Elektra Luxx (2010)
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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.
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.
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.
Would I watch it again? - I think I actually would.
*Also try - Finding Bliss
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.
"Elektra Luxx" is not really a comedy, but a quirky semi-serious drama. There are three vaguely connected subplots, one about the life of Elektra Luxx, another about a blogger and the third about two female friends of Elektra. While the main subplot of Elektra's life is interesting, the latter two subplots seem to add little to the main story. They seem disconnected and seem to function as fillers. Or, they are just reasons to put some soft porn in.
I find "Elektra Luxx" not so engaging or captivating as it potentially could be. What surprises me the most is the number of big names in the film, such as Joseph Gordon Levitt, Malin Akerman and even a long cameo by Julianne Moore.
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")
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?
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 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.
The story reintroduces the title character from "WIT", played by the lovely Carla Gugino ("Watchmen", "Frank Miller's Sin City", "Sucker Punch" and Mr. Guitterez's old lady). Retired from the adult film industry to her being knocked up by a now-late rock star, Elektra makes a living as (what else) a seduction teacher for the ladies at a community center.
Things seem easygoing, until shaky flight stewardess Cora (Marley Shelton, another "WIT" alum, "Grindhouse"), the reason of said rock star's passing (they had Mile High sex), appears with a forgiveness plea, a plethora of songs about the ex-skin flick starlet, penned by the rock star, and a proposition to seduce her fiancée. However, hunky shamus Dell (Emmy-nominee Timothy Olyphant of "Deadwood" and "Justified"), hunting for the songs, gets mistaken for the real fiancée (Justin Kirk of "Animal Practice"), putting Elektra in a self-reflective funk.
There are two sidebar plots here. Elektra's old porn compeer, dim-bulb Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki of "Friday Night Lights: The Series") deals with her growing sexual feelings for her gal pal, harlot Bambi Lindberg (spunky Emmanuelle Chriqui of "Entourage" and "Thundercats 2.0"). Sex blogger/fanboy Bert Rodriguez (a daffy Joseph Gordon-Levitt of "Inception") bemoans over the retirement of his favorite skin film thespian (is there such a thing?) while clueless of the feelings towards him from drug store clerk Trixie (sunny Malin Akerman of "Watchmen" and "Wanderlust"). Isn't love grand?
Like "WIT", "Luxx" is a Skinamax film meets a Lifetime film meets a Kevin Smith film. It's doesn't have the right to good with its sexual frankness (never be trapped in an elevator with a naked guy, ladies!) and minuscule production values, but it does, due to Mr. Guitterez's gonzo, breezy and inventive script and direction and the actors he has.
Echoing Rita Hayworth without Production Code rules, Ms. Gugino's so inventive here (she even plays an incarcerated twin sister with a lisp), it's bizarre she's not an A-list thespian. Ms. Palicki twists the dumb beauty stereotype to hilarious and thoughtful heights to combat Ms. Chriqui's to the letter practicality. It's weird and funny, as Rodriguez, who still lives his mom, that Mr. Levitt would elevate an exploitative medium to an art form while Mr. Olyphant, like in "Catch & Release", is a stud with a soul. Ms. Akerman will probably get more room to breathe in the upcoming third chapter "Women In Ecstasy". Who knew drug store clerks can be so damn cute?
Other cast members add to the proceedings: Kathleen Quinlain ("Breakdown", "Apollo 13") is a Jackie Collins-like scribe; Isabella Guitterez (the filmmaker's niece) reprises her old soul kid role from "WIT"; Amy Rosoff is Bert's spitfire sister who wants to be an Internet pin-up girl; Vincent Kartheiser is the naked schmuck in the elevator (!) and Oscar nominee Julianne Moore ("The Big Lebowski") has an uncredited part as the Virgin Mary (!).
If you get the DVD, you'll notice Eric Stoltz ("Pulp Fiction", "Modern Love") gets a "Back to the Future" treatment in the deleted scenes section as he plays the hubby of one of Elektra's students. The faux trailer of Elektra's last film (Sergio Leone meets Russ Meyer) is a hoot as it follows the end credits scroll.
