Monday, 14 December 2015

Book vs Film Club 2016 stories: Room to The BFG - the trailers!

Wondering what books to read in 2016? Or what films you should start getting excited about?

From heart-breakers to brain-eaters, 2016 is an exciting year for adaptations. Some old classics are getting the adaptation treatment along with some brave new novels and a few comic book favourites.

Here are the trailers we have so far for all of the Book Vs Film Club stories we'll be looking forward to in 2016.

To keep up to date with the club, follow @bookvsfilmclub.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The Jungle Book

Captain America: Civil War

Me Before You


The Girl With All The Gifts

A Monster Calls

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

New UK Trailer Arrives for Room Adaptation

The Book Vs Film Club will be kicking off 2016 with a look at Room, the adaptation of Emma Donoghue's book of the same name (she also wrote the screenplay!).

We're excited, then, to see this brilliant new UK trailer for the adaptation, which stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.

For the book vs film review, check out Novelicious. Otherwise, the trailer is below.

To join the discussion, just use #BookVsFilmClub or check out @bookvsfilmclub on Twitter.

ROOM will arrive in UK cinemas on 15 January 2016.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Adele saves SNL’s thanksgiving and says Hello to Jimmy Fallon

Already played Adele's new 25 album over and over since its release? Still not sick of it? Yeah, me neither. If you're a fan of Adele, Matthew McConaughey or just funny stuff, then check out these two Adele-related offerings from the past week.

First up, her visit to SNL inspired a brilliant piece of thanksgiving hilarity, with Matthew McConaughey joining in the fun.

Say hello to the power of Adele...

Next, there's a rendition of Hello unlike any other, this time with children's instruments. Toy phone at the ready.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Celebrate Mockingjay Part 2 with the Hunger Games fan quiz

The final Hunger Games film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, is out now in cinemas across the world, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.

To celebrate, there is now a fan quiz to test out your Hunger Games knowledge. So, if you know your Peeta from your Gale and how many fingers a salute needs, check out the below.

For the full review, check out Live for Films.

*WARNING: Contains some Mockingjay spoilers so perhaps see the film first!*

May the odds be ever in your favour...

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


(originally posted at Filmoria)

After the fascinating and enjoyable press conference, it was time to head to The Monuments Men premiere in London’s Leicester Square to catch up with George Clooney, Grant Heslov and the cast on the red carpet.

First over to say hello was Bob Balaban who had nothing but praise for his co-stars, who he said were talented people and so nice! When asked who was the most fun on set he responded, ‘I can’t say [laughs] … they were all equally fun’. On working so closely with Bill Murray, Balaban added: ‘I think we enjoyed ourselves. I would say we’d probably risk doing it again…’
‘I think we enjoyed ourselves. I would say we’d probably risk doing it again…’ Bob Balaban on working so closely with Bill Murray
French actor and star of The Artist, Jean Dujardin, was on hand to talk to us about the film (albeit with his trusty interpreter at his side just in case!). The actor said working with this group of people was ‘unbelievable’, adding – in that incredibly sexy French accent of his – that ‘as a director, George [Clooney] is perfect.’ All the crew and cast were ‘very kind’ and ‘attentive’, he added, and the most fun person on set was between George Clooney and Bill Murray.
Co-writer/producer Grant Heslov was up next and said that the story all came about because he was in an airport having forgotten a book. He picked up The Monuments Men and that was it. ‘It was a version of World War II I didn’t know anything about,’ Heslov explained. ‘I just thought it was fascinating, with great characters. I always wanted to make a World War II movie.’

‘I just thought it was fascinating, with great characters. I always wanted to make a World War II movie.’ – Grant Heslov on why he wanted to make The Monuments Men
On the cast, he laughed that ‘they’re not too shabby’ and said that he and George Clooney wrote the film with all these people in mind. When asked what he had taken away from the film, Heslov answered: ‘how important art is to our culture and what it says about who we are’.

