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On March 14th in Austin, TX, I headed into the World Premiere of
"Elektra Luxx" at the Paramount Theater and boy was I in for a treat. I
was so pumped just being at SXSW but sitting a few seats away from me
were Malin Akerman, Carla Gugino, Emma Bell, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and
director/writer Sebastian Gutierrez. About an hour into the film, the
worst thing that could ever happen to a director happened...the movie
screen went blank during the world premiere. Within a few minutes,
Sebastian Gutierrez appeared on stage doing a one man show entertaining
the audience to the highest level possible. After about 20 mins, the
cast came on stage to help fill the time. This is when my brilliant ass
decided to ask the most awkward question to ask a filmmaker period, let
alone during a chaotic screening. I began to ask "how do you make a
sequel to a film that no one saw the original of?" After that sentence
came out of my mouth, I actually felt really bad for asking it because
I didn't realize how harsh it sounded but luckily for me Sebastian
Gutierrez decided to answer it honestly and poke fun at me a bit in the
process. The guy is awesome. I have met a ton of directors and
celebrities and he ranks up there as the coolest guy I met in showbiz.
He just seemed like the kind of guy who really valued his fans and I
truly admire the man now. But as the 45 minute mark drew near, Janet
Pierson let everyone know we would not be able to see the ending of
"Elektra Luxx" tonight as the projector could not be fixed.
About two weeks ago, I was browsing online and came across the Gen Art Film Festival and to my surprise "Elektra Luxx" was playing at the festival. I knew I had to get tickets and surely enough just a few days later I did. So finally on Friday April 9, 2010...I entered the theater took my seat right across from Mr. Gutierrez again and shortly the film began...
"Elektra Luxx" is the sequel to the film, "Women in Trouble." For the most part, this film focuses around the life of "Elektra Luxx (played by the beautiful and very talented Carla Gugino) and her retirement from the porn industry. In the film, Elektra is trying to just live a normal life by teaching a class called "How to have sex like a porn star." Shortly into the film, her past comes back to haunt her as she gets a surprise visit from Cora (Marley Shelton) who has some information about her husband. The film only continues to get more interesting as it goes along.. A lot of laughs and some dramedy filled moments ensue...
"Elektra Luxx" has a cast of some of the most beautiful women in showbiz and surprisingly all of them are great actresses as well. Carla Gugino's lead role as Elektra is not only fun but a very good performance. Her character isn't as simple as you may think and Gugino plays the role with such passion that you just enjoy every moment she is on screen. Marley Shelton plays Cora and is very good even though she has very limited screen time. Emmanuelle Chriqui is always pleasure to watch as Bambi. Her role of playing the all business & no fun girl perfectly offsets her partner in crime Holly Rocket played by Adrianne Palicki. Holly Rocket is is my favorite character in the film as well as the funniest. She seems dumb on the surface but if you actually pay attention to her character, she really isn't and that's what I love about it. Joseph Gordon Levitt is great in the film as Burt Rodriguez. Levitt steals the show every moment he is on screen. Malin Akerman's character Trixie isn't in the film all that much but for what little screen time she has, her character looks like it's going to show some promise in the next film. Overall, everyone does an amazing job even the host of people I haven't listed but these are the main ones.
Sebastian Gutierrez pulled a "Woody Allen" so to speak and directed, wrote, and produced the film. He is truly great at doing all of those things. I guess having done a lot of writing for "Mainstream Hollywood" it is nice to see him create something more independent. After having seen two different Q&A sessions with Sebastian, I would have to say that he is one of my most driven and passionate directors in the biz. He loves film and he loves his cast and it truly shows. One thing I have to mention is that everyone in the cast pointed out was that Sebastian treats everyone like family and that shows. These films "Women in Trouble" and "Elektra Luxx," are his babies and while some may not appreciate them for what they are, I really enjoy the films thus far and can't wait to see the final chapter "Women in Ecstasy" next year. Great Job Sebastian! I applaud you and support your work. I would love to be in or work on one of your films one day.
