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Tag Archives: Leonardo DiCaprio

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!

 

Titanic

Titanic rose beer

Image credit: Titanic, 1997

Here’s a little history lesson for you. Nearly 18 years ago, in December of 1997, an enormous box office behemoth sailed into movie theaters. Yes that’s right, Titanic (DVD/Download) will soon be an entire adult person old. This makes me feel as geriatric as Gloria Stuart on the bow of that ship. I can still remember the buzz at the lunch table in middle school. Girls making plans to see it at least 5 times over the Christmas holidays, while simultaneously plotting their future lives as Mrs. Leonardo DiCaprio. It was madness. Eighteen years later, I still find the movie entertaining, but I also appreciate a good Titanic parody as much as the next person. I mean, could anybody ever keep a straight face when Billy Zane was onscreen?

As the two leads in the film, Jack and Rose, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet share a unique onscreen chemistry. I witnessed it again in the fabulously underrated film Revolutionary Road, and it makes me wish they’d co-star more often (it’s my secret fantasy that Leo is madly in love with Kate in real life, yet he’s never been able to win her heart. Thus he overcompensates with yachts and supermodels). Titanic is really just Romeo and Juliet meets historical tragedy, with a little saucy Kathy Bates thrown in for good measure. I can’t attest to historical accuracies or inaccuracies, but if the point of the movie is to keep me entertained for 3+ hours, mission accomplished Mr. Cameron.

My cocktail this week is a bit of a no-brainer. In celebrating that great cinematic love story between Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater (seriously, who came up with that name?), while watching Titanic I recommend drinking a classic Jack Rose.*

Jack Rose

4 oz Applejack

2 oz Lemon Juice

1 oz Grenedine

Lime twist (for garnish)

Shake ingredients over ice until chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime twist.

jack rose

*Fun drinking game:  take a drink every time someone says the name Rose.  You’ll be hammered within the first hour.  Then you’ll wonder why people keep saying her name, even when she’s the only other person in the room.

My grandmother used to tell us stories of how she and her girlfriends cut school and drove for hours to go see Gone With the Wind when it was released. That desperation is the only thing I can compare Christmas of 1997 to. We’ll see if Star Wars: The Force Awakens becomes a similar cultural touchstone in the coming weeks. No matter what your feelings are on the schmaltzy Hollywood blockbuster that is Titanic, no one can deny that it brought millions of people together in cinematic viewership. In a world where moviegoing is slowly dying off in favor of at-home options, it’s nice to think about a time when everybody just shut up, put their real lives aside for 3 hours, and got lost together in a little Hollywood magic. Cheers!

The Aviator

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Image credit: The Aviator, 2004

Image credit: The Aviator, 2004

I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned that I adore movies about old Hollywood. The glamour, the scandals- I can’t get enough. This week I’ll be watching Scorsese’s The Aviator (DVD/Download), one of the best films to feature re-imagined classic film stars. Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn; Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow; Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner- the list goes on and on. And yes, there is Leonardo DiCaprio as mogul Howard Hughes, but who are we kidding here- the ladies are the stars of this show.

The Aviator follows Howard Hughes’ career as a movie producer and aviation pioneer, his success overshadowed by a raging case of OCD. Hughes’ money and charm attract a cavalcade of beautiful starlets, but it’s Hepburn who really connects with him. I know, I know, she was meant to be with Spencer Tracy, but a part of me wanted her to end up with Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett does Hepburn like nobody’s business, completely nailing the WASP-y New England accent and athletic stride. I was less impressed by Kate Beckinsale’s breathy portrayal of Ava Gardner, though of course I loved her costumes! Really though, the best part for me is the fabulous wallpaper in the bathroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel. That iconic giant palm-leaf design is a welcome distraction from DiCaprio’s sweaty overacting mess below it.

The 1930’s must have been an amazing time to be in Hollywood. Not just for the films (though those were good too), but also for the cocktails! Imagine sipping a gin cocktail at the Cocoanut Grove, a drunken Errol Flynn at the next table over, hitting on starlets left and right. Paying tribute to classic drinks and Hughes’ obsession with flying, while watching The Aviator I recommend drinking an Aviation cocktail.

Aviation

1 ½ oz gin

½ oz lemon juice

¾ oz maraschino liqueur

¼ oz crème de violette

Maraschino cherry (optional)

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry (optional).

Aviator

Obviously, The Aviator focuses a great deal on Hughes’ aviation experience (including one harrowing plane crash over Beverly Hills), but it’s also a love letter to cinema. Watching the filming of Hell’s Angels is pure fun, and I love seeing how the coloration and technology of cinema changes over time. In short, come for the glitz and action, but continue watching for the style and history. 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. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur

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!

The Great Gatsby

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Image Credit Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013

Image Credit Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013

What else can we say about one of the greatest American novels ever to be written? A novel that’s been adapted several times onto the big screen, to varying degrees of success? Plenty, as it turns out. Think what you will about Baz Luhrmann’s most recent adaptation of The Great Gatsby (DVD/Download), but one thing it is not is boring. I’ll admit, at times I found it a bit slow (ahem- everything after the car accident), however the raucous party scenes more than make up for that. Plus, it is a truly great film for pairing with a cocktail.  Back in the ’20’s, they knew how to pour a good drink.

I don’t need to bore anybody with a synopsis of The Great Gatsby, as I’m assuming we all read it in high school. And if you’ve never read it, order or download it right now!! Even if it’s a bit trite to say, this really is one of my favorite books. I think the reason directors have such a hard time turning it into a movie is because the language in the book is so beautiful. The plot is interesting, sure, but the language- that’s what keeps you reading. The sheer perfection of Fitzgerald’s sentences and vocabulary is enough to make me give up writing altogether because I know I’ll never be as talented as he was. However, I can be as drunk as he reputedly was, and so can you if you follow my recipe below!

When watching this movie, which takes place during the roaring ’20’s, I’m compelled to use a liquor which was like water back then- gin. I love the culture of the speakeasy and the raucous, never-ending parties of the wealthy, not to mention the clothes and bobbed hairstyles. But really, even the best-dressed character in this film looks naked without a cocktail glass in their hand. Because Baz Luhrmann’s film has more effervescence and pizazz than any other adaptations of this story, I’m serving up a Gin Fizz this week.

Prohibition Gin Fizz

2oz gin

Dash of lime juice

½ tsp simple syrup

1 egg white

Soda Water

Lime twist for garnish

Pour the gin, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for a few minutes (I promise, it’s worth it). Strain into a glass and top with soda water. Garnish with lime twist.

Gin-Fizz

I like to drink this and imagine I’m at Gatsby’s mansion, wearing any number of the beautiful creations Carey Mulligan gets to model as Daisy Buchanan. I could probably take a pass on the strange hip-hop/jazz mash-ups that populate this movie in favor of classic jazz, but I’d enjoy every minute of being fought over by Leonardo DiCaprio and Joel Edgerton (can I just say WOW about his performance as Tom Buchanan??). Even if you’ve read the book many times like I have, and have seen all the movies, it’s still pretty fun to watch this version, especially with a tasty cocktail. Is it a perfect movie? No. Is it fun? Absolutely. Jay Gatsby wouldn’t have had it any other way. Cheers!