Category Archives: Movies

Posts about movies, films, DVDs, cinema

Books to read before they’re made into movies

There is something magical about creating your own version of stories before they have been adapted for screen and our imaginations become limited by someone else’s interpretation. Here are our picks of books for you to read before they are made into movies in 2017.

Wonder by R J Palacio

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all? WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Due to be released in November, Julia Roberts will be playing Auggie’s mother, Owen Wilson stars as his father and Jacob Tremblay as Auggie.


The Circle by Dave Eggers

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.

The film is released in April and stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly and Bill Paxton.


The Mountain Between Us by Professor Charles Martin

This is a captivating story where two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home to Jacksonville, Florida for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness – one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States. Their survival becomes increasingly perilous as they must rely on each other to survive.

The movie is to be released later this year and will star Kate Winslett and Idris Elba.


The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

This is a stunning and life-affirming memoir about surviving a wilfully impoverished, eccentric, and severely misguided family.

The tale of this young girl who comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who’s an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty is beautiful written.

The movie has just been launched so read quickly! The film stars Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.




Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. A passenger lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the prime suspects from a scornful and impatient array of foreign passengers before the murderer decides to strike again.

The long awaited movie will open in November 2017 and has a star studded cast comprising Kenneth Branagh, Tom Bateman, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer.



Your Ultimate Preparation Guide for Enjoying the Oscars

It’s Oscars season again and a whopping five of this year’s nominees started out as best-selling novels. To be fair, the adapted screenplay category often serves as a reflection of some of the best movies of the year with historical tomes or novels serving as the creative starting points for award-winning filmmakers.

This year is certainly no different. While you could prepare for the Oscars by reading The Martian, Room, Carol (The Price of Salt), Brooklyn and The Revenant you could also take a slightly different trip down the red carpet…perhaps delve into the world of a movie critic, peek a glimpse at the history of film or even attempt to understand the mind of the director.

Here are our suggestions for the ultimate Oscars preparation.

Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for nearly forty years. During those four decades, his wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor have made him America’s most celebrated film critic. This book covers many of his reviews, essays and interviews. While it is a celebration of film, it is also a celebration of how we have talked and written about film across the past four decades.

My First Movie, Take Two by Stephen Lowenstein

In these strikingly candid interviews, ten internationally acclaimed directors: Richard Linklater, Richard Kelly, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Takeshi Kitano, Shekhar Kapur, Émir Kusturica, Agnès Jaoui, Lukas Moodysson, Terry Gilliam, and Sam Mendes talk about the struggles and rewards of making their first film.

Each chapter is devoted to a particular director and his or her debut (Slacker, Donnie Darko, Amores Perros, Jabberwocky, and American Beauty among them) and reveals telling details about the inside story of the film-making process: from writing the script to raising the money, from casting actors to gathering the crew, from shooting to editing, and, finally, screening the film.

The Movie Book by Dorling Kindersley

This is another take on the history of film that showcases the impact of individual titles. Beautifully designed and packed with detailed information while staying a fun and straightforward read. A great place to look for movie classics to add to your ‘must-watch’ list.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey, by Mark Cousins

This is an unprecedented cinematic event, an epic journey through the history of world cinema that is a treat for movie lovers around the globe. Guided by film historian Mark Cousins, this bold 15-part love letter to the movies begins with the invention of motion pictures at the end of the 19th century and concludes with the multi-billion dollar globalised digital industry of the 21st.


Enjoy your reading and viewing.

Bringing Children’s books to life

When a story is lifted from the pages from a book to take life in another form (film, theatre production or a television show), I don’t know about you but I often hold my breath. Sometimes it can soar from the pages and sometimes….well, it can crash (let’s be honest).

With school holidays knocking on the door, we find two of our favourite childhood classics have been converted to film: Yet another Peter Pan adaptation is released in Pan and the all-time Australian favourite Blinky Bill.   If you are thinking of taking the kids to see either of these movies this school holidays, it’s a great opportunity to read the books first so you can discuss differences between the two.  We’re also super proud of Tim Minchin’s production of Matilda, showing to rave reviews!

Here are some other great book to movie adaptations:

The Adventures of Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

We all know the story: a mischievous boy that never grows up and leads a band of ‘lost boys’ who have adventures battling pirates and occasionally meeting ordinary children when they venture outside of Neverland.  This publication from Boomer Books is specially designed and typeset for comfortable reading.




Pan, directed by Joe Wright

Set as the prequel to the Peter Pan story we all know, this is the story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny – to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan. (IMDB) Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall

Similar to Peter Pan, Blinky Bill is also a mischevious boy (just in the form of a koala). He is a national icon and one of Australia’s most well loved and best known characters. His friends are well known Australian animals such as his kangaroo friend Splodge, his platypus friend Flap, Marcia the marsupial mouse, and his mentor Mr Wombat or Wombo, as Blinky prefers to call him. In general throughout the stories he does things that are realistic for koalas as well as things that child readers would like to do. The author speaks directly to the reader through the stories.  Great for younger readers.

Blinky Bill: The Movie

Blinky Bill is a koala with a big imagination. An adventurer at heart, he dreams of leaving the little town of Green Patch and following in his explorer father’s footsteps. Mr Bill went missing in the Outback some time ago and Blinky is the only one who believes his father is still alive.

