All-star Mary Poppins sequel flies into view

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Meryl Streep also features in “Mary Poppins Returns”. (File photo: AFP)
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Actor Dick Van Dyke arrives at the 40th anniversary of his film "Mary Poppins" DVD release party in Hollywood, November 30, 2004./File Photo
Updated 18 September 2018
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All-star Mary Poppins sequel flies into view

  • The movie includes mixed live-action and animation scenes that are reminiscent of those that were cutting edge in the mid-1960s
  • “Mary Poppins Returns” is set for a pre-Christmas release in Britain and the United States

A view across the grimy rooftops of London? A nanny descending to earth with a flying umbrella? Dick Van Dyke? All are present and correct in the trailer for the “Mary Poppins” reboot that was released on Tuesday.
Julie Andrews, who won the 1965 Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the original, is replaced in “Mary Poppins Returns” by Emily Blunt as the unconventional governess who arrives as if by magic to heal a family in need of love.
In the sequel, it is 1932 and the boy, Michael Banks, has grown up and, helped by his sister Jane, is bringing up children of his own, in the absence of their mother.
The trailer gives few other clues to the plot of the musical, but showcases a stellar cast of British acting talent, including Ben Whishaw, Colin Firth and Julie Walters.
Meryl Streep also features, as does Dick Van Dyke who played the chimney sweep Bert with the so-bad-it’s-good cockney accent in the original. Now 92, the trailer shows him as lithe as ever, dancing on a table.
The Bert character — Jack in this film — is played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the rapper and composer who created the acclaimed musical “Hamilton.”
The movie includes mixed live-action and animation scenes that are reminiscent of those that were cutting edge in the mid-1960s but have a retro-charm now.
The original movie was based on the children’s books by P.L. Travers who famously objected to Walt Disney’s embellishments to her stories. It was a huge success and became a classic.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is set for a pre-Christmas release in Britain and the United States.


What We Are Reading Today: Hard Ball: The Abuse of Power in Pro Team Sports

Updated 13 December 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Hard Ball: The Abuse of Power in Pro Team Sports

  • In Hard Ball, James Quirk and Rodney Fort take on a daunting challenge: Explaining exactly how things have gotten to this point and proposing a way out

Authors: James Quirk & Rodney Fort

What can possibly account for the strange state of affairs in professional sports today? There are billionaire owners and millionaire players, but both groups are constantly squabbling over money. Many pro teams appear to be virtual “cash machines,” generating astronomical annual revenues, but their owners seem willing to uproot them and move to any city willing to promise increased profits. 

At the same time, mayors continue to cook up “sweetheart deals” that lavish benefits on wealthy teams while imposing crushing financial hardships on cities that are already strapped with debt. To fans today, professional sports teams often look more like professional extortionists.   

In Hard Ball, James Quirk and Rodney Fort take on a daunting challenge: Explaining exactly how things have gotten to this point and proposing a way out. They are writing for sports fans who are trying to make sense out of the perplexing world of pro team sports. It is not money, in itself, that is the cause of today’s problems, they assert.

In fact, the real problem stems from one simple fact: Pro sports are monopolies that are fully sanctioned by the US government. Eliminate the monopolies, say Quirk and Fort, and all problems can be solved. If the monopolies are allowed to persist, so will today’s woes.