Friday, 28 November 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - the verdict


Unsurprisingly, I had a fair amount to say about the latest Hunger Games film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. So much so that it was spread over a few sites. So here's my round-up.

For a comparison between the book (well the first half anyway) and the film, check out my book vs film review at The Hollywood News.

For my highlights from the film, check out '6 things to love about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1' at Metro.

If - like me - you think Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is worthy of so much more than a surfboard (not that there's anything wrong with surfboards!), check out 'Jennifer Lawrence deserves an Oscar for Katniss but why doesn’t The Hunger Games win big awards?'

What did you think of the film?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Jennifer Lawrence makes surprise appearance at Serena LFF screening

Film fans were stunned and delighted last night when Jennifer Lawrence, multi-award-winning star of The Hunger Games, X-Men: Days of Future Past and American Hustle, made a surprise appearance ahead of the London Film Festival screening of her new film, Serena, along with the film's director Susanne Bier.

The film is a relatively small part of the festival but with the two leads played by Lawrence and her Silver Linings Playbook co-star, Bradley Cooper, it was bound to generate plenty of interest – though clearly few had expected either of the stars to make an appearance for the film’s premiere.

The room erupted in rapturous applause as Lawrence was introduced and, after an impressive build-up about the 'huge' surprise, the star joked that if the surprise was actually popcorn and not her then she was leaving.

The audience were almost too in awe to laugh, though Lawrence was undeterred and continued in much the same tongue-in-cheek manner. When Bier said to the audience that she hoped people enjoyed the film, Lawrence quipped 'if you don't [like it] just don't tweet about it'.

Looking elegant and striking in a simple black dress jacket and heels, the actress was able to keep the jokes at bay just long enough to thank the audience for supporting Serena, a film that has been a long time coming. 'Thank you guys so much for being here,’ she said. ‘I hope you enjoy it.'

And then she was gone, her flight back to LA waiting for her.

After Lawrence's fleeting introduction the audience seemed far too excited to settle into the film straight away but as the lights went down the whole room seemed to share a collective sigh.

Any Tweets or status updates would have to wait until after the film.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Doctor Who: The Re-imagining - fan-fiction script

When Matt Smith announced he was leaving Doctor Who, a feature I had written which asked the question ‘Is it time for a female Doctor Who?’ went viral – perhaps unsurprisingly. Many were appalled at the mere suggestion and I actually managed to get a second feature written based solely on the vitriolic comments the first article sparked.

Yet throughout all of this hatred, one pairing stuck in my mind. As I contemplated which actress (or actor – yes I was thinking of both!) might work really well as the new Doctor, Olivia Colman popped into my head and just wouldn’t leave.

Having seen her in Tyrannosaur I knew she could do drama; she could break your heart. And everyone knew already just how funny she was from her earlier TV work and films like Hot Fuzz. She seemed the perfect choice.

A female Doctor required a male companion in my mind too and it occurred to me that the loveable Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley to Harry Potter fans) might just be brilliant. He could be endearing, angry, feisty, stroppy - all the great marks of an interesting companion.

The pairing stuck with me, even after Peter Capaldi was announced as the replacement.

And so, I give you Doctor Who: The Re-imagining, a fun little script I wrote in which the Doctor (Olivia Colman) and her new assistant (Rupert Grint) go on their first adventure. I hope you like it!

Please take it in the context it was meant – a laugh!

Safe travels, Whovians xxx

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Book review: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

After the incredible success of The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion's debut novel, Don and Rosie are back for The Rosie Effect and settling into married life in New York City.

Though things seem to be going well for the pair, the news that Rosie is pregnant sends events spiralling out of control in a way not even Don can handle and their relationship begins to feel the strain. Then Don's old friend and colleague Gene turns up and sets up camp in their home.

What follows is the brilliantly insightful humour, romance and honesty fans of this pairing have grown to love. Simsion proves he is so much more than a one-trick pony offering real drama and laughs in this eagerly-awaited sequel. 

The only thing that stops this book from utter perfection is the unavoidable lack of originality that made the debut such a phenomenal read. Yet, returning to Don and Rosie is such a complete delight that it matters not. It's like returning to the comfort of old friends.

