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.
Every one of us at times hears the call of the wild, to match the wild of the outdoors to the wild that is inside us, to leave behind all of the petty complications of civilization and test ourselves down to the deepest essence, to test our nature, in both senses of the word.
In 1992 Christopher McCandless left behind everything — family, friends, jobs, money, even his name, and went on a journey to find something that felt authentic to him. Actor Sean Penn has written and directed a superb film based on the best-selling book about his journey and its tragic conclusion.
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There’s nothing harder to get right in a movie than whimsy. And there are few clumsier crashes when it goes wrong. What could have been a charmingly whimsical children’s book becomes an arch and sugary movie, its failures of tone and timing hitting its lightweight storyline like a blast of cold air on a fragile souffle. This is one flat souffle.
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