This year marks fifty years since the debut of one of my favorite movies The Sound Of Music in 1965. Based on the book The Story of The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Von Trapp this is an adaptation of her life story of a postulant nun who is sent to be the governess to the seven children of Captain Von Trapp in 1930s Austria. She brings music into their lives and eventually she and the Captain fall in love and get married. After the Anschluss, because they do not agree with Nazi beliefs, and after winning first prize in a music festival, they flee across the mountains to Switzerland. It is interesting to compare the differences between the events in the book and the movie. For instance the real family was already musical long before Maria joined it and the Captain was not a martinet as he was portrayed in the movie. Maria married the Captain around a decade before they had to leave Austria and they later had two daughters and one son together who do not appear in the film. The family left Austria for Italy not Switzerland, by train not by foot. But learning these things does not take away anything from enjoying the movie. Sadly, the last surviving original von Trapp child, Maria (Louisa in the movie) died just last year. But the family’s legacy lives on in the books and movies that feature them.
After premiering at Hot Docs in 2013, and working its way though the world of digital downloads and on demand rentals, the DVD for this excellent documentary has finally become available. And as you can probably tell, I’m quite excited about it.
The Unbelievers starts in Australia and follows renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss across the globe as they speak publicly about the importance of science and reason, encouraging others to cast off antiquated religious and, in the modern world, politically motivated approaches to important current issues. The journey culminates in the Reason Rally in Washington D.C. in March 2012, which was billed as the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history. Besides Dawkins and Krauss, one of the more noteworthy speakers at this rally was for me as a fan of the TV show Mythbusters, Adam Savage. Continue reading
This documentary is so new on Hoopla that there isn’t even a catalogue record for it … yet.
By the title of this documentary, and the accompanying image, you can probably guess the topic. And if you can’t guess, I’ll tell you: it’s marijuana. This is a very important film because we are about to (finally), have a serious political debate in this country about the legalization of marijuana. This will be a campaign issue, maybe a big one, in the upcoming federal election.
The Culture High naturally focuses on the issue as it relates to the United States, and to a lesser extent, the UK. But the issues presented are those that are already being discussed in this country: the failed drug war, overcrowded prisons and the privatization of the penal system, the political hypocrisy and corruption of politicians, the undue influence of pharmaceutical companies, the complicity of mainstream media, the militarization of the police. On and on. Continue reading