I then asked Heslov about the cameo he makes in the film which, he said, was not his idea. The actor who had been cast in the role couldn’t make it when they started shooting so, Heslov said: ‘I had to step in’.
It was then star/co-writer/co-producer/director George Clooney’s turn to chat to us. Clooney began by explaining that getting this cast together was not all that difficult. ‘Mostly they’re friends of mine,’ he said. ‘Which made it easier to call them up.’

‘Mostly they’re friends of mine,’ he said. ‘Which made it easier to call them up.’ – Clooney on assembling such an incredible cast
When I asked Clooney if any of the cast needed a little persuasion to come on board, he joked that ‘Matt Damon drinks a lot, you know that, and he’s hard to get on the set. It’s hard to get him out of his trailer sometimes. I don’t like to use the word “diva”. I don’t like to throw that around loosely but you know what I’m saying.’

At least we assume he was kidding…


(originally posted at Filmoria)

The stars were out in force for The Monuments Men press conference this morning as writer, director and star of the film, George Clooney led a panel which included his co-writer/producer Grant Heslov and actors John Goodman, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin and Dimitri Leonidas. Surviving Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger was also on hand to answer questions about this incredible true story.
The author of the book on which the film is based, Robert Edsel, was up first, however, to talk about the history of the Monuments Men, saying that what the Nazis did in collecting these works of art was an ‘extraordinary but despicable achievement’. When asked about the character changes that have been made for the film, Edsel said that he feels like a messenger for the story and that the names were changed out of respect not ignorance.

When the full panel arrived, they were each asked about their favourite artworks, which ranged from La Sagrada Familia building in Barcelona for Leonidas to a legendary baseball photo for Murray. Jean Dujardin said that he favoured the work of Kandinsky but then sung with a smile ‘Mona Lisa’. Ettlinger added that ‘we would not like life with white walls’ and the entire room certainly seemed to be in agreement with him on that score!
Following on from what Edsel had said about the changes made to the character names and stories, Clooney explained that ‘we didn’t want to give any of these real men flaws’. They wanted to be able to tell the story without offending anyone. That, after he and Heslov fought over who should answer the question with a hilarious ‘You go,’ ‘No, you go’ to much laughter in the audience.

There clearly was a lot of laughter off camera too. Clooney says that though he was busy (what with all the roles he played for this film!) he still found time to arrange pranks, one of which saw him adding ‘In loving memory to [his father] Nick Clooney’ to a shot of the film which he showed to his still-living father. Matt Damon instists that ‘We laughed a lot’ and Goodman said it was ‘the best time I’ve ever had on a film – with my pants on’.
‘the best time I’ve ever had on a film – with my pants on’ – John Goodman on the fun of being part of The Monuments Men

After a heated debate about the merits of possession of artworks and who the rightful owners should be, Clooney laughed that the team were off to Paris after tonight’s London premiere, probably to insult them too.
So why did Heslov and Clooney decide to have so much humour incorporated into such an otherwise serious film? Heslov explained that they knew they wanted humour because ‘we deal with life with humour’. But did the humour extend to any training the cast had to do to become soldiers? Of course it did. Goodman said his basic training involved a knife and fork and Murray said that he learned (from the women) that ‘when you have to put on a tight pair of pants you lie on your back’.

It was also not as scary as one might imagine to be directed by a friend, Damon insists. You ‘cut out all the diplomacy’, he said, explaining that if something was rubbish, Clooney would just tell him as much.
Hugh Bonneville, known to many for his role as Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey, was not there because he was busy working on the show. However, Heslov said it was ‘great to have the Lord of the manor’ on set.

