Category Archives: Seen on Screen


10 Crazy (But True) Facts About Doctor Who

We’re big Doctor Who fans at the Co-op and as the series always evolves, there’s always new and surprising facts to discover… here’s our favourites:

1. As the the Co-op’s Doctor Who range attests, the TARDIS image is a major part of the Doctor Who merchandise magic. However, the iconic blue box wasn’t always seen on Dr Who products. In fact, the BBC fought a years-long battle with with the POLICE MET just to use it. The Met argued they owned the design of the TARDIS exterior (as it’s based on a MET phone booth from the first half of the 20th Century). The BBC said  that since the MET had stopped using the design for more than 50 years ago, the boys in blue needed to get over it and realise that the blue box is nowadays much more closely linked to Doctor Who. It took several years, but in 2002 , the Patent Office agreed, meaning you can now adorn your bathroom with a TARDIS shower curtain, keep your biscuits in a TARDIS cookie jar, make your jelly into the shape of a TARDIS, dry yourself with a TARDIS, or even keep your toothbrush inside the TARDIS!


2. Benedict Cumberbatch could have been the Doctor! He reportedly turned it down because he wasn’t keen on the amount of merchandise that would be produced with his face on it… well, with the popularity of the Sherlock series, you can get your share of Benny-boy’s handsome face here.


3. The Doctor’s regeneration was based on a bad acid trip.


4. In 1988, Paramount Pictures wanted to make a Doctor Who movie starring either Michael Jackson or Bill Cosby as the Doctor.


5. The sound of the TARDIS was created with a bunch of keys. Back when Doctor Who began, the unmistakeable sound of the TARDIS materialising was created using a set of keys, which were dragged across the bass strings of a piano. The sound was then played in reverse. I wonder if there’s a secret message in there too …


6. Ridley Scott almost designed the Daleks.


7. The gas masks in “The Empty Child” were made in part from cans of baked beans after attempts to find authentic WWII gas masks failed because they contain dangerous asbestos.


8. The TARDIS looks like an old fashioned police lock-up box because its cloaking device, the chameleon circuit, malfunctioned after his first visit to 1963 London.


9. Before landing the role of the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant had roles in several Doctor Who audio dramas and also narrated a documentary about the revival of the show in 2005 (titled ‘Doctor Who’: A New Dimension).


10. A Dalek was found in a swampy pond in 2009. How it got there, no one knows …



New Mockingjay Portrait!

Today, Vanity Fair released a new and limited edition portrait of Katniss and Prim as a teaser for the final installment into the film adaptations of Suzanne Collins’  hit series. Sadly we still have to wait till November 20 to see Mockingjay Pt 2, but until then we can start to marvel at the teasers, behind the scenes pics and trailers that will slowly trickle down to us (from the Capitol…)

Firstly, this portrait! Katniss of course looks like a warrior queen, ready to kick some oppressive government ass, and Prim is wearing her medic uniform so we can all start crying.

The Sisters Portrait is an exclusive print available through the Festival de Cannes – Page Officielle as a part of  a new book Tim Palen: Photographs From The Hunger Games




aaaaand there’s also a teaser trailer of the Mockingjay emblem, just to make sure no one gets any work done this afternoon!

If you have not read the series yet, get The Hunger Games in this beautiful box set at The Co-op now!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 hits theaters Nov. 20, 2015.


Books Coming To a Screen Near You …

Keen to watch loved and loathed literary characters come to life on the big screen? Head into the cinemas in 2015 and you can do just that – the year is packed with exciting book-to-movie releases! Here’s just a few:

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey – it’s the book that got the hearts of millions beating fast (and made imaginations run wild). Now it’s set to steam up the silver screen! The much-anticipated film is out now!

Fifty Shades of Grey (Film Tie In)




Insurgent in the second instalment in this film saga, based on Veronica Roth’s epic dystopian Divergent series. It’s out in cinemas on 19 March.

The Longest Ride

Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride has now been made into a film starring Glee star Melissa Benoist and Fury actor (and Clint Eastwood’s offspring) Scott Eastwood. 9 April release date. BYO tissues.

Far From the Madding Crowd
Based on Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel and the first book to gain him widespread popularity, Far From the Madding Crowd is a brilliant story of female independence, the many layers of love and the strength of the human spirit. Starring Juno Temple and Carrie Mulligan, the film hits cinemas on 30 April.