The Rosie Effect is a joyous novel, full of charm, hilarity and warmth. Perfect reading for the approaching colder weather.

4.5/5 FOBLES

The Rosie Effect is published by Michael Joseph on 25th September.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

#Bookvsfilmclub update: Take note before you go to sleep...

The current #bookvsfilmclub story is Before I Go to Sleep, based on the thrilling debut novel from SJ Watson and starring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Mark Strong.

The film arrives in cinemas on 5th September. For more information on how to get involved, check out Novelicious or follow @bookvsfilmclub on Twitter.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Fault in Our Stars #bookvsfilmclub report

The Fault in Our Stars was certainly a story that stayed with the #bookvsfilmclub. Days after watching, ‏@louisareid tweeted: ‘Still getting over #TFIOS film’.
That said, it didn’t have quite the same impact on many of us that the book did, possibly just because we read the John Green book first. As @GroylefinGirl tweeted: ‘loved the book, had already grieved so didn't need to do it again in the film’.

It seemed too that, though the book won the vote of which out of the two people preferred, overall the club was very impressed with the adaptation which ‏@GroylefinGirl said was ‘faithful to [the] book’. It kept the tone, the soul of Green's novel – and in that we were all in agreement. ‏@hmcami did say, though, that ‘the film missed the flow and background that you get in the book’ which was probably inevitable as it had to be trimmed to fit the length of a feature film.

There was certainly a lot of love for Laura Dern who plays Hazel’s mum in the film. ‏@louisareid noted that ‘In the book, I don't remember Hazel's mum being a character I rooted for, but in [the] film - I really felt for her.’ She went on to say that the ‘Saddest bits for me were with Hazel's parents, especially mum, amazingly played by L Dern.’ ‏@Abby_Chandler added: ‘What a legend’ and @GroylefinGirl tweeted ‘LOVE Laura Dern’.

You can read my full book vs film review at The Hollywood News.
What did you think of the adaptation? Join the debate at #bookvsfilmclub

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay district posters arrive

President Snow has released some stunning new posters celebrating the very best of Panem. Check them out below...

3 - After shorting out, then quickly repairing District 3’s mainframe at the age of nine, Fibre Bissette, 32, has proven her fearlessness in the face of any challenge.

4 - The proud daughter of a deep-sea fisherman and a sixth-generation pearl diver, Naida Dolan, 22, channels her legacy as she proudly holds the day’s catch.

6 - Thought to have gasoline pumping through his veins, Malcolm Kastel, 31, is devoted to District 6’s mission of keeping Panem moving.

7 - Elias Haan, 26, has kept the axe handed down to him by his great-grandfather as a reminder of the hardships he and his great District have overcome.

9 - After a day in the fields, Triti Lancaster, 17, graciously offers a bundle of wheat to her fellow citizens of Panem.

10 - Raised amongst the herd, Felix Stam, 35, possesses a quiet understanding of the ways of animals and the circle of life that unites us all.


12 - Lily Elsington, 6, captures the spirit of the next generation of District citizens: ready, willing, and eager to fuel the Panem of tomorrow.

Based on the book by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Part 1 is out in November!

Source: The Capitol

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Star-lord takes centre stage in exciting new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer

For someone who has only read a handful of comics in my life I sure do love comic book movies - and none have got me quite as excited as Guardians of the Galaxy. From what we've seen so far, it certainly promises all the action, adventure and humour one might expect from a film like this.

The cast is getting more impressive the more we see: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio del Toro as The Collector.

The tone has been set and now it's just time to see the film itself. Check out this brilliant new UK trailer which sees the cast actually SPEAK!


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Alison Steadman and Brian Blessed lend their voices to children's book adaptation

Children's book 'The Fearsome Beastie' has done very well since its publication in 2011. The book, written by Giles Paley-Phillips, has gone on to win the People's Book Prize in 2012 and The Heart of Hawick Children's Book Prize in 2013.

Now, the book is being made into an animated adventure thanks to Slurpy Studios, who are turning the story into a short CGI animated film. Stars Brian Blessed and Alison Steadman are even on hand to bring life to the characters!

On the adaptation, Paley-Phillips told me: 'It really is a dream come true to have one of my books made into a film, I've always been passionate about animation so to see something I've written being adapted is very exciting.'

