“City of stars Are you shining just for me?”

Some thoughts on La La Land I wasn’t going to write a post about La La Land. but after talking about it to an increasing number of friends who’ve now seen it, and nearly all been slightly disappointed/didn’t really like it, I feel compelled to get some thoughts on the page… because I loved it! I Read More

Two National Treasures at the Oxford Literary Festival

Alan Bennett and Nicholas Hytner in Conversation Earlier this evening I went into Oxford for my only visit to the Oxford Literary Festival this year. It was a sell-out event at the Sheldonian – with two national treasures who have been collaborating for decades in conversation. We were all crammed into the Sheldonian. I’d bought Read More

DVD Review – The Coen Brothers do the 1960s folk music scene…

Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen Brothers I’ve been taking advantage of my daughter being on holiday with her Dad to catch up on TV and movies. I binge-watched Broadchurch (loved) and The Honorable Woman (good, but confusing and irritating), but finished my week by watching the Coen Brother’s latest movie from earlier this year on Read More

A screenplay novelisation …

A Million Ways to Die In The West by Seth MacFarlane There’s no denying it – Seth MacFarlane is very talented. Apart from being very handsome, he’s an award winning animator – having worked for Hanna-Barbera after college, he’s the creator of Family Guy, co-creator/producer of American Dad, the comedy film Ted, and he acts/voices Read More

The Grand Budapest Hotel – what a film!

Imagine one of those old grand spa hotels from the early 1930s in an Eastern European alpine setting – a destination in its own right, busy, happening and very posh. Fast forward a few decades to faded grandeur marred by 1970s orange everywhere, near-empty, peopled just by the curious, or those on a bargain package… Read More

Anderson & Zweig; Thorn and Morrissey

I know – it’s too long since you had a proper book post – they will come soon, promise. Life is so busy at the moment, and for the next couple of weeks it’ll be the same – as I have the Abingdon Science Festival to go to/help at, several trips to the Oxford Literary Read More

Half term movies

I’ve been to the pictures twice this half-term – two very different films and two gooduns. First, I went with my daughter to see Tim Burton’s new stop-animation film, Frankenweenie.  Inspired by Frankenstein, natch, it’s the story of a boy and his dog, and like all the best classic horror films, it’s in black and Read More

Beryl on the box & big screen …

Today, I offer you a survey of Beryl’s work for TV and film, with as many links to clips as I can find… During the early part of her career, Beryl was an actress.  In 1961, she famously appeared in one episode of Coronation Street as the peace-protesting girlfriend of Ken Barlow. See BB in Corrie. She wrote Read More

Book v Movie: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I went to see the film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen this afternoon based on the brilliant 2006 book by Paul Torday. I read the book last year and loved it, (review here), so I was crossing my fingers that Read More

He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!

Had to write a short post on the BBC4 drama Holy Flying Circus which aired this week, it was a mostly marvellous 90 minutes of real Pythonesque homage. It followed the life of the Pythons around the time that Life of Brian was released in the cinema (1979), the TV ‘debate’ between Cleese and Palin v Muggeridge Read More

Memories are made of this?

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner Sally Gardner is moving up through the ages with her books. She started off with illustrating and writing picture books, then she wrote a series of Magical Children novels for younger readers, before writing several brilliant historical novels for older children (see my review of The Red Necklace here). Read More

Brothers under the skin???

I will get back to writing about books very soon, but an off-duty photo I saw yesterday of Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson in my daughter’s kids’ newspaper ‘First News’ gave me a jolt – for the delightfully chiselled Robert is looking rather like the handsome younger brother of the comedy demi-god that was John Belushi! Read More

A Cinematic treat for readers of all ages…

The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick This book has a fascinating concept. It’s a chunkster of over 500 pages that can be read in just a couple of hours for over half the pages are pictures – black and white pencil drawings mostly. But it’s not a Read More