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The Prestige

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the prestige

Image credit: The Prestige, 2006

The upcoming David Bowie tribute concert at Carnegie Hall has me waxing nostalgic about the Starman’s long and eclectic career. While he’s more often associated with the fantasy classic Labyrinth, for me one of his best roles was Nikola Tesla in this week’s film The Prestige (DVD/Download). With this character, Bowie manages to blend science, magic, and faith in a commanding performance that makes us wonder- Edison who?

Tesla is actually a minor part in this fantastic Christopher Nolan film about turn of the century illusionists. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play rival magicians who go to extreme lengths to outdo one another with their Disappearing Man acts. Christian Bale’s character Alfred seems to possess a true magic, while Hugh Jackman’s character Angier follows a path of science, eventually leading him to Tesla’s lab in Colorado Springs. This film demands repeat viewings in order to fully understand all the plot twists and turns. Truly, the script itself is a work of magic, making us feel like we’re participating in a grand act of illusion.

One of the more popular magic tricks of the Victorian era was the Bullet Catch (the magician appears to catch a bullet out of thin air). As with any magic trick, it’s quite interesting once you understand the science behind it, and Angier uses it for devious purposes. While watching The Prestige, I recommend drinking a Bulleit Catch.

Bulleit Catch

1.5 oz Bulleit™ Bourbon

Dash of bitters

1 teaspoon sugar

Splash of water

1 lemon slice

1 orange twist

1 maraschino cherry

In a rocks glass, muddle sugar and bitters. Add the bourbon, splash of water and a large ice cube. Twist the lemon slice over the glass, then drop in the orange twist and maraschino cherry.

bulleit catch

Like the art of illusion, mixology is heavily based on science. I love knowing that I can add seemingly random ingredients together and somehow, due to flavor profiles and molecular structures and all the things I stopped paying attention to halfway through chemistry class, the drink just works. Is it magic? No. Is there even such a thing as magic? After watching this film, I still don’t have the answer. But I’m inclined to say yes. Cheers!

American Psycho

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Image credit: American Psycho, 2000

Image credit: American Psycho, 2000

Technically Literary Adaptation Month was supposed to end in September… but I couldn’t resist one more! American Psycho isn’t exactly a book you’ll find on your high school reading list, anyway (though it should be!). Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho (DVD/Download) is a horrifying, marvelous, and sharp tale about 1980’s consumer culture. With pop references on everything from Huey Lewis and the News to “Sussudio”, this film makes me laugh while simultaneously making me scared to ever walk down a dark street alone.

Lead character Patrick Bateman is played superbly by Christian Bale, who fought hard for this role. I fully admit that part of the appeal to this movie is his amazing physique, but past that, Bale does a great job of portraying the character’s cold-hearted disassociation, and later, panic over what he’s become. Director Mary Harron totally captures the New York 80’s era of excess, full of pin-striped suits, moussed hair, cocaine, and lunches at Café Des Artistes. I love that I can be laughing at Patrick Bateman’s obsession with “Hip to be Square” one minute, then cringing as he brings an axe down on Jared Leto’s head the next moment. What’s fascinating is that there are seemingly no consequences for crimes of the wealthy. Bateman can confess a love for murders and executions, and what people hear is his affinity for mergers and acquisitions. Brilliant.

Of course, one doesn’t become a serial killer without leaving little clues here and there. In addition to his disturbing notebook, Bateman keeps a closet full of corpses and has to explain away his bloody sheets to a skeptical dry cleaner. Sure, it’s cran-apple juice. Riiight…… While watching American Psycho, I recommend drinking a Psychokiller.


2oz Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka

.75 oz Calvados Apple Brandy

.5 oz Lime Juice

.5 oz simple syrup

1 oz hard cider

Fresh apple slice

Combine vodka, Calvados, lime juice, and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass.  Top with hard cider, and garnish with an apple slice.


Like Bateman, I too have an irrational fear of dining out without a reservation, and a love for fancy bath products. And yeah, I’m not crazy about cats either. But at least I don’t obsess over the quality of my business card. Yet. Cheers!


Image Credit Walt Diwney Pictures, 1992

Image Credit Walt Disney Pictures, 1992

Page-boy caps. Attractive and well-choreographed boys singing and dancing on the streets of New York. Crutchy. That’s right, this week’s Cinema Sips headliner is…… Newsies (!!!!!!). I’ve been obsessed with this movie ever since it premiered on The Disney Channel in the early-90’s. I had no idea what a labor union was, but if it involved singing catchy tunes and Christian Bale as a hot teenager in a kicky scarf, by all means sign me up. This week, while coming down from my Valentine’s sugar buzz, I decided I needed a boost in the form of this totally entertaining movie musical.

Newsies (DVD/Download) was a pretty big flop when it premiered in theaters, but since then, it has gained the cult status it so richly deserves. Newsies tells the story of the newsboy’s strike of 1899, wherein the lowly newsboys battled the mighty Pulitzer and Hearst by organizing a union and striking for increased pay and better working conditions. Of course, this being Disney, there are some wonderful songs and brilliantly choreographed dance scenes interspersed among the drama, along with some truly terrible New York accents. Heavyweight actors Robert Duvall and Bill Pullman round out the cast, but it’s Christian Bale who really shines here. This film may be an embarrassing “what was I thinking?!” moment for him now that he’s SERIOUS ACTOR Christian Bale, but I don’t care. I’ll always love him most as Jack Kelly, the cowboy of Manhattan, sellin’ papes and breakin’ hearts.

I found inspiration for my drink this week in a wonderful book I was given, Tipsy Texan by David Alan. I wanted to do something inspired by my favorite song from the movie, Santa Fe. Unsure of how green chilies might translate into the beverage arena, I opted instead to try something using the Mexican liquor Mezcal . This is similar to tequila (in fact tequila is a type of mezcal) but it has a smokier flavor. I like to imagine that Jack Kelly would have eventually turned 18 and taken his dumpy girlfriend Sarah out west, picking up a bottle of this in a border town along the way. In a nod to the age group of most of the protagonists, I’m mixing the Mezcal with good old fashioned Coca-Cola, something I’m sure the Newsies drank their share of back then. When watching Newsies, I recommend drinking a Barro Negro.

Barro Negro (From Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State)

1 ½ oz Mezcal

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

2 orange wedges

3 oz Coca-Cola (Mexican Coke if you can find it).

Pour Mezcal and bitters over ice in a glass. Squeeze the juice from the orange wedges into the glass, then drop them in. Top with Coca-Cola.


As you watch Newsies and sip your drink, feel free to laugh at all the digs at Brooklyn, which wasn’t always the hipster-mecca it is now. Back in 1899, Brooklyn was apparently a scary place full of teenagers with sling shots. Also, I can’t stop laughing when Christian Bale does his interpretive dance midway through singing Santa Fe. I say interpretive because I think he’s interpreting riding a horse with jazz hands, but it’s difficult to tell. This movie is just a classic. A classic what, I’m not sure, but definitely a classic. So drink up, dream of Santa Fe, and remember- “Headlines don’t sell papes- Newsies sell papes.” Cheers!