Work is still taking place on the project but it is scheduled to be finished this autumn and will hit the festival circuit soon after.

Praise for 'The Fearsome Beastie':
'We Like a lot. A terrific little picture book' - Julia Eccleshare, The Guardian
'Really Enjoyed this, it's inspired me' - David Walliams
'A Gruffalo style Monster Book with catchy rhymes and colourful pictures' - The Telegraph
'Wonderful rhymes and illustrations' - The Sun
'I loved the Grimm Brothers-esque ending' - Oliver Jeffers

Giles can be found on Twitter here and for more information on how the adaptation is going, check out the production diary at

Just don't let the Beastie get you!

Author John Green on The Fault in our Stars film adaptation

'It's amazing to see a story that for a long time existed only in my imagination,' says author John Green in this lovely new featurette for The Fault In Our Stars.

He's certainly excited by the film - are you?

To join in the discussion, head to #bookvsfilmclub on Twitter and don't forget to check out the new featurette below which also shows a glimpse of the 'maybe okay will be our always' scene.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS arrives in UK cinemas on 19th JUNE and stars Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus alongside Willem Dafoe, Sam Trammel and Laura Dern.

Friday, 16 May 2014

New clip from The Fault in Our Stars gets messy

For fans who've read the book of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, the scene where Isaac seeks revenge is one of the greatest - simply because it's a moment of justice in a very unjust story.

The clip of that scene has now been released, showing that even with poor lungs, blindness and a leg missing, teenagers can sometimes still be teenagers - and get their own back.

To join in the debate about The  Fault in Our Stars, book and film, use the hashtag #bookvsfilmclub on Twitter.


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS will star Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus alongside Willem Dafoe, Sam Trammel and Laura Dern, and will arrive in UK cinemas JUNE 19.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

J.K. Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’ Adapted Into HBO/BBC Miniseries

The success of The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling has meant that HBO and the BBC have now teamed up to adapt the novel into a three-hour miniseries.

When the book was first published, the fact that it flew up the charts came as no surprise. It was the first thing Rowling had written since the Harry Potter books had come to an end. It was nothing like Harry Potter either – written for an adult market about adult themes. The Casual Vacancy follows the lives of the adults and teenagers of a small village in the English countryside as many people vie for the seat on the local council left vacant by the man who has recently died. As Rowling delves deeper into the lives of the village’s inhabitants, divides are revealed between rich and poor, wives and husbands and parents and children.

The adaptation has been written by Sarah Phelps (Eastenders), Jonny Campbell (In the Flesh) is set to direct and Ruth Kenley-Letts (The Hour) is producing. There is no word on cast as yet but production is set to begin this summer in south west England. Rowling herself will be involved as executive producer.

Source: Variety

Friday, 18 April 2014

New clip and images for The Fault in Our Stars

A first clip from the next #bookvsfilmclub story The Fault in Our Stars has been released entitled 'It's a Metaphor', along with some new images.

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them -- and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

The film will star Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus alongside Willem Dafoe, Sam Trammel and Laura Dern.  

To join the discussion of both book and film, use the hashtag #bookvsfilmclub.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Once: Film vs Play

Once was a small film that may have passed a lot of people by, yet those who saw it adored it and with good reason. The two leads, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, acted, sung and performed the music they had also written with such apparent ease and emotion it was hard not to fall in love with their story. This was obviously a labour of love for the pair of them.

Once follows a guy and girl who meet randomly while the guy is busking on the streets of Ireland. When the girl finds he has a job repairing vacuum cleaners, she manages to get him to fix her broken one and the two soon discover a shared passion for music.

As the days pass, they learn more about each other's lives and start to realise that by being together and playing music together, they are slowly bringing each other back to life.

Ultimately, their music is cathartic. It voices their inner concerns, their past demons and all that they have tried to overcome. Everything they have felt in life is poured into it, resulting in an incredibly emotional soundtrack that speaks volumes when they cannot.

The play in London - which currently stars Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who) and Zrinka Cvitešić - takes all the elements which made the film such a beautiful story to watch and adds even more passion. The songs remain, as does the story, albeit with a few tweaks to suit the production. There is also an added layer of humour which only serves to heighten the darker emotional scenes as the two musicians realise the extent of their feelings for one another. Cvitešić will sing with the voice of an angel, break your heart and then make you laugh.