It's not Oscar material, but "Luxx" has enough heart to be better than an average sexploitation romp.
Elektra's plot line ends up alternating screen time with two other plot lines--one involving Joseph Gordon Levitt as Luxx's ultimate fan boy blogger trying to get a hold on his own life post Luxx's career, and one involving Electra's ex-porn star colleague also trying to get a hold on her own love life post Luxx's career. I should put in a strong word for former Friday Night Lights' actress Adrianne Palicki here who really holds the screen with star power as the big-hearted and adorably dim ex porn star herself. Palicki not only holds her own in her plot line but she delivers the lines with such perfect delivery and spot on timing that i do believe she could be not just a big movie star but a really first rate comedic actress as well. (we really need more of those right now too, way more then romantic leads or dramatic actresses.) Gordon Levitt doesn't fare quite as well here--he's fine but his character doesn't really have as much to do plot-wise--and honestly isn't as fully developed as the other two female characters are. (is he just an obsessive pervert stuck in his life or is he this dignified romantic? the two traits don't really gel.) The two other plot lines never exactly intersect with Elektra's (altho they do both know Elektra) but they are all thematically related. They're all trying to cope with and are scared of the changes in their lives to put it broadly. The film is really at heart more of an old fashioned melodrama then anything else--the end credits list a special thank you to Pedro Almodovar and that's exactly who's influence can be felt in just about every single thing i can think of here. (the wistfulness of its characters, its comedic dialog, its intimate heart to heart scenes, its candy color decor, the film's use of music, or even in the film's cracker jack pacing.) Almodovar is such a singular combination that no one's ever really tried to copy him before because it would be just too difficult to balance without really careful handling but writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez does such a terrific job balancing everything here that i sincerely look forward to seeing him spin other tales involving other sets of quirky yet sentimental and wise characters in the future. Say something not set in the porn world for example. If Gutierrez keeps up this level of production--he will hopefully be able to sustain a long term career doing these kinds of movies. Hell at the very least he should be able to provide regular work for muse Carla Gugino who in addition to delivering a knockout performance here will make you care for whether or not she'll emerge from her situation OK. She very very much deserves more big screen exposure other than the 3 movies Mr. Gutierrez together now counting women in trouble, and 1999's Judas Kiss-(itself a neat and twisty neo noir) has ably provided for her.
Do yourself a favor--if you like movies with fast dialog that you love to listen to check this one out--even if you're put off by the subject matter of an ex porn star restarting her life--you will find some terrific crackerjack dialog here. I can't imagine this one not having a very healthy shelf life on cable and DVD.I also have the high hope that after the third one comes out a CD of Robyn Hitchcock's music from all 3 of the films will be made available because the three songs from him that get played are all very catchy. There's Some Great Work Here--Well Worth Checking Out.
The jokes fall flat, and the characters aren't particularly likable. The plot itself is fragmented, jumping all over the place without much exposition. The first few reviews here are glowingly positive, which makes me think the reviewers are somehow connected to the film. Don't be fooled by the name actors in the cast: this movie is a turkey.
If you're in the market for a drama about a porn star's personal life, you would be better served checking out The Girlfriend Experience.
The acting in Elektra Luxx was OK, nothing great, but not particularly bad either. It's mostly the script and direction that are lacking. The jokes probably sounded a lot better on paper than they do when the actors speak them; the plot probably looked better on the storyboard than it does on film.
You won't laugh, you won't be thrilled, you won't marvel at the drama. You will just wish you had watched something else.
This is the sequel to 'Women in Trouble'. It tries to be campy with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It tries to be an irreverent take on porn. I'm willing to go with this weirdness for another Sebastian Gutierrez episode. However it becomes rambling messy story. It has no flow. Its quirkiness is not actually funny. The first movie has a certain charm which this one seems to struggle to maintain. I still like Adrianne Palicki and Emmanuelle Chriqui together. Carla Gugino starts out fine but goes downhill. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is too broad and I grow to hate his part of the movie.
A lot of the failed attempts at humor where left out this time around, and the story focus also lies more heavily on the characters of Elektra (Carla Gugino), Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki), Bambi (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and Bert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The story lines of those characters in the first movie are continued right where they left off, and they're also joined by a few new faces like Timothy Olyphant, Malin Akerman and Lucy Punch.
