What would you pay to have a role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay?

US online auction house Charitybuzz is giving fans of The Hunger Games the chance to appear in the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

The first item, a non-speaking role for the movie, is estimated to be worth $10,000. Whoever wins will be given time to meet some of the actors and crew working on the film. Bids will be accepted until March 27th.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime! You will have a chance to be a non-speaking extra on the set of the highly anticipated movie, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, which is currently filming in Atlanta, GA, through April 18th. You’ll hang out with the actors (no guarantee to meet the principals) and key crew while you have this amazing experience.

The second item, a visit to the set of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, is valued at $5,000. Producer Jon Kilik will serve as an escort for the winner and one friend. Bidding ends on March 20th.

Witness movie making live and in person on the set of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. You and a friend will be the special guests of Producer Jon Kilik, who will escort you around the set, let you listen in on the actors’ scenes, personally introduce you to some the cast and key members of the crew, and take you to lunch so you can pick his brain about The Hunger Games and being an award-winning movie producer (Babel, Hunger Games, A Bronx Tale, Malcolm X, Dead Man Walking and many more.)

So how big a fan are you? Would you be willing to fork out the big cash to have this once in a lifetime experience? Let us know in the comments below.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland

Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark.

Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victors Tour” of the districts.

Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

Grab a copy of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire here

The Hunger Games

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sisters place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when shes pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared their entire lives.

If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Grab a copy of The Hunger Games here

And the winners of The Broken Shore on DVD are…….

the-broken-shore

Did you buy a DVD from our store last month? Then you went in the running to win a copy of The Broken Shore, the acclaimed film starring Don Hany and Claudia Karvan.

The Broken Shore is an evocative crime thriller set against a background of police corruption, racism and family tragedy.

Joe Cashin (Don Hany) is a Homicide Detective transferred to the small Victorian coastal town of Port Monro where he grew up. When wealthy benefactor Charles Bourgoyne dies, Joe’s investigation uncovers a cycle of lies, betrayal and systematic corruption in a community where tensions over race, class and politics are at boiling point.

Capturing the chilling action and laconic wit of Peter Temple’s acclaimed The Broken Shore, this television adaptation filmed against the rugged south-east Victorian coastline brings alive the novel’s cast of complex characters as it slowly reveals the shocking face behind a community’s respectable mask.

Winners

B. Johnson, Coonabarabran, NSW
D. Tooth, Preston West, VIC
J. Pretty, Kingsford, NSW
P. Randall, Mapleton, QLD
J.Tyrer, Dubbo, NSW

Grab a copy of The Broken Shore here


Congratulations to the winners!
For your chance to enter a Booktopia Competition click here

12 Years A Slave Wins Best Picture At The Oscars!

Congratulations to 12 Years a Slave, the film adaptation of the eloquent and powerful memoir by Solomon Northup, winner of the 2014 Oscar for Best Picture.

(Facebook comp winners announced at the bottom of this post)

Widely regarded as the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history.

It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery.

He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

About the Author

Solomon Northup was kidnapped into slavery in Washington, D.C. in 1841. Shortly after his escape, he published his memoirs to great acclaim and brought legal action against his abductors, though they were never persecuted.

Congrats to these lucky Booktopians, winners of double passes to see the film!

Helen Fairyblue Smith, Aileen O’Neill, Helen Concha, Nicole Andary, Jenny May

Please email us at promos@booktopia.com.au with your details!

Grab a copy of Twelve Years a Slave here

Grab a copy of Twelve Years a Slave here

Win a double pass to see The Monuments Men starring Matt Damon and George Clooney

Attention Booktopians! For a limited time win a double pass to see The Monuments Men (in cinemas March 13) when you buy a copy of the book.

Be quick before stock runs out!

Grab a copy of The Monuments Men here

The Monuments Men

Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

What if I told you that there was an epic story about World War II that has not been told, involving the most unlikely group of heroes?

What if I told you there was a group of men on the front lines who didn’t carry machine guns or drive tanks; a new kind of soldier, one charged with saving, not destroying.

From caves to castles in a thrilling race against time, these men risked their lives daily to save hundreds of thousands of the world’s greatest works of art. THEY were the Monuments Men, and THIS is their extraordinary true story.

Grab a copy of The Monuments Men here

Harold Ramis – A Literary Tribute

In my household, the late Harold Ramis was a God.

