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Here’s one of the nicest treats of the year: a sweet, bracingly original, wholly entertaining film from John Turturro with a plum part for none other than Woody Allen. In fact, every role is perfectly and inventively cast—and each player lovingly shot by cinematographer Marco Pontecorvo. What’s more, the soundtrack features jazz great Gene Ammons playing a number of timeless standards. Allen has often said that he has a limited range as an actor, but this part was crafted with him in mind. He’s a delight to watch, looking much younger than his years and firing up his comedic chops as a garrulous friend of Turturro’s who proposes him for a surprising job: acting as gigolo for ...
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- Leonard Maltin
Whatever you think about Woody Allen's personal life, his co-stars sure seemed to get a kick out of him in “Fading Gigolo.” Writer-director-star John Turturro and child actors can't stop breaking into a grin when they're on camera with the “Annie Hall” filmmaker in Turturro's modest and thoroughly enjoyable farce. Allen takes a backseat role in the production, but is in full Woody Allen mode onscreen, riffing in the manner frequently seen in his own movies as Murray, an unlikely pimp to Turturro's reluctant gigolo. The movie even opens with jazzy music favored by Allen. But it's Turturro who gives the movie. »
- Diane Garrett
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom assess the just-announced lineup for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which competing films have serious Oscar hopes and which pics Pete can’t wait to see when he hits the Croisette for Deadline next month. Today also was the last day for would-be Emmy voters to make themselves eligible with the TV Academy, and Pete and David take a look at the Emmy campaigns that are heating up, while also grumpily acknowledging the first Oscar campaign of the 2015 season. Finally, Pete gives his take on the weekend’s notable movie debuts, including Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence, the Woody Allen-John Tuturro collaboration Fading Gigolo and faith-based hit-in-the-making Heaven Is For Real. Listen to the podcast in your choice of formats here: Deadline Awards Watch podcast 70 (.MP3 version) Deadline Awards Watch podcast 70 (.M4A »
- PETE HAMMOND
Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice.” Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups.” Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes.” Hou Hsiao Hsien’s “The Assassin.” Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys.” Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight.” Doug Liman’s “Edge of Tomorrow.” Stephen Frear’s untitled Lance Armstrong biopic. Thomas Vinterberg’s “Far From the Madding Crowd.” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman.”
The list of films and filmmakers once rumored to be hot prospects for the Cannes Film Festival, only to be go unmentioned during this morning’s official selection announcement, is, as usual, a long and tantalizing one — so tantalizing, in fact, that some festgoers may find themselves surveying the actual lineup today with a mild sense of deflation, even disappointment. I’ll be the first to admit that those of us fortunate enough to attend film festivals on a regular basis can too often lapse into a posture of whiny, »
- Justin Chang
John Turturro had Woody Allen's voice in his head when penning the script for his latest directorial effort, "Fading Gigolo," but the film owes as much to comedic collaboration as it does to the fact that their mutual barber couldn't keep a secret. "Don't tell Woody," Turturro apparently instructed his coiffeur after spilling the idea during a routine trim. Of course, telling Woody is exactly what he did and luckily Allen was sold on the concept almost immediately. Acting for a director aside from himself for the first time in 14 years, Allen plays Murray, a bumbling bookstore proprietor who resorts to pimping out his younger friend, Fioravante (Turturro), when his business goes under. A jack of all trades who works primarily as a florist, the gentle Fioravante is able to satisfy the needs of his upper class clients with relative ease until Murray procures a Hassidic widow (played with »
- Emma Myers
This weekend, Johnny Depp bridges the gap between man and machine in "Transcendence," a small-town father shares his young son's life-changing experience in "Heaven Is for Real," two mother bears watch over their cubs in the documentary "Bears," the BBC America series "Orphan Black" returns for its second season premiere, and "Salem" has its series premiere on Wgn.
Also in theaters this weekend: "A Haunted House 2." Marlon Wayans stars in the horror-parody sequel about a family man plagued by bizarre paranormal events after moving into his dream house. Written and directed by John Turturro, "Fading Gigolo" follows a middle-aged man (Turturro) who becomes a professional gigolo to help his cash-strapped friend, Murray (Woody Allen). In "13 Sins," a salesman down on his luck answers a cryptic phone call that begins a sinister game of risks that financially rewards him for completing the 13 dangerous tasks. "Make Your Move" finds a pair of »
- Jonny Black
20th Century Fox
How hard is it to separate the filmmaker from the film? And is it possible to still enjoy a film which has been written, directed or stars somebody currently facing allegations or accusations of the notorious kind? We bring this subject to light over today’s news that director Bryan Singer, best known for his work on The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men 2 and – more recently – Jack the Giant Slayer, has been accused of child molestation. Whether the claims are true or not, one thing’s for sure: in one way or another, they will effect the upcoming release of Singer’s long-awaited comic book sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The semantics involved in making the decision whether to go and see a movie associated with somebody who may or may not have committed a terrible act are insanely complex. Ask Woody Allen fans, who over the »
With only hours ago before the official selection for the Main Competition is announced, we’ve narrowed our final predictions to the following titles that we’re crystal-balling as the films that will be included on Thierry Fremaux’s highly anticipated list. Despite an obvious drought of Asian auteurs (we’re thinking the rumored frontrunner Takashi Miike won’t be included in tomorrow’s list) who’s to say there won’t be some definite surprises, like Jia Zhang-ke’s A Touch of Sin last year.
