Category Archives: Film

Paddington Bond… Bear

It’s not every author who gets to have a memorial service in St Paul’s Cathedral. But I think we can agree that Michael Bond deserved that, can’t we?

I wasn’t invited, but seem to know a few people who were. And I gather there was a – limited – opportunity to obtain a free ticket online, for those in the know. I hope everyone who attended had a good time.

Hugh Bonneville aka the Earl of Grantham aka Mr Brown of Paddington fame, was there, along with his two fictional Brown children.

The Bookwitch family went to see the second Paddington film in the cinema, the evening before. We had a great time, and the rare chance to actually dislike Hugh Grant. That doesn’t happen often.

I loved the scene were the prisoners shared pudding recipes, but suspect that really young viewers might not get the humour about the pannacotta recipe. So, something in there for all.

And isn’t it marvellous how a children’s book can spawn a couple of lovely films for all ages to enjoy?


Muggle magic for Christmas

‘Bring a touch of magic to the world of muggles with these movie must-haves.’

What’s wrong with the world? In fact, what’s wrong with Lakeland? This excellent mail order company that can make almost anyone want anything, and especially that which we don’t need, believes Harry Potter is a film.

Well, it is, of course. But it’s mostly a series of books. Still. Even though someone made films about the books.

And I understand that the film company bought all the rights to everything Harry Potter and in many instances they came up with the designs, so us muggles will know what Harry’s stuff looks like.

But still. They are surely not movie must-haves?

When I think of Harry Potter, I continue to – mostly – see my own pictures of the books in my head.

If these magical mugs and cauldrons were to make me weak at the knees, it’s not because of any Hollywood films. It’s because J K Rowling wrote seven fantastic books containing some weird and wonderful things.

Besides, surely Lakeland’s customers are serious enough to approve of mugs inspired by books? Movies aren’t everything in this world. Even if the movie company owns the rights to all that we see.

The Party

This is not as much fun as the title might suggest.

Lucy Hawking has long had a deep interest in autism, and knows much more about it than I do. She has written a short film script, which has been recorded for the Guardian’s new virtual reality site. It shows what the world – or at least a birthday party – looks like to someone on the autistic spectrum.

Technology is hard, and I don’t know enough about it. If you bought Saturday’s Guardian you’d have found a mention of this new VR site, and if you were very lucky you’d have received a free pair of spectacles with the paper, to use when viewing the video. I imagine it’s similar to the kind of 3D glasses you have for 3D cinema.

No glasses for us, but I registered online to be sent a pair. I gather you could also buy some. The information is (hopefully) to be found here. And there’s apps and stuff. I always get worried when people mention apps…

You can watch the film online – albeit not on Safari – and I did. But I imagine I didn’t get the full experience without the glasses. (It reminded me quite a lot of parties I go to, and I think we can safely say I’m not always the biggest fan of such ‘happy’ gatherings.)

I’m grateful Lucy has gone to the trouble of working out a way to show the neurotypical world what it [can] be like. As with most things, I am sure we experience them differently.

Queue? Not even for Tom Hanks, thanks.

Waterstones are (well, they were yesterday) flogging the possibility that you might get a ticket to stand in a very long queue at some unknown London venue to ‘meet’ Tom Hanks, as he signs his new book. In November. Possibly partly outside, in whatever weather. For hours, as it’s a first come first served queue. I.e. a normal queue for a big name, except you need to ‘win’ a ticket to stand in it.

After investigating their ‘offer’ briefly, I knew it was not for me. I don’t queue well.

And that led me to ponder who I would be willing to do this for. I mean, I like Tom Hanks as much as the next witch, and it’d be interesting to ‘meet’ him. But it would need to be under more comfortable circumstances, and with fewer restrictions. He won’t sign your name. He most likely won’t talk to you. But someone will be on hand to take a photo just as he signs ‘your’ book. No posing, obviously.

Luckily my most favourite people write really good books, but are not such superstars that their queues will last hours. When I thought a little more, I came to the conclusion I’ve not stood – remained – in a long queue. Not for anyone.