One of the most fascinating stories came when the panel were asked when art first affected them or for some seminal moment in their lives when art played a really important part. Murray started, with the following story:
‘Well uh I think it would be back when I started acting in Chicago. I wasn’t very good and I remember my first experience on a stage I was so bad I just walked out of the theatre. I started walking and I walked for a couple of hours and I realised I’d walked the wrong direction. Not just the wrong direction in terms of where I lived but the wrong direction in terms of a desire to stay alive. And this may be a little bit – not completely true – but it’s pretty true, I walked and then thought, “Well if I’m gonna die where I am I may as well just go over towards the lake and maybe I’ll float for a while after I’m dead.” So I walked over towards the lake and I realised I’d hit Michigan Avenue and I thought, “Well Michigan Avenue, that runs north too” and so I started walking north. And I ended up in front of the Art Institute of Chicago and I just walked inside and I didn’t feel like I had any place being in there they used to ask you for a donation, y’know, when you walked into a museum and I just walked right through because I was ready to die . . . and I walked in and there’s a painting there and I don’t even know who painted it – I think it’s called The Song of the Lark – and it’s a woman working in a field and there’s a sunrise behind her and I’ve always loved this painting. I saw it that day and I just thought, “There’s a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects but the sun’s coming up anyway and she’s got another chance.” I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I, too, would have . . . get another chance every day.’

After such an incredible tale, the rest of the panel were hesitant about following him with the majority choosing to say nothing at all.

Interview with Death Line (Raw Meat) director Gary Sherman

(Interview originally posted at Filmoria)

Gary Sherman has been working in the film and TV business for many years, but it is for his 1973 horror Death Line (AKA Raw Meat) that many fans may be familiar with his work. Forty years on, the film – which was set in the depths of the London underground – is still a massive cult classic and has a huge fan following. The director, writer and producer told me that his directorial feature debut came about quite by chance when we spoke recently.

This interview is ready to depart … so mind the doors!

Having worked, up to that point, on music films, documentaries and commercials, Sherman was keen to make a feature and had been told that the way to do it was to write a script. He was working with Ceri Jones on a commercial in England – one which incidentally had a much bigger budget than Death Line would go on to have – when Sherman told him the story he had thought up and the pair then went on to write the screenplay. That screenplay was passed up the ladder until the call came through that they wanted to make the film and were happy to have Sherman direct.
The film has managed to become a cult hit with older and younger audiences alike. Sherman himself laughed that “probably 98% of [the fans] were not born when I made that movie”. He also said that “because of this whole resurgence of zombies … Dead and Buried found a whole new audience … they’re all in their twenties!”

Death Line was filmed on a part of the underground that had already been closed before the war – a phenomenon once again in the news after the recent Sherlock episode focused on a disused station. Sherman tells me that looking into the history of the underground was what sparked the idea for the story in the first place.
Any scenes in the film with actual trains were shot at Aldwych station – which at the time was closed during the weekend – but it was not an easy job getting permission to film on these platforms and in these tunnels. London Transport, Sherman tells me, refused to let them shoot because they thought the film was rather derogatory. Sherman took an old script, added in a couple of scenes that had to be shot on a tube platform, and tried again. That is how they got permission … but it meant they had to have people on hand to keep the London Transport representatives out of the station!

“because of this whole resurgence of zombies … Dead and Buried found a whole new audience … they’re all in their twenties!”
The casting is something of which Sherman is evidently still immensely proud. At one point, the Godfather himself, Marlon Brando, was considered to play the ‘man’ character – with the proviso that he be unrecognisable. Jay Kanter, executive producer on the film, was very close to Marlon Brando and had the idea of including him in the film. Nobody was ever going to know, Sherman tells me. Kanter talked to Brando about it and he thought it was a pretty funny idea. Sadly, Brando was forced to head home after a family emergency and the timing just didn’t work out.

So, I asked, if Marlon had been in it, would he have not been credited? “We would have put a funny name,” Sherman laughs, adding that Harry Frampton was doing the prosthetics and would have had a ball disguising Marlon.
One of the key actors in the film is, of course, Donald Pleasence, who Sherman says he wanted for the part from the time he wrote the script. He sent a copy of it to New York and flew over there to meet with the actor, who was delighted to be offered the comedic role, claiming that nobody ever offered him comedy.

