June 15, 2015, Posted by Tom in Culture, Film & TV

Game of Thrones: Series 5 awards (SPOILERS!)

Well ruddy hell, what a finale to cap a pretty damn good series (or is it season? Let’s go with series, we’re British) of GAME OF THRONES. Sure, there were one or two bits that dragged, but the pace picked up hugely towards the end (especially that insane final episode), and we’re already impatient for series 6. Given that we’ve got a while till then, we thought we’d have a look back at the ten slices of beardy, bawdy action and hand out some gongs. So without further ado, here are our GAME OF THRONES Series 5 Awards, sponsored by Dragon Glass…




Hero of the Series

Jon Snow. Ok, so he’s often been very wooden and miserable in the past, but that battle with the White Walkers was quite something. For the first time ever we believed that maybe, just maybe, he could be the man to save and unite the Seven Kingdoms. But then along came that final scene in the last episode and we all lost our minds again.


Villain of the Series

It’s a tie! We thought Ramsay Bolton (or Snow, whatever) had it in the bag for his truly horrific actions, but then along came Stannis Baratheon and his unique methods of childcare. Two awful people, but at least Stannis has now paid the ultimate price for his wicked ways. Surely an even worse fate awaits Ramsay. We can only hope.


The Bran Stark Award for Most Pointless Character

Sam Tarly retains this award for the 3rd year running. How is he a) still alive b) still so round? THERE’S NO FOOD!


Best New Career

Cock Merchant. Enough said.


Best Beard

Another tie! We just can’t separate Tyrion Lannister and Wildling leader Tormund Giantsbane. They have our utmost respect.



The ‘Just give it up mate, she ain’t interested’ Award

He’s kept on trying to redeem himself with Dany, but maybe Ser Jorah Mormont just has to accept it won’t happen. Will his heroic actions in the fighting pits be enough? Either way, his love will surely remain unrequited. SURELY.


Slowest Growing Baby

Little baby Sam. When they finally do release him from his swaddling he’ll be a fifteen-year-old boy with a pathetic bumfluff tash and a voice that’s starting to break.


The ‘Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins’ Award for Most Meandering Accent

Just where exactly is Lord Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, from?



The Red Wedding Award for Most Shocking Moment

Poor Shireen Baratheon. Poor, poor Shireen. Sure, there have been some awful, horrific moments, but we really didn’t expect Stannis to let us down like that. The (apparent) end of Jon Snow was a close runner-up, but perhaps we’re all becoming a bit immune to the whole character-who-you-think-is-the-main-hero-gets-stabbed-lots thing.


Best Fictional Illness

“Doctor, can you help me? I think I’ve got myself a nasty case of greyscale


And there we have it. So whaddya think? Reckon we’ve been too harsh on ol’ Sam? Or not harsh enough, for that matter? Why not tweet us @StareAtBooks and let us know what awards you’d like to have seen.




June 9, 2015, Posted by Beau Merchant in Culture, Film & TV

Jurassic World – Nostalgia finds a way

There are only a handful of films that make such an impact that most people remember the first time they saw it. Jurassic Park is one of them.

I saw it at the Barnet Odeon in July 1993 with my Dad, brother and Grandad (who was sporting the most horrendous Hawaiian shirt).  I’d never seen anything like it. This was before the world wide web came along and dampened any surprise with the endless trailers, clips and spoilers. There were dinosaurs! In a theme park! Eating people! With Jeff Goldblum!


The film worked on every level. From the brilliantly written characters, to the touching and funny moments, to the jump scares and the clever merchandising and toys – there was something to satisfy every age.

The sequel that followed was a little lacklustre, and by time the woeful Jurassic Park 3 came along in 2001 the franchise and any fond memories of the first film were long extinguished.

Now that fourteen years have passed we’ve all got older, more nostalgic and we crave that same feeling the first film gave us all those years back. With the release of Jurassic World this week, there will be a whole generation who grew up with the original film flocking to the cinema for that reason. Who cares if the trailer looks slightly ridiculous with dinosaurs working for humans and a genetically super-species dinosaur on the loose? This may be the film in the series that jumps the shark (or should that be eats the shark?) but it won’t put people off. Nostalgia finds a way.