Paper Towns
Based on John Green’s award-winning young adult novel, the film stars Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff (who also starred in the film adaptation of Green’s hit The Fault in Our Stars). In cinemas 4 June.

The Scorch Trials

The follow-up to the hugely successful film The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials is the second in this trilogy. It’s based on James Dashner action-packed Maze Runner trilogy and is out  17 September.

Mockingjay – Part 2

The film adaptation of the second half of Mockingjay – Part 2, the final book in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series. It’s out  19 Nov (and we can’t wait!)





The Wolf Of Wall Street FTI Cover

Most Pirated Movies of 2014

A list of the most pirated movies for 2014 has been released and in the top 20 are 7 films that originated from a book.

The list published in an article from Variety was put together by German internet security company Excipio which specialises in detecting online copyright infringement.

So, what as on the list? Let’s a look:


The Wolf of Wall Street  

30.035 million (Paramount, Dec. 25, 2013).

The Wolf of Wall Street FTI cover

By Jordan Belfort



29.919 million (Disney, Nov. 27, 2013)



29.879 million (MGM, Feb. 12, 2014; and Orion, July 17, 1987)

A number that combines the downloads for both the original and the ‘reboot’ version.



29.357 million (Warner Bros., Oct. 4, 2013)


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

27.627 million (Warner Bros., Dec. 13, 2013)

The Hobbit FTI cover

By J.R.R. Tolkien


The Dark World

25.749 million (Disney/Marvel, Nov. 8, 2013)


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

25.628 million (Disney/Marvel, April 4, 2014)


The Legend of Hercules

25.137 million (Summit, Jan. 10, 2014)


X-Men: Days of Future Past

24.380 million (20th Century Fox, May 23, 2014)


12 Years a Slave

23.653 million (Fox Searchlight, Oct. 18, 2013)

12 Years a Slave FTI

By Solomon Northup


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

23.543 million (Lionsgate, Nov. 22, 2013)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

By Suzanne Collins


American Hustle

23.143 million (Sony/Columbia, Dec. 13, 2013)

By Robert W. Greene


300: Rise of an Empire

23.096 million (Warner Bros., March 7, 2014)


Transformers: Age of Extinction

21.65 million (Paramount, June 27, 2014)



20.956 million (Warner Bros., May 16, 2014)



20.334 million (Paramount, March 28, 2014)



20.312 million (Lionsgate, March 21, 2014)

Divergent FTI

By Veronica Roth


Edge of Tomorrow  

20.299 million (Warner Bros., June 6, 2014)


Captain Phillips

19.817 million (Sony/Columbia, Oct. 11, 2013)


Lone Survivor

19.130 million (Universal, Dec. 25, 2013)

Lone Survivor FTI

By Marcus Luttrell


Mockingjay Part 1 – Film Review

I will start by saying that yes, they included the scene where Katniss sings – are you, are you, coming to the tree – and it is more glorious, heartbreaking, visually stunning and emotionally resonating than you could imagine.

I saw the film last Thursday night. Half a week later and I am still turning the film over in my mind… The third Hunger Games book, Mockingjay has been transformed into a deeply emotional and brilliantly filmed piece that satisfies you as a viewer while setting up the action for the final instalment.

I personally think two films is a good thing for this book. It would be all too easy to cut out the detail and make it a fast, action flick. This film, like the book itself, makes you shift down a gear and really think about the cost war has on people, communities, the environment, and one’s sense of self. Mockingjay Pt 1 has beautiful artistic direction and stunning acting that pays tribute to the emotional and human cost of war.Mockingjay-gale-poster

In the explosive aftermath of breaking free of the Arena in Catching Fire, Katniss and other rebels have fled to District 13, an underground base that has been planning a revolution against the oppressive Capitol for decades. However, Peeta, Katniss’s lover, and Victor have been captured and imprisoned in the Capitol. Katniss is uneasily forced to accept her role as figurehead for the revolution, even though she doesn’t fully support it herself. As Panem sinks deeper into what seems an unwinnable war, Katniss is now fighting in a new and uncontrollable arena, where the impact of her actions are reaching further than she had first imagined.