Elektra Luxx is also a much tamer movie than Women in Trouble, despite the fact that most of its characters are still porn stars. Besides a few curse words, this could have been a PG-13 film.
As I said before, check this out if you're interested in the continued lives of the characters from Women in Trouble (the doors are left wide open at the end of this movie for a third entry in the series). Otherwise, there's not a whole lot of reasons to go out of your way to see this.
A shame that big budget movies won't even try to offer something intelligent. And when intelligent folks want to say something it has to be in the context of a movie like Elektra Luxx.
Unfortunately, it runs out of steam pretty quickly, and takes itself too seriously. At some point it becomes a drama, and the plot unravels and becomes pointless.
Ultimately the only positives are the scenes involving Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as they continue to be funny throughout the movie, while the remaining threads spiral into random nonsense.
Performances are pretty good, despite the weak material. As mentioned, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great, and Carlo Gugino, as Elektra Luxx, is solid. Supporting cast, which includes Malin Akerman, Timothy Olyphant, Kathleen Quinlan and Julianne Moore is OK.
Could have been better, but also could have been a lot worse.
There are flaws. The comical conversation skills of Adrianne Palicki are carried on a bit too much and evolve into a long-winded running gag. Also, living the life of a porn star is idealized too much; there's not much place for a critical or pitiful look at the adult industry. If this had been the case however, we wouldn't have had enjoyed the film so much. And it's refreshing to see these actors as normal persons, as intelligent individuals with real emotions and character.
All in all, Elektra Luxx is a successful mix of comedy and drama with good acting, good dialogs and an attractive visual style. It's not a masterpiece, but it's a good and entertaining movie.
Rather strange story-line though, certainly not a "Hot" movie, even though cover mentions "A Very Hot Cast" Good acting in general from the cast.
Storyline seems to jump around here and there, but not bad for the end result.
The version previewed was the Germany released Myriad Pictures in German and English.
Following the credits, immediately follows a preview, also in really good Blu-ray quality, titled "Even Reverse Cowgirls Get The Blues" I cannot find any info re this other movie which looks a good laugh? Anyone have info?
There is another title around "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" but that's an earlier movie.
Now after this introduction you might expect that they packed the movie with a ton of nude scenes or flat jokes like in American Pie part 23, unfortunately there wasn't even that.
It is a pointless mini journey of a former porn actress stumbling from one random conversation into another, i was sitting put and thought in the end it they take all strings together and tie a knot. Oh boy i was wrong again. Apparently or better unfortunately this was a sequel, they must have sent Tony Soprano holding a gun at the producers head to make 2 movies out of nothing. The worst part is how the movie was advertised as a comedy when it turns out to be a wannabe drama, in fact it is neither of that and it is crowned with horrible acting. It has at least 5 actors i really enjoyed before, I assume they woke up next to a horse head and the contract for this "movie" I wish i could sue people for stealing my time, but after learning that the movie grossed only 10,000 USD this is a hopeless case since the makers of this "movie" must be flat broke now.
The only reason why i got the Blu-Ray was some of the reviews here which had 9 and 8 stars and the "movie" was called brilliant. Must be a plug review by the executives who released this "movie" or people watching the movie one handed and when they didn't find any nudity they thought it was intelligent or something like that, don't blame them the blood was elsewhere.
Hands down the worst "movie" I have ever seen in my life and I never thought that could be possible after seeing Titanic2.
Do not get fooled by the trailers or make up your own ideas based on the suggested storyline, it is not what it pretends to be.
The conversations in this movie are so unnatural, it's only to be compared to the horrible horrible light-design of this movie.
The forced comedy of the lines are delivered with no sense of timing and the acting leaves me wondering if the director/writer met his actors, even once, to talk about his text.
The director manages to suck all the actors dry of any talent they might hint in any other movie.
If there is anything positive to say at all: there are maybe two lines by character Holly Rocket (played by Adrianne Palicki) that would have been funny if delivered with any kind of timing ore feeling...
Everything about this movie is so unsexy, but then again, so is porn.