“Getting everybody else was like cake once we had Donald,” Sherman says. “All these great British character actors – who you never would have thought would have done a little horror film like this – were all game to do it because Donald Pleasence was in it.”
Fans of the film will know that Pleasence’s was not the only recognisable face in the film. Producer Paul Maslansky asked Sherman what they could get Christopher Lee to do because they were great friends and Sherman was only too happy to oblige. The MI5 scenes, which had previously been written as a one-sided phone call, were written in just so Lee could be part of the film. According to Sherman, Lee was game to join in – if only to do the scene with Pleasence – but did check that it didn’t involve wearing his [Dracula] teeth.

“All these great British character actors – who you never would have thought would have done a little horror film like this – were all game to do it because Donald Pleasence was in it.” – Gary Sherman casting Death Line
Seeing as it was his first feature film, one thing Sherman had not factored in was that Christopher Lee was very tall and Donald Pleasence was far shorter. When he got them in to rehearse, he soon realised that putting them in a two-shot together was just not possible. Sherman then decided to do the whole sequence in singles and adjust the eyelines – and then get Lee to sit down. See what you think of the end result…

When I asked Sherman what it was he felt made people love Death Line so much he complimented his cast and added that, “It makes a political statement. It pokes the class system in England right in the eye. The ‘Man’ is a sympathetic character – he’s not an ‘evil’ monster. He’s just trying to survive.”
Death Line was the first of its kind” he explains. “There had never been anything like it before …. I’m very proud of it! … Death Line was just a really fun film to make.”

Exclusive Interview with HUMANS writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley

(Originally posted at Filmoria about series one)
With the exciting series one finale of Humans due on Channel 4 this weekend and the series well underway on AMC in the US, the synths and their human friends and foes have found a place in homes across the globe. We chatted with the show’s writers, Sam Vincent andJonathan Brackley, to discuss what went into writing the show, their favourite moments and the power of Ivanno Jeremiah‘s smile. We also did our best to get a hint of what fans can expect from the newly commissioned series two, which they are now working on.

Sam and Jonathan had already worked together on the last two series of Spooks with Kudos, along with the recent film, so they were already known to the company. When the rights to the original Swedish show, on which Humans is based, were obtained, the pair were asked if they wanted to get involved. Thankfully for us, they accepted!
Here’s what they had to say.

How similar is your version of the show compared to the original?
J: We took our cues from the first couple of episodes so most of our characters are based on a counterpart in the original Swedish series or amalgums thereof. Some of the storylines are inspired by the original but we ended up taking our characters on completely different journeys by the end of the series. It happened very organically. It wasn’t a conscious decision to do that it’s just that these were the areas that we were interested in that we wanted to follow.

What have been your favourite characters to write for?
J: That’s always a tough one to ask a writer. We’ve loved writing them all. I don’t know. I’m not sure I could pick one. Sam, have you got one?

S: The thing is, with this show, the characters are so radically different. You have synths: you have ordinary synths, you have the synths that are very different and more human-like. And then you have a whole bunch of very, very human characters. In terms of dialogue, it was a lot of fun writing for Rebecca Front‘s character, Vera, and also, Gemma Chan – as Anita, rather than as Mia – because then you’re writing the extremely codified, formal, language that an ordinary synth uses. That’s quite good fun to come up with. It was fun writing for Max (Ivanno Jeremiah) as well because we always saw him as the innocent. You could write a character who was highly intelligent and, of course, not human – in the way we understand it – and yet completely innocent and full of wide-eyed wonder. So that was always a lovely character to write. Really, the format gives us such a broad range of characters – that is, you can’t really pick a firm favourite, they’re all so different. I mean, the family talk in this very naturalistic, slang-y, jokey way. Yeah, I think it’s particularly fun writing some of that formal, synth language – that was something you don’t get to do in any other script.

How much of the synths’ mannerisms and behaviours were scripted vs. the actors being able to influence their specific characters?
S: In the script and in our discussions early on with the producers about how we saw it, we gave some broad strokes really. We said that their movement was not be stiff and jerky and robotic and it was more about graceful, flowing movement of economy. When we sat down to really think it through, we thought, well, if a synth makes a movement, they’re going to use the least amount of power to conserve energy and they’ll also make their movements slowly – as slowly as they can, in a sense, because that will conserve power. There won’t be any wasted movement at all because they plan their movements perfectly. They don’t shoot out an arm before they know what mug they’re picking up off the shelf, like us. They have this incredible precision and also this calm, flowing, economical movement. A thing we compared it to was a Japanese tea ritual. That kind of incredibly serene, measured, like flowing water – not a single wasted movement.