As a director, writer and actor, his CV is a collection of my favourite movies growing up. Caddyshack, Animal House, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and National Lampoon’s Vacation. If he had played a wise-cracking jeep driver in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade he would have filled the list.

There is a story in my family that, as an eight year-old, whenever my parents couldn’t find me they would go to the spare room, which had a TV. Without fail I would be sitting in front of it in deep concentration, only willing to use hand signals to explain what I was watching.

Usually it was Caddyshack, which was signalled with a stubby finger reaching for the sky. Occasionally two fingers would appear, to signal the viewing of its poorly-received sequel, a film Ramis regretted but I loved all the same. The viewing of Animal House was usually accompanied with a meek apology, as I turned it off and then waited for the footsteps to distance so I could turn it back on again.

As a tribute to the great Harold Ramis we look at some of the greatest moments from his greatest movies, along with a literary piece that I believe either inspired him or, more likely, he inspired. Even more proof that Ramis’ reach extended far beyond a half naked John Candy in Stripes.


Ghostbusters

Accompanying Piece: The Turn of the Screw

When an inexperienced governess goes to work at Bly, a country house in Essex to look after a young boy Miles and his sister Flora, all manner of strange events begin to occur. The governess begins to spot a ghostly man and woman around the grounds and is told by the housekeeper that they are the ghosts of the valet and the previous governess.

It soon becomes clear that the children are inexplicably connected to these ghosts in some way and the young governess struggles to protect the children, although from exactly what, she is not sure.

Grab a copy of The Turn of the Screw here


Stripes

Accompanying Piece: Catch-22

Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel’s strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller’s classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.

Set in the closing months of World War II in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never even met keep trying to kill him.

Joseph Heller’s bestselling novel is a hilarious and tragic satire on military madness, and the tale of one man’s efforts to survive it.

Grab a copy of Catch-22 here


Caddyshack

Accompanying Piece: The Grapes of Wrath

Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel west in search of the promised land.

Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human, yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.

Steinbeck famously said, “I’ve done my damndest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags,”, with The Grapes of Wrath winning a large following among the working class due to Steinbeck’s sympathy to the workers’ movement and his accessible prose style.

Grab a copy of The Grapes of Wrath here


Animal House

Accompanying Piece: The Adventures of Augie March

A penniless and parentless Chicago boy growing up in the Great Depression, Augie March drifts through life latching on to a wild succession of occupations, including butler, thief, dog-washer, sailor and salesman. He is a ‘born recruit’, easily influenced by others who try to mould his destiny. Not until he tangles with the glamorous Thea, a huntress with a trained eagle, can he attempt to break free.

A modern day everyman on an odyssey in search of reality and identity, Augie March is the star of star performer in a richly observed human variety show, a modern-day Columbus in search of reality and fulfilment.

Grab a copy of The Adventures of Augie March here


Groundhog Day

Accompanying Piece: Life After Life

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life?

Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny?

And would you even want to?

Grab a copy of Life After Life here


Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to the Booktopia Blog. When not reading and writing he enjoys fast food and a slow metabolism.

You can follow Andrew’s ramblings on twitter at @andrew__cat

Win the acclaimed film The Broken Shore on DVD

If you missed ABC’s screening of The Broken Shore on Sunday, don’t despair. We’re giving away 10 packs of the acclaimed thriller starring Don Hany, Dan Wyllie and Claudia Karvan.

Just released on DVD, The Broken Shore is an evocative crime thriller that captures the chilling action and sharp wit of Peter Temple’s acclaimed novel of the same name.

In this gripping adaptation, Detective Joe Cashin uncovers a web of lies, betrayal and police corruption in a small coastal town where tensions are at boiling point and the shocking face behind the community’s respectable mask is slowly unveiled.

For your chance to win The Broken Shore on DVD, just buy anything from our DVD and Blu-Ray store. You have until the 21st of February to go in the draw.

Click here to start browsing our DVD & Blu-Ray Store

Share in Booktopia’s Red Obsession

In case you didn’t know, our Editorial Director Caroline Baum is just one half of an incredibly talented duo. Her husband David Roach is one of Australia’s most popular screenwriters, as well as a celebrated producer and director.

David, along with his creative partner Warwick Ross, yesterday won Best Direction in a Documentary at The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards for their film Red Obsession, a look at the wine boom in China and its impact on the fine wine capital of the world, Bordeaux.

