Month: July 2017

Top Three Reasons to Avoid Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask

Top Three Reasons to Avoid Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask

Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask brings pain to depressed people. It’s something horrific and distressing, vile and repugnant. Under no circumstances should someone struggling with genuine depression, especially those who feel worthless and hopeless, watch this movie.

Have I convinced my readers to stay away from this British flick? I hope so. As someone who struggles with depression, I felt only despair about the real world as this movie played. Ultimately, movie lovers should avoid this movie for three reasons:

It’s a terrible remake of Alice in Wonderland.

In Disney’s animated version, Alice in Wonderland showed how a young girl worked through real-life problems through a vividly imaginative dream. The real-person version with Johnny Depp took one step further and indicated Alice as actually having gone to a place called Wonderland. Though both contained dark elements, the fictional characters and surrounding scenery remained lighthearted and true-to-form.

Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask took a different, and absolutely, unquestionably dark, approach. For while the heroine Helena recognized a few caricatures as real-life representations, the other characters and the surrounding background was dramatically distorted and twisted. Something to cause viewers to worry for the young girl.

It shows the ugliness of real life with an extra smear of bad.

God has blessed me with people who love me and have the ability to support me when I struggle financially and emotionally. People who struggle the same way under different circumstances go hungry and live in rundown apartment complexes. Helena, her parents, and all their friends lived in such circumstances.

On the other hand, director Neil Gaiman seemed to amp up their dire situations with lethal situations and no help to be found. They suffered silently, but remained strong, until Helena’s mother came down with cancer. She went to the hospital, and the circus shut down. It was then Helena found her dreamworld, personal and dark.

It gives false hope to people in desperate situations.

If situational or chronic depression exists in people’s lives, then they should avoid this movie at all costs. On the day my husband suggested watching this movie, I had come home early from work because I couldn’t stop crying. Seeing Helena fight for a better future as a new and self-improved person seemed too unreal and hokey.

Only God can change people, and as King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, luck and chance happen to us all. So, people can read self-improvement books to their heart’s content, but only miracles change the course for an individual’s sinful, well-tread path. In my opinion, it’s best to pray for help, for a stroke of luck, instead of beating ourselves up in trying to change the dark elements in our own lives.

Mirrormask may need to wait for a better day.

Maybe I would like this British movie more on a happier and less emotional day. Maybe Neil Gaiman placed all his characters in better situations in the end. Somehow, I doubt it. If anything, a self-created miracle happened in Helena’s life, and I don’t believe people can change on their own selves. Thank you, Doctor Gregory House.

Feel free to shout at me for reviewing an unfinished movie. Or tell me how it ends and how I despaired over nothing. Any comments are welcome.

Taste Buds Meter the Maltesers and Maltesers Teasers and Catch the Maltesers Fever

Taste Buds Meter the Maltesers and Maltesers Teasers and Catch the Maltesers Fever

Ooh! Whoppers! Or, em, British whoppers. No? Oh, yeah, Maltesers. And, em, Maltesers Teasers. Oh, for crying-out-loud, those thingamajigs!

Found at Cost Plus World Market, and later-on spotted at the Dollar General store, Alex and I stumbled across an imported British candy called Maltesers. Malterfood, a Mars Chocolate UK sub-company, produce these traditional candies. Favored throughout the world, Malterfood produces and exports thousands of candies every year.

Tasting the Original Maltesers

For Americans, it is impossible to refrain from comparing these little candies to Whoppers’ malted milk balls. However, there exists a striking difference between the two candies. Maltesers made the candies slightly more doughy on the inside, as opposed to the Whoppers’ obvious crunch. Also, the superb Mars chocolate coating was significantly lighter than the chocolate coating on the Whoppers.

Malterfood’s added honey as their extra, special ingredient. And, to be perfectly frank, I only realized this upon reading the packaging. For the ingredient, while good in tea and on toast, added nothing to the taste. Rather than sweet, the candy had more of a sour aftertaste. Overall, the chocolate, honey, and dough balls are too bland for my taste.

On the Other Hand, the Maltesers Teasers…

Wow! So, so, so, so much better than the traditional Maltesers! The Maltesers Teasers completely make up for what the traditional candy balls lack. Think chocolate. Think about how Mars chocolate melts in your mouth. Consider also how tiny balls taste, how they crunch. So good!

Maltesers TeasersOn a more serious note, the Maltesers Teasers are more like traditional chocolate bars. In one sense, the candy reminded me much of the Crunch candy, chocolate and crunch. However, the candy bar included more chocolate than tiny candy balls. Consequently, they significantly outdid the Crunch candy bar.

