view counter

Articles by Diana Beechener

How Walt Disney won over Mary Poppins

After Mary Poppins became a literary phenomenon in 1934, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks: Captain Phillips) promised his daughters he would make their favorite book into a movie. A lucrative film adaptation is a dream offer for many, but Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson: Love Punch) didn’t share the Disney vision. Horrified by all things animated and kitschy, Travers fought for 20 years to keep her beloved book out of the hands of “the Man Behind the Mouse.”
...

Here be dragons

If Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen: The Wolverine) weren’t a wizard, he would have been an excellent travel agent. He seems to live for organizing meandering trips through Middle-earth, acting as activities director for a ragtag group of his choosing.
...

When fighting for life and liberty, who has time for teen romance?

In a dystopian nation of Panem, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence: The Silver Linings Playbook) is considered lucky. The winner of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss was the last woman standing in a government-sponsored death match. With a spark of rebellion, she refused to kill hometown boy Peeta (Josh Hutcherson: Epic), claiming that she loved him and would rather die than end his life. The two were allowed to live as the first pair of winners in Hunger Games history....

The story of a man who wanted to die with his boots on

A few lines of cocaine, a three-way with rodeo groupies and a belt or two of whiskey is how Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey: Mud) liked to start his mornings. Before long, hard living and hard fighting make a mess of this bull rider.
...

Even a brilliant foil can’t save this weak entry in the Marvel series

When the universe began, light spread throughout the cosmos. Light is usually a good thing, but it did not please a race called the Dark Elves. Their leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston: Doctor Who) responded with Aether, a weaponized energy source, to bring back darkness and destroy the universe.
    It didn’t work.
...

Survival is a lonely business in this gripping drama

Some people dream of setting out on their own to sail the vast oceans of our world. It seems like a grand adventure, until something goes wrong and you find yourself slowly taking on water hundreds of miles from help. What to do when your grand adventure turns into a disaster?
...

An extraordinary man must rise to extraordinary circumstances

Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor: Dancing on the Edge) was a man of fortunate birth. He wasn’t rich, or noble, just a black man born free in the time of slavery.
    12 Years a Slave begins with the family enjoying a normal life in Saratoga, New York, where Solomon takes odd jobs and his wife works as a cook. Known in the community, they believe that they have nothing to fear from whites.
...

How many geri-action stars does it take to escape from prison?

No prison can hold Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone: Bullet to the Head). He’s literally written the book on prison security, breaking out of dozens of super max facilities to prove his point.
...

Not every pirate story features Johnny Depp and treasure chests

Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks: Cloud Atlas) worries about the future. In 2009, with the country facing more years of economic downturn, the freighter captain is concerned about how his kids will manage in this new, leaner America. But he’s still got a job, and it takes him from his home in Massachusetts to Oman for a routine delivery on the Maersk Alabama.

...

You’ll cringe, gasp and hold your breath. Just remember that your oxygen isn’t running low

What do you do when all hope is gone? How do you keep trying when you know that no help is on the way?
    Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock: The Heat) isn’t having the time of her life on her first trip into space. After training for six months to install her communications system on a satellite, she is awkward in zero gravity and nauseated in the vacuum of space.
...