This is the story of two intrepid travellers who embarked on a journey to find the real-life Grand Budapest Hotel mere days before the world changed forever.

What you’re reading now was meant to be published several months ago. Unlike my usual excuses for missing deadlines, I have a really, really good reason for filing this particular article late this time around. Actually this wasn’t even meant to be a written story at all, it was originally meant to be the first episode of a podcast where I would travel the planet to explore some of the most famous film…


The Queen’s Gambit has proven to be a huge hit on streaming service Netflix. The chess-inspired show has seen thousands of people pick up the ancient pastime in recent months, with the 1960s setting also making an impact on viewers. However, for loyal fans of the Anya Taylor-Joy series, only a fully immersive stay in this sumptuous hotel room dedicated to the show will do.

It’s definitely a place to check, mate.


Norway © https://olirileyphotography.com/

As we struggle to find safe places to travel to in the ongoing aftermath of the initial Covid-19 outbreak, Cassam Looch speaks to one travel photographer who found exactly what he was looking for on a recent getaway to Norway.

Oli Riley ( https://olirileyphotography.com/) has been travelling the world and taking pictures of what he finds for a number of years now. His work has seen him jet off to glamorous locations, from the colourful streets of Cuba to the serene beauty of the Sahara desert.


Part of the magic of cinema is the experience of being transported to the incredible locations conjured up by filmmakers for our entertainment. In a few cases, however, you can actually step foot on the movie sets that have been left behind.

A growing trend in travel is the phenomenon of set-jetting, a playful term for the search some film lovers undertake to find the real-life inspirations behind their favourite movies. …


When a 1980s live-action musical version of Popeye failed to take off at the box office, few critics could have imagined that more than 40 years later people would still be talking about the film. If you find yourself in Malta, though, it’s impossible to spend much time on the island before the subject of everyone’s favourite spinach-loving sailor pops up.

The exact timelines are a little murky, but what we do know is that, after a lengthy production period, a vast wooden film set was built by Hollywood studio Paramount to accommodate their big-budget movie. Malta’s Anchor Bay, a…


Blockbuster Video — ask your parents — has made a triumphant return to social media recently, with a series of tweets that broke a six-year online silence. It was all for an exciting cause, too: the once-dominant entertainment brand announced it was turning its last remaining store in Bend, Oregon, into an Airbnb rental property. Culture Trip reports.

Many film fans have a warm sense of nostalgia towards Blockbuster, even though it famously lost the rental war to Netflix over a decade ago. …


Making his tentative return to exploring the world, Cassam Looch explains why he picked out Malta as the perfect first trip out of lockdown.

As a travel and entertainment writer, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world. I’ve explored the ancient pyramids of Egypt, sampled exotic dishes in the Far East and toured more global movie locations than I care to remember. When the world essentially entered a period of lockdown, I hoped that my way of life would return sooner rather than later.

There’s no denying that the way we travel, or even the way we think about…


The new cinematic experience is being imagined by Ōma Cinema

A ground-breaking new movie-theatre concept has just been revealed, and to many cinemagoers’ amazement not only is the vertically stacked structure real, it is also already under construction in France.

The first Ōma Cinema is set to open next year in Paris, and its architect and founder Pierre Chican is confident his new design will catch on. “Whereas all cinemas built for more than 50 years now are similar and reproduce the same seating arrangement for the audience, this concept of a movie theatre creates a cinematographic experience,” Chican says on the company’s website.

The design is original, but some…


When Danish hygge meets the aesthetic of Japan’s Studio Ghibli, the result is a stunning campsite that is out of this world | © Third Nature / Structured Environment / Henrik Innovation

What happens when hygge — the Nordic way of life that prioritises warmth and comfort — meets a Japanese reverence for nature and the environment? The answer is an otherworldly campsite that looks like it belongs in the fantasy realm created by Hayao Miyazaki in the hit animated film Princess Mononoke (1997).

As most cities around the world went into lockdown in 2020, a crack team of Danish and Japanese designers set about working on a sustainable project that would change the way tourists interact with their surroundings. …


Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer

The stereotypical ‘dream girl’ has been a staple of cinema, but why is her kooky presence missing from the small screen?

During this ludicrously indescribable lockdown period, i’ve taken the plunge and committed to broadening my TV horizons. I started with popular US sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine almost 4 months ago… and here we are today. Instead of moving on to the next show as a normal person would, i’ve rewatched the same cop-based comedy dozens of times from series one to seven. And yes, I also skip the first few episodes where the comedy was seriously lacking.

There’s a fascinating…

Cassam Looch

Film and TV writer. Die Hard obsessive. Twitter: @cassamlooch

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