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Nocturnal Animals

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Nocturnal Animals

Image credit: Nocturnal Animals, 2015

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

I can think of no better phrase to sum up the stunning Tom Ford film Nocturnal Animals (DVD/Download). From the shocking opening credits to the final drink in a hip Los Angeles restaurant, I found myself mesmerized by the visual storytelling. Sometimes hard to watch, but nevertheless hypnotic, this is a film that stays with the viewer long after it’s over.

My confusion and revulsion over the opening sequence (to quote my husband, “What the f*ck are you watching??”) made me wonder what I’d gotten myself into. But then, all became clear as the beautiful people wearing beautiful Tom Ford clothes came on the screen. Amy Adams is cold and distant as the wealthy art gallery owner, startled by a ghost from her past in the form of a manuscript written by her ex-husband Edward. The film simultaneously tells the story of their doomed young marriage, and Edward’s reactionary revenge manuscript.  Jake Gyllenhaal is quickly becoming an actor I will watch in just about anything, and he’s perfect as both the fragile writer, and tortured subject of his own story. Aaron Taylor Johnson and cinema MVP Michael Shannon round out the cast in Nocturnal Animals’ movie-within-a-movie, in which every scene of West Texas hell looks like a painting.

Texas is such a strong presence in this film, simultaneously the dangerous setting of Edward’s story and also the real-life setting of his failed marriage. Watching Michael Shannon’s character step over dusty scrub brush is like watching the sheriff in an old John Wayne film. While viewing Nocturnal Animals, I recommend drinking an Old Fashioned Texan.

Old Fashioned Texan

2 oz Red Handed Bourbon (from Treaty Oak distillery in Dripping Springs, TX)

½ oz simple syrup

2-3 dashes angostura bitters

Orange peel

Pour bourbon over large ice cubes in a rocks glass, and add the simple syrup and bitters. Stir gently to combine. Run the orange peel over the rim of the glass, and drop in the drink.

Old Fashioned Texan

This film spoke to me not only as a lover of cinema, but as a writer. As Edward says, “If I write it down, it will last forever.” With his manuscript, he’s expelled all of his love and pain and anger onto his alter ego in the story. It’s a very personal tale and also…. not.  I can’t wait to see what Tom Ford has up his perfectly tailored sleeve next because whatever it is, I’ll be there.  Cheers!

Julie & Julia

julie-and-julia

Image credit: Julie & Julia, 2009

This month marks a milestone for Cinema Sips. It has officially been 3 years since I started this blog on cocktail and movie pairings, really as a bit of a lark, but with a small shred of hope that people would actually enjoy reading it. After 180 posts, I am proud to say that I have never missed a week, I have not yet had to check into the Betty Ford clinic, and I’ve made a grand total of $5.05 through affiliate links (I’ll take it!). In truth, there might not be a Cinema Sips without this week’s film Julia & Julia (DVD/Download). The story of a lost New York writer who blogs about her attempts at Julia Child’s recipes definitely got me thinking about blogging, and what in my life I could write about that other people might find interesting. My collection of vintage postcards? Eh, not so much. Cocktails and movies? Heck yes!

Directed by the late, great Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia is actually two movies in one. In one half we see blogger Julie Powell trying to find her path in life, using Julia Child’s recipes as a compass. In the other half we see Julia Child herself, learning the art of French cooking in 1950’s Paris, writing her masterpiece, and being generally adorable with her husband. Amy Adams plays Julie Powell and Meryl Streep steals the show as Julia Child. As with all of her roles, Streep is utter perfection, and Child’s zest for life becomes infectious through this performance. I have to admit, if I weren’t in a similar life situation to Powell, I might not have liked the modern-day half of the movie. Not anyone’s fault- it’s just hard to compete against Julia Child and Paris in the 50’s. But because I am a blogger, and because I also get terrified that the only person who reads this blog is my mother, I find comfort in watching her story unfold.

In thinking about my cocktail pairing this week, I asked myself what would Julia Child drink? The answer- whatever the hell she wanted! She might even get a little tipsy while cooking. After all, if no one’s in the kitchen, who’s to see? While watching Julie & Julia, I recommend drinking a French Martini.

French Martini

2 oz Vodka

1/2 oz Chambord raspberry liqueur

2 oz pineapple juice

Fresh raspberry for garnish

Shake all ingredients over ice until chilled, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a raspberry.

french-martini

Admittedly, when I started this blog I didn’t have much faith in my ability to follow through and keep up the weekly posts. But it’s the awesome feedback I’ve received over the years that has really motivated me. Cinema Sips has made me a better writer and photographer, and it’s made me more adventurous in trying new cocktails. For all the readers who have followed this blog, and all the readers still to come, you are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life. Cheers!

Special Edition: Oscars

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Image credit: Oscars.org

Image credit: Oscars.org

It’s finally here!!!!!  My favorite night of the year, the night where beautiful and talented stars line up on the red carpet, answer inane questions from Giuliana Rancic, and pretend to lose gracefully when their name is not called up to the podium.  That’s right- it’s the Oscars!

I’m actually pretty excited about tonight’s line-up because there aren’t a lot of sure bets this year.  Okay, I admit, Jared Leto and Cate Blanchett are probably shoo-ins, but when it comes to the Best Picture category, it’s anybody’s guess.  I have high hopes that I triumphed in my office Oscar pool, but this year it was pretty tough to guess the winners.  Thus I will be sitting on the edge of my seat with all of you Cinema Sips readers, waiting to see if Gravity takes it all, or American Hustle manages some surprise wins.

One thing that I do know for certain however, is that there is bound to be some AMAZING fashion tonight.  With nominees like Lupita Nyong’o and Cate Blanchett, the red carpet is going to be quite the show.  I have high hopes that Jennifer Lawrence will triumph over her electrical tape-bedsheet Golden Globes disaster, and my husband has high hopes that he’ll get to see more of Amy Adams’ sternum tonight.  Will Jared Leto leave his Jesus-locks down or pull them into a chic up-do?  How many jokes will be made at the expense of model-izer Leonardo DiCaprio?  These are questions I am dying to find answers to.

My drink tonight is fairly simple because I know we’re going to be far too busy dissecting outfits to bother with complicated drink recipes.  Tonight, I’m planning to get dressed up in my Oscar-finest (aka- an old bridesmaid dress), hit up In-N-Out burger like the real celebrities do, and fix myself a Red Carpet cocktail.

Red Carpet

Pink Champagne (or sparkling Rosé wine)

1/2 oz St. Germain

Maraschino Cherry

Pour chilled champagne into glass, top with St. Germain, and garnish with Maraschino Cherry.

Red-Carpet

Enjoy this fizzy drink while you laugh at Ellen Degeneres’ jokes (though who are we kidding- she’s no Tina Fey/Amy Poehler) and wince as the E! hosts subject stars to the Glam Cam 360.  This is Hollywood’s biggest night, and I for one plan to celebrate a great year in cinema.  Cheers!