J K Rowling's bestselling series of books based upon the adventures of an 11-year old wizard, Harry Potter, have become a worldwide phenomenon. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has sold over 100 million copies in over 46 languages.
The new film Gabriel and Me is set in Newcastle against the backdrop of derelict shipyards. The story revolves around Jimmy Spud and his family. Jimmy's ambition is to become an angel to "save people from the intolerable burdens society places on their shoulders".
A new video from the US called 9.11 produced by Indymedia is now available. It is an alternative insight into the immediate response of New Yorkers to the events of 11 September and to the threat of US military retaliation. It begins the very next day after the attack, where the people of New York gather in Union Square to share experiences.
Software Giant Microsoft launched the latest version of its Windows software on 25 October. Sting played a special gig in New York to launch Windows XP. London's Royal Festival Hall was booked for the European launch. Behind the hype Windows XP highlights Microsoft's obscene rush for profits. Company founder Bill Gates is already worth £41 billion-over £6 for every person on the planet. His company reckons that Windows XP can increase that even further.
The Regeneration trilogy by Pat Barker is a powerful set of novels based around the real experiences of individuals during the First World War. Regeneration begins in Craiglockhart Military Hospital. It is the job of army psychologist Dr Rivers to rehabilitate officers who are shellshocked. The high profile poet and officer Siegfried Sassoon has been sent there because he has publicly denounced the war.
Rock band Pulp have returned to form with their new album We Love Life, rediscovering the radicalism of their fantastic 1995 album, Different Class. Different Class propelled Pulp to the top of the charts, with anthems like "Common People" and "Disco 2000".
"We made it as part of the Media Workers Against the War contribution to the anti-war camp. It's 25 minutes long and made up of interviews and footage of speeches such as at the first stop the war meeting of 2,000 people at Friends Meeting House in London. People who couldn't go to that meeting or who don't live in London can begin to get a sense of the Stop the War Coalition. The video outlines the basic arguments against the war-on humanitarian grounds, it's illegal, counterproductive and it is leading to a worsening of the situation."
The war in Afghanistan has produced a torrent of maps in the media. The British Library's current free exhibition couldn't be better timed. Under the brilliant punning title "The Lie of the Land", it shows how the rich and our rulers have used maps.
La Ville est Tranquille (The Town is Quiet), directed by Robert Guediguian, is one of the most powerful and deeply moving films I have seen for many years. Set in Marseilles, it is a razor-sharp portrayal, devoid of sentimentality, of working class people suffering the unremitting brutalisation of modern day capitalism.
The Man Who Wasn't There is a new film by director Joel Coen. It follows the life of Ed Crane, a small-town barber in late 1940s California. Ed, who talks very little and always has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, is tired of the futility of his life.
THERE IS so much that a film that is set in Brixton, south London, could possibly explore. But South West Nine presents a picture of life that doesn't reflect the real experience of the area and consists of a range of cliches.
IT PERHAPS seems strange to be watching a TV series about war as the US and Britain set off on another bombing crusade-but Band of Brothers, a Second World War drama with a budget of £80 million, hit our screens last week.
TO UNDERSTAND why thousands of Palestinians have risked their lives to challenge the might of the Israeli state in the last 12 months, read The New Intifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid. The book, edited by US journalist Roane Carey, "arose out of disgust at the mainstream media's constant misinterpretation of the basic facts of this uprising". It brings together many of the best writers who oppose Israel's brutal repression of the Palestinian people.
PARTICIPATING in the demonstrations in Genoa was for many a life-changing event. We saw Italian trade unionists join the diversity of the anti-capitalist movement in the biggest demo Europe had seen for many years. We knew another world was possible, and we came home and tried to tell as many people as possible.
ENIGMA IS a war movie that is worth a look. It is fiction, but is based against the background of real events, the successful breaking of the Nazi Enigma code machine by the Allies in the Second World War. It is well acted, with a decent plot, and has a sharp screenplay by playwright Tom Stoppard.
GEORGE MONBIOT'S detailed and devastating account of how the corporations are subverting areas of public life that are supposed to be "democratic" is now available in paperback.
NEW INTERNATIONALIST magazine has just released three more "No-Nonsense Guides". They are £7 and are available from Bookmarks-phone 020 7637 1848 or go to www.bookmarks.uk.com
MARK THOMAS, the comedian and activist who was so successful with his Channel 4 programmes, is on a tour which will take his establishment-poking talent to nearly 50 towns and cities across Britain. Go for a defiant, intensely moving, incredibly powerful and hugely funny evening.
THE MASS anti-capitalist protests in Genoa changed people. It became a beacon for all those fighting the system-not just those who were there but across the world.
KALEIL AND Tom are best friends from high school. Together they decide to set up an internet company to make money out of local government. Although it doesn't sound the most exciting story, Startup.com is a fascinating and funny film.