We also had the benefit of promising the threat to the viewer, because we have moments where we show that, actually, synths are faster and stronger than we are – and that again comes from the logic that we need them to be faster and stronger than we are because if our five-year-old kid stepped out in the road, you need your synth to be able to do something about it. But they never use that extra strength and speed unless they have to. It’s always there, under the surface. You know that they’re stronger and quicker than you are and in a fight you couldn’t win!
Really, though, we give a lot of credit to Sam Donovan, the director of episodes one and two, who worked with a guy called Dan O’Neill, who’s a choreographer. Sam and Dan worked very closely with the actors playing the synths and set up ‘Synth School’ to explore the physicality of being these creatures. They carried on from there and thought more about it. Gemma Chan, for example, came up with this thing that in order to conserve power, if she was looking at something to her left, she’d look with her eyes first, and then turn her head, and then turn her body. If she didn’t need to fully turn, she wouldn’t. That’s something you see her doing a lot, as Anita, and it’s very effective – it all builds up to this eerie, other-worldly performance. And then all the other synths – they’re all slightly different but they needed to find these points of uniformity where they could create a group performance, because you don’t want them all moving very differently. We had a huge amount of trust in the director and choreographer – and the actors themselves – and we were happy to let them explore that and find that themselves. What they came up with was absolutely brilliant in our eyes.

Do you have a favourite scene?
J: There are so many scenes that were just a joy to write. I think, in more general terms, we really enjoyed putting together episode six because there is so much going on – so many revelations, so many coming togethers of different characters and exciting twists and plot points. That was a real thrill because it was the first moment when all the threads start to converge in the run-up to the end of the series.

S: We were able to actually answer a lot of the mystery that we’d set up and sometimes you expect writers to drag the mysteries out for as many seasons as possible – and possibly never resolve them – but we always thought that we’d surprise people and pull a few curtains back, pull a few rugs (to continue that metaphor!) in episode six. It was very satisfying to do that and know that we’d be revealing some of those mysteries.
One of my favourite moments, actually, is in episode six, and it’s a moment that’s barely scripted. In the scene where Matti [Lucy Carless] and Leo [Colin Morgan] are attempting to bring Mia back, there is this moment where Toby [Theo Stevenson] and Max share a look. Toby looks nervously at Max turns and gives him this lovely big grin that Ivanno does so beautifully. Then Theo, equally beautifully, does this shy, slightly uncertain smile back. That, really, for me, is such a small, fleeting moment – it’s nothing to do with big revelations or plot or story or anything like that – but it is a moment of genuinely human connection where you feel the connection between the synth and the human being, which is what the whole series is about! It gets distilled down to that one moment of a perfectly, brilliantly done look between two actors at the right time. It’s so beautifully acted by both of them.

J: Ivanno’s use of his smile is masterful throughout the whole series. There’s a moment when he gives George a little smile as he’s leaving the house which is superb and the other smile that I love is in episode seven – which was not scripted – when the SWAT team come in at the end of the episode and one of them points a gun in Max’s face and he turns and smiles at him. It just fits so perfectly with where the character is at that time.
So, without giving anything away, what can fans expect from the series finale?

J: Er… Up to this point, we’ve answered most of the questions. There’ll be a [pause] coming together of all our synths and the other characters.
S: [After a long pause, trying to figure out what he can or can’t say] You can expect thrills, spills, tears, laughs, danger, suspense and … I think it’s better to not say any more.

Fair enough! On to series two then – congratulations on getting the second series commissioned this week, by the way!
J: Thank you very much!

S: Thank you!
Did you have something in mind, even before it was commissioned?

