Tag Archives: movies

Win a double pass to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, the movie directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon based on the young adult book by Jesse Andrews is out in cinemas now.  I think it looks great and I can’t wait to see it.

This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.

This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

To celebrate the release of the movie Allen and Unwin have kindly given me 2 double passes to give away.

Thanks to everyone who entered. The winners are Megan and Eibhlin and Saoirse.

If you haven’t seen the trailer for the movie check it out here:

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Filed under competition, movie trailer, Movies, young adult, young adult fiction

Steve Camden introduces his new book, It’s About Love

Steve Camden is an exciting new author that I’ve been hearing a lot about.  It’s All About Love is Steve’s second young adult novel and it sounds fantastic.  Read the blurb below and watch Steve’s video of his poem about It’s About Love.

He’s Luke. She’s Leia.

Just like in Star Wars. Just like they’re made for each other. Same film studies course, different backgrounds, different ends of town.

Only this isn’t a film. This is real life. This is where monsters from the past come back to take revenge. This is where you are sometimes the monster. And where the things we build to protect us, can end up doing the most harm…

It’s About Love is out now from HarperCollins New Zealand.

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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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Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Ever since I’d read that Melissa Keil would be the first author to be published as part of The Ampersand Project I was curious to read it.  The goal of the project is to help debut YA authors get published.  Life in Outer Space sounded wonderful and exactly my sort of book.  I was lucky enough to get to read it back in December and I fell in love with it from the first line.  I loved it so much that I’ve read it twice, and I loved it even more the second time around.

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, worry about girls he won’t. Then Camilla Carter arrives on the scene. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his plan. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a plan of her own – and he seems to be a part of it! Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies. But perhaps he’s been watching the wrong ones.

 

I love absolutely everything about Life in Outer Space! It’s full of cool characters that you want to be friends with, great dialogue, pop culture references galore, and hilarious moments that will have you laughing out loud.  Reading Life In Outer Space made me feel like I was at a comic book convention or a book conference, because I felt totally surrounded by people who were just like me.

Melissa’s characters feel totally real and you can imagine seeing them walking down the street or waiting outside the cinema to catch a movie.  Sam’s voice is so authentic that I’m sure Melissa has a teenage boy trapped inside her.  Sam is an incredibly likeable character, from his extensive knowledge of movies and his ability to relate them to real life, to his loyalty to his friends. He’s got a great sense of humour, but he’s also quite awkward.  He says that ‘everything useful I do know about real life I know from movies,’ and I love the way that he proves this frequently throughout the book. All of the other characters stand out too, especially Sam’s friends.  Adrian is the clown of the group, Mike is Sam’s gay best friend, Allison is their tom-boy female friend, and then there is Camilla.  Camilla is the cool new girl who arrives at Sam’s school at the start of the story and quickly becomes part of his group of friends.  She has an unusual name, a British accent, a tattoo, she’s from New York, she has a great smile, and she’s objectively attractive, all of which means she scores highly in Sam’s ‘mental social scorecard.’ Not only this, but she also knows a lot about movies and she wants to be friends with Sam.  I found myself falling for Camilla and I just wanted Sam to hurry up and kiss her.

Melissa’s writing is witty, heartfelt and incredibly funny.  I clicked with Sam straight away and I loved his point of view.  I loved Melissa’s description of characters through Sam’s eyes, like this one of Sam’s dad,

“My father likes Harvey Norman, the Discovery Channel, and for some reason, lizards.  He last smiled in 2008, which is one of the few things we have in common…My dad also looks like me – i.e. sort of like a storm-trooper.  And not the cool Star Wars kind.”

The dialogue is witty and I had to put the book down a couple of times because I was laughing so hard at some of the conversations between Sam and his friends.

I loved all of the pop culture references in Life in Outer Space.  I’m a huge movie geek so I loved all of the references to Sam and Camilla’s favourite movies and their debates about the merit of different movies.  Everything from Superman and Star Wars to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead gets a mention. Every time they would mention a movie I hadn’t seen I wanted to write it down so I could add it to my list of to-be-watched movies.

Life in Outer Space will make you think, feel, laugh and leave you wishing that Melissa’s characters were real.

5 out of 5

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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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Win a Hobbit Prize Pack

Harper Collins New Zealand have just published a range of wonderful books to tie in with the first Hobbit film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  There are four books, including the Movie Storybook, The World of Hobbits, the Visual Companion and the Official Movie Guide.  You can read all about each of the books here on the blog.

To celebrate the release of these books and the world premier of An Unexpected Journey in Wellington this week, Harper Collins New Zealand have kindly donated some of these wonderful books to give away.  There are 2 different packs and you can enter the draw for either or both of them.  The 2 packs are:

  • Kid – a copy of the Movie Storybook, The World of Hobbits, and the original book by J.R.R Tolkien.
  • Teen/Adult – a copy of the Visual Companion, the Official Movie Guide, and the original book by J.R.R Tolkien.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  This competition is now closed.  The winners were Melanie and Lehman.

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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 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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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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The Art of The Adventures of Tintin

If you’re as excited about The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn as I am you’ll be watching all the different movie trailers, looking at images from the movie, and maybe even wishing you were Tintin.  I loved the cartoon series of Tintin as well as the books and the movie looks amazing.  While you wait for the movie, there is an amazing book that you should check out called The Art of The Adventures of Tintin.

I find it really interesting finding out how movies are made, how they choose the actors to play the characters, what costumes they choose, and how they decide where to shoot the movie.  The Art of the Adventures of Tintin is overflowing with all this information about The Secret of the Unicorn.  There are introductions by the brilliant Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson who are directing and producing the movie.  They talk about why they decided to make this movie and how important it was to get the details correct.  The author of the book (and Lead Conceptual Designer for the movie), Chris Guise takes you on a kind of tour of the movie, showing you some of the amazing art work and design from the team at Weta Workshop that has gone into the movie.

The book is split into four sections: The Film Makers, The Beginning, The Characters, and The Environments.  The Beginning gives some background on Tintin’s creator, Herge, and shows you how the designers came up with the look of the movie.  My favourite section of the book is The Characters.  You get to see what Tintin could have looked like in the movie, and I really think they picked the right image for the movie, because some the early images look pretty strange.  You see how they created all the main characters and find out how they made them look so realistic.  The Environments shows you how the designers made the sets, props and vehicles look exactly like Herge imagined them.

If you’re a Tintin fan or even just like seeing how movies are made, The Art of the Adventures of Tintin is the perfect book for you.  There is so much detail and so many images in this book that it will keep you entertained for hours.  I can’t wait to see how all these aspects of the film have come together when The Secret of the Unicorn is released in New Zealand on 26th December.

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