Dealing with the Maltesers Fever

MaltesersIf Alex and I can find these original British candies in a discount store like Dollar General, then I can hardly begin to imagine how many places sell these tasty treats. Next time my husband and I have the money to go to the theater, I will have to search the candy options to see if they are present. Or, how many Malterfood candies would a store like Walmart sell? I’ll have to do more research.

Someone who presented me with these two Malterfood candies would find that I would choose the Maltesers Teasers before the original candy balls. In fact, I recommend the candy bar to anyone who prefers Mars chocolate over dough and honey. The 100+ degree weather may have affected the candies. They may have melted the chocolate or made them less crunchy. Or maybe Cost Plus World Market sold the expired ones and I didn’t catch it. Either way, as British candy goes, the sweet tooth accepts both.

Delectable Treats – Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Delectable Treats – Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Treats like these don’t grow on trees! Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges are mouth-watering, flavor-popping chocolates which open with a good, solid whack!

American born and bred, I raised my brow on first hearing Alex mention one of Great Britain’s most delectable treats: chocolate oranges. I questioned how chocolate could adequately include an orange flavor which would satisfy a fruit-lover. Since I don’t consider myself an orange connoisseur – something I shall never be due to the orange rind – I decided to someday test one.

Where We Found Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

On my day off from the drug store, Alex and I wandered over to a neighboring town. Once we had acquired and bought our day-to-day necessities, I asked to go to one more place to spend my Visa e-gift card. Where did we go? You guessed it: Cost Plus World Market!

The store manager at Vacaville’s location in the Nut Tree Plaza did the store harm in rejecting my Visa e-gift card. Especially since, when Alex and I stepped into the store, we were the only customers there. However! I am dedicated to this blog, and I enjoy trying British foods far too much to have turned away and never gone back.

Keeping a smile on my face, I headed toward the food section to see the available options. Lo and behold, the employees had set up an entire display promoting solely United Kingdom foods! British, Irish, and Scottish! I quickly spent my budgeted play money.

The Hard Decision between Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and Terry’s Dark Chocolate Oranges

A whacked and unwrapped chocolate orange!

According to the chocolate orange experts, if eating a delectable treat with orange flavoring, then the best chocolate to use is dark chocolate. Health fans must cheer and share this opinion, since dark chocolate is supposedly healthier than milk chocolate. Someday I will try Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange, but this time we chose Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange.

Though I enjoy dark chocolate as well as milk, I let Alex decide on what to choose on that day. As the source behind all my chocolate orange knowledge, he knew what most people preferred. However, he chose the milk chocolate one. I happily plopped one into our shopping basket.

How Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges Look and Taste

A chocolate designed after a true orange.

The design on the chocolate is pleasing to the eye with its ridges imitating an orange’s rind and fruit. Whacking one of Terry’s chocolate oranges is also a fun way to enjoy a delectable treat. Moreover, if the weather climbs to 100 degrees or more, the chocolate oranges refrigerates well, for the chocolate oranges are still easy to bite into when refrigerated.

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges taste smooth, sweet, and stupendous! The orange flavoring in the milk chocolate has a strong flavor, but isn’t overpowering. Terry’s uses orange oil, an ingredient that reminds me of the orange peel used in my mother’s orange rolls, nice and sweet.

Intending to please my sweet tooth, I had planned to eat half of this chocolate orange for breakfast. However, it was far too sweet! Though this fact guarantees I will buy more in the future. Unlike the recommended serving, I recommend savoring Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and eating only two or three slices at a time, as opposed to five slices.

Just a Little History on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

Terry’s used to run their own organization in York, United Kingdom. Established in the mid to late 1700’s, they produced products (such as chocolate lemons for a little while) for several years before they first handed over the reigns to a larger organization. Mondelez Global now ultimately produces this particular Terry’s chocolate orange.

Poland manufactured the chocolate, on machines that also process nuts and wheat, and sends the chocolates around the world. Terry’s original recipes are currently held and processed from three different European countries. It closed its doors in York in 2005, one year after the delectable treats began exporting to the United States – to my great delight!

 

Sherlock: A Study in Pink – Critical Review

Sherlock: A Study in Pink – Critical Review

BBC’s Sherlock – series one, episode one, “A Study in Pink” – portrayed many aspects about the characters upon the second and third viewing. Continuing to watch the remaining episodes after the first viewing, though, required boredom, lack of funds, time off, and a family Netflix account. Since all four aspects applied to me, I viewed all four series, and my better knowledge about the characters made “A Study in Pink” much more interesting and insightful.