Jurassic World hits cinemas this Friday, 12th June. We think it might be quite popular…



May 14, 2015, Posted by Tom in Culture, Film & TV

Rules to Rule By: words of wisdom from Ari Gold

Ari Gold, the leading man in TV series Entourage, is known for his ruthless approach to deal-making and client relationships that made him one of, if not the, most powerful and sought-after agents in Hollywood until he retired in 2011.

Now, in his new book The Gold Standard: Rules to Rule By, he finally offers his invaluable tips and advice on how to be successful in work and life. As Ari Gold himself says: “In my humble opinion, if you want to run a successful business this is the only book you’ll ever have to read. And my humble opinion is never wrong.”

So here are a few of Ari’s 18 key rules from the book to get you on the right track…


Ari Gold’s The Gold Standard: Rules to Rule By is out NOW, published in the UK by Headline Publishing Group

Ari Gold

April 30, 2015, Posted by Tom in Culture, Film & TV

10 gloriously obscure Star Wars characters

We’re always wasting time on Twitter, and one of our favourite accounts of all time is @StarWars7783. Covering the glorious 1977-1983 period of the original Star Wars movies, it provides a daily dose of behind the scenes photos, promo shots, stills, props and, best of all, toys. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

To prove why, here are 10 tweets featuring gloriously obscure characters from the original Star Wars trilogy universe…

Mon Mothma – many Bothams died to bring us this tweet:

Ten Numb – forget Nien Nunb, Ten is the boss:

Figrin D’an – the Star Wars version of Paul McCartney:

  Weequay – wrinkly bloke who tries to feed Luke to the Sarlacc:

Mos Eisley barman – voices what many of us feel when he kicks out C3-PO:

2-1B medical droid – puts Luke in a tank and lets him float around. Great guy:

Boshek – without this bloke, Chewie would never have met Obi-Wan. Imagine that:

Lobot – any friend of Lando’s is a friend of ours:

4-Lom – a robot bounty hunter thing with a brain. Not as good as Boba Fett:

Pote Snitkin – literally no idea who this guy is:

You NEED to follow @StarWars7783!

April 29, 2015, Posted by Beau Merchant in Culture, Film & TV

The best of Hitchcock: 5 classic moments from the Master of Suspense

On this day in 1980, Alfred Hitchcock passed away at his Bel Air home.

Hitchcock is considered one of the greatest filmmakers ever and rightly so. His impressive and (almost) flawless body of work still has the power to grip, shock and dazzle and he has been an inspiration to most directors working today.

No director since has been able to match Hitchcock in the ability to frame and shoot a scene with the creeping menace and unnerving tension he was able to. Hitch was a true master of the art.

To celebrate the work of the ‘Master of Suspense’, we have chosen 5 classic scenes which had us in awe. (CONTAINS SPOILERS)


The playground scene – THE BIRDS (1963)

Classic Hitchcock. The calm before the storm. The build up, the haunting singing of the school kids and the moment of realisation at 1.24. Perfect.


The shower scene – PSYCHO (1960)

Probably the most iconic of all Hitchcock’s scenes. Audience members were fainting in the cinema at the shock of the film’s main star being killed off half way through.


Caught out scene – REAR WINDOW (1954)

If you spend your days snooping on your neighbour, don’t get caught. Spine-tingling.


The bus stop scene – NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)

The crop duster sequence is the moment most remember from the film, but it’s the scene just before where Carey Grant is alone by the side of the road in a vast empty desert that leaves the lasting impression. Creepy.


The opening scene – STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)

The playful opening to this story of murder and suspense may of lead audiences into a false sense of security, but it’s pure Hitchcock genius at work as the strangers of the title meet for the first time.