Several hopefuls appear not to be ready in time, including Malick, Hsou-hsien, Cristi Puiu, and Innarritu, to name a few. But there does appear to be a high quantity of exciting titles from some of cinema’s leading auteurs. We’re still a bit tentative about whether Xavier Dolan’s latest, Mommy, will get a main competition slot—instead, we’re predicting another surprise, »
- IONCINEMA.com Contributing Writers
In the new film Fading Gigolo, John Turturro (who also wrote and directed) plays an unlikely escort pushed into the world's oldest profession by his cash-strapped friend (Woody Allen) — though when your clients include comely women played by screen beauties Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, and Vanessa Paradis, you don't remain a reluctant gigolo for long. And since there are some similarities between the life of a gigolo and the life of an actor who is paid to occasionally kiss beautiful actresses from time to time, John Turturro rang up Vulture to look back at some of the women he's romanced onscreen, as well as to ponder the nature of the love scene itself.Do you remember with whom you had your first screen kiss?Wow, that's a really good question. I think that's the first time I've ever been asked that! I may have had a quick kiss in The Sicilian, »
- Kyle Buchanan
A new image has gone online for Woody Allen's upcoming film Magic in the Moonlight. We previously reported that the movie "is a romantic comedy about an Englishman (Colin Firth) brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue. The film is set in the south of France in the 1920s against a backdrop of wealthy mansions, the Côte d’Azur, jazz joints and fashionable spots for the wealthy of the Jazz Age." The latest issue of EW reports that the "possible swindle" involves the Englishman trying "to expose a phony mystic (Emma Stone), only to end up falling for her." Furthermore, Marcia Gay Harden will play "Stone's mother and co-conspirator." Allen says he had the idea for "ages" but it only recently clicked when he decided to set it in the south of France in the 1920s rather than the present day. Allen also »
- Matt Goldberg
"Do you ever just get down on your knees and thank god that you know me and have access to my dementia?" George Constanza asks when his scheme to get Jerry out of a relationship by having him claim he wants to have a menage a trois, winds up with woman actually being into the idea. It's a hilarious scene because not only does it acknowledge one of the ultimate male fantasies, but when moments later Jerry says he can't go through it, it also underscores that it's a long way from fantasy to reality. There's little of that wonderment or fear in John Turturro's odd, uneven and yet engaging "Fading Gigolo," a film that starts as a sex comedy but becomes something else entirely, as ideas for what would've been two really good separate films are combined into one merely adequate picture. To the film's benefit, it doesn't waste any time, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
In his latest, “Fading Gigolo,” John Turturro exercises what amounts to the urban auteur’s droit de seigneur, casting himself as a member of New York’s studliest, directing himself into a three-way with Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara, and satisfying a client list that looks like it walked out of the pages of Vogue Paris. His pimp? Woody Allen. Yes, there are many distracting, stunt-like happenings in Turturro’s latest directorial effort -- including the presence of Vanessa Paradis as a Hasidic widow from Williamsburg – enough that one might easily be distracted from the more soulful qualities of Turturro’s chamber comedy, its utterly personal statement on love and intimacy and, of course, its utterly fanciful story, set in an imaginary city called New York. Turturro tends to go his own way as a director, being, among other things, a voluptuary re: visuals – there is one shot of Turturro »
- John Anderson
John Turturro writes, directs and stars opposite Woody Allen in Fading Gigolo, a charmingly offbeat indie comedy with an unusual premise about two cash-strapped best friends who devise a lucrative scheme involving the world’s oldest profession. A partnership is born when Fioravante (Turturro) embarks on his new career as an upscale New York gigolo with Murray (Allen) acting as his pimp. Turturro’s tale of people’s never ending quest to find happiness through sex and love is as moving as it is funny. Opening April 18th, the film also stars Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Paradis and Liev Schreiber. In an exclusive interview, Turturro talked about teaming up creatively with Allen in the lead roles, finding the right supporting cast, the decision to shoot on film rather than digitally, setting the comedic action in the Hasidic community, basing the look of the film on Saul Leiter photographs, and »
- Sheila Roberts
Chris Messina both directs and stars in "Alex of Venice," a drama about Alex, (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a woman pushed past the comfort zone of everything she knows. Previously known for his work on "The Mindy Project" and HBO's "The Newsroom," this is Messina's directional debut. Tell us about yourself? I was born and raised in New York and spent many years performing in plays from anywhere from the Bronx to off-Broadway to Broadway. About 8 years ago Alan Ball cast me on the last season of "Six Feet Under" and I moved to Los Angeles to work in film and television more. I've been lucky enough to work with film directors like Woody Allen, Sam Mendes, Nora Ephron, Ben Affleck, David Gordon Green and Noah Baumbach and I learned a great deal from all of them. I live in Los Angeles with my wife Jennifer Todd who is a film producer and our two boys, »
Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments. "The Big Spoon" Tweetable Logline: An Unromantic Comedy about the Perils of Staying Together when You Should Really be Apart. Elevator Pitch: Have you ever been in a relationship where you're comfortable, and nothing's Wrong, per se, but you wake up one day and think, "what the fuck am I doing with this person who I know I don't want to be with forever?" but then drag ass getting out of it because, maybe it's better than being alone after all? The Big Spoon is a modern (un)romantic comedy about that; think classic Woody Allen sensibilities mixed with Broad City-esque shenanigans and you've got our movie. »
At first glance, "Fading Gigolo," John Turturro’s fifth directorial credit, marks one of the more peculiar entries in Woody Allen's career: Written and directed by Turturro, it's one of only a few projects in which Allen has starred without playing any other role in its production. Intentionally or not, however, "Fading Gigolo" actually functions as something of a statement on Allen's persona—onscreen and off—as it has been understood in the public eye. And the resulting conclusion, like the movie, is a decidedly mixed bag. Unlike Allen, Turturro has never been a predictable filmmaker: With each project, he explores new possibilities, from the postmodern musical "Romance and Cigarettes" to the elaborate music history documentary "Passione." With "Fading Gigolo," Turturro seems to be riffing on the idea of a Woody Allen comedy in terms of its themes and neuroses expressed over the years, with Allen himself operating as »
- Eric Kohn
A familiar actor who has appeared in nearly a hundred movies over the past thirty years, working with everyone from the Coen Brothers and Spike Lee to Michael Bay, John Turturro hasn't been seen on screen as much in recent years as he's been focusing on his filmmaking. In his fifth movie as a director, Fading Gigolo , Turturro plays New York florist Fioravante, who starts to earn money in an unlikely way by becoming an object to fulfill wealthy women's sexual desires. Probably Turturro's biggest coup was getting Woody Allen--who hasn't acted in a movie he didn't write and direct in over a decade--to play Murray, Fioravante's friend-slash-pimp who introduces him to women as Murray introduces him to Avigal (Vanessa Paradis), a Hassidic widow who has been repressed by the laws of her »
So here’s the premise – a guy and his best friend are down on their luck, struggling to pay rent, and looking for a new means of income. One of the chums hears that sexual services are in demand, he recommends the other fellow, and they become a pimp and gigolo team sweeping New York City. Sounds like perfect fodder for two young funnymen like Jonah Hill as the pimp and Channing Tatum as the gigolo, right? Ha, you couldn’t be more wrong. Try imagining Woody Allen as the pimp and John Turturro as the gigolo, and then wrap your mind around Sofía Vergara and Sharon Stone paying Turturro for a time-restricted session of love-making. If Fading Gigolo isn’t an unfair tease to mild-mannered men around the globe, I don’t know what is.
There’s far more emotionality in Fading Gigolo than the simple premise suggests, as »
- Matt Donato
From the stage to the screen, the director’s chair to the writer’s room, real-life jack-of-all-trades John Turturro channels his versatility in his latest feature, Fading Gigolo. As Fioravante, a sensitive florist and handyman who turns to the world’s oldest profession to help out a cash-strapped friend, played by Woody Allen, Turturro puts a lighthearted spin on this surprisingly poignant story about intimacy, companionship and love.
His first full auteur effort since 2005’s Romance and Cigarettes, at first glance, Fading Gigolo seems to possess the uncanny look, feel, and sound of a Woody Allen film: an opening New York City montage shot on 8 mm, a jazzy soundtrack, and a broad cast of quirky characters including Liev Schreiber as an overprotective Hasidic neighborhood watchman and, of course, Allen himself.
“I’d write the script and [Allen] would give me his feedback and tell me all the things he hated, which were many, »
- Misa Shikuma
Head Case: Silver Returns With Another Slice of Low-fi Discomfort
At the end of the final credits of Soft in the Head, Nathan Silver dedicates his latest film “For the Idiot,” a nod to his inspiration for as partially being born out of a desire to adapt Dostoevsky’s famous classic, The Idiot, concerning a character released from a sanitarium, whose subsequent interactions with the outside world suggests that the cruelty and duplicity of others is more vicious than the sanitarium. In his 2012 darkly comedic Exit Elena, Silver examines an awkward and uncomfortable relationship allowed to develop because of accepted notions of polite social exchange in a situation predicated by monetary necessity for its main character. His latest also glorifies in the discomfort of mixing company of those living in the comfortable scripts of their lives with the instability of those in a slipping down desperation to find themselves without proper support or resources. »
- Nicholas Bell
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