Overall, the beautiful simplicity of the film, which is lovely and a joy to watch, is surpassed in the play adaptation by the extra layer of intensity. The play is such an immersive production that it really does pull you in. 

See it! Then get the soundtrack and check out the film so you can keep appreciating (or singing!) the enchanting songs. This is a story to be enjoyed more than just Once.

Film - 4/5 FOBLES
Play - 5/5 FOBLES

Next #bookvsfilmclub will find The Fault in Our Stars

The next #bookvsfilmclub has been chosen and it will be The Fault in Our Stars.

Based on the book by John Green, the film is set to arrive in June. So if you've read the book or are excited by the film then get tweeting using the hashtag or tweet me at @filmvsbook for more info.

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them -- and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

According to this new featurette, it seems Green was delighted with the chemistry between the two stars, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.

Alongside Woodley and Elgort, The Fault in Our Stars also stars Willem Dafoe, Sam Trammel and Laura Dern.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels set to make Londoners cry laughing!

This week I was fortunate enough to see the hilarious Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which has now arrived in London’s West End and it was HILARIOUS. Such an enjoyable night and the cast - which include Rufus Hound, Robert Lindsay and Samantha Bond - are all spectacular! But I hadn’t seen the film on which the play is based. Of course, as soon as I got home I headed to YouTube to see Steve Martin as Ruprecht and Michael Caine oozing all that charm he possesses.

Sometimes adapting from one medium to another can be a disaster and other times it can be magical. In this instance, it has certainly sent me to the original. Having so thoroughly enjoyed the play I certainly now need to see the film!

Check out my review of the play over at Live For Films.
For more info, check out
Here's a snippet of Robert Lindsay in action to whet your appetite...

Monday, 17 March 2014

Divergent adaptation and the YA phenomenon

Guest post by Elizabeth Eckhart @elizeckhart

On April 4th (March 22nd for US viewers), the much anticipated Divergent will finally premiere in theaters. Like many of its predecessors, the YA book has provoked passionate responses from fans who love the series, and those who hate to see another another sci-fi/dystopian trilogy be given the Hollywood treatment, while many other excellent books are ignored by major film studios. Still, based on the latest theatrical previews, Divergent is not a film you will want to miss - especially with the star casting of Shailene Woodley as Tris, Theo James as Four, and the Oscar winning Kate Winslet as villainess Jeanine Matthews. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, it follows the heroine, Tris, on her journey to fit into a world where the authoritarian government rules with an iron fist and anyone deviating from the norm is harshly punished. During a placement test to determine which area of the city she should live, as is required of all residents her age, Tris discovers that she is Divergent, or unable to fit neatly into one of the five factions of her world. Being a Divergent is not only unsafe, but is also a result of much bigger events and government cover-ups than she could have ever imagined. The story is also interesting since it takes place in a dystopian future based off our own world. Author Veronica Roth, who attended Northwestern University directly outside of Chicago, Illinois, wrote her series within the setting of her beloved city - changing well-known landmarks such as Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, and the famous John Hancock skyscraper into decaying remnants of their earlier selves.

The film crew went through great lengths to transform Chicago into the decrepit scenes Roth had originally imagined. In fact, massive areas of the city were shut down this previous summer in order to film certain scenes. Entire housing projects were created in the downtown area, and rumor has it that an incredible aerial stunt on the John Hancock will be featured in the film. Add the hopefully awe-inspiring set with Neil Burger’s directing skills, and it becomes no surprise that many are predicting a positive response toward the movie. For those unfamiliar with Burger’s previous work, he previously directed the visually stunning films Limitless and The Illusionist.

As mentioned before, Divergent is a series that has drawn both praise and critique from readers. While many enjoyed the original setting for the plot, others believed it to be too similar to The Hunger Games with its strong female lead, dystopian world, and eventual war against a controlling government. Personally, I believe that if every book was criticized for having the same gender lead, era, and basic major plot point, there would be far fewer books in the world. Also, The Hunger Games begins in a world where only a few people (those living in the Capitol) are content, whereas Tris’s world is filled with generally happy people that are well-fed, clothed, and living in factions with people of similar interests and abilities. The minority groups, such as the Factionless and Divergent, are the people who reveal the darker aspects of Tris’s society, whereas within Katniss’s Panem, only the minority had even their basic human rights fulfilled. This setup leads to a very different story, with very different consequences when revolution becomes an option.