Bottom Line: "Elektra Luxx" isn't for everyone and with that being said you have to have a good appreciation for fun independent films in order to appreciate the film. Horny guys seeing this film hoping to see a lot of sex will surely be disappointed. This movie is very much a character driven film that tells a lot of interesting stories. There are a lot of laughs to be had but also quite a few heartfelt moments thrown in as well. "Elektra Luxx" is a movie that is definitely geared towards a mature and smart audience. It has a beautiful and talented cast and I highly recommend it.
MovieManMenzel's final rating for "Elektra Luxx" is a 9/10.
This movie, several steps up from "Women In Trouble" in terms of consistency, further evolves the weird, wonderful and sexy world of the title character. Carla Gugino is so winning as this confused but sometimes wise former lady of porn that it makes you wonder what movies would be like if she got more leading parts. Returning from the first one are the awesome duo of Adrienne Palicki and Emmanuelle Chriqui, who are maybe the most moving part of the story. Joseph Gordon Levitt is hilarious in it too and Malin Akerman, who I wasn't all that keen on from "Watchmen", actually proves she's a very good actress. Sex-positive and lesbian-positive without being preachy or sappy, this is a smart, weird comedy with a ton of personality and GREAT DIALOGUE.
I would bet that Sebastian Gutierrez, the writer and director of
"Elektra Luxx" is a big fan of the acclaimed Spanish director Pedro
Almodovar. "Elektra Luxx" is kind of like an American version of a
Almodvar film. It is full of funny, quirky and sexy characters.
I don't typically like most mainstream comedies but I really liked this film so that might say more about me than it does about this film. I was laughing out loud throughout the whole thing. The humor doesn't seemed forced like mainstream comedy. It is the characters that make it funny.
There is not much of a plot but I enjoyed the time I spent with these characters. My only complaint is that I had to watch it on DVD because the BlueRay is not available yet. Hopefully it comes out soon.
Make sure to watch to the ends of the credits. There is a trailer for the final Elekta Luxx film at the end that you will not want to miss.
"Elektra Luxx" is not a movie for everyone. In fact, it is not a movie for most people. If you like eclectic, quirky, sexy films, you should give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was fortunate enough to see this movie at a special screening last
night and had no idea what to expect. The poster and tagline made it
seem like a raunchy romantic comedy aimed at women or young men. What I
saw instead was one of the smartest, most heartfelt and profound
comedies I've seen in years.
But it's not for everyone.
ELEKTRA LUXX is striking first and foremost for its jigsaw-like structure. This is a movie that doesn't beg you to like it, it simply starts telling its multi-character tale and lets you decide whether to come along for the ride or not. Its filled with so many witty details and so much great dialogue and genuinely touching moments, that it feels more like a strange condensations of an entire season of your favorite television show expertly cut under 2 hours. The central question in the movie is delivered by Julianne Moore (excellent as the Virgin Mary, the only entity that listens to our protagonist, as everyone else simply asks things of her, and it is: What is you heart worth? This question resonates with all the characters in the story, who initially seem like stereotypes (the dumb blonde, the blogger in his basement, etc) until we see that each one is really an innocent (another important line, this time from Mr. Gordon Levitt: "He's an innocent. the world already has enough grownups) looking for a romantic connection in person in a world of internet fetishism and voyeurism and isolation.
