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a blog from Eli the Bearded
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The Green Knight

This a two hour ten minute retelling of the Arthur Extended Universe story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It's a slow and meditative movie, with several extended sequences lacking in dialog. Some of the lines that were spoken were hard to understand, so working well as silent film is a plus.

Without spoiling any of the story, let me recount a scene near the end. Having left the house of the mysterious Lord (most characters lack names) who played the game of exchanging winnings, Gawain makes his way to Green Chapel, arriving a day earlier than appointed time. He Sees the Green Knight sitting, eyes closed in a throne at the back of the broken down hall. Gawain places the axe down at the foot of the Knight and sits on the floor to wait. There's somewhere between two and five minutes of silent waiting, the camera lingering on the closed eyes of the Green Knight's face mixed with cuts to Gawain coming to terms with the fate ahead of him. This is used to show the passage of time until the next morning when the Green Knight awakens.

If you are stoned enough to find that deep or patient enough to tollerate that sort of slow moving story, this is a pretty entertaining retelling of the legend. If you'll be checking your phone when nothing happens for a while, stay away.

I think it helps to already know the story, and it also helps to be willing to accept some changes to the story. There's a fox in this version, for example, that is not in the one I read.

A six day journey out of ten.

The Green Knight at imdb

Also get ready for a bunch of different ways to pronounce "Gawain".

Garlic press review

I do a lot of cooking, and I like garlic in a lot of things. I like all of the alliums, but others do not need the same amount of attention. Sure onions and leeks are a bit of work, peeling and chopping or washing and chopping, but for many dishes you can't beat super fine garlic which is a lot of effort to hand chop.

I expect everyone actually knows that. Garlic presses are a widely available kitchen tool for exactly that reason. So why the need to bring all of this up? Because in the course of cooking in a number of different kitchens (vacation house rentals), I've used a number of different presses and most are a lack-luster experience.

But there's one I found, and some time afterwards saw a very favorable review for at America's Test Kitchen that stands out as a very satisfying experience: the Kuhn Rikon "Epicurian" garlic press. It's got a bit of an eye watering price tag, at roughly eight times the price of the bargain alternatives.

America's Test Kitchen finds it best at crushing unpeeled garlic and the swing open hopper good for getting remanents out. I was attracted to the heavy metal construstion and that swing out hopper. And I use it for some off-label uses, aided by the same leverage that helps with crushing unpeeled garlic.

Besides garlic, two things I crush with it on a somewhat regular basis are jalapeños and ginger root.

Jalapeños are not difficult to chop up, I usually only go with the press if I'm using the press for garlic anyway and I'm making a recipe for which extremely fine jalapeño mash is acceptable. So not pico de gallo, aka salsa fresca.

Ginger root, however, is a chore to chop. And the garlic press is a help, but it still needs some strong squeezing. I find the best way to press ginger is to peel it and cut into smallish pieces that can be put in the press with the strands of the ginger oriented to push through the holes. Don't want the fibers forming a long matt across the press output. For a lot of ginger, the fibrous build-up that fails to get pushed through will need to be cleared before continuing.

Garlic press loaded with ginger

For recipes with all three, garlic, ginger, and jalapeños, the Kuhn Rikon "Epicurian" garlic press takes the place of five minutes or so with the mezzaluna or careful work with a different knife, and has a faster, easier clean up.

(No one paid me or compensated me for this review, and I'm not linking to any e-store that sells it. I got mine about two years ago from a brick and mortar store.)

His House

Wanting something to watch, I skimmed a list of best movies on Netflix (that page gets monthly updates). First the gothic horror Crimson Peak suggested itself, due to Guillermo del Toro directing. But the story was so-so and the actors never really disappeared into the roles (with one exception noted below), so it was meh overall.

Then I found a different sort of ghost story horror movie, His House.

Superficially this reminds me of American Gods: people moving to a new place bring with them the gods of their old location. Only in this case it's refugees bringing a malevolent spirit with them to the UK from South Sudan. This brings several forms of horror into play.

There's the low-level bureaucratic horror of seeking asylum in a western country, the more cruel horror (in flashbacks) of the violence they are fleeing, and the traditional horror movie evil spirit.

The three are seemlessly blended in this film, succeeding at making you care for the characters and worry about their welfare in the asylum system while also giving you ghosts and a witch to torrment and provide both visceral threats and existensial threats to the asylum process.

There's one actor who (dis)appears in both His House and Crimson Peak: Javier Botet. He's a dead spirit in Crimson Peak and the witch in His House. Botet is noted for playing monsters due to physical appearance, Wikipedia gives his height at 6"7' (a hair over 2m) and his weight at 123 lbs (56kg). This extremely tall and thin figure lends itself to playing inhuman creatures. The viewer in both of these films can't easily tell if it is puppetry, computer manipulation of the graphics, or a practical effect made possible by Botet's unusual figure.

Ten "rat" holes in the walls out of twelve.

His House at imdb

Wake in Fright

For a "lost" movie of Australia, this is surprisingly easy to watch:

Complete Wake in Fright on Youtube

Well, when I say "easy" I don't include how it might effect you.

The film was made in New South Wales, in the area The Road Warrior was filmed, directed by Ted Totcheff before he became known for Rambo. Some years after it's release it came to be considered a classic of Australian film, but the negative went missing. A bit over a decade ago a complete restoration was made from a good print and/or negatives found in a box labeled "For Destruction" — I've read different versions of the story there — for re-release and DVD. That restored version is what seems to be up on Youtube. There's a made-for-TV two episode "mini-series" remake that I have read about but not watched. The TV one is available on Amazon Prime presently.

My biggest gripe with this film is how an intelligent guy makes such a foolish bet about thirty minutes in, setting everything up for his predicament. The remake, I know, changes the reason he gets stuck without money in "The Yabba". A good and valid choice for the re-do, but otherwise I can't comment on the differences.

Wake in Fright opens with school teacher John Grant dismissing his one room schoolhouse in a desolate patch of the Outback for the Christmas break. John boards a train for the nearest city where he is to spend one night before flying to Sydney. The first half hour shows us how much John doesn't fit in with the locals in two-building Tiboonda or the city in Bundanyabba. We find out he's only teaching in that remote town because a financial obligation gives him no choice in posting.

Then John loses all of his money and the plot begins.

He dejectedly begins to try to find a way to earn some to be able to pay for a hotel, or better, his trip to Sydney. Instead he finds locals who are all too willing be friendly in sharing beer, food, beer, housing, beer, and a night hunting trip (with more beer). The hunt is neither simulated nor pretty.

The sun, the heat, the beer, the desolation, and the people begin to take a toll on John's well-being. It may well be the death of him.

Three XXX beer out of XXXX beer.

A word of warning: do not try to keep up drink for drink.