However, it could be said that the Divergent series is lacking in depth, regarding many characters, and that the world-building isn’t done to the detailed perfection of the great sci-fi books before it. On the other hand, the Divergent series is quick, entertaining, and very plot-driven, which is excellent groundwork for a film to develop from. Plus, for those readers irked by the younger reading level of Roth’s books, the film could possibly provide a different outlet for the story beyond the author’s narrating voice. 

Divergent arrives in UK cinemas April 4 2014.

Friday, 28 February 2014

The Book Thief #bookvsfilmclub reactions

The third #bookvsfilmclub met this week to see The Book Thief, the adaptation based on the Markus Zusak novel set in Germany during World War II and narrated by death. The film stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nélisse.

So what did the club think of the adaptation?

@GroylefinGirl had the following to say:

Death. The sonorous voice of was perfect, but Death is personal, so see for yourself

The acting was superb; the love, kindness and bravery contrasting with the increasing brutality of the Nazis.
Happy to say I really enjoyed . A few of the subplots were missing, but the heart of the story remained intact

@MandaJJennings was in two minds about the adaptation with many positive and some less positive thoughts, tweeting:

yes, the acting was superb. And I'd like to give a special shoutout for the superb Emily Watson, who shone as Rosa.

The Book Thief is the book I'd wish I'd written, and I missed the poetry and twists of magic.

As a film it is extremely good but the book, for me, could not be matched, however this is not a reason not to see the film. It is a beautiful film and you will love it. It will make your heart sing with it's love, warmth and appreciation of books and the power of words. And that, alone, is worth seeing it for.

@Abby_Chandler wasn't as moved, tweeting:
The Book Thief - lacked the power of the book and didn't make me cry. But Geoffrey Rush IS Papa.

@emzfinn had this to say:

The Book Thief was a great film but it definitely lacked the magic that was in the book. The actors played their parts fantastically though.
@LouiseReviews tweeted her own review, saying 'The Book Thief isn’t a bad film, it’s not a travesty and I’m sure it will act as a suitable introduction to the Holocaust for younger viewers but it (probably inadvertently) proves the message of the novel. Books are the most powerful force in the world.'

So what did you think of the film?

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Book Thief book vs film

With a book as beloved as Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, an adaptation was always going to be a challenge. The story, narrated by death himself, follows a young girl as she arrives in a small town in Germany to live with her new foster parents – as WW2 looms.

The casting, first of all, is sublime, with Geoffrey Rush in particular on hand to warm and break your heart in equal measure. Hans is an adorable, loving father to Liesel but he is also incredibly brave and compassionate - traits which often lead him into trouble. Rush personifies this duality flawlessly, showing both the softer and more courageous elements to the character. Emily Watson does a brilliant job of showing the really harsh side to mother Rosa along with the caring, big-hearted side not everyone gets to see. She shouts and scowls a lot but there is love there too.

Young Sophie Nélisse shines as Liesel, showing the maturity the role requires, much like Liesel herself. You feel her pain and her joy and her struggle to stay close to people when she has been abandoned by those she holds dearest in the world. Nélisse captures this maturity alongside the innocence of youth and the desperation for human connection – all traits which make Liesel such a compelling character.

Though the story is undoubtedly Liesel’s, there is time to look further afield, at Kristallnacht, the climate of fear and supremacy, and the propaganda. Knowing the extent of the atrocities of the Holocaust only makes these scenes all the more tragic and real and there is something so horrifying about seeing it through the eyes not just of Liesel but of her school friends. While some struggle to come to terms with the society in which they live, hiding their true feelings for fear of inviting danger, others relish it and become genuinely terrifying. Perhaps to cope with the 12A certificate, much of the horror itself is left out, with the concentration camps ignored and not much seen of the Jews being marched through the town. The film largely hides away from the atrocities of war, only facing it when it lands on its doorstep – much like the characters themselves.
The overwhelming theme of words and their power is there in the film much like it is in the book, from Liesel’s struggle to learn to read to Max’s thoughts on books and writing. Words are everywhere, from the books Liesel reads with her papa, to the speeches made at rallies. They are powerful and important and hard to ignore. Words are life, Liesel, after all.

