Category Archives: Movies

How I Live Now movie trailer

How I Live Now was Meg Rosoff’s debut YA novel.  I fell in love with Meg’s writing as soon as I started How I Live Now and I’ve read all of her books since then.  Each one is incredibly unique and you never quite know what to expect when you pick up her next book.

How I Live Now is not due out until early 2014 in NZ but I can’t wait to see it.

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Beautiful Creatures Movie

The Beautiful Creatures movie, based on the first book in the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, is out in New Zealand now.  I haven’t read the books but I went to the movie today and loved it so much that I immediately want to go and get all the books in the series.  The cast and the story was great so I highly recommend the movie.

I’d be interested to know, if you’ve read the books and seen the movie, how do they compare?

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Discover the world of The Hobbit

Like many other people around the world I’m incredibly excited about the release of the first Hobbit movie, An Unexpected Journey.  What better way to get ready for the movie than delve into books about it.  Like me, you could read the original book that inspired the movie, or you could read the wonderful new books that Harper Collins New Zealand have just released that take you inside the world of the movie.  Here are four of these wonderful books, aimed at a variety of different audiences.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – The Movie Storybook tells a simplified version of the story for children (or adults who want to know what the story is about).  The story is accompanied by lots of stunning, full-colour photos of the characters and places from the movie, as well as maps of Middle Earth.  The story is easy to follow and perfect for sharing with younger children who might not be ready to read the original story themselves.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – The World of Hobbits introduces children to the creatures who are the heroes of both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and tells you everything you always wanted to know about Hobbits.  You can learn not only what a Hobbit actually is, but also what they look like, what their nature is, what they wear, why they have such big, hairy feet, where they live, what their home looks like, what they eat, and who their friends and enemies are.  The writing is aimed at children so it’s basic and easy to understand, but incredibly interesting.  I really like the layout, as there is a good balance of images and text on each page.  There are plenty of full-colour photos of the characters and places, as well as maps, decorative borders, and even a Hobbit’s menu.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Visual Companion is aimed at an older audience and incorporates information and images from the younger titles.  It includes information about Hobbits (and Bilbo Baggins in particular), profiles of the other characters including Gandalf, each of the Dwarves and the Elves, a summary of their quest and information about the places they pass through, the enemies that they clash with, and a stunning map of Middle Earth that folds out.  The thing that I like most about this particular book is that you learn more about each of the characters, like their personalities and why they look the way they do.  Once again, this book is filled with full-colour photos of the characters and places from the movie, but you also get a more close-up look at the characters costumes and weapons.  This hardback book is one to treasure and is the perfect gift for Hobbit fans young and old.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Official Movie Guide is the perfect book for older Hobbit fans and movie buffs.  This book gives a behind-the-scenes look at making this incredible movie.  It includes exclusive interviews with director Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, as well as the rest of the main cast and filmmakers, who share film-making secrets and tales of what it was actually like making movie magic in Middle Earth.  Not only do you get photos from the movie, but also behind-the-scenes photos of the actors, locations, sets, creatures, and costumes.  You learn about Peter Jackson’s journey to bring the story to life, how they got the right look for the characters and their costumes, how they decided which locations to shoot in, how they transform an actor into a Dwarf, and how they filmed in high definition and 3D.  I could sit for hours reading this book and poring over all the stunning photos.  Anything you would want to know about making a film is in this book and it’s incredibly detailed.  With Gandalf gazing out at you on the front cover you can’t help but pick this book up from the shelf, and you won’t be disappointed if you do.

There is a Hobbit book for everyone this Christmas, whether you are young or old.  Grab one of these wonderful books to put under your tree this Christmas.

Thanks to Harper Collins New Zealand I have 2 Hobbit prize packs to give away.  You can enter the draw here.


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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

I had heard that the short film, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore had won an Academy Award last year.  I hadn’t paid much attention to it at the time, but when I noticed that a book of the story that inspired the film was going to be published I had to find out what all the fuss was about.  I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to rave about a film as much as I do about The Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  No movie that I’ve heard of, or watched, has more completely captured the magic of books.  This film is absolutely stunning and EVERYONE should see it.!  It’s fifteen minutes of pure joy and, if you love books, it’s guaranteed to make you incredibly happy.  There is no dialogue at all so you have to figure out what is happening in the story, which I think is part of the appeal.  I’ve posted the link to the film on YouTube below so you can experience it for yourself, and you can buy it on iTunes (I bought it so that I can take it wherever I go).

The creator of the film, William Joyce, has now brought the story to life on the page, in a beautiful hardback picture book.  The illustrations in the book are even more beautiful than the moving images in the film and I read the book several times just to stare at them.  The cover really jumps out at you, and I’d challenge any book lover to walk past it without picking it up to see what’s inside.  Unlike the film, there is text in the book so you are told what is happening (I suggest watching the film before reading the book as I think you get more out of the story that way).  I especially like the design of the book, from the beautiful binding and dust jacket, to the way the text and illustrations interact on the page.

Like Morris Lessmore, we are whipped up by the wind and whisked away to a land where books fly, dance, and even play the piano.  As soon as you see this book or watch the film you will fall in love with the story and want to return to it again and again.  I discovered that William Joyce has also written a fantasy series for children, called The Guardians of Childhood, that is currently being made into an animated movie called Rise of the Guardians, due out later this year.

Watch the Academy Award-winning film below and grab a copy of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore from your library or bookshop.

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Win The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn DVD

Normally I only give away books on my blog, but one of my favourite movies of 2011, The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, is released tomorrow (Wednesday 25 April) on DVD so I want to celebrate by giving a copy away.  I’m a huge Tintin fan and I thought Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson did a fantastic job making this movie (couldn’t believe that it didn’t get nominated for the Oscars!).

