My preferred way of watching TV series these days is to binge watch most of the episodes so I can omit the adverts. Watching the intro to Broadchurch 3 was harrowing. Picking up the story in the aftermath of a rape and watching the rape kit procedures being carried out focused the attention fully. An unreliable witness due to concussion made the teasing of details difficult. Police evidence bags, moving camera work, the victim’s hand gripping the gloved hand of the healthcare worker made us immediately on the side of the woman. The help offered after the probing, showering and dressing was an important message to the viewer that the reporting of crime might be traumatic but that there is support “out there”. Trish the victim’s only question was, “Do you believe me?” Ellie believes her to the extent that she circumvents protocols again and gives out her mobile number.
It’s not until episode 4 that the narrative uses the recollections of Trish to have flashback scenes. By then we know Trish has had sex with someone else the same morning and has been getting abusive texts warning her to be silent and gifts of flowers saying “Thinking of you”.
The film Trespass Against Us starring Michael Fassbender revolves around the Cutler family who live a life of chaos and criminality centred around their caravan site. The film jolts the audience into this life from the first moment when we see a young boy sitting on his father’s knee while driving over a field chasing a hare. In the car are others of the Cutler gang whooping for joy and egging each other on. Car chases and wanting what is best for the children are recurring themes in the film. Fassbender portrays the gentler criminal who agrees with his wife that his children should get an education, something he never had. His lack of ability to read has heavily impacted on his life leaving him no option but to follow the ways of his father who is not a likable character. Despite the appearance of poverty the Cutler family have access to lots of money due to their willingness to pull off another heist.
At the heart of the story is control and family love and knowing who really is acting in the best interests of their son.
I have been to GRO Coffee three times now and hesitated about writing a review because they always seem to be busy and the business appears to be doing well but there’s something just a bit off about the way things run there that makes me feel it’s not as good as it could be. One of my companions today said that the staff were all different so possibly the regular staff were on holiday which would explain the following experience.
I arrived first and waited for my friends. During the time it took for us all to assemble the menus arrived but the table wasn’t cleared. The plates, cups, glasses etc sat there accusingly and after 15 minutes they were finally taken away but crucially the table was not wiped and remained sticky to the touch.
The order was taken and after some time we asked for the table to be cleaned. A further 25 minutes passed before the order came out and it was the wrong sandwich that was delivered. Finally we got what we asked for – Eggs Benedict, a breakfast sandwich and an omelette. The tea and coffee had arrived earlier and was a tad cold by then. We noticed that several people had given up waiting to order and had left but the staff didn’t even notice as others arrived soon after. We ordered more tea and coffee and all in all were in there for two hours. A brunch shouldn’t take that long.
It appeared to me that there were too few experienced staff on duty to deal with a warm summer’s day crowd, which is a shame. There is a garden at the back which is popular with young families because of a play area and there are comfortable couches to sit at inside and they are very dog friendly if the number inside today were anything to go by. Brunch for one person comes in around £12 but if you are in a hurry to go somewhere else and get out to enjoy the Scottish sunshine you may feel a sense of frustration if today was typical of the service one can expect. The staff could not be faulted for friendliness but the efficiency is lacking at the moment, judging by today’s efforts.
Burnt is a sublime film set in the world of the culinary adventure that is Michelin star restaurant life. The protagonist Adam Jones – Bradley Cooper – is a recovering drug addict who had glory in his youth when he excelled in Paris. He tells the audience he was nearly as good as he thought he was. Having gone to London to try and recreate this success after two years of sobriety the film follows the hero’s journey narrative construct of Campbell. Other characters include rising chefs, old loves, new possibilities and enemies who might be friends and friends who might be enemies.
Cast includes Sienna Miller, Uma Thurman, Emma Thomson, Daniel Bruhl, Omar Sy and Henry Goodman. Because of the world of international cheffing the languages veer between English, French and Italian with subtitles but modern audiences will find this a joy rather than a chore.
As one would expect the dishes themselves are also the stars of the show but there is a nice little bit of product placement in Burger King used to explain the concept of consistency and quality for the worker versus the 500% mark up charged for quality cuisine elsewhere in the city.
If you like your heroes flawed and enjoy the road to redemption, give this film a view. The decision about the success or failure of the journey to the third Michelin star is so subtly done that I needed to rewind to be sure.
Solace is a cross-genre film which meshes the notions of serial murder investigations with psychic ability. There are three main protagonists played by Anthony Hopkins, the reluctant psychic, Abbie Cornish an FBI agent with a background in psychiatry who bears a passing resemblance to the psychic’s dead daughter and Jeffrey Dean Morgan who is the FBI agent Hopkins has previously worked with. The psychic ability is presented as both a blessing and a curse as Hopkins can see everything from the past in a series of montage images and projected futures just by touching the person or an object. Imagine having the ability to read a letter which has been written just because you are holding a pen and that will give you an idea of how special the character is meant to be. The projected futures play out according to whether Hopkins intervenes or not. The imagery of the future is sometimes unhelpful and the montage of Atticus/Cross/Bottle breaking/Antagonist that he receives early on doesn’t really help until right before it happens. It’s a case of knowledge not necessarily being helpful.
About an hour into the film it becomes clear that the antagonist is also psychic and actually better at prediction than Hopkins has been up to this point. Played by Colin Farrell, he can pinpoint the precise time that the police will discover a body and uses this to make it difficult to catch him. His motivation, although questionable is also understandable but not one Hopkins can agree with.
There is, of course, a showdown in a public space. There is death and a final reveal. Solace was apparently conceived to be a follow up to Se7en and watching it, it seemed to me that it was supposed to be a pilot for a TV show using different actors but perhaps not.
The reviews of this film when it came out were not very favourable but I liked it. It’s a Monday evening kind of film rather than a weekend blockbuster but still worth a viewing.
I picked this up as a buy one get one half price deal and hadn’t heard anything about it beforehand. It is a “number 1 best seller” according to the blurb by an author who has written The Mummyfesto, 10 Reasons Not To Fall In Love and The Marriage Mender amongst others.
The story revolves around a busy mother, Lisa, who takes her child Ella to the park to play hide and seek before going home after picking her up from her parents’ house. When she is walking towards the tree to do her counting to 100 she takes a quick call on her mobile then continues to let Ella hide by finishing the count as promised. When she opens her eyes she can’t see her little girl and after looking in all the usual hiding spots asks for other people in the park to help her. Eventually she calls the Police and at this point the sinister nature of the disappearance plays out.
Each chapter is written by different characters – the mother Lisa, the abductor “The Piano Lady” and the abductor’s son. Because the reader finds out early on who took the little girl this is another whydoneit but there is a conceit towards the end that didn’t work for me because it was all so obvious. Personally I think that if you are going to use a “reveal” scenario then the reveal should be more of a shock and not one guessable towards the first third of the book.
Another pool read for all that.
The low drizzly cloud
resembled smoke –
Smothering the water –
As the car came round the bend.
Heroic d(r)ivers searched
In the gloomy depths for the children
By darkness, depth, despair
Sinking lower, lower into the loch of despond
Lost, forever in the inky-black icy murk
Not giggling, but drowning.