S: You can’t help, when you’re right in the middle of the story, to continue telling it to yourself when you’re really involved in a piece of writing so we always had ideas. You just couldn’t shut it off. You couldn’t just get to the end of episode eight and say ‘well, that’s it’. We were wondering what would happen after… Along the way, we had a lot of good ideas that we couldn’t fit into series one and thought maybe this is something we could do if we get to take the story forward. We always had ideas bubbling under. Some of them we told our producing partners at Kudos about, some of them we didn’t, but obviously now that we’ve had the go ahead, we are getting them all down and very much already in the process of collecting them all together and formalising them and beating out a shape for what it’s going to look like.
We loved it too much [to forget about it]. We wanted to return to these people, these characters and this world.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The adaptation of Emma Donoghue's Room is phenomenal!

Room is one of those books that has such passionate fans that an adaptation is something that fills us with a heightened level of both excitement and terror. In this instance, the book's author wrote the screenplay which is also a bold move and one that could go dramatically either way.
The film arrived earlier than its January 2016 (earlier in the US you lucky things!) release date, thanks to the London Film Festival and my book vs film review can be found over at Novelicious.
Suffice it to say, I doubt any fans of the book will be disappointed.
Here's the link.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Final Mockingjay trailer and clip prepares fans for the end of Hunger Games

We’ve had four years of trailers, posters, clips, images, films, premieres, interviews… We've seen Katniss's journey progress, watched as she was sucked in to more of the Capitol's games and somehow found the will to carry on.

And now, the Hunger Games films are coming to an end with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. And we have the final trailer which, for fans of both the books and films, is certainly an exciting and emotional 1 minute and 47 seconds. There's also a clip of the Star Squad to whet your appetite if you needed any more...

Based on the trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 finally arrives in UK cinemas on 19th November.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Martian: Book vs Film

Based on the novel by Andy Weir, The Martian is a film about one man’s fight for survival after he is mistakenly presumed dead by his fellow astronauts and left behind on Mars. He has a large amount of food and other supplies but not nearly enough to last him the years it will take before another space ship is scheduled to arrive back on the planet. Knowing this, Mark Watney must get to work and ‘science the shit’ out of a planet where nothing grows and his only ‘company’ is the abundance of disco music left by his commander, Melissa Lewis.

Andy Weir's phenomenal book is a great mixture of peril and laughter, as Watney is a man who uses humour to cope with stress. He is self-deprecating and witty and stops the book from ever being too miserable. Yet there is also A LOT of science in the book that many reader's have found slows the reading process down dramatically.

The film adaptation of The Martian is riddled with drama and peril, just like the novel. Will he manage to grow enough food? Will he manage to make water? Will another storm arrive to finish him off after he somehow survived the last one? Will he ever make contact with the people back home at NASA who believe him to be dead? These dramas make for a tense viewing experience that could have proven too much for some viewers – were it not for the fantastic sense of humour our hero Watney brings in the face of adversity. None of that humour is lost.

Watney leads the entire story and in that is its greatest treasure. He is bold, taking insane risks because there is no other way. When something fails, he gets back up and tries again. He does what he has to in order to survive, and that includes finding things to laugh at. Matt Damon does a phenomenal job of capturing the many sides to this brilliantly complex character, meaning that audiences will quickly come to love him and support him – and hope against hope that he finds a way home. Screenwriter Drew Goddard has understood the importance of Watney, allowing time in the screenplay for the viewer to really understand who he is and what drives him forward. This could so easily have been lost in the adaptation process because, of course, the book has plenty of time to explore it but the film does not.

The ensemble cast assembled for the film – including Jessica Chastain, Jeff Bridges and Chiwetel Ejiofor – are also a thing of wonder. There are all sorts of actors involved, of different age, gender, nationality and race. But the brilliance is that this is not done to be a gimic of any kind. There is no political correctness here, just a representation of the wider world in which we live – something many would argue is seriously lacking in cinema today. There are numerous relationships explored throughout the film – that of family, friends, work colleagues, etc. – but these are secondary to the goal at hand: get Mark Watney home.

