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A Night at the Besties Oct 23, 2014 Celebrate CityBeat's "Best of San Diego" issue with live music from Little Hurricane and Steph Johnson, performances from the Fern Street Circus, an art exhibit from the Dream Machine Arts Collective, a mobile video arcade by Coin Op North Park and more. 60 other events on Thursday, October 23
 
Fall Arts
Epic San Diego Museum of Art exhibition promises a textbook lesson in the evolution of modern works
Editorial
Kevin Faulconer’s likely to tack left on sustainability
Film
Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith novel tops our coverage of movies screening around town
News
With few specifics on who they were looking for, officers held the wrong man at gunpoint
Theater
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical leads our rundown of local plays

 

 
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Home / Articles / Arts / Film /  ‘Fading ...
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Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014

‘Fading Gigolo’ is a misguided male fantasy about the power of sexual healing

John Turturro’s film, starring Woody Allen, leads our rundown of movies screening around town

By Glenn Heath Jr.
film2 Fading Gigolo

As far as insane male fantasies go, Fading Gigolo is one of the laziest. In this overtly sunny and tone-deaf morality tale set in New York City, John Turturro plays Floravante, a part-time florist who, in the film's opening act, decides to change career paths and start sleeping with wealthy women for money. This comes after his lecherous friend Murray (Woody Allen) convinces him to become a "ho" after a conversation that lasts all of five minutes. 

What little conflict the film displays at the sudden shift in occupation and lifestyle it makes up for in tedious banter between the two leads. The men smugly discuss women, sex and, you know, all the other topics guys always talk about. But the cash keeps rolling in. Things really get bungled when Floravante falls for an orthodox Jewish woman who—get this—is suffering from an extreme bout of loneliness now that her sexless rabbi husband has finally kicked the bucket. A match made in heaven right? 

Plot points like these are handled with the subtlety of a falling guillotine. The inevitable culture clash and emotional complications between Floravante and his forbidden love are foreshadowed regularly, leaving very little to the audience's imagination when it comes to their rocky road toward secular romance. 

Turturro, who also wrote and directed the film, is obviously trying to channel his co-star's films. Fading Gigolo's breezy music cues and hop-along pacing scream Wood-man. But it lacks the charm, romance and sense of brutal fate that dominates Allenís best work. 

Instead, we're left with characters who do exactly what they think and very little else that makes sense. Fading Gigolo—which opens Friday, May 2, at Hillcrest and La Jolla Village cinemas—desperately tries for L'amour fou but fails miserably, thanks to its shapeless, unromantic sense of destiny and desire.


Opening

Amazing Caves: From the Grand Canyon to the coastal waters off the Caribbean, spelunk into the world’s deepest and darkest caves in this mesmerizing IMAX journey that spans the globe. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. 

The Amazing Spiderman 2: Andrew Garfield returns as the high-flying web slinger to battle an assortment of new villains (Dane DeHaan and Jamie Foxx) while trying to save New York City and his beloved Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) from imminent destruction. 

Blue Ruin: A bearded drifter goes on a precipitous journey of revenge when his parents’ murderer is released from prison after 10 years. Screens at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas. 

Fading Gigolo: A failed bookstore owner (Woody Allen) convinces his blue-collar friend (John Turturro) to start sleeping with wealthy women for money. Nothing could go wrong with this idea, right? 

The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden: Documentary about a real-life murder mystery that occurred in the 1930s on the uninhabited Floreana Island, where settlers found themselves at odds in an undiscovered habitat. Screens through May 8 at the Ken Cinema.

Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America: This loving musical portrait of one of Latin America’s most iconic singers mixes archival interviews and concert footage. Screens through May 8 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.

Walk of Shame: Elizabeth Banks stars as a rising-star news anchor who gets the job interview of a lifetime, only to find herself stranded in downtown Los Angeles without a phone, car or shoes after spending the night with a strange man. 

Water & Power: Two brothers working on different sides of the law in Los Angeles find themselves battling for control of the streets. This is the debut film from Richard Montoya of Culture Clash. 

Workers Film Festival: Labor, social justice and human rights will be topics that run throughout this diverse program of 12 new films. Runs Friday, May 2, through Sunday, May 4, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

One time only

Office Space: Damn it feels good to be a gangster. But it doesn’t feel so good working at a mind-numbing corporate job where you have to come in on Saturdays. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. 

The Wizard of Oz: A girl and her dog get swept up in a tornado and end up in a magical land full of witches, flying monkeys, tin men, cowardly lions and more. Kansas seems boring by comparison. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1, through Saturday, May 3, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.

Death Metal Angola: A documentary following a group of orphans in Angola’s capitol, Huambo, as they spearhead a heavy-metal movement that serves as a catharsis for youth affected by war. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, May 2, at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.

Rasa Dari Tari: The Soul of Dance: Introduction to the many vibrant contemporary dance movements sweeping across Indonesia. Screens at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village.

The Straight Story: David Lynch shows his lighter side in this brilliant film about an aged farmer (Richard Farnsworth) who rides his tractor cross-country to make amends with his ill brother. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village.

Shuffle: What happens when you begin to experience your life out of exponential order? Nothing good. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 5, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village. 

Air Force One: Harrison Ford’s badass president tells Gary Oldman’s heinous terrorist to get off his plane! Screens at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 5, at Arclight La Jolla. 

The Deflowering of Eva van End: An exchange student makes a profound impact on a Dutch family eager to reinvent themselves. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: The beginning of the end for comic heavyweight Mike Myers, whose swingin’ James Bond-esque alter ego would be both his cultural highpoint and lowlight. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at Arclight La Jolla. 

