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Tag Archives: Baz Luhrmann

Romeo + Juliet

romeo and juliet

Image Credit: Romeo + Juliet, 1996

So I know I already featured a Baz Luhrmann film on Cinema Sips this month….. and here’s another one! Because it’s still February and still romance month, I couldn’t resist watching Romeo + Juliet (DVD/Download). I adore the 1968 Zeffirelli version too, but for my money, Lurhmann does the best job of capturing the energy of the original play. The director has said in interviews that he wanted to make a film in the way that Shakespeare himself might have done it, and since William Shakespeare was the ultimate entertainer of his day, it stands to reason that by the time the mid-90’s rolled around, he would have incorporated an Ecstasy-fueled party and Mercutio in sparkly sequin drag costumes. Definitely.

Romeo + Juliet stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes in the title roles, and their chemistry is part what makes the film such a success. I love the constant motif of water, particularly how the big balcony scene was done in a swimming pool. The lighting and the turquoise radiance of pool turn it into a much more sensual scene than I ever could have imagined when reading the play. Because it’s Luhrmann there are so many visual treats, even becoming chaotic at times, but the use of the original Shakespearean dialogue helps to balance the frenzy out. Is it word for word Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? No. Does it draw me into the story and make me feel the passion and tragedy of these star-crossed lovers? Without a doubt.

The color of Juliet’s fake-death potion inspired my cocktail this week. Though not actually poisonous, it looks like it might be!  While watching Romeo + Juliet, I recommend drinking a Mortal Drug.  (Apologies in advance for having to ask for Kinky Blue at the liquor store, but it actually feeds the decades-long Jolly Rancher addiction I have in the best way).

Mortal Drug

2 oz Kinky Blue Liqueur

1 oz Blue Curaçao

¾ oz lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

Splash of club soda

Mix together Kinky Blue, Blue Curaçao, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then pour into a highball glass. Top with club soda.

Mortal Drug

While watching this film, be sure to look out for all the billboard slogans that are nods to Shakespearean quotes, and listen to the carefully curated pop songs. The version of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” is still one of my favorites.  Just, try to look past Clare Danes’ ugly crying. ‘Tis not pretty. Cheers!

 

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Moulin Rouge!

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moulin rouge

Image credit: Moulin Rouge!, 2001

 

Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love. Such are the tenants of the Parisian bohemian crowd in this week’s film Moulin Rouge! (DVD/Download). Since we’re celebrating great love stories on Cinema Sips this month, I had to include it. Power ballads and absinthe- now that’s a fantastic combination.

Moulin Rouge! was directed by splashy-extravaganza master Baz Luhrmann, who always manages to put layer upon layer of pop references and glitter into his films. This musical is no exception, drawing on modern and classic pop tunes for the songs, all collaged together to tell the story of Satine the showgirl and her penniless writer-love Christian. I never thought I’d see “Smells Like Teen Spirit” used in a frenetic musical can-can number, but there we are. Ewan McGregor is utterly charming as Christian, but where the movie falls flat to me is with Nicole Kidman’s performance as Satine. It may not be politically correct to say this, but to me, she just seemed too old for the part. And, not a terribly strong singer. Luckily the movie is rescued by the always-entertaining John Leguizamo as Toulouse-Lautrec. Is there anything this man can’t do?

As is so weirdly highlighted in the film by the appearance of Kylie Minogue as the Green Fairy, absinthe was the beverage du jour among the Parisian bohemian crowd.  I’m definitely a fan, and honestly a little wormwood goes a long way toward improving my opinion of Nicole Kidman. While watching Moulin Rouge!, I recommend drinking a Spectacular!Spectacular!

Spectacular!Spectacular!

1 ½ oz gin

½ oz absinthe

¾ oz lemon juice

¾ oz simple syrup

1 ½ oz champagne

Mix all ingredients except champagne in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a flute or coupe glass. Top with champagne.

Spectacular

Despite my opinion that Kidman comes off as an over-the-hill courtesan instead of the tragically young ingénue, I still root for Satine and Christian. I want love to lift them up where they belong! For one brief moment it does, and then… she coughs. Party over. This week, raise a glass to truth, beauty, freedom, and above all things- love. Cheers!