Throw all of this against a Ridley Scott backdrop and you have something spectacular. There is an established human heart to this story but the Mars landscapes, the shots of his fellow astronauts travelling home without him, and the impact their stories have on the people back on Earth, throw this story out to a wider, more cinematic, film experience. Watney’s world becomes that much bigger as the film progresses, transforming this solitary story of survival into a wider tale of human connection and helping someone in need when all seems lost.

The Martian is a flawless adaptation that captures all the humour and drama of the novel. It trims down the science part of the novel and makes everything just a little bit 'nicer' but apart from that it works superbly well. The cast are fantastically honest in their performances, and Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard make for an exciting filmmaking team who clearly understand how to combine great character development with stunning scope. The film is best savoured on a large screen and, with the added 3D, it becomes truly immersive. This is a cinematic delight you’ll want to experience over and over.

Book: 5/5
Film: 5/5

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

LFF Highlights: Three Phenomenal Adaptations To Look Out For

The London Film Festival always brings great variety, including the weird and wonderful, the provocative and explosive, and the sweet and endearing. This year, LFF has brought audiences some staggeringly good adaptations for both book and film fans to enjoy, with three of these adaptations, in particular, really standing out. 

Firstly, there is the beautifully romantic Carol (The Price of Salt), based on Patricia Highsmith's novel. Cate Blanchett plays Carol opposite Rooney Mara and the production is completely breath-taking in all aspects. The direction is flawless, the script magnificent, the performances all spot-on and mult-faceted, and the gorgeous costumes and styles of the era entirely nostalgic. This is brave story-telling and a film that will stay with the viewer long after they've finished watching it.
(Carol is due for UK cinematic release on 27th November 2015)

If love-stories aren't your thing and you prefer weird and wonderful, then the brilliantly bonkers High-Rise may well be one for you - though this seems to be greatly dividing its audience with many either loving or hating it. Based on the JG Ballard novel from the 70s, the all-star (mostly British) cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Keeley Hawes, Sienna Miller and Elisabeth Moss. The story, about an apartment complex where the rich live at the top and the poor live at the bottom, starts relatively calmly and soon descends into chaos, violence and general debauchery. The soundtrack is something unlike anything you will have heard before and includes a Portishead cover of Abba's SOS, among other delights.
(High-Rise is expected in cinemas in early 2016)

Alternatively, the stand-out adaptation of the festival (and other festivals by all accounts!) has to be the gut-wrenching and magical Room, with a screenplay written by the book's author, Emma Donoghue. Brie Larson plays Ma along with young Jacob Tremblay as Jack and the film - much like the book - manages to capture all the innocence, horror and familial devotion of its characters. Larson's performance is riveting and, if there's any justice, she'll be a hot favourite come award season.
(Room is slated for UK release in January 2016)

Thursday, 17 September 2015

ALL HAIL MACBETH! in two exciting new posters

The three witches have arrived in two brilliant new posters for the Macbeth adaptation due to arrive in UK cinemas on 2nd October.
MACBETH stars Michael Fassbender (Twelve Years A Slave, Shame, Hunger) and Academy-Award winner Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night, La Vie En Rose) plus Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum), David Thewlis (the Harry Potter series), Sean Harris (Prometheus), Jack Reynor (What Richard Did) and Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby).

MACBETH is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of literature’s most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn Scotland.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Hunger Games: New Mockingjay poster and 'For Prim' trailer fly in

There are now only two months to go before the epic story of Katniss Everdeen and her Hunger Games cohorts comes to an explosive close. It’s no surprise then to see the publicity taking things up a notch.

A new trailer has been released entitled ‘For Prim’. It’s an emotional trailer and not just because of the haunting music by M83 that accompanies it. The trailer is comprised of many of the key scenes we’ve seen so far between heroine Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her younger sister Prim (Willow Shields). It is, of course, Prim’s selection back in the first film that began it all, with Katniss volunteering to be a tribute in her sister’s place. And from then on, we’ve seen the bond between them develop as Prim grows from a scared child to a more confident young woman.