To get in the draw to win a copy of The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn on DVD leave a comment on this post with your name and email telling me what is your favourite Tintin adventure.  Competition closes Wednesday 2 May (NZ only).

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Win a Lorax prize pack

One of my favourite Dr. Seuss books is The Lorax so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out they were making a movie of the book (I love the movie of The Grinch and Cat in the Hat).  The movie is released in NZ next Thursday (29 March) and I have a Lorax prize pack to give away, including a copy of the eco-edition of the book, a Hoyts movie pass, and a recycled paper notebook.

Thanks to everyone who entered this competition.  The winner is Stephanie.


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Win a copy of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse

I’ve been a huge fan of Michael Morpurgo for years.  Every single book of his that I’ve read has been brilliant.  His book, War Horse, was one of them that I hadn’t read until recently but I wanted to before I saw the movie.  I’m one of those people who has to read the book before I see the movie otherwise the book is ruined for me.

I can’t wait to see the movie because it looks like Steven Spielberg has stayed true to the story and the cast looks amazing.  Just watching the trailer nearly made me cry so I’m sure the movie will be a tear-jerker.

I have a copy of the movie tie-in edition of Michael Morpurgo’s book to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is tell me what is your favourite kids/family movie based on a book?  Just leave a comment on this post with your name and email address (so I can contact you if you win).

Thanks to those who entered.  The winner of the copy of War Horse is Clare.

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet check it out:


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Adventures of Tintin movie review

I’ve been looking forward to seeing The Adventures of Tintin since I heard the movie was being made, so I went to the very first screening on Boxing Day. All of the pictures and movie trailers I’ve seen for the film made it look amazing and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Adventures of Tintin is a mish-mash of three different Tintin stories, Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham’s Treasure and The Crab with the Golden Claws, so there are locations and characters from each of these books (minus Professor Calculus). The opening credits really set the scene with an endless action sequence that highlights lots of different Tintin stories. The movie opens with Tintin’s creator, Herge, making a guest appearance in the market where Tintin discovers the model of the Unicorn. The story rockets along like all good Tintin adventures and you meet some of your favourite Tintin characters, including Captain Haddock and Thompson and Thomson.

The motion capture animation is amazing, making the characters look real while still looking like Herge’s illustrations. The characters use their catch-phrases, including my favourite ‘Billions of blue, blistering barnacles!’ There are some brilliant action sequences throughout the movie, especially in Bagghar (this part made me crack up laughing as well). I saw the movie in 3D but I’m sure it’s just as great in 2D. Whether or not you’re a fan of Tintin you should go and see The Adventures of Tintin for your dose of action, adventure, and laughs. It’s perfect for anyone from 7-107.

10 out of 10 – my favourite movie of the year!

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The Adventures of Tintin movie tie-in books

Here in New Zealand we have to wait until Boxing Day to see The Adventures of Tintin on the big screen.  I certainly can’t wait to see it as the trailers and clips I’ve seen so far have been amazing.  While I wait for Boxing Day I’ve been checking out the cool movie tie-in books that Bantam have released.  There are 6 books all together and they are all aimed at different age groups.

The Adventures of Tintin Novel by Alex Irvine is a novelization of the screenplay which was written by the legendary team of Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish.  This novel tells the story of the movie and is aimed at children 9+.  It’s a very different experience reading this than the original graphic novels because you don’t have any images to help tell the story.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Chapter Book, adapted by Stephanie Peters, is the story of the movie written as a chapter book aimed younger readers (7-9 year olds).  Unlike the novel, the chapter book has photos from the movie to add some excitement to the story.  The chapter book tells the whole story of the movie, but is very abridged.

There are also two Colour First Readers, The Mystery of the Missing Wallets and Danger at Sea.  These two first readers take a particular part of the story and simplify it for those children who are just starting to read.  They are full of colourful photos from the movie and are perfect for readers who are comfortable tackling new words and starting to read on their own.  There is also Tintin’s Daring Escape, a picture book that’s perfect for sharing with young Tintin fans.

My favourite of all the Tintin movie tie-in books is the Sticker Book.  It includes games and puzzles, as well as over 100 full-colour stickers.  Children could stick them in the book, save them for something special, or stick them all over their school books.

I’m a huge Tintin fan so I think it’s great to see these movie tie-in books.  I’m sure the movie and these wonderful books will help to introduce Tintin to a whole new generation.  If you need any last minute Christmas gift ideas or just want something special to keep the kids entertained over the Christmas break, head to your bookstore and grab The Adventures of Tintin movie tie-in books.

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The Hugo Movie Companion by Brian Selznick

Two of my favourite things in the world are books and movies, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw the Hugo Movie Companion.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret is one of my all time favourite books because of the combination of words and pictures, and I can’t wait to see the movie, which is directed by Martin Scorsese

The Hugo Movie Companion is a behind-the-scenes look at how Brian Selznick’s book was made into a movie, from the vision of the director, to the costumes, make-up, sets, and editing the footage into the final movie.   I was totally engrossed in the book from beginning to end because Brian takes the reader through the process of making the movie.  You learn about all the roles that are needed to make a movie, from the director to the animal trainer.  There are biographies of each of the actors and film crew, with information about their role in the movie.  The book is filled with stunning photos from the movie (some beside Brian’s original illustrations), diagrams, sketches, and historical material from the French cinema archives.  I was really interested to read Martin’s reasons for choosing to film in 3D, as it seems to be somewhat overused these days.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much is that it’s written by Brian Selznick himself.  You get the impression that Brian is incredibly happy with how the film has turned out and how Martin Scorsese has portrayed his characters.  The Hugo Movie Companion is the perfect gift for anyone (kids and adults) who are fans of Brian’s book or just love movies.

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