Doctor John Watson – The Man with Nerves of Steel

Introducing Doctor John Watson

Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss immediately won the viewers over to Doctor John Watson when they showed the character suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Actor Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Dr. Watson’s pain and silent suffering instantly drew me in, having me beg for more about this distressed character.

Dr. Watson proved his courage and love for trouble with every passing character he met. His first meeting with Sherlock Holmes revealed his psychosomatic limp. Well, more accurately, Sherlock inferred to it, only to later reveal it to Dr. Watson. Throughout the episode, meeting each of Sherlock’s enemies and acquaintances, Dr. Watson proved steady during stress and unhinged during downtime. Sherlock was dead-on on analyzing his friend as a man with nerves of steel.

Inspector Lestrade – The Desperate Man

Introducing Inspector Lestrade

When viewers first saw Inspector Lestrade, he appeared stressed, worried, and unhappy. His oblivion about the murderer made him appear weak and incompetent before the reporters, and Sherlock only made him look worse. Later scenes would reveal Inspector Lestrade’s dependence on Sherlock to help him do his job.

On the other hand, Inspector Lestrade was an honest man. When Dr. Watson asked why he included Sherlock on his cases, he replied, “Because I’m desperate, that’s why!” After this admittance, he turned back to Dr. Watson from the flat’s doorway and said something that every viewer wants to believe: Sherlock is a great man, and someday he might be a good one. In so saying, Inspector Lestrade portrayed himself as optimistic and hopeful, a great side character to Sherlock and Dr. Watson.

Sergeant Donovan – Miss Negativity in Action

Introducing Sergeant Donovan

Sergeant Donovan could hardly make my skin crawl any more with her disgusting and unpardonable hatred and slanderous comments about the great, crime-solving genius, Sherlock Holmes.

The female law enforcement lead is the exact opposite of Inspector Lestrade. Whereas Lestrade portrays hope and admiration for Sherlock, Sergeant Donovan calls Sherlock names, warns off people from becoming his friend, and portrays a nasty attitude in general. I think at least some viewers would agree with me on the show’s ability to easily do without Sergeant Donovan.

Sherlock Holmes – The Psychopath with Crime-Solving Antics

Introducing Sherlock Holmes

“A Study in Pink” along with later episodes in later series revealed several references to Sherlock being a psychopath, something of little consequence to me. His delight in serial killers is little more than excitement in solving a difficult puzzle. Only, since Sherlock qualifies as a genius, finding a difficult puzzle for him requires more than the average jigsaw puzzle.

What can I say about the character on whom Dr. Watson centers on? Actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock well in his fast speech and enthusiasm about solving difficult criminal cases. The writers also did well in giving Cumberbatch well-scripted insults, running scenes, and socially awkward scenes. Sherlock viewers either love or hate him. I love him, along with Dr. Watson.

Mycroft Holmes – The Most Dangerous Enemy

Introducing Mycroft Holmes

Dr. Watson showed great restraint in refraining from telling Sherlock to grow up when he learned Mycroft was Sherlock’s older brother instead of the most dangerous man Dr. Watson had ever met. However, Mycroft had brought Dr. Watson in for questioning. And though he failed to frighten Dr. Watson, he did show a flare for the dramatic, an obvious clue to his being related to Sherlock.

Mycroft will show up again and again in later episodes and series. The two brothers love each other, and their enemy status is nothing more than remaining childhood rivalry. Anyone who has watched all four series along with me will know his vital role in future episodes, saving Sherlock in more ways than one.

Molly and Moriarty – More Details to Come

Introducing Molly

Molly first appeared in her white lab coat. Mourning the loss of a kind colleague, she had an odd mix of horror and admiration for Sherlock when he took a riding crop and started whipping the dead man’s body. (This scene came from the actual story by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock was experimenting on how bodies bruised.) She thus proceeded to apply some lipstick and ask Sherlock if he would like some coffee, of which he completely missed her meaning and continued on with his experiments.

Moriarty is merely mentioned at the very ending of “A Study in Pink.” A name means nothing. However, the name will eventually strike fear and anger in Sherlock’s heart whenever it arises. And it will arise frequently.

Who is your favorite character in the series? Do you take Sherlock’s side, or Sergeant Donovan’s side? Please comment below!