Carla Gugino

Tribeca Film Festival

It is not every day that you get to watch veteran actor Patrick Stewart rave about cunnilingus. Then again, not every day is the Tribeca Film Festival and not every veteran actor agrees to discuss such things in public. The film in question is Match, based on the 2004 play of the same name. Playwright Stephen Belber directed this adaptation of his own work, a first for him. And despite the verbal power of his original text, that’s pretty obvious. The final product could never be mistaken as anything other than a screen version of a theatrical production. Is that a bad thing? Not inherently, and Match is not a bad movie. This is a very different case than Venus in Fur, Roman Polanski’s unambitious adaptation of an open-ended, mythological play with bonkers cinematic potential. Belber’s narrative is a realist, simple living room drama that doesn’t necessarily cry out for fireworks. It begins with Tobias (Stewart), an aging dance teacher who works at Juilliard and lives in Inwood at the tip top of Manhattan. He’s charming, awkward and very nervous as he waits in his favorite diner for his guests. Lisa (Carla Gugino) is a PhD candidate researching the history of dance in New York, and her husband Mike (Matthew Lillard) has come along to record the interview. That’s how it begins, anyway.

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Escargots JGL

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. This weekend sees the release of two major films directed by former child stars. There’s Rush by Ron Howard, who got his true start as a boy on TV shows like Dennis the Menace and The Andy Griffth Show, and Don Jon by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who got his true start as a boy on TV shows like Family Ties and Roseanne. So, given the link, I thought it would be worth it to double up on the latest column. Both actors eventually became directors (Howard made the full switch while Gordon-Levitt is actually still a rising screen star), and before the made features they directed a few shorts. Howard’s are more like home movies made with his brother Clint and friends. Gordon-Levitt’s are mostly animated collaborative works produced through his hitRECord company. Let’s look at Howard’s first. In 1969, he shot three amateur Westerns, which he also appears in. Maybe he directed others in those teen years, but we only know about Old Paint, Deed of Daring-Do and Cards, Cads, Guns, Gore and Death because they were included on the DVD of The Missing. Because of the genre. Cards, etc. is the only one I can find online, and man is it adorable. And very bloody. The plot is your basic cliche card game that get out of hand when someone is accused of cheatin’. Young Ronny […]

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Pacino and De Palma

What is Casting Couch? Today’s it’s just a little casting news column trying to get by at the hands of a Sundance-bound Kate Erbland. Nathan, we need you! We’ve been due for a truly gritty, really in-depth on fallen from grace Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno for months now, but it turns out, we’re now set to get an even better project than we could possibly have dreamed of, because director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino have now teamed up to bring the true life story to the screen. Deadline Hollywood reports that the two are set for Happy Valley (apparently a working title, thank goodness), which will come from Joe Posnanski‘s book “Paterno,” with Dave McKenna (American History X, Blow) currently in negotiations to script. Pacino was first attached to the project last year. The project reunites Pacino and De Palma, as the two previously collaborated on Scarface and Carlito’s Way, which worked out pretty nicely for both of them.

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Hotel Noir

Update: Hotel Noir is now (as of 10/9) available on VOD. Sebastian Gutierrez is that rare director who can make a sleek-looking film while getting actors to say the strangest things in the most sincere ways. His work on Women in Trouble and Elektra Luxx proved as much, elevating B-movies into the A+ range, and now his ensemble sensibilities return with a 1958 detective story flair in Hotel Noir. In the film, the detective (Rufus Sewell) hides away in a hotel waiting for killers to find him, and it looks like he has plenty to hold his attention. Malin Ackerman is dancing and taking showers; Carla Gugino is speaking easy and being smokey; and Mandy Moore is…seducing Danny DeVito. Naturally. Plus, genre legend Robert Forster gets a nice T-bone steak of a role to chew on. Not bad at all. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hunkers down and braces for award season. He also prepares for an onslaught of celebrity guest stars in New Year’s Eve, which features a poster that looks like a “Friends available to chat” sidebar on Facebook. In order to watch all the movies for the week, Kevin hires the only babysitter available… Jonah Hill. What could possibly go wrong with that? Fortunately this frees him up to see some of the smaller releases, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, W.E. and I Melt with You. And he wraps up the week wondering why everyone needs to talk about him.

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What happens when four grown men get together for a weekend away from their families and jobs? They turn into drugged-up, sexed-up frat guys! (Naturally?) College buddies Richard (Thomas Jane), Jonathan (Rob Lowe), Ron (Jeremy Piven), and Tim (Christian McKay) come together for a weekend not just away from their lives, but apparently also away from their own minds. As soon as Doctor Jon shows up with his medical bag full of enough pills, powders, and injections to make you the most popular person at an NA meeting, the boys jump down the rabbit hole of excess and never look back. Mark Pellington‘s I Melt With You will make you thankful that most frats (or guys that age) do not have access to expensive toys like cars, boats, cliffside vacation homes, and more drugs than Michael Jackson would even know what to do with (sorry, MJ). I understand escapism and wanting to indulge every so often, but I Melt With You crosses the line from self-destruction into just plain destruction so quickly that it will leave you feeling as if you are reeling from your own all-night bender.