Not for Terry Pratchett, nor for Neil Gaiman. After those two I can’t come up with any real queue-magnets. A few stars have been managed by starting in the right spot, and/or running really fast in a well organised way. Daughter once queued for Jacqueline Wilson, where the bookshop sold timed tickets, so you’d at least know which hour was your hour. They also sold photos taken of you with Jacqueline (that really delayed proceedings), which was fine until the camera ran out of memory…

Cutting edge

I had my hair cut the other day. And on a good day the hairdresser remembers I am into books, and we can talk books. I suppose it helped that I brought one with me. To read, in case he was delayed with some other woman’s hair. It calms my nerves. The reading. Not other people’s hair.

He does read, which is nice. Not all hairdressers do. His children read, too. I asked once.

His current book is Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. So I immediately burst out with the words ‘that’s a Swedish book!’ He might not have known that.

He then paid me a compliment by saying he thought the book read so well, that it could almost be an original English one… I’m sure translator Roy Bradbury will be pleased to know.

And as Daughter and I had discussed the film just a week or so ago, I said I’d been thinking of watching the film. He said he thought it’d make a good film. I said it already had. And I’d been surprised to discover the film is several years old, since it felt as though it was only this year.

Time goes fast sometimes.

So based on that, I decided to look up how old the book is, and found it’s actually seven years already. But the English book version is two years old, so the film clearly happened before the translation.

Whether I find time to read Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann is uncertain. But I do feel the film must be watched. If only to make sure it doesn’t climb out any windows and disappears.

I suppose the next thing I should do is ask the hairdresser if he buys his books, and if so, where. Because he lives in Cumbernauld, where they don’t have any bookshops. I’ve been meaning to look into that, but it’s good to know that people still read, anyway.

Mads for Mayor

Trying to decide who came into my life first, Mads Mikkelsen or Patrick Ness. It’s all in the past, and that’s getting murkier by the minute. Some things I just don’t remember.

And others I do. That fateful – but really lovely – young reviewers club I was connected with quite a few years ago, for instance. I remember that one of the boys read The Knife of Never Letting Go. I thought it a curious title, and I wasn’t sure what I thought of the language, so I didn’t read it. Then.

The boy’s review was published on a review site that didn’t exactly get lots of hits, but some. One visitor was Patrick Ness. (I reckon most authors google themselves and their books. At least early on.) I followed the lead to where his subsequent link was coming from, which was on his blog. The review was the first, or one of the first, which was especially noticeable because it was before the book was officially out.

Patrick was pleased, and I was pleased that he was pleased.

Mads Mikkelsen. I know exactly where I clapped eyes on him. Just not when. His Danish television police series Rejseholdet seemed to be screened on Swedish television every summer, and one evening midway through an episode, I happened to switch on. I disliked him on sight.

But I enjoyed Rejseholdet, and eventually, after many years, I grew fond of Mads. And by now I, and the rest of the world, have seen him in lots of films, international as well as Danish.

I had never imagined Mayor Prentiss in The Knife of Never Letting Go looking like Mads. Not even a little bit. But I expect he’ll be marvellous as the ghastly Mayor. I’m already looking forward to the film, but suppose I will have to wait until 2019 for Chaos Walking, as it will be known. Slightly less of a mouthful than the book title.

The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star

I just love Ganesha, the baby elephant detective in Vaseem Khan’s Inspector Chopra novels! And I rather admire Poppy, aka Mrs Chopra. (I may have mentioned this before. Like every time I review Vaseem’s books.) I reckon Poppy is finding herself, going from loving wife of a police inspector to someone who… Well, maybe better not give it away, but there were one or two scenes in this, the third outing for Chopra and his elephant, that made me laugh out loud. Poppy knows her mind, but she still can’t prevent her personality from getting the better of her.

This crime adventure is set within the Bollywood business, but it is also pure Bollywood in itself. It is colourful and crazy, while also showing the reader the serious side to life in India; how some people have very few rights and lead dreadful lives.

Vaseem Khan, The Strange Didappearance of a Bollywood Star

Chopra’s sidekick Rangwalla has his own mystery to solve and he definitely discovers a few things about himself that he’s not proud over. But people can change.

So on the one side we have a kidnapped Bollywood hero and on the other we meet the Mumbai eunuchs. Chopra’s decent behaviour gets him into trouble, and were it not for those around him who love him; Ganesha, his adoptive boy Irfan, Poppy, his staff and his friends, things wouldn’t have ended so well.

Forgive me if I keep going on about how much I love these books. There is a charm and a decency, coupled with humour and a good crime plot and a fantastic setting. It leaves me wanting to learn more, but first I want some of chef Lucknowwallah’s food. And I’d like an elephant best friend.