Free Book About Saving Mr. Banks — And Mary Poppins

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Walt Disney Studios is celebrating its new film about its own history with Saving Mr. Banks: The Official Multi-touch Book.   Walt Disney spent 20 years trying to persuade author P.L. Travers to allow him to make a movie based on her book, “Mary Poppins.” This interactive ebook includes a foreword by Academy Award-winning composer Richard Sherman; never-before-seen correspondence between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers; rare storyboards and scripts from the Disney archives; a timeline of historic Walt Disney Studios milestones; original recordings of the Sherman Brothers performing their “Mary Poppins” hit songs; facts and profiles on the key characters in “Saving Mr. Banks”—all created by Apple’s  digital book creation app, iBooks Author.

The “Saving Mr. Banks” book is available for free, exclusively on iBooks at www.iTunes.com/SavingMrBanks.  Readers can watch interviews featuring the cast and filmmakers, browse extensive photo galleries and explore the original storyboards and concept art—all in full retina detail. ‘Mary Popovers’ deliver fascinating facts throughout the book.

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Behind the Scenes Books

KISS Book FREE — This Weekend Only!

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 4:00 am

Happy birthday, Paul Stanley! The KISS Starchild superstar turns 60 tomorrow and the fans get the gift! Miniver Press is making Chris Epting’s ebook All I Need to Know I Learned from KISS: Life Lessons from the Hottest Band in the Land FREE all weekend.

Author and AOL Music journalist Epting was recently interviewing rock legends KISS when it suddenly flashed before his eyes that, bizarre as it might seem, the band he had loved since childhood actually played a huge part in shaping how he looks at the world. In that instant, he decided to write about his life long journey with the band, starting out in the early 1970s when he joined the KISS Army and continuing until today. Epting takes us through the history of KISS, weaving in historic tidbits and trivia with his personal observations, while laying out the rules for living that he absorbed from “the hottest band in the land.” The book’s title of course is an homage to the 1989 bestseller by Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” but this story speaks to the love that many people have with that one special band or artist they followed while growing up. As Epting learned as an adult though, when it comes to your favorite band, the roots run deep – perhaps deeper than you ever imagined.

Stone Temple Pilot founder/bassist Robert DeLeo adds a heartfelt foreword and some rare sketches he drew of KISS as a youngster – back when he was in the Army, too.

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My Book is Free — Three Days Only!

Posted on January 13, 2013 at 6:00 am

My book, 101 Must-See Movie Moments, soon to be published on paper, is already an ebook and for three days — January 13-15, it is available for free!  You don’t need to have a Kindle to read it.  You can download a free Kindle app that works on any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

From the introduction:

Many movies show us characters who surprise the others with their skill or courage.  I will show you why “Amadeus” and “A League of Their Own” do it better than most.  What can we learn from the opening credits?  If they are designed by Saul Bass, they can be the most creative part of the movie.  What do “Notting Hill” and an almost forgotten Bing Crosby movie do to show time passing more effectively than most prestige films?  Check out the essay on “High Time.”  What does DBTA mean?  Find out in the essay on “Top Gun” and see why Goose from “Top Gun” is the best example.  Why does everyone in the stands at a tennis game follow the ball except for one?  Read the essay on “Strangers on a Train.”

 

Powerful scenes in “Annie Hall,” “School Daze,” and “A League of Their Own” feature characters we see for only a few seconds.  The “B-story” couples get the best moments in “How Do You Know” and “17 Again.”  Many movie heroines transform a tacky dress by removing some tulle or an overskirt.  To see who did it best, watch Sophia Loren in “Houseboat.”

 

“Rich in Love” and “Miss Firecracker” are non-musicals with great musical numbers.  The directors of “Die Hard” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” changed their plans to take advantage of unexpected opportunities or unexpected obstacles while filming.

 

This book will guide you to Meryl Streep’s silliest appearance as a singing Bonnie Parker and a rare chance to see Broadway stars of the 1940’s show off their best drawing room manner.  You will read about some of movie history’s best comic reactions to the way something tastes with James Stewart in “Bell Book and Candle” and Donald Meek in “State Fair.”