At the heart of the tangled (but easy to unravel) jigsaw puzzle is Carla Gugino as the title character. Let it be said that few movies I've seen allow a performer to show a more dazzling display of acting abilities and Miss Gugino tackles every hurdle in her way with the grace of the greatest (singing and dancing? No problem. Playing twins in the same scene, one with a lisp? No problem? Being funny? No problem? Being heartbreakingly sad? Done.) That she is also the sexiest great actress working helps, even if the blond wig is a little distracting at times. Even here, however, the little movie (the budget is clearly non-existent) triumphs. The wigs, props, flashback devices and artifice surrounding the real themes of the movie: gender politics, identity, self-discovery, only seem to bring these into sharper focus. At one point one woman tells another one that she is in love with her and the other woman responds that they are not even gay and woman #1 explains that it has nothing to do with gay or straight, that it's simply love and so everything will figure itself out. That the moment does not feel like soapbox preaching is a testament to the writing (exceptionally smart) and the entire movie thrives on this kind of optimism. Optimism for a less cynical world in which "fallen" women can get advice from the Virgin Mary, find redemption and re-invent themselves as "a person of substance". See it and tell all your open minded friends to check it out.
"What kind of person are you?" Retiring pregnant porn star Elektra Luxx
(Gugino) fills her days by teaching a sexology class. After being
approached by a stranger with a tie to her dead ex-boyfriend her day
starts to get weird. If you have seen the previews to this then you
think you know what the movie is about. You would be wrong. From what I
saw I expected a very funny comedy. While this movie does have it's
funny moments, at its core it actually a very moving story. A woman who
is trying to figure out where her life is is the one everyone seems to
go to for advice, help or anything she can provide. Being that the
movie is about a porn star there are a few pretty raunchy scenes and
dialog, but no where near what you would have expected. There is a shot
a a male and female butt and that is the extent of the nudity. The
acting and characters are very entertaining that it makes you want to
watch and see everyone get what they want. This is not at all what I
expected, it was better. Overall a very touching, and somewhat funny
story about finding out and being comfortable with who you are. I give
it a B+.
Would I watch it again? - I think I actually would.
*Also try - Finding Bliss
I saw Women in Trouble with no expectations and was blown away. I saw
Elektra Luxx with high expectations and was not disappointed. There's
simply no way to describe either film, except to say they're both
funny, touching, thought-provoking, surprising, and, of course,
I particularly love Gutierrez' knack for creating conversations that never go where you'd expect, with participants talking at cross purposes, or simply flying off on wild tangents. (What do you get for $10? A yogurt... and a pony!) But it's always done without compromising the characters; always organic, never contrived.
I also got a huge charge out of the opening credits, which do the 1960s pop-art thing better than 9 out of 10 recent James Bond films. And I'm totally enraptured by Gutierrez' use of Robyn Hitchcock for music. Women in Trouble made me a lifelong Hitchcock fan, and it's great to hear Elektra Luxx again making use of his talents.
The story in this newer film is perhaps a little less focused than in the first one, but it's not a big deal. When every moment of the journey is a delight, who cares where you end up?
Elektra Luxx is about sex and hot women, and set just after Women in
Trouble (WIT), but not as interesting.
The good. An interesting, if not captivating, story. Beautiful women. Lots of things happening. Some laughs, a bit of drama, and sexiness.
The actors. Carla Gugino gives us a good performance as Elektra. I wonder if it's the limit of her acting capabilities. Adrianne Palicki is hilarious as the challenged beauty, while Emmanuelle Chriqui completes her admirably. And finally, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just right as the obsessed blogger.
The bad. Using an actor for two different role. Not as good as WIT, and still portraying a career in the sex industry as something base.
The ugly. That bath scene with the virgin Mary. Badly shot and edited, with horrible sound take, and it doesn't even bring that much to the story.
The result. Nice entertainment, especially if you want to find out what happens after WIT. More geared toward men, even if it still empowers women.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An amateur blogger, Bert Rodriguez, introduces us to famous porn star
Elektra Luxx, now retired from the sensational days of her stardom. Her
films are described in vivid details from the comforts of Rodriguez's
living room where he is recording his piece about the luminous star
while one hears in the background his mother's voice asking him to take
out the trash.
