Category Archives: Movies

Posts about movies, films, DVDs, cinema

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.