Picture a complicated, sex-themed character comedy set in the Jewish community. Now picture Woody Allen on set—if you weren't already. Now picture John Turturro in the director's chair. But don't picture Woody Allen saying, "Hey, what are you doing in my chair?" Because although Fading Gigolo, a movie of the aforesaid description, is indeed in the making with Allen attached, he is not the director or the writer: he is the star. Picture that.
Also picture Sofia Vergara and Sharon Stone—they're there too.
Fading Gigolo is a comedy written and directed by and starring John Turturro, a power player in the Coen Brothers films, the Happy Madison universe and all throughout the indie scene. Turturro's script focuses on two aging male members of the Hassidic Jewish community who decide, in the interests of money and excitement, to go into the prostitution business. Allen plays the pimp and Turturro the gigolo whose customers include a dermatologist (Stone, who is also starring in another sexually charged film, Lovelace) and a bored housewife (Vergara), looking for a threesome. So, it might be safe to assume that Turturro has a hidden agenda in the making of this movie...he did, after all, pick the "Most Desirable Woman of 2012." Maybe Turturro picked up the habit from director Michael Bay on production of Pain and Gain.
This will continue a pattern of Vergara starring in romantic roles opposite men several years her senior. Vergara is known best for her Modern Family role, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, the second wife of Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill). Her gig in this film beside Allen (who stands as one of the oldest Oscar winners to date) and Turturro could brand her with this characterization as a type. Fortunately, the fact that Turturro (who is an accomplished writer/director, despite being far better known for acting) wrote the film, and that it has Allen's confidence, suggests that her role won't be some one-dimensional trophy wife shtick you'd see elsewhere.
This will be Allen's first time onscreen since his 2006 film Scoop, and his first time starring in another director's movie since Alfonso Arau's 2000 film Picking Up the Pieces. Both were iffy at best, but Allen revitalized his reputation with last year's Midnight in Paris, so we're looking forward to seeing him back in the game.
Source: Variety via Cinemablend
Edward Burns' return to no-budget independent movie making with
Sidewalks of New York is receiving a mixed reception from
On the one hand, there is Jay Carr's rave in the Boston
Globe: "The film's flaws seem unimportant, and it passes the big
test, making you want to find out what happens to these characters. ...
It's the most satisfying film yet from Edward Burns. Not just for
audiences, but, you feel, for the actors."
On the other hand, there is
Chris Vognar's pan in the Dallas Morning News: "It's looking more
and more like Ed Burns had only one good film in him," he writes,
referring to Burns' The Brothers McMullen. Of the new film Vognar
says, "It all feels terribly contrived, like something that Woody Allen
could have written in a fitful sleep."
Indeed, several critics compare
Burns' work with Allen's. (Burns himself acknowledges that Allen is one
of his greatest influences.)
Writes Jami Bernard in the New York
Daily News: "Constructed, written and shot like a signature Woody
Allen romantic comedy but without any of the charm or novelty,
Sidewalks is a waterlogged bagel, hardly the valentine to New
York it imagines itself to be." The film had originally been scheduled
to open the week following the Sept. 11 attacks.
John Anderson (whose review also appears in the Los Angeles
Times): "In one of the first scenes, you can see the late World
Trade Center, looming majestically, directly over Burns' right shoulder.
Which wouldn't be so bad. But it's giving the better performance."
Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times was clearly charmed by the
film, saying that he was "baffled" by Paramount's decision to postpone
its release. "The movie is funny without being hilarious," Ebert writes,
"touching but not tearful, and articulate in the way that Burns is
articulate, by nibbling earnestly around an idea as if afraid that the
core has seeds."