 

I love documentaries.  There are unforgettable scenes no one expected to capture in “Hoop Dreams” and “The Last Waltz” and one of the sweetest final images ever shown on screen in “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” In some of the essays I provide some background on the film or some thoughts on how movies address different challenges.  In others, all there was to say was “Just watch it.”

 

The single most important attribute for a career in reviewing each week’s big studio releases is an infinite capacity for awful movies.  We become critics because we love to watch great movies and then we end up sitting through an endless series of buddy cops, gross-out comedies, second-rate superheroes, chases, explosions, and remakes of television shows that some studio executive loved as a kid.  And yet, almost always I can find some moment – some performance, line of dialog, production design, or insight – that makes me glad I saw it.  Some of those moments are here as well.

 

For me, movies combine the best of every other art form.  They contain elements of writing, theater, music, dance, and graphic design.  They can be formal and stylized or intimate and improvised.  Movies bring us inside their stories as no other art form can, allowing us to experience what is happening to the characters through the grandest sweep of adventure with marching armies or inter-galactic journeys to the smallest and most private moments with a close-up of a face showing devastating loss or whispered words of love and hope.  Movies are life without the boring parts.  They illuminate the human story by giving us a chance to see one or more characters resolve something that unsettles their lives with a conclusion that can be happy, sad, funny, or bittersweet but somehow gives us a satisfying sense of alignment and understanding.

 

We see the same stories over and over.  A young person leaves home.  A stranger comes to town.  Two or more people who don’t know each other or don’t like each other have to accomplish some task, often involving a journey.  We hear the same lines over and over. Two that seem to occur in nearly every movie are “Please, try to understand” or “Why don’t you try to get some rest.”  What makes a movie memorable is in the details of plot, direction, cinematography, dialog, performance, lighting, and design that make these stories distinctive, touching, and authentic.  This book includes some of my favorite examples and my thoughts on what makes them special.

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Books

Free Ebook on the Presidential Debates

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm

This week, as we prepare for President Obama and Governor Romney to have the first of their three scheduled debates, the University of Chicago is making available an ebook about the history of the debates written by my dad, Newton Minow, and his colleague Craig LaMay.

Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future offers readers for the first time a genuinely inside look into the origins of the presidential debates and the many battles—both legal and personal—that have determined who has been allowed to debate and under what circumstances. The authors do not dismiss the criticism of the presidential debates in recent years but argue that they are one of the great accomplishments of modern American electoral politics. As they remind us, the debates were once unique in the democratic world, are now emulated across the globe, and they offer the public the only real chance to see the candidates speak in direct response to one another in a discussion of major social, economic, and foreign policy issues.

I also recommend Dad’s interview about the debates (a free copy of my new ebook to the first person to spot me in the background) and his wise words in an op-ed in the New York Times.

Sadly, the marriage of television and politics in our country has been mostly a history of disappointment. In 1952, television stations — which are licensed by the F.C.C. to serve the public interest — began selling commercials to political campaigns. Other democracies have rejected this idea, and instead provide public service time to candidates during campaign periods. Over the next 60 years, more and more political commercials flooded the airwaves, forcing candidates to raise more and more money. Many of the slurs and slogans in these commercials — which are often fact-free and misleading — are now paid for by “super PACs” financed by secret donors. I believe it is unconscionable that candidates for public office have to buy access to the airwaves — which the public itself owns — to talk to the public.

The debates are one of the few features of our political campaigns that are still admired throughout the world. Candidate debates are still new in most democratic countries, even in Western Europe. Britain, often held up as a model for how to hold a proper election, only in 2010 began to have televised live debates among the party leaders vying to be prime minister.

Let me suggest that after you watch the debate on Wednesday night, you turn off your television set and do your best to avoid the spin that will follow. Talk about what you saw and heard with your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers. You are smarter than the spinners. It’s your decision that matters on Nov. 6, not theirs.

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THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

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