Elektra, who finds herself pregnant from a boyfriend who died on the lavatory of a jetliner, has reinvented herself into a teacher for repressed women who has no clue as how to behave in bed. The singer has left a lot of songs which even Elektra did not know about. Elektra is surprised by one of her students, that turns out to be a professional writer who wants to write her memoirs, a sort of guide into the pleasures of sex.
There are about three narratives running into the plot, all of which come together toward the end. This is not a film for everyone. Sebastian Gutierrez expanded his previous "Women in Trouble" with an emphasis on the character of Elektra. The comedy is witty as it tackles its subject with an eye toward fun. Mr. Gutierrez even includes a scene where the Virgin Mary has a tete-a-tete with Elektra while she is having a bath!
Carla Gugino makes the most of her character; she really is an optimist in a field where one could not think it possible. The excellent Joseph Gordon-Levitt is perhaps the director's alter ego, Bert Rodriguez, a young man in awe of the pleasures he has received from watching all of Ms. Luxx's films. Most of the cast has worked with the director before. Among the supporting casts there are good performances by Marley Shelton, Emmanuelle Chiriki, Adrienne Palicki, Timothy Olyphant, Kathleen Quinlan, Malin Ackerman, and a great cameo by Julianne Moore as the Virgin Mary.
Mr. Gutierrez keeps things moving at a quick pace, which benefits the enjoyment of the film. The creator of "Elektra Luxx" shows an irreverent streak for the material he wrote and directed.
Sebastian Gutierrez's dialogue oriented 'Elektra Luxx' is somewhat
better than his next film 'Girl Walks Into A Bar', at least in terms of
writing, especially where dialogue is concerned. It's wittier, fresher
and funnier and fits well with the situations. 'Elektra Luxx' also has
a film-noire style feel to it. The story of the title character
juxtaposes with two others: one about Luxx's 'diehard' and desperate
fanboy blogger Bert who's trying to move on with life post Luxx's film
career (she quit) and another involving Luxx's former costar Holly. I
thought the latter story, though well acted in by Adrianne Palicki and
Emannuelle Chriqui, barely contributed to the film and perhaps it
should have been left out as it only slows down the pace. The overall
pacing is also uneven. At times the lighting feels excessive. The score
is well utilized and pleasant to the ears. Carla Gugino is terrific in
the title role and she is well-supported by Adrianne Palicki, Joseph
Gordon-Levitt, Kathleen Quinlan and Marley Shelton. There's also an
interesting cameo by one of the finest actresses.
To sum it up, 'Elektra Luxx' is refreshing. It has a novel premise and Gutierrez steers away from clichés. Some good editing was required to tighten it up a little.
The famous porn star Elektra Luxx (Carla Gugino) has retired from the
adult film industry since she is pregnant and now she survives giving
sex class to married women. One day, the flight attendant Cora (Marley
Shelton) meets Elektra after class and tells that she killed the rock
star Nick Chapel, who is the father of her unborn child, and stolen
lyrics that he had written about Elektra. Cora offers the lyrics to
Elektra provided she seduces her fiancé to compensate the one night
stand she had with another man. Elektra is reluctant to accept but she
agrees in the end and everything goes wrong.
Elektra also meets her former colleague Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki), who has been expelled from the film industry, and she tells that she is traveling to Mexico with her girlfriend Bambi Lindberg (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Holly has serious difficulties in communication but along their journey she discloses a secret to Bambi that will affect their lives.
Meanwhile the blogger Bert Rodriguez (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a great fan of Elektra Luxx and he posts articles about the adult industry. He has a crush on the attendant Trixie (Malin Akerman) has difficulties to tell his feelings for her.
"Elektra Luxx" is a complete mess, with a story that is unfunny for a comedy; too silly for a drama or romance; and too well-behaved for a erotic or soft porn movie. The good cast is wasted in a weird and numb plot and surprisingly there are reviews promoting this terrible flick. My vote is three.
Title (Brazil): "Um Caso Complicado" ("A Complicated Case")
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