enjoy this movie might also like to see the 1997 live-action version, with Glenn Close as Cruella. Close is wonderful, but the movie relies too much on slapstick and the real dogs do not have the personality and range of expression of their animated predecessors. The 2000 sequel, “102 Dalmatians,” also featuring Close, is disappointing, too much silliness and not enough sweetness. The animated original is still the best.
What's Up With My Family? -- App Helps Middle Schoolers Navigate Life Middle School Confidential™ 3: What’s Up with My Family? is a new IOS app, the next installment of the series for tweens and teens. The third edition continues the story of Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle—a tight-knit group of friends in middle school—who are realizing that growi
The Simpsons Binge Watch: Every Episode Plus the Movie Get your food delivery menus ready. Unplug your phone. All 552 Simpsons episodes will be broadcast in order, starting tomorrow. They include scenes cut in syndication that have not been on television since the original broadcast. And of course they include some remarkably prescient moments tha
Interview: Bo Svenson Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation.
Tribute: Don Pardo Don Pardo's face was not familiar. But his voice was instantly recognizable. We mourn the loss of one of the great announcers in broadcast history, who died on Monday at age 96.
The cast of "Saturday Night Live," where he served as announcer from the beginning, celebrated his 90th birthday.
Interview: Gayle Forman of "If I Stay" Gayle Forman is the author of If I Stay, the source for this week's movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia, a talented young cellist in a coma following a car accident. As she hovers between life and death, she remembers incidents from her life with her family and with her rock musician boyfrie
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