Those are our choices, but what would you have chosen? Let us know @stareatbooks

March 10, 2015, Posted by Beau Merchant in Culture, Film & TV

8 classic Reeves and Mortimer sketches

We love Vic and Bob. Anyone who has ever watched Shooting Stars, The Smell of Reeves of Mortimer, Vic Reeves Big Night Out or any of their other insanely brilliant TV shows will surely agree.

Indeed, they’re currently dazzling us with the second series of House of Fools (highlights so far include them flying to the moon on the back of a giant moth, and Vic tattooing a portrait of Jeremy Clarkson onto Bosh’s back). Catch up on the old iPlayer.

Generic ImagesThe House of Fools lot (© BBC Two/Pett Productions)

To mark 25 years as a duo, Vic and Bob are heading out this November for the aptly named Poignant Moments tour. We can’t wait, and to celebrate this glorious event here are 8 of our favourite Reeves and Mortimer moments…

Masterchef (The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer)

Mulligan and O’Hare (Bang Bang, It’s Reeves & Mortimer)

Food and Drink (The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer)

Caravan (Shooting Stars)

Stars in Their Eyes (The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer)

Jane Hairs (Shooting Stars)

Noel’s Addicts (The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer)

Masterchef… again (Shooting Stars)

For all of the 25 Years of Reeves and Mortimer: Poignant Moments tour dates and to buy tickets, head over to Ticketmaster

January 30, 2015, Posted by Tom in Culture, Film & TV

Is Oscar Isaac Hollywood’s coolest actor?

Gosling seems to have gone a bit quiet recently, McConaughey keeps doing terrible adverts, and Bale’s last few films have been rubbish. So the title of Hollywood’s coolest actor is up for grabs, and here are a few reasons why that might just be Oscar Isaac…

He’s in not one but TWO great films at the moment:

You wait ages for a new Oscar Isaac film, and then two come along at once. That’s right, creepy futuristic sci-fi thriller Ex Machina and crime drama A Most Violent Year are both in cinemas now and are getting rave reviews. His unnerving, bearded tech genius in Ex Machina is particularly glorious, and includes a rather peculiar dance scene.


He was in Drive:

The coolest film of the last ten years. And he was in it. Yes, Ryan Gosling got all the praise for being all good looking and whatever, but Standard Gabriel was a more edgy and interesting character, and probably had more lines.


He was Llewyn Davis:

His performance as the titular troubled folk singer in Inside Llewyn Davis was pretty much superb, and he was nominated for a shedload of awards as a result. Proving that he can sing as well as act, it was 100 minutes of 1960s New York-based brilliance from the Coen Brothers. The entire soundtrack is well worth a listen.

He’s going to be in Star Wars!

It doesn’t get much better than that for an actor, does it? Even better, he’s going to be playing an X-Wing pilot called Poe Damoren, which is surely the greatest Star Wars name since Salacious B. Crumb. The Force Awakens hits cinemas this December, so why not watch the trailer again…

Keep up the good work, Oscar Isaac.

January 9, 2015, Posted by Tom Troughton in Books, Culture, Film & TV

7 Cool James Bond Book Covers

Bond fans unite. The twenty-fourth James Bond film Spectre is set to be released later on this year and to celebrate, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the best Bond book covers (after all guys, we need to remember that the films are based on Ian Fleming’s much-loved series…).

Sure, some of you hardcore fans may point out that Spectre isn’t actually an Ian Fleming book and therefore question the purpose of this article? If so – back the hell off. We like books and want an excuse to look at some pretty covers, ok?!

Starring the likes of Christopher Waltz, Andrew Scott and, of course, Daniel Craig, Spectre is set for release on November 6th 2015. It’s going to be a long 11 months…

Some of our favourite James Bond book covers:

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 All images © the respective publishers
(Goldfinger: Jonathan Cape, Octopussy: Vintage, Moonraker: Jonathan Cape, Live and Let Die: Penguin, From Russia with Love: Penguin, Quantum of Solace: unknown, Casino Royale: Jonathan Cape)