The biggest difference between book and film seems to be the general order of things. What is explained early on in the book is left to shock you later in the film. Though much of the story is cut to fit into the film's running time, some elements of it are developed further in the film, leaving certain revelations more obvious for viewers - the relationships between Liesel and Rudy, and Liesel and Ilsa, especially. The cuts, overall, make sense, but the additions add little. There is a sense that things are being spelled out for viewers rather than having things left to find out on their own. One scene in particular simply was not necessary. There was the feeling that it was trying to force the audience to cry – which is ridiculous for a film which already has such emotional subject matter.

The real challenge here was to convert the tone of the novel onto the big screen, to make it joyous, heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. Overall, The Book Thief film manages to capture the heartache and humour of the Zusak novel but loses much of the magic and poetic beauty of the original. The narration, the part of the book which gave The Book Thief its magic, is only really there for the opening and closing sequences of the film. Without it, the film lacks that magic that the book manages. It’s possible that the film makers realised they would not be able to match the original in this aspect and so opted to make the focus more on Liesel's story. To be honest, I'm not sure any voice could have made the narrator work as well as it did in the book. Not even Morgan Freeman!
When viewed as an adaptation, there are holes. The overall lack of narration and absence of the beautiful images from the book are sorely missed. However, as a standalone film, it is truly beautiful to watch with a breathtaking cast and stunning shots throughout. Heaven Street really does come to life on the big screen.

I only wonder how much of the emotion I felt was thanks to the film and not thanks to the memories of the book the film triggered.

Film – 3.5/5
Book – 5/5

Did the adaptation work for you? Share your thoughts on either the book or film on Twitter using #bookvsfilmclub and join the debate.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

New The Book Thief featurette is A Story Unlike Any Other

With one week left in the UK until the cinematic release of the adaptation of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a new featurette has been released which takes a closer look at how Liesel Meminger steals words and makes her own story. It also takes a look at her journey with learning the read and write, which begins with her kind-hearted foster father and continues with Max, the Jew hiding in their basement.

This beautiful story is a flawless novel which finds joy in the horrors of the Holocaust thanks to incredible storytelling. The film adaptation stars Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush, Academy Award nominee Emily Watson and young Sophie Nélisse as Liesel.

The Book vs Film club will be meeting to discuss both the book and film on Wednesday 26th February. To join the discussion on Twitter, simply use the #bookvsfilmclub hashtag.

Happy viewing/reading!

Check out the featurette below:

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Getting back into baking: My 2014 baking challenges

Yahoo asked if I'd be interested in a series on baking and I jumped at the chance as I get to of course eat the produce afterwards! I bake a mean limoncello cupcake but I thought it was about time to expand my horizons beyond the cupcakes and try a few new things ... courtesy of The Great British Book of Baking.

First up was something simple: Rock Cakes. Then it was over to the flapjacks and chocolate shortbread. More soon...

What do you love to bake?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

SDAs (Social Displays of Affection) set to take over this Valentine's Day

It’s that time of year! There are flowers everywhere, the adverts on TV are telling you to buy cards, restaurants are running special promotions and chocolates are coming in heart-shaped boxes. Welcome to Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day may be known to singletons as a day to avoid but it seems even those in couples are getting annoyed with the ever-growing trend of SDAs (Social Displays of Affection). Gone are the days when PDAs were the thing to turn our noses up to. Now, it seems, the desire to post your Valentine’s Day presents or treats on social media is the most annoying thing you can do about it.

Though 1 in 5 of us admit to being SDA offenders, bragging about gifts online, just over a quarter of us admit that seeing their friends gush about how much they love their partners on social media is top of the annoying list this Valentine’s Day.

Research from eBay suggests that 38% of Brits feel the pressure of showing off their gifts online and 24% of women admit that they hint for thoughtful presents simply for bragging rights. That doesn’t, though, mean that sending flowers to someone at work is a good way to go! Second only to receiving a present from an unwanted admirer, receiving flowers at work is the most embarrassing thing you can have happen on this romance-filled day.