Nacho Libre: Jack Black plays a clumsy altar boy south of the border who decides to become a luchador to prove his worth to his church. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

Now playing

Brick Mansions: In the not-so-distant future, an impoverished Detroit neighborhood is sectioned off from the world by a massive containment wall. A volatile detective (Paul Walker) goes undercover to destroy a drug kingpin who holds court over the isolated ghetto. 

Dancing in Jaffa: In this documentary, Pierre Dulaine, a world-renowned ballroom dancer, moves back to Jaffa, the city of his birth, to teach Jewish and Palestinian Israelis to dance.

Hateship Loveship: Kristen Wiig stars in a surprising dramatic role as an eccentric nanny who develops a friendship with her employer (Guy Pearce), a recovering addict. Ends May 1 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

How to Boil a Frog: Eco-documentary that uses comedy to examine solutions to economic and sustainability issues threatening the planet. Ends May 1 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

Only Lovers Left Alive: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star as moody vampires who can’t quit each other in the brilliant new movie by master filmmaker Jim Jarmusch.

The Other Woman: Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned. In this case three women—Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton—bound together by one cheating bastard. 

Walking with the Enemy: In Hungary during the final months of World War II, a young man steals a Nazi uniform and begins a long search for his missing family. It’s directed by Mark Schmidt, founder of San Diego-based Liberty Studios. 

Bears: Narrated by John C. Reilly, this nature documentary follows a family of Alaskan bears over a period of years. 

Dom Hemingway: The titular safe cracker, played by Jude Law, is released from prison after 12 years and sets out to reconnect with his estranged daughter and collect on old debts. Ends May 1 at Hillcrest Cinemas.

Finding Vivian Maier: While working as a nanny, Vivian Maier took more than 100,000 photographs, which earned her a posthumous reputation as an accomplished street photographer. But her story goes much deeper than that.

Haunted House 2: Because humanity needed another sequel to a spoof of a sequel to a bad original film nobody needed. 

Heaven is for Real: Drama starring Greg Kinnear, whose young son dies on the operating table but is brought back to life. After waking up, the boy confesses to having been to Heaven, sharing his experience with those who are willing to listen. 

The Railway Man: Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in this tense drama about a World War II vet who falls in love with a divorcée after meeting her on a train. In order to move forward, both must confront demons from their past and learn to forgive. 

Transcendence: After working as cinematographer on Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and Inception, Wally Pfister makes his directing debut with this mind-bending sci-fi film about a terminally ill scientist (Johnny Depp) who uploads his mind to a computer after a terrorist attack leaves him in a coma.

Watermark: Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky (Manufactured Landscapes) travel the world and document our modern relationship with water, and they include major sequences set at the Hoover Dam and the River Ganges in India. Ends May 1 at Hillcrest Cinemas. 

Grand Canyon Adventure: A team of explorers embarks on a journey through the majestic natural wonder, looking for solutions to the environmental concerns plaguing the arid region. Ends April 30 at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Draft Day: Kevin Costner plays the general manager for an NFL team looking to score big on a young player in the latest draft. Somewhere, drama will be created out of thin air. 

The Raid 2: After surviving the carnage in 2012’s The Raid, a Filipino police officer named Rama goes undercover to take down the crime bosses responsible for the city’s rampant corruption. Ends April 24 at Hillcrest Cinemas.

Under the Skin: In Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi art film, Scarlett Johansson plays a mysterious being that descends to Earth and begins wreaking havoc with lonely men.

Captain America: Winter Soldier: Chris Evans reprises his role as the patriotic avenger who must now battle a mysterious super soldier who’s threatening to destroy Washington, D.C.

Cesar Chavez: The first narrative film to dramatize Cesar Chavez’s attempts to unify farm workers in California’s central valley in the 1960s. It’s directed by Diego Luna and stars Michael Peña.

Noah: Darren Aronofsky’s long-gestating epic about the titular biblical figure (Russell Crowe) and his epic quest to build an ark and save the world’s species from a worldwide flood. 

Bad Words: A former spelling-bee loser (Jason Bateman, who also directs) decides to find a loophole in the competition rules and participate as an adult.

Divergent: The future is a world divided into factions based on tested virtues. A young woman (Shailene Woodley) threatens to topple this rigorous framework when she’s deemed “divergent”—an outsider who must be disappeared. 

The Lunchbox: In Mumbai, thousands of lunchboxes are delivered every day, thanks to a famously efficient service run by couriers. When one of these orders is delivered to the wrong address, the mistake inadvertently connects an aging businessman and an unhappy housewife.

Muppets Most Wanted: Miss Piggy, Kermit and the rest of the Muppets gang find themselves embroiled in a European jewel heist. It co-stars humans like Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell. 

Le Week-End: An elderly British couple (Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan) come to grips with their crumbling marriage while spending a weekend in Paris.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Ralph Fiennes leads an all-star cast in director Wes Anderson’s latest film, which takes place inside an elaborate European hotel populated by eccentric characters.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman: Animated adventure about a father and son who invent a time machine, travel back to witness famous historical events and then find themselves racing to repair the past and save the future.

Non-Stop: Liam Neeson’s seasoned air marshal deals with a series of mysterious threats aboard a transatlantic flight.

Son of God: Jesus, another biopic. 

Journey to the South Pacific: Let the glorious scale of IMAX take you to the tropical islands of West Papua, where life under the sea is just as lush and vibrant as it is on shore. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

The Lego Movie: That movie adaptation based on a classic toy set you knew was always coming but didn’t think would actually get made. Well, it did, and it’s here.

Mysteries of the Unseen World: This amazing documentary uses high-speed and time-lapse photography to focus on things that are either too fast or two slow for the eye to see. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.




 
 
 
 
 
 
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