Mockingjay was easily the bleakest, most heartbreaking book of the series. It was also the book where one of the major complaints was that very little happened for many pages. However, I think now seeing it translated onto screen, it is a perfect book and film. Very little happens because a revolution takes time, it takes daily grind and struggle. Katniss is a broken hero, struggling with her PTSD and reluctance to be forced into another role of deception. And yet, the two-and-half hours were gone in a flash! I think because the film takes a step back and incorporates the wider world outside of Katniss’s mind – the cruel calculations and tactics of President Snow, the way the rebel side tries to manipulate the Mockingjay image in exactly the same way the Capitol did in Catching Fire. It makes for a film of high tension, politic discourse and action that definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Mockingjay

But when you draw away from the overarching theme of the film, it’s the attention to tiny details in the book that make it perfect – Prim braiding Katniss’s hair; District 12 reduced to Pompei-like rubble. Katniss failing at being a scripted hero for propaganda; Peeta trapped in the Capitol as a pawn opposing Katniss, in the grip of a tyrannical war machine. I also love the dense but clean forests that surround District 13. For a dystopian world born of war and global warming it is abundantly green… nature always wins in the end.

There’s so much about this film, so much to say and so many feels to be had! Considering that I deeply love the series I am already biased to loving this film and truly happy that it took the most heartbreaking book and made it into something beautiful; like what Cinna does to Katniss. The directing from Francis Lawrence is on point and Jennifer Lawrence will absolutely floor you with how perfect she is. From mental breakdown to rebel heroine, she delivers a performance that will launch her into the same calibre of acting as Meryl Streep.

And a big shoutout goes to Elizabeth Banks who is shining as Effie! The fans loved her so much she was saved from a Capitol prison and given a great part in Mockingjay! Best line – “You know what needs a revolution? That hair!”


Donald Sutherland is delivering a truly spine-chilling performance as President Snow. Actually the entire cast – Game of Thrones alumni Natalie Dormer, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson , Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore – is superb! I especially liked Julianne Moore’s crisp efficiency as President Coin. One of the most resonant moments comes when she is delivering a speech, and Plutarch stands in the background mouthing the words while Effie looks on in horror.

Of course this film is dedicated to the memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I like to hope that he would have been proud of the great calibre of film he was a part of.

Mockingjay Part 1 features just enough action and danger to satisfy, while setting the scene for the final part next year (it’s going to be torture to wait!).



Grumpy Cat Movie

If you haven’t heard of Grumpy Cat then you’re very unlikely to be reading this post.

It seems that the internet sensation that is Grumpy Cat now has a movie deal with a feel good straight to TV family comedy on the way.

Now I don’t want to influence your opinion, so here’s the trailer for you to watch >>

And, now that you’ve watched it we can talk about it.

I’ll be honest with you – when I watched the trailer the first thing I thought was “WOW that looks bad” and “What? Grumpy Cat is female?”

I don’t know why but I always imagined Grumpy Cat to be male. I expected quite a deep and droll voice – something like the monotone history teacher I had in year 7. That or maybe a slight Russian accent.

I didn’t expect Parks & Recreations Aubrey Plaza. Now I know she can deliver deadpan well, and she did the voice of Daria in a College Humor Originals episode, but she doesn’t deliver the voice how Daria Daria, actress Tracy Grandstaff, does.

So for me, while I do love a good trash Christmas movie (last Christmas I watched Christmas Bounty), I won’t be watching Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. In fact, I feel this should have been Grumpy Cat’s owners answer when pitched the proposal –


I’m going to stick to one of the books – Grumpy Cat or The Grumpy Guide to Life – so I can add my own Grumpy Cat voice (which would be me putting on a male voice) to make words to make Grumpy Cat come alive…

I’d also love to know what you think about the trailer in the comments below!


Halloween Costumes Seen on Screen

The Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror III 

This is one of The Simpsons’ earliest  Treehouse of Horror specials – and perhaps one of the best!
Costumes included:

  • Homer as Julius Caesar
  • Bart as Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange
  • Marge as an ancient Egyptian
  • Lisa as the Statue of Liberty
  • Milhouse as Radioactive Man
  • Ned Flanders as a headless zombie
  • Martin as Calliope, “the muse of heroic poetry”



The Big Bang Theory 


Ok, this may not be a Halloween episode (it’s New Year), but it contains so many epic costumes it had to be included. In this ep. of The Big Bang Theory, the gang dress up as the Justice League, with no holds-barred.