So what does all this mean for those contemplating what to buy their significant others this Valentine’s Day? Be thoughtful and romantic. If you want to please your lady, get her something she can show off with pride. If you want to keep your friends, perhaps try keeping it to yourself...

Sunday, 9 February 2014

New dramatic Divergent trailer arrives

"All my life I've lived by your rules. Not any more…"

The final UK trailer for Divergent has arrived and it shows more of Natalie Prior (Ashley Judd) and her daughter Tris Prior's general badassery!

Able to conquer her fears, Tris cannot be controlled, which means she must go into hiding.

The film, based on the Veronica Roth novel, stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet.

Divergent Synopsis
Divergent is a thrilling action-adventure set in a future world where people are divided into distinct factions based on their personalities. Tris Prior (Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

Divergent arrives in UK cinemas April 4 2014.

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion film rights bought

‘I’m not good at understanding what other people want’
‘Tell me something I don’t know…’
Love isn’t an exact science – but no-one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine year old geneticist, Don has never had a second date. So he devises the wife project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?
The Rosie Project had been out for a while before it reached my to-read pile but having devoured the delightful, refreshingly honest novel about a man with undiagnosed Aspergers Syndrome in only a few days, I am delighted to discover that the film rights have long been bought by Sony Pictures.
The Australian setting, the journey to New York and the two great lead characters of Don and Rosie would make an excellent film. Of course, it looks like Simsion already realised this - the book was written as a script before he adapted it into a novel.
The film will be produced by Sony-based Matt Tolmach and Michael Costigan and the deal was closed by Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and production president Hannah Minghella. Simsion will write the script.
I know it's the obvious Ozzie answer but I'd love to see Hugh Jackman play Don. Or perhaps Guy Pearce with Teresa Palmer as Rosie?
Did you love The Rosie Project? Who would make an excellent Don and Rosie?
Follow Don Tillman @ProfDonTillman . .. Follow Graeme Simsion @Graemesimsion

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Fault in our Stars adaptation gets its first trailer

'I'm a grenade. One day I'm gonna blow up and I'm gonna obliterate everything in my wake...'

The Fault in Our Stars is clearly no average teen romance, as teenagers Hazel and Gus meet at a cancer support group. The film, based on the novel by John Green, stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort and looks to pack an emotional and endearing punch in a film sure to bring the cuteness as well as the tears.

Check out the trailer below. The Fault in Our Stars arrives in cinemas this summer.

The Fault in Our Stars synopsis

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them -- and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love. Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Mike Birbiglia, and Emily Peachey.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A Long Way Down adaptation gets an emotional and uplifting trailer

Nick Hornby has a talent for weaving emotional depth and humour into the same stories so it is no surprise to see that the new trailer for A Long Way Down - the latest adaptation based on one of his beloved novels - looks to follow the same path.

The story of four strangers who meet at the top of a building as they plan to commit suicide by jumping off it is an emotional and endearing one and with an impressive cast that includes Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots, this is sure to make audiences laugh and cry when it arrives in cinemas on 21st March.

Check out the trailer below and see what you think... and join the discussion with #bookvsfilmclub.

A Long Way Down synopsis
New Year’s Eve on the top of a London skyscraper. MARTIN (Brosnan) is literally on the edge. A once-beloved TV personality, he’s now desperate to jump. But he’s not alone. Single mother MAUREEN, (Collette), sassy teen JESS (Poots), and failed musician turned pizza-delivery boy JJ (Paul), have all turned up on the same roof with the same plan. Instead of jumping, these four strangers make a pact to stay alive and stay together until Valentine’s Day at least. Both funny and poignant, A LONG WAY DOWN follows this group of unlikely friends as they try to pull back from the brink.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Divergent posters and trailers - starring Shailene Woodley

Based on the book series written by Veronica Roth, the new adaptation of Divergent is set to arrive in cinemas this April. With a cast that includes Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, could this be the new YA cinema story to watch?

I am yet to read the books but I hear great things. Could Divergent hold its own against other great YA franchises...? The film certainly looks promising!

Divergent is a thrilling action-adventure set in a future world where people are divided into distinct factions based on their personalities. Tris Prior (Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

Divergent arrives in UK cinemas April 4 2012.

Check out the images and trailers we have so far…