Wednesday 31 July 2013

Now You See Me…

Minor spoiler-of-the-obvious alert! Don’t you just hate it when a film that you’re really enjoying, that has actors in it that you really love, has an abrupt twist that doesn’t come off right and then charges straight into a flat ending?

Yeah, that sums up nearly all of my reflections of this movie. Maybe I’m being hypercritical or looking at it too much with a writer’s eye, because someone I saw this movie with agreed with me that the ending was flat but thought the twist that came just before it worked.

I, however, can’t help thinking that with the swapping of a couple of key elements, and the removal of the flat (and extremely contrived just-to-leave-room-for-a-sequel thus damaging the impact of the end of the first film) ending you would have an exceptional story and a really good movie.

I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers, and opinions on this one are divided. If it worked for you, great. For me, the fundamental error here was that the point of view throughout the movie was wrong. Fact. In a book with a protagonist like Watson to Sherlock Holmes, set slightly to the side of the main character, this would have been a brilliant story. Translate that onto film, with the point of view remaining ever so slightly to the side of the main character, and you would have had a winner.

Instead you have a film with a huge reveal that did not reward or shock the audience to the degree that it should have. Another reason for this is that the misdirection throughout the film was too obvious – the viewer knows they are being misdirected – the impact of which is that in the end they don’t believe any of it to enough of a degree to invest emotionally. The reveal, therefore, does not work.

When the film got to the end I wanted to jump into the reel, wind it back about 5 minutes, do a very quick re-write and switch the places of two characters, then let it play. Abracadabra! (Oh yeah, had to get that in there!) I think you would have had an extremely clever film, but more importantly, you would have had one that rewarded the reader at the end and made their investment (time, concentration, etc.) worth it.

Elloise Hopkins.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Misery Loves Company...

We are continually told in life that bottling things up and keeping our feelings inside is not emotionally healthy. But one of the greatest challenges in life is to take advice and on this score I just can’t.

I’ve never been one to broadcast my innermost feelings to the world (the occasional blogs, tweets and rants aside) and I’m not sure that will ever change. When I feel sad or miserable or depressed the last thing I want to do is inflict that on someone else and make them feel sad or miserable or depressed too.

Misery loves company? Well, not me. I like to be left alone with my misery until I’m ready to emerge from the other side of it. The thought of entering into discussions with other people about why I feel that way is not something that occurs to me, and honestly the idea of it feels pointless. They can’t change the way I feel inside, so how can it possibly help?

To some people that will sound totally logical. To others it will sound stupid and ridiculous. But I like to imagine negative feelings as messages in a bottle. I can write them, then bottle them up and send them off elsewhere. After all, I don’t need them.

So when I am quiet and reflective, when you can tell that I’m isolated inside myself, it is because I am writing out those messages, processing them, reflecting upon them, and then rolling them up and letting them go. Because what possible use can it be to dwell on bad things forever and anon? Leave me to my misery. I always emerge soon enough.

Elloise Hopkins.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Snaps Happy…

Alcohol is one thing in life that I don’t always enjoy. It is quite easy to become bored with drinking the same old drinks time and again, perusing the supermarket shelves hoping for a surprise and so rarely finding one. I mourn the days when Blavod (black  vodka – which I always adore – coloured/flavoured with extracts of acacia) was readily available, and since its disappearance there have been few ‘high street’ drinks that stand out and excite me.

So the joy at finding these mini Snaps in Ikea, of all places, has warranted a blog, first to rant about the lack of unusual alcohol flavours/varieties available and second to shout out a hurrah! for amazing little tipples that manage to take some unlikely ingredients and produce some fantastic little drinkies. The set cost £7 for seven 50ml bottles of the following flavours, and I assure you it is well worth it:

·      Caraway, anise and fennel.
·      Caraway, dill and lemon.
·      Herbal.
·      Lemon and elderberry.
·      St John’s Wort.
·      Blackcurrant.
·      Swedish Southernwood.

First up my favourite. Top marks all round goes to lemon and elderberry. Lemon? Well, you know what you’re getting. Tangy citrus flavours. In this guise it reminds me very strongly of limoncello, which is also an excellent beverage. But the real star here is the elderberry. Elderflower is one of my favourite soft drink flavours. Take the more robust version of the plant, elderberry, add it to the crisp yet light lemon, and you have a drink that is refreshing and invigorating. The only criticism is that there is only 50ml to enjoy.

Surprisingly my least favourite of the bunch was blackcurrant. On first sniff it was very Ribena – and I love Ribena – but on first sip it was most certainly not at all like Ribena. There is a very mild blackcurrant taste lurking in here, but it has a medicinal quality that takes away from any joy a blackcurrant would normally bring. More medicinal, in fact, than the flavours I would consider to be medicinal – herbal, St John’s Wort and Southernwood (part of the Wormwood family). Not a winner.  

Despite that disappointment, a special mention has to go to caraway, dill and lemon for sheer unusual-ity and genius of flavour combinations. Caraway I like, in moderation, lemon I adore, but dill is a flavour I usually turn my nose up at. So bored I have become over the years at salmon constantly being plastered in the stuff, or railed against those times when I’ve bitten into a delectable seafood mousse only to grimace at the hidden dill. Yet here, in the quantity and combination which it appears, it is subtle enough not to make me pull faces, and delicately complimentary. I shall no longer say I do not like dill.

Last, but certainly not least, I simply dote on the cute little bottles and ‘hand drawn’ style labels that these remarkable and enjoyable drinks come in. Ikea you have won me over with this one. What’s not to like?

So, get yourself snaps happy and give these a try.

Elloise Hopkins.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Crayola Colour Mood…

And given the glorious weekend we are having it can only be… Sunglow! Yes, this miraculous yellow is reminiscent of that ne’er too often seen glowing ball in the sky. The sun has come out and we’d all better have our hats on lest we burn, baby.

Yesterday I sat out in the garden for the longest sun session I’ve been able to have in years (we all know I’m referring to the great British weather there) and it has resulted in much happiness and sunny relaxation, despite the redness I am now sporting across my nose and shoulders. Oh the pains of having a naturally pale complexion! I do quite like the white stripes left across my wrist from my bracelets though – there is something very comforting in these physical marks that remind me I have actually seen the sun this summer.

So, Sunglow it is, and Sunglow all around. Isn’t it astonishing the difference a fine day can make? Today is dedicated to the Sunglowing worship of the sun.

Elloise Hopkins.