When Blinky discovers a mysterious marker that hints at his Dad’s whereabouts, he embarks on a journey that takes him beyond the boundary of Green Patch and into the wild and dangerous Outback. He quickly makes friends with Nutsy, a zoo koala, and Jacko, a nervous frill-necked lizard.

Pursued relentlessly by a vengeful feral cat who has a personal score to settle with Blinky, the trio must learn to work together if they ever want to survive the rugged Australian landscape and find Blinky’s father! Source:

Make sure you download the app so the kids can add Blinky Bill characters to their photos and movies! by Roald Dahl

Matilda Wormwood’s father is a mean crooked crook. And her mother’s just plain stupid. They think Matilda is a nuisance who should watch more TV and read fewer books! But her lovely teacher Miss Honey thinks Matilda is a genius. Matilda has a few extraordinary tricks up her sleeve, so her horrible parents and even more horrible headmistress had better watch out.


Matilda the Musical, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin

Matilda The Musical is the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Winner of 50 major international awards, including 12 for Best Musical, Matilda continues to delight audiences both in London and on Broadway before arriving at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from July 2015.



The Martian

The Martian‘ is the first published novel by Andy Weir.  It was originally self-published in 2011, after which Crown Publishing purchased the rights.  It was published in 2014 and the movie is scheduled to be released on October 2nd.  So you have the opportunity to read the book first!  It’s about a NASA astronaut Mark Watney, who is left stranded on Mars when the crew of the Ares 3 mission are forced to leave.  With no way to contact Earth, Watney must rely on his scientific and technical skills to survive, growing potatoes in the crew’s Martian habitat (or Hab) and burning hydrazine to make water. He begins to record his experiences so that they might prove useful for future explorers after his death. NASA discovers that Watney is alive when satellite images pick up human activity and they begin a plan to rescue him.  This book is the perfect Father’s day gift.

Here’s the film trailer.  It looks ah-mazing!

If that’s doesn’t get you interested, here’s Mythbuster Adam Savage interviewing author Andy Weir:



Books to read before their film versions arrive

Books continue to be a reliable source of inspiration for film studios. The film adaptations of these well-loved stories are arriving over the next two months.   It is always fun (and a great conversation starter) to compare books to their film versions, regardless of which you experience first.  Hopefully this advance warning will help you finish the original book before heading to the cinemas this time (finally!).

Paper Towns by John Green
(Released July/August 2015)

Although the film has already screened in the US, it was only released in Australia and New Zealand in late July, and the UK release will be in mid August – so there is still time to read the original before heading to the cinema.

Paper Towns is a coming-of-age story about Quentin (“Q”) and Margo, his neighbour and childhood crush.  A month before high school graduation, Margo re-enters Q’s life by inviting him to help her exact revenge on several people; they spend one heady night completing their mission.  Then Margo disappears; Q is convinced Margo is waiting for him to find her, and becomes obsessed with identifying clues to her whereabouts.  Q and his friends eventually find Margo in New York state after a frantic road trip, but…

The Paper Towns movie draws on the star power of Cara Delevigne, a British supermodel in her first lead role; and also of author John Green, who achieved enormous success with both the book- and film-versions of The Fault in Our Stars.
Paper Towns is the latest example of Young Adult (YA) fiction gaining prominence in mainstream popular culture  – following blockbusters such as Fault in Our Stars, Twilight and Hunger Games.

Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave
(Expected release August 2015)

Fourteen reprints, an award-winning stage adaptation and now a film version are testament to the continuing high regard for Holding the Man.  This is a tender, honest, raw memoir about Conigrave’s first love – the Captain of their school football team – and their 15-year relationship.  It charts the highs and lows of their experiences as young gay men in the 70s and 80s – coming out, the hedonistic gay scene, the scourge of AIDS.  It is also distinctly Australian, set in Melbourne and Sydney, with Aussie Rules Football integral to the story.  Holding the Man is particularly poignant because it, Conigrave’s “big break”, came several months after his death due to AIDS-related illness.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
(Expected release September 2015)

Bill Bryson’s gentle humour and child-like curiosity has been charming readers for decades, on topics as diverse as roadside diners, the history of the sewing machine and even Vegemite.  In A Walk in the Woods, Bryson documents his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with a friend.  There are plenty of trials and tribulations; the Trail is long (around 3500 kilometres) and challenging, and the two men soon find they are ill-prepared for the task.  Despite these difficulties, Bryson remains upbeat and is able to muse on the history and ecology of this scenic route as they go for their little “walk in the woods”.
The film version stars Robert Redford as Bill Bryson (I wonder if he’s flattered – who would you choose to play you on the big screen?) and Nick Nolte as Bryson’s friend.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
(Expected release September 2015)

The “Me” in this novel is Greg, an awkward highschooler who avoids becoming a social outcast by drifting over all the tribes at school.  His only close friend is Earl, a fellow cinephile; for years they have been making quirky film parodies together.  Greg’s and Earl’s lives change when they are guilt-tripped into spending time with Rachel, Greg’s childhood friend who has terminal cancer.
This, Jesse Andrews’ first novel, is a fresh, funny story with an authentic teen voice; it is uplifting without being sentimental, and deserves the wider attention that its film adaptation will surely bring.  The film received a standing ovation (and won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award) at this year’s Sundance Festival, and has become a commercial success in the US.  Coming to the rest of the world in September.