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Drinking Games

Just because the hot girls in Zach Snyder’s visually assaulting film Sucker Punch aren’t old enough to drink, nothing is stopping you from watching the movie and playing this drinking game… unless you’re as old as the main characters of the film. While Sucker Punch has its ups and downs, it’s a visually interesting flick with plenty of fishnets, stockings, push-up bras and a bad Russian accent courtesy of Carla Gugino. What’s stopping you from watching it on DVD or Blu-ray and knocking back a couple sips of your favorite spirit? You know you want to.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in green and black spandex and parades around town telling people that he is a superhero who can create anything out of sheer will. Of course, it seems that the only thing he’s able to create is an ever-growing arrest report. Later, Kevin takes a trip to his local zoo where he sneaks into the penguin habitat in order to forge a bond with these flightless birds. Unfortunately, the penguins don’t take too well to him and peck him to near death, leaving Kevin to skulk away to the local movie theater in order to catch a double feature of Green Lantern and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

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Sucker Punch feels like Zack Snyder‘s response to all those awkward and sexist nerds he and his cast deal with in Hall-H nearly every year. You know, the ones that can’t help but to shout out how “hot” the actresses are during the panel, and without actually asking any real questions or treating them respectfully. Those nerds are the sideline oppressors of Sucker Punch: the revolting-looking Chef and Mayor, the ones that love seeing their women in degrading and sexualized outfits, but don’t care about how or why they’re in said outfits. As long as they get their joy out of sexy women doing sexy things, and nothing outside the basic titillation, they’ll be happy. This is the subtext that many seem to not talking about from Sucker Punch. Snyder’s work has always been divisive, but never has one of his films been this polarizing, and he knows that. Snyder is well-aware of the response the film has been getting, and he’s the type of self-aware filmmaker who probably expected this type of reaction from day one of shooting. The fact that Sucker Punch isn’t a film for everyone surely must have caused problems along the way, and as Snyder states, the test-screening process was no help in that regard.

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Right around ten years ago Zack Snyder had an idea. An idea that would come to take up about thirty seconds of Sucker Punch, but lend to the film its main character, its title, and its sex appeal. That original idea revolved around a girl named Baby Doll who escaped into the recesses of her mind while dancing for some very bad men. He then partnered with his school buddy Steve Shibuya to start working that into a script. Things were probably going pretty okay on that, but they were about to get a lot better when Snyder found himself helming Dawn of the Dead, my personal choice for best zombie movie ever. You heard that right, Romero. Sitting next to Snyder at the press junket, the man did no less than doodle an X-Wing on a pad of paper while talking, as if he needed anything more than Watchmen to solidify his nerd-cred. Before talking about the visually complex Sucker Punch, Snyder, sitting alongside wife and producing partner Debbie, the director took a moment to give us a glimpse into his filmmaking past, revealing as one might expect he was an early overachiever. One of his student films in the basic introductory film classes was a World War I epic, complete with trenches dug by a rented backhoe. Before you get antsy, I’ll tell you what he said about his upcoming Superman movie: nothing. As in, he’s not allowed to speak of it. Duh. What he did express was […]

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Zack Snyder’s return to (mostly) live action hits screens today, bringing to life the fetishistic dreams of many a teenage boy as a mostly female cast in anime-inspired garb storm through mind of the troubled Babydoll, battling dragons, orcs, and samurai. On paper it sounds pretty amazing: sexy young actresses, plenty of firearms, the directing of Zack Snyder, wild nightmare action sequences, and a minimum amount of leather inspired clothing. In small doses, say in trailers and commercial spots, the film looks amazing. Fast paced action, again the sexy ladies, and amazing, lush digital sets, brimming with fireballs and bullet hits. Then some slow motion, and some fast motion and some slow motion again. By now you’re probably starting to predict where I’m going. I said it’s amazing in small doses and in paper, but how is it stretched out to two hours?

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When three girls as gorgeous as this have something to say, I listen, no matter what the topic of conversation is. This time what they’re discussing is the sequel to Sebastian Gutierrez’s Women in Trouble, which is titled Elektra Luxx in an interview over at Coming Soon. The film tells the continued story of the title character who. after becoming pregnant, leaves her life of being a porn actress and struggles with her place in the world and what it means to be a person of substance. Carla Gugino, who plays Luxx, says of the porn industry, “Porn is a… that profession obviously has a lot of different sides to it. And there was the version where we were to go so much sort of darker and where we were to go into the underbelly of that and the challenges of what it is to choose that as a profession. And then there was the lighter, more harkening to the 40s screwball, melodrama element. And that was more the direction obviously that we’ve gone in.”

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The antidote for your boring day (at least your boring day today) is this new trailer for Girl Walks Into a Bar which might seem like another sequel in the sequence of Sebastian Gutierrez’s Vagina Dialogues (aka Women in Trouble and Elektra Luxx), but even though a lot of the actors are the same, this one seems to take place in a new universe altogether. This trailer is a hell of a lot of fun, which is why I love Gutierrez’s movies. They’re smart, wacky, ridiculous and heartfelt. Plus, there are multitudes of remarkably beautiful women in various states of undress showing off their acting chops like there’s no tomorrow. Write a strongly worded letter to Congress, because there just isn’t anything wrong with that. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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I know what you’re thinking: “That’s not what the regulation Sex Scouts uniform looks like! Couldn’t this production have done any research?!” And you’d be right, but you’d be missing the point. In Elektra Luxx, Carla Gugino reprises her role as the titular porn star who has given up the business for baby. And, yes, it’s hers. The funny, sexy, strange, soap-y comedy was written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez as the meat of a Women in Trouble and Women in Ecstasy trilogy. It’s got the same heart, ovaries and potty mouth as the first, and it now has more Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a sex blogger. Check out the surprisingly not-red-band trailer for yourself:

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Women can be smart, strong and sexy all at the same time. It’s true. They can also add to that pile a bit of insecurity, sensitivity and compassion. And about two dozen other emotions and states of mind