Movies and food
Sometimes you just guess from the start that a movie is going to be, not good, not bad, but just the movie you most want to see.
Ever since I saw the posters for Claude Gans' 'Brotherhood of the Wolf', I had a huge warm feeling about it. Eighteenth century martial arts swashbuckler horror film, with subtitles - you know it makes sense. Deliciously mad and vaguely kinky - a sinister beautiful whore who is clearly far too good to be working in this provincial bordello and turns out to be working for...Pretty good on misdirection too - various things that are terribly significant that we don't notice even when we see them. An emotionally tough young heroine who stands up to the hero when he is being a jerk, and also puts herself in jeopardy out of sheer righteousness. Several very impressive fight sequences and a monster that is pretty OTT but not entirely ridiculous. Tremendous sense of period - the politics in the film turn out to be real politics - in the frame, a minor character, a liberal aristo, more or less accepts his death in the Terror because of his loathing for the society in which he grew up and which we see a fair bit of at its very worst.
Oh, and slashtastic of course. Hero and Iroquois kick-boxer side-kick; hero and adoring young aristo boy; hero and sinister taunting brother of woman he loves; young bright aristo woman and sophisticated whore - both of them turning up in britches from time to time. A UST classic.
I seem to be watching a lot of Kirsten Dunst films at present - she just about redeems 'Crazy/Beautiful' from entire mawkishness and she is part of what makes 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' wonderful in spite of all the incoherencies in the plot. (After all that setting up, we need to know exactly who was responsible for which bit of skullduggery, and I wanted to know what happened to Lisa, the Brittany Murphy character). I admired Dunst way back when in Interview with the Vampire, and she just seems to be in a lot of very good films - or, to be more precise, she makes films good by being in them. She has a luminosity - I guess that is why they call them stars.
I made a risotto again this evening - several pints of chicken stock, some mushrooms, an onion a pepper and some basil. It really didn't need white wine or any of the things people tell you to add. It's one of my favourite dishes in the world just because it is so simple. You just have to make stock - and of course a veggie stock does perfectly well, but usually I make risotto the day after cooking chicken as a leftover thing; the way to do that is to sit in the room next to the kitchen and check it often so it leaches every bit of goodness out of whatever is in the pot and never boils too close to dry, or burns, or explodes the pressure cooker. Then you strain it and leave it to sit - you toss the onion and pepper and garlic in a bit of oil and then stir in the rice until it starts to stick, which is the point when you pour in stock and it hisses like anything. You cook it slowly until there is just about enough liquid that it shows between the rice when you push it with the spoon - then you turn it off and leave it to sit for a few minutes - which is when you add wine if you are putting it in. Then you serve it with grated cheese - parmesan or pecorino, a couple of fresh basil leaves and some newly milled black pepper. You end up eating it for days, topping it up a bit and keeping it in the fridge, and it just gets better.
Not sure why I just did that - I suppose I wanted to remind people that I am this person who cooks and loves food as well as the person who goes on about movies and music and politics all the time.