Drink of the Week: The Cabaret

The Cabaret.It’s just a few days before our fate is decided at the ballot box — or at least that’s usually the way it goes — and so I have a drink that is, cinematic and theatrical associations excluded, apolitical yet strong enough to help you stand up to the stress.

The provenance of this week’s cocktail, a sweetened-up martini of sorts, is not too obvious. There is a significantly different drink of the same name in Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book,” which calls for a now mostly unavailable sweetish fortified wine called Caperitif. (A revival of the product seems to have been attempted, however, so that may change.) These days, that Cabaret cocktail is sometimes made with Dubonnet Blanc or Lillet Blanc, so we may give it a shot at some point.

The drink will be making now, however, is an apparent adaptation/reboot that comes from Robert Hess’s “The Essential Cocktail Guide.” While Hess has also promoted a smaller version of the cocktail on his online video channel, and there are a few other versions of it online, I’m partial to the recipe in the book. It’s a bigger, bolder tipple and quite user friendly. It also gives us a reminder that Benedictine is good for something other than just going halfies with brandy.

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Alternatives to Tennis: Popular Paddle Sports for Fun and Fitness

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Tennis is a popular sport, a unique feature being the need of a racquet. Tennis is widespread, yet other activities are strangely similar, requiring a racquet or paddle but differing in rules. It’s ironic that tennis-playing adults and kids seek additional pastimes when a range of popular paddle sports are at their fingertips – table tennis, pickleball and badminton, to name a few.

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Blu Tuesday: Warcraft, Central Intelligence and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on social media with your friends.

“Warcraft”

WHAT: When an evil sorcerer named Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) sends a small war party of orcs through a portal to the peaceful realm of Azeroth in the hopes of conquering the land, the human forces – led by King Llane (Dominic Cooper), heroic warrior Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) and powerful magician Medivh (Ben Foster) – scramble to defend their kingdom with the help of Garona (Paula Patton), a human/orc half-breed who must decide where her true loyalty lies.

WHY: Hollywood has a pretty awful track record with video game adaptations, so when it was announced that director Duncan Jones would be bringing the mega-popular “Warcraft” franchise to the big screen, many people believed that he would finally break the curse. Sadly, it doesn’t even come close. Any hope that “Warcraft” would be the first great video game adaptation is promptly squashed within the opening 30 minutes, and it only gets worse from there as the audience is forced to suffer through the incredibly convoluted and disjointed plot. Although Paula Patton and Toby Kebbell (as conflicted orc warrior Durotan) deliver fine performances in their respective roles, the rest of the cast doesn’t fare quite as well, unable to rise above the hackneyed script and two-dimensionality of their video game counterparts. There are some enjoyable bits scattered throughout, and the motion capture technology is truly remarkable, but while that may be enough to please its legion of diehard fans, everyone else will see “Warcraft” exactly for what it is: just another bad video game film.

EXTRAS: In addition to a six-part making-of featurette that covers everything from pre-production and casting to visual effects and stunts, there’s a look at the Madame Tussauds exhibit created in promotion of the film, the supplemental motion comic “Bonds of Brotherhood,” deleted scenes, a gag reel and more.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

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Movie Review: “Storks”

Starring
Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell
Director
Nicholas Stoller & Doug Sweetland

“Storks” is filled with sweet and funny moments, but it has two teensy weensy (read: massive) problems: a lot of the funny bits are stolen, and there is no story. Like, at all. It’s actually kind of impressive how far out of his way screenwriter Nicholas Stoller went to not come up with a coherent story, and then you remember that he’s written some funny movies that had a story (the two most recent Muppets films, for starters), and that’s when the feeling of being cheated sets in.

Storks have gotten out of the business of delivering babies in favor of an Amazon-type model, and Junior (Andy Samberg) is the star delivery stork. Boss stork Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) is being promoted and would like Junior to take his place. But first, Junior must “liberate” the accidental troublemaker and newly-18-year-old Tulip (Katie Crown), a girl whose delivery instructions were lost and has remained with the storks. Junior instead assigns her to the now-dormant mail room, expecting her to not be able to break anything, until she receives a letter from Nate (Anton Starkman), a bored single child to workaholic parents who wants a little brother. Tulip sends the letter to the wrong machine, and a baby – somehow – is born. Junior, knowing that he’ll lose the promotion if Hunter discovers what has happened, teams up with Tulip to deliver the baby.

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Why extreme is the new normal

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In a world where so many things are available at your fingertips, you are questioning life at its core, always trying to make sense of it by pushing yourself and proving you can do anything better than the ones before you. You challenge yourself to advance mentally, emotionally and physically by seeking extreme undertakings that will make you feel alive.

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