Tissues and three-finger salutes at the ready.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 arrives in cinemas on 19th November. (Tickets will go on sale nationally on Thursday, October 1, 2015).

Monday, 25 May 2015

Two new Macbeth clips released

Two new clips have been released for the new adaptation of Shakespeare's play, Macbeth. With Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the lead roles, this is sure to be an exciting take on the classic story. The film also stars also stars Paddy Considine and David Thewlis and is directed by Justin Kurzel (Snowtown).

Macbeth is set for UK cinema release on 2nd October 2015.

Here are the clips:

Gluten-free vs dairy-free: Marble Limoncello Cupcakes

I'm coming up to a year now since I gave up eating gluten and cow's milk (turns out, they were not my friend!) and it's taken me that long to - I think - finally master the gluten- and dairy-free cupcake.

When I still ate wheat and milk, I made a mean limoncello cupcake. It wasn't all that surprising then that I decided to try and figure out how to make a gluten- and dairy-free alternative when I changed my diet.

But it wasn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I looked up recipes and they were all so complicated! No more just throwing things into a bowl, mixing it up and VOILA!

The first thing I discovered - even after finding a gluten-free flour that had all these fancy extras built in - was that gluten-free food is so much drier than gluten-full food. You have to counteract it with a sizeable dash of milk (which, as I no longer used it, had to be almond milk). These cupcakes also require a lot more elbow grease. They had weird little bubbles in them if I didn't whisk the pre-flour mixture into submission.

Then, just when I thought  I had cracked it, I found one more ingredient that really completed the cupcake: Cacao. Chocolate in its purest form and entirely free of dairy.

So, after all this trial and error, here's my recipe for my gluten- and dairy-free marble limoncello cupcakes.


150g Doves Farm Gluten-free White self-raising flour blend
150g dairy-free margarine
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
(Approx) 3 tablespoons of almond milk (or a non-dairy alternative if you have a nut allergy!)
A dash of vanilla essence (a teaspoon should be enough)
A sprinkling of Cacao powder

For the decoration:
Icing sugar

1. Mix the margarine and sugar together with a wooden spoon.
2. Whisk the eggs then add slowly to the batter, mixing as you go.
3. Add a dash of vanilla essence and the milk and mix in.
4. Whisk this all together for a minute to make sure that all lumps have gone.
5. Add the flour and fold it in slowly with a metal spoon.
6. Spoon a little of the mixture into cupcake cases, leaving room for more to be added.
7. With the remaining mixture, sprinkle on the Cacao powder - be careful not to add too much as the mixture then becomes too thick. You want just enough to make it turn light brown.
8. Add another dollop of this batter to the cupcakes, causing the marble effect.
9. Bake in the oven at Gas Mark 6 for around 15 minutes, checking to make sure they are not burnt. Do not open the oven before the fifteen minute mark as they are likely to sink!
10. When they are ready, take them out and place them on a plate or chopping board to cool.
11. When they have cooled, stab each of them in the middle with a fork and then, using a spoon, dribble on a little of the limoncello, letting it seep through into the sponge.
12. Add icing. (If you want to make these really boozy then use limoncello, not water, to make up the icing too!)
13. EAT!

So there you have it: a bit of elbow grease, a touch of chocolate and a hint of alcoholic lemons and you have yourself a delicious gluten- and dairy-free cupcake!

Do let me know if you give them a try!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

New trailers for Minions, The Intern and She's Funny That Way

As the summer months start to get closer, there are lots of trailers landing to get film fans excited for what we have coming up at cinemas.

Here are three that have just recently arrived:

1. Minions
There might just be a BANANA! shortage soon...!

2. The Intern
If you like your films a little less for the children in your life (or the inner child in yourself!) then there's also a new trailer for The Internship, which stars Robert De Niro (as the intern!) and Anne Hathaway.

3. She's Funny That Way
Alternatively, if you want something adult but a little bit silly then this trailer is the one for you.

Which are you looking forward to out of these three?