Narrated by Russell Crowe, Red Obsession is a wonderful film and a worthy winner. A big congrats to David from everyone at Booktopia.

Red Obsession

Directed by David Roach & Warwick Ross

“When the dragon awakes she will shake the world” – Napoleon Bonaparte.

The dragon that is modern china has awoken from its slumber, and what it is thirsty for is wine. Lots of it…

For centuries, Bordeaux has commanded an almost mythical status in the world of wine as a symbol of wealth, power and influence – but its prosperity has always been linked to the capricious nature of markets and the shifting fortunes of global economies.

Now Bordeaux is courting China, its most lucrative customer ever. Traditional customers like the US and the UK are falling away as China’s new rich push prices to stratospheric levels. The product is finite and this new client wants it all. But China’s insatiable appetite for rare wine, its own ambitions as a wine producer and its counterfeiting of Bordeaux wines on an unprecedented scale, all threaten to permanently damage Bordeaux’s reputation.

Bordeaux must weigh up the risks of turning its back on traditional markets and the challenges to its integrity as it follows the seductive promise of this new “silk road”.

Narrated by Russell Crowe, this fascinating documentary explores the global power shift from the West to the East through the most coveted wines on the planet…a phenomenon that has seen red wine become more valuable than gold.

Grab a copy of Red Obsession here

The 2014 Golden Globe Winners – And the Books That Inspired Them

BEST PICTURE – DRAMA

12 Years a Slave

BASED ON

Twelve Years a Slave

by Solomon Northup

The story that inspired the major motion picture, with an introduction by the bestselling author of Wench, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing, vividly detailed, and utterly unforgettable account of slavery.

Solomon Northup was an entrepreneur and dedicated family man, father to three young children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. What little free time he had after long days of manual and farm labor he spent reading books and playing the violin. Though his father was born into slavery, Solomon was born and lived free.

In March 1841, two strangers approached Northup, offering him employment as a violinist in a town hundreds of miles away from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York. Solomon bid his wife farewell until his return. Only after he was drugged and bound did he realize the strangers were kidnappers-that nefarious brand of criminals in the business of capturing runaway and free blacks for profit. Thus began Northup’s horrific life as a slave.

Click here for more about 12 Years a Slave


Captain Phillips

BASED ON

A Captain’s Duty

by Richard Phillips

8th April 2009 was just an ordinary day for 53 -year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the United States-registered cargo vessel, the Maersk Alabama, as it headed towards the port of Mombasa. Ordinary that is until, two hundred or so miles off the east coast of Africa, armed Somali pirates attacked and boarded the freighter. It was the first time an American cargo ship had been hijacked in over 200 years.

What the pirates didn’t expect was that the crew would fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as a hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew – a courageous gesture that resulted in his being help captive on a tiny life-boat off the anarchic, gun-plagued coast of Somalia. And so began a tense five-day stand-off, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue by U.S. Navy SEALs.

Click here for more about A Captain’s Duty


Philomena

BASED ON

Philomena

by Martin Sixsmith

When she fell pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent at Roscrea in Co. Tipperary to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him from her and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption.

Coerced into signing a document promising never to attempt to see her child again, she nonetheless spent the next fifty years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic.

Click here for more about Philomena


BEST PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

American Hustle

BASED ON

The Sting Man

by Robert W. Greene

How did a Bronx hustler nearly bring down the US government?

The Sting Man tells the inside story of Mel Weinberg. From hustling on the streets of the Bronx to selling bogus businesses and sham investments around the world, Weinberg netted millions of dollars. So legendary were his skills that in the late 1970s he was recruited by the FBI to combat art thieves and counterfeiters. But the trail quickly led to even bigger targets.

His legendary sting operation, Abscam, caught eight corrupt congressmen and senators. The scandal shook America to the core.

Click here for more about The Sting Man


Inside Llewyn Davis

BASED ON

The Mayor of MacDougal Street

by Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk was one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of the ’60s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Village scene.

The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a first-hand account by a major player in the social and musical history of the ’50s and ’60s. It features encounters with young stars-to-be like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, and Joni Mitchell, as well as older luminaries like Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Odetta.

Click here for more about The Mayor of MacDougal Street


The Wolf Of Wall Street

BASED ON

The Wolf Of Wall Street

by Jordan Belfort

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting.