Ross is dressed as Sputnik (although most just think he’s dressed as a “space doody”

Monica is  Catwoman

Phoebe is Supergirl

Mona (Ross’ GF) is a nurse

Chandler is a pink bunny

Joey is dressed Chandler

Eric (Ursula’s BF, played by Sean Penn) is the Solar System


Mean Girls 

Unbeknowst to Cady (Lindsay Lohan), Halloween is a time her new friends use to “dress like a total slut”. In her naivety, Cady was under the impression it was to scare people and turns up as a zombie bride. You can imagine how that goes down when she enters the party, which features such costumes as an ex-wife, a sexy mouse and Playboy bunny.


Mean Girls: Cady, Gretchen, and Karen  


E.T. The Extra Terrestrial 

Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. is a film that stands the test of time, and one that is just as enjoyable now as it was when it was first released in 1982. The trick or treating scene is one of the best. Watch and enjoy!




Film Review – Before I Go To Sleep

So last week I waxed lyrical about the gripping, bestselling thriller Before I Go Sleep by S.J. Watson. I talk about what a fantastic book it is in my review here, and I read it quickly so I could see the film adaptation that was released this weekend, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong.

Christine Lucas (Kidman) awakes every morning with no memory. After a serious attack, Christine’s amnesia is so bad she loses the events of her day when she goes to sleep. After finding her diary, she starts to piece together the recent weeks she has lost and begins to fear that she is not safe with her husband, Ben (Firth).

I must say, this is very artistically filmed. Think oppressive grey skies broken with bare branches of wintery trees; panning across row after row of naked shop mannequins, as unprotected from the world as Christine; windswept piers and stretching corridors that give a trippy glimpse into the frustrated mind of a woman desperate to get well again. There are no wasted frames in this film. The music carries a lot of tension and the acting is perfect. As a film on it’s own it is quite accomplished. As an adaptation from a novel, it did feel a bit thin and constrained.

beforeigotosleepThe great part of this film is Nicole Kidman. She gives a truly exceptional performance and blends into the character of Christine so perfectly that you are invested in her story, and you feel the same disconnected and unsettled emotions as her. Colin Firth is Ben, the long-suffering and devoted husband who may or may not be someone Christine can trust… He is perfect in his role as a dependable but slightly shady older dude. I do feel a little bad, but he’s Mr Darcy, and it’s quite unsettling to see him in an untrustworthy and completely unromantic role!

Christine is also supported by the doctor she is unable to recognise each day, Ed Nash (although in the film they change his name!!!) played by Mark Strong, who has a voice like quicksilver, and portrays Dr Nash in a way that is creepy enough without cheap camera tricks trying to make him even more so!

In the film, the journal Christine keeps is changed to a Vlog on a camera which she stashes in the back of the wardrobe every day. It helps with keeping the visual of the film racing along, however I do have to question how much of her day and thoughts can be conveyed within 30 second sound bites. With the help of Dr Nash, Christine tries to piece together her missing life and solve the mystery surrounding her accident and the identities of those around her.

Is this film a thriller… well, no. It’s more like a very quick drama film with a lot of yelling and about five ‘Nicole Kidman almost getting hit by a car’ moments just to make the audience jump whenever the drama is lagging. The thing about the novel Before I Go To Sleep is that there are a few pivotal moments that are surrounded by the connecting tissue of Christine’s daily life. Unfortunately when the tissue is cut away to save on time in the film version, the resulting story comes across as hollow in some places. I don’t mean that the film should be 17 hours long, but I thought a little more screen time could be given, especially as this rounded to a mere 92-minute film.

The shorter time frame meant important clues in the book weren’t given enough screentime. For example, there’s a letter in the book and the handwriting holds significant importance; but you don’t understand the significance of the writing in the film, since a close up of the letter is never given. I felt that this made the film’s ending seem more random, whereas the book carefully constructed its way to the twist moment.

And of course with Colin Firth being just …. well, so Colin Firth, that even him trying to be menacing and evil left me thinking only of this (far superior) fight scene:

The trailer makes it look terrifying, but it’s actually a pretty tame drama (no Gone Girl throat slashing for this film). I think it will be a more enjoyable film if you haven’t read the book, either at all or recently, as it takes some serious liberties in the plot. However, the ending has the same emotional resonance and redemptive arc as the book, and it gets an A+ for superb acting and spine-chilling cinematography.


