TRAVELLING ON FILM: 3 movies to watch again this summer

Summer in England is not always as sunny as one might hope, which is probably why everyone here seems obsessed with sunlight! These are some films to inspire summer trips:

1. Easy Rider

easy rider

Easy Rider is a classic road trip across America: motorcycles, loud music and so much attitude! This film shaped a whole genre, and the acting is great – Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson are all amazing as ever. One to make you reminisce of long road trips!

2. Grease

grease

Grease is the perfect film to watch during the summer: The over-saturated look, the over the top fashion, and of course, the amazing music all make this as fun as it gets. And don’t forget to sing along to Summer Nights!

3. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

vicky

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is another great Woody Allen film about a city. Vicky and Cristina are American friends who decide to spend a summer break in Spain. Unlike other Woody Allen films, this is not as neurotic as you might expect. To watch sipping white wine!

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TRAVELLING ON FILM: Soundtracks to take on the road

I’m not a fan of musicals, but some films have really great soundtracks. Here are some movies with great music to take with you when you’re travelling:

1. Billy Elliot

billy elliot

I’ve seen Billy Elliot three times in the cinema, countless times on tv, and I’ve been to the musical twice – it really is the best. This is a very British film, telling the compelling story of a boy growing up in northern England in the 80s, amid miners’ strikes and all that.

Most people think Billy Elliot is a film about ballet – it is not. It’s about perseverance and pursuing your goals no matter what, about going after your passion. And yes, there’s lots of dancing too!

The soundtrack includes The Clash, The Jam, T-Rex and it’s just great. Hear it loud!

2. Buena Vista Social Club

buena vista

Cuba has been on my wishlist for a long time (maybe next year!). The vintage cars, the lively atmosphere, the history… it really seems like a very unique place.

Buena Vista Social Club really captures this spirit. This documentary follows Cuban musicians recording an album, so of course it’s full of good Cuban music. And it was directed by Wim Wenders, who is always great in making places come to life in his films.

Besides the movie, some of the musicians also went on to release solo albums (Ibrahim Ferrer being the most famous of them). And you can also watch them live on tour!

3. Chicago

chicago

I’m not a big fan of traditional musicals, but Chicago is a very good film. It is set in the 1920s, and shows Chicago as a city full of intrigue, but it also includes great music and impressive dancing.

A film that calls for a big bowl of popcorn!

TRAVELLING ON FILM: 3 movies to inspire wanderlust

In my dreams I always picture myself packing my things and leaving it all behind, travelling the world on a one-way ticket. In reality most of my trips are tightly scheduled around my office hours, but one can dream!

Here are some of my favourite films to encourage you to pack your bags and go:

1. The Motorcycle Diaries

motorcycle diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries tells the story of a young Che Guevara. It being a biopic, of course it focuses on some of the key events which turned out to be relevant in his future life.

But mostly, this is a film about a great road trip across the amazing landscapes of South America. To inspire those planning the trip of a lifetime!

2. Lost in translation

lost in translation

It’s quite hard to describe the feeling of being out of place when you travel, but Lost in Translation captures it perfectly and beautifully.

It really makes you feel like an outsider in Tokyo (and it is likely to put you off karaoke), but being directed by Sofia Coppola, it’s also a lot of fun and it has a great soundtrack. For those who want to see new places!

3. Into the Wild

into the wild

Inspired by a true story first told in a book by Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild follows the adventures of Christopher McCandless around America.

It is a hippie road trip across the country, great to watch on a lazy weekend. Perfect for real explorers!

TRAVELLING ON FILM: 3 movies set in Rome

I’m really looking forward to going to Rome next month. I’ve been there before, but that was many years ago, so it will be great to visit it again!

Rome is very picturesque, with amazing architectural features everywhere you look. So of course may great films have been set there… here are three of my favourites:

1. Bicycle Thieves

bicycle thief

Bicycle Thieves is a beautiful film by Vittorio De Sica, but boy is it sad. It’s set in the post-war, and it shows the many struggles of the main character.

The grandeur of Rome in the backdrop adds another layer to this tale of misery. An amazing film, but not an easy one to watch.

2. The Talented Mr Ripley

ripley

The Talented Mr Ripley is set in a few different locations around Italy, including Rome. This thriller is full of suspense and plot twists, all happening in amazing places where the main characters live the high life, such as the luxurious St Regis Hotel.

The perfect film to watch with a glass of wine on a lazy weekend afternoon.

3. To Rome with Love

rome

Woody Allen is a favourite of this blog, but he really makes the location a central part of his films.

To Rome with Love is a classic Woody Allen film, hilarious and neurotic. The cast is absolutely amazing, with Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Helen Page, Roberto Benigni and many others.

Rome is such a perfect city for this entertaining film!

TRAVELLING ON FILM: 3 movies set in New York

New York has been on my mind a lot recently, but a trip to the city is not on the horizon… but one can dream!

Like many other big cities, NYC has been in many great films. Woody Allen alone has used the city as the backdrop in many of his movies.

Here’s a list of three good films set in New York:

1. Annie Hall

annie hall

Manhattan is probably Woody Allen’s most famous film, but Annie Hall is definitely my favourite.

It is an amazingly neurotic film, with hilarious quotes like:

“You’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.”

It really couldn’t be set anywhere else in the world.

2. Big

big

I’ve watched Big lots of times – the last one was just a few weeks ago! It is a classic 80s film, hilarious and light-hearted.

The ‘piano scene’ is a classic, and you can still play in the original piano at FAO Schwartz, which is ideally located on 5th Avenue, right next to Central Park.

3. Black Swan

black swan

Black Swan is a great film to watch on a cold night. The thriller is set around a production of Swan Lake in New York City, and although it is sombre, I’d still count it as light entertainment.

Plus there are some great dance scenes as well!

TRAVELLING ON FILM: 3 of the best movies about London

Oh winter! You always overstay your welcome.

I haven’t travelled since mid-October and I don’t have another break planned until the end of January. I know, it’s not much at all, but for me it feels like AGES!

A good way to distract me while I’m not going anywhere is watching films about specific places. Here’s a short selection of some of good films set in London:

1. V for Vendetta

v

It’s thanks to V for Vendetta that many non-British people know about Guy Fawkes (myself included). This is a great film to learn more about British history.

Plus it’s very entertaining, and Hugo Weaving is simply amazing: which is a great feat given that he’s wearing a mask pretty much the whole time.

2. Notting Hill

notting hill

Yes, Notting Hill is cheesy. But as romcoms go, it’s actually pretty good.

This film is one of the reasons why Notting Hill became so popular with tourists, and it really is very nicely portrayed in the film.

And because the neighbourhood is a key part of the film, you can do a self-guided tour around some of the main locations!

3. Skyfall

skyfall

There are not many things as British as James Bond. But James Bond at the National Gallery in front of a painting by Turner takes it to another level!

I confess I’m not a massive fan of the 007 films, but Skyfall is a great option for light entertainment, perfect for a lazy wintry afternoon.