From the binge that sunk a 170-foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him for at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding.

Here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called …

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Click here for more about The Wolf Of Wall Street

FILM REVIEW: Ender’s Game (Review by Andrew Cattanach)

627BD7B7-B85C-17D8-400EB5034FA017A8It appeared to be an annual occurrence. Every year a new production of Orson Scott Card’s seminal sci-fi novel Ender’s Game would be announced, and within a few months it would be abandoned. The story was too internalised, the young cast too difficult to assemble, the special effects too difficult to produce.

But if this summer is remembered for anything, it will surely be the Golden Era of the Book to Film. And so, we have Ender’s Game: The Movie.

Ender’s Game boasts an incredible cast, with Hollywood royalty Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis joined by young heavyweights Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld, the child stars of Hugo and True Grit.

Having read the book recently, I was a little scared to see how the film would put everything together. The novel is a menagerie of themes and philosophies, musings on childhood, class systems, religion and warfare but to name a few. Finding a place for it all on the screen was always going to be a challenge, trying to give the film its own voice while placating millions of existing fans, skeptical about the film.

Somehow, the film manages to do both with aplomb. While fans of the novel will grimace at the small changes to make the film more palatable to the masses (Ender is 6 years old in the book, 16 years old in the movie), the film carries the same darkness, the same raw feelings that have made the novel one of Sci-Fi’s most celebrated works.

Harrison Ford actually acts in this movie, which is rare these days, while Ben Kingsley plays his mysterious character (Ender’s Game newbies will get a shock) with the sort of intensity we’ve come to expect. Viola Davis is wonderful as, let’s face it, she is in everything.

As for the tween stars, Asa Butterfield could be a little better and Hailee Steinfeld could be a little angrier, as the books demand. But in these criticisms we arrive at the heart of the story. What can we expect of children as they are asked to scale mountains? To save thousands or to make millions? What is talent? Is one born with it or is it installed into them?

The questions Card asked years ago when he first released Ender’s Game are the same questions the film will leave you pondering. And that, in a world of underwhelming adaptations, is a test most productions sadly fail.

Grab a copy of Ender’s Game and receive a free double pass to see the movie.
Click here for more details!

The Night I Fell In Love With The Worst Movie Ever Made

Last week I received a phone call from a friend telling me there was a cinematic event on the horizon I could not afford to miss. It was a screening of the cult classic The Room at Sydney’s iconic Hayden Orpheum. I was informed The Room was widely regarded as the worst movie ever made in the history of cinema, commonly referred to as ‘the Citizen Kane of bad movies’. So I, along with about 500 film buffs, went along to see what all the fuss was about.

It was the most extraordinary cinematic experience of my life.

In case you haven’t heard of it, The Room was made in 2003 by first time actor, writer and director Tommy Wiseau. Somehow Wiseau scraped together a $6 million budget for the film. What resulted is something so bad it may be one of the funniest films ever made.

Some of the gaffs include the camera constantly going in and out of focus, dialogue that reads like it was written by a five year old, acting that would make robots blush, terrible continuity (one character is bearded then clean shaven in the same scene). You can scroll down to see a taste of some of The Room’s finest moments.

So why am I writing about The Room? Because, to much fanfare, a book has now been released about this astonishing ‘achievement’, called The Disaster Artist. It received a glowing review in The New York Times recently.

If you haven’t seen The Room, please do. But if it is out of reach, grab a copy of The Disaster Artist and be enthralled by the complexity of the world’s worst film being adored by millions.

Click here for more details

The Disaster Artist

by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

The hilarious and inspiring story of how a mysterious misfit got past every roadblock in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms: a $6 million cinematic catastrophe called The Room.

Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau’s scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, “I have to do a scene with this guy.” That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed never to have read the rule book on interpersonal relationships (or the instruc­tions on a bottle of black hair dye), yet he generously offered to put the aspiring actor up in his LA apart­ment. Sestero’s nascent acting career first sizzled, then fizzled, resulting in Wiseau’s last-second offer to Sestero of costarring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct-in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.

Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, but despite the efforts of the disbelieving (and frequently fired) crew and embarrassed (and fre­quently fired) actors, the movie made no sense. Nevertheless Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like “getting stabbed in the head.”

The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero’s laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart.

Click here for more details

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