The Maze Runner by James Dashner

It goes without saying these days, if there’s a good YA novel, it is destined to become a film franchise. The latest offering is The Maze Runner, a fast paced action/adventure novel from James Dashner. As the film is going to be out today, I picked up a copy to see what all the fuss would be about. I was, from page 1, swept up and strapped in to a roller-coaster of action and intrigue. This was another book I had serious trouble putting down and spent 20% of my time hoping someone would bring it up in conversation just so I could talk about it more… The Maze Runner is awesome.

Thomas has no memory of his life before he is awoken in a metal cage, heading up to a mysterious place called The Glade, a small community of boys at the center of a bizarre, dangerous and constantly moving Maze. They don’t know what their purpose is, other than to escape the Maze, and keep their community safe from the horrors outside. Whether these boys are victims or criminals it is unknown – are they the last survivors, are they in a new form of prison, are they destined to die at the hands of the Grievers? All Thomas has to go on is an odd feeling that he has been in the Maze before and that it is his purpose to become a Runner.

Then, a mysterious girl is delivered to Glade, bringing a note that she will be the last and that everything will change… Dun Dun Dun!!

It is dramatic and gripping, with explosive action, plenty of questions raised and an unreliable narrator to keep you guessing to the very end! I found that the books gives you clues at the same time as Thomas figures things out. There is no info-dump explaining the origin or structure of the maze or of the Creators behind it who are sending kids into the Glade with no memories. I think it is this (and a strong resistance to Wikipedia the ending) that gives the book so much page-turning angst and mystery. The Maze Runner is brilliantly written, with a fantastic voice and imaginative, hair raising plot.

The Maze Runner is a great book for boys and great for fans of the Hunger Games. I did get a very Hunger Games-y vibe from the first half of the book (Glade is to Arena as Creator is to Capitol sort of thing) but that was swiftly left behind as the intense action takes over. The Maze changes every day and the boys scramble to piece together the messages and find their way out, before it’s too late…

Get The Maze Runner and the other 2 books in the series, The Scorch Trials and Death Cure in-store and online (there’s also a box set that would make a perfect Christmas or birthday present).

The Maze Runner premiers in cinemas today!

The Hundred Foot Journey

The Hundred Foot Journey

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. MoraisThe Hundred Foot Journey is a new book to film adaptation out this month. The book, The Hundred Foot Journey, written by Richard C. Morais is a bestseller, so you know that’s a good start for an adaptation.

Not having read the book, and not being a foodie (at all) I was indifferent to seeing the movie, but when a friend offers you a free ticket and you don’t have any other plans it’s hard to say no. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised by the movie and enjoyed it.

Helen Mirren is always amazing to watch, and her portrayal of Madame Mallory, the Michelin Star-restaurant owner, is no exception. Om Puri ‘Papa’ is as endearing as he is embarrassing,  and Manish Dayal brings alive the romance of cooking, and romance in general, as chef Hassan. With a great supporting cast in the mix, the recipe for success was bound to succeed (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

So what’s it about? An Indian family flee India after a family tragedy only to find themselves in a slightly dodgy van looking for the place to call home in Europe. After a mechanical mishap they end up in a French town that’s home to a Michelin starred French restaurant … and a long-abandoned building opposite it that’s just perfect for an Indian restaurant  – one hundred feet opposite to be precise. What follows is a journey bigger than the title as the town adapts to the new residents and the Puri family adapt to French life. Throw in a bit of a personal ‘rags to riches’ journey, a slightly dysfunctional family and some romance and you have a feel-good movie experience.

Looking at it as an adaptation, you can tell that certain parts of the book that give a deeper understanding of characters and events had to be dropped for the sake of the film’s length. And if I were a foodie, I would probably go ahead and read the book to find out more.

So in summary – would I recommend going to see this film? Yes, especially if you love your food, or are taking your mum. I also think that the book could make a good gift for someone who isn’t much of a reader, but enjoys a good story about relationships, loves food, or has a love for either the French or Indian culture.

To help you make up your own mind about whether you’ll see the film or not take a look at the trailer here: