Sunday, November 18, 2007

Echo of Middle Ages in Holiday Drinks

Eric Felten's How's Your Drink column in the Saturday Wall Street Journal is a favorite part of the week in the newspaper for me. Yesterday, November 17, he spent his column discussing Thanksgiving drinks and lamenting that there weren't more. So he suggested two: Metheglin Punch and Samoset, both made with honey and spices. They aren't meads or metheglins in the official sense, but they are polite nods in their direction. I may try the Punch this week.

Here's the link, but it is likely subscribers-only. (As an aside, email links to the article last for seven days. My email address is balian at chartermi dot net for anyone who wishes to peruse the article.)

I can't strongly enough recommend, by the way, How's Your Drink, Felten's recent book collecting his columns.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Take on Beowulf

The Wall Street Journal reviewer saw a 3-D version and liked it. In fact, much of what the National Review writer didn't like is exactly what he was impressed with. The link is here, but non-subscribers may not be able to see it. (Rumor has it that Rupert Murdoch will take the online service free when he fully takes over; might be a good idea, but the Journal is so good I'm happy to subscribe, I'll admit.)

What's more, as if more is needed, the movie's animation and 3-D techniques offer a seductive vision of the medium's future.

We've seen a glimpse of that future before, and it didn't work. Mr. Zemeckis used an earlier version of "Beowulf's" motion-capture technology, or digitally-enhanced live action, in "The Polar Express," a ponderous Christmas fantasy that seemed to be populated by overachieving glove puppets with dead eyes. But that was then and this is now. The passing years -- all three of them -- have brought significant changes: facial features moving with a subtlety that's near-human rather than nonhuman, bodies conducting cross-border raids between the concrete and the abstract. Lapses still occur -- an occasional face will make you wonder if they had plastic surgery in the seventh century -- but the look of the film as a whole is literally captivating.

Beowulf Review

National Review (what other political magazine would bother, I wonder, or have a Beowulf scholar on staff) has a good review of Beowulf here.

Not planning to see the movie. I almost always wait for the DVD anyway, but I'm afraid that while I read Beowulf in college, of course, my interest in the Middle Ages before the 12th century was always quite minimal.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Free Access

Sage Publications has free access to scholarly docs, including articles on medieval topics, until November 30. (Via SCA Today.)

Liz's Golden Age

Speaking of movies, Professor Muhlberger hasn't seen Elizabeth: The Golden Age, but has some brief thoughts. My impression from ads and trailers is similar.

Beowulf Coverage

Unlocked Wordhoard has lots to say about the Beowulf movie due for release soon.