Cinderella: This Weekend’s Shoe-In

Two new movies feature characters whose lives change when they try on mysterious shoes. A third film treads a well-worn path to mediocrity.     Cinderella Disney has been translating its animated classics into live-action epics for years, with mixed success. This effort, directed by Kenneth Branagh, is the best update yet. About a Boy screenwriter Chris Weitz has kept the most charming elements of Disney’s 1950s damsel-in-distress scenario and transformed the central character into a strong-willed young woman determined …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun  1. Doctors and health officials are discouraging a revival of “measles parties,” popular in the 1950s and ’60s. (Learn more at ABC News) 2. The release of water vapor causes the distinctive sound of corn popping.  (Learn more at Los Angeles Times) 3. A 1967 performance on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour left Pete Townsend deaf in one ear. (Learn more at AARP) >> Register for Life@50+ Digital Experience. New AARP RealPad included! Learn More 4. …

Maria von Trapp: Her Family Inspired ‘The Sound of Music’

In 1938, Maria von Trapp fled the Nazi takeover of her Austrian homeland along with her father, her siblings, and her similarly named governess-turned-stepmother, Maria Kutschera von Trapp. Their adventure eventually inspired one of the most beloved film musicals in history, The Sound of Music, which made Julie Andrews (who played stepmother Maria) into a superstar. But the true story lived by von Trapp – who died on Feb. 22 at age 99 in Stowe, Vt. – was considerably different from the one depicted on …

“The Beginners”: Movies for Grownups 2012

I didn’t get to watch a lot of movies as a kid. (It’s a long story.) The few ones I did watch left indelible impressions. As it turns out, when you watch the Sound of Music close to 30 or 40 times as a young teenaged woman, Christopher Plummer sticks in your mind. (As does the soundtrack. These are a few of my favorite things…La la la la…)  I can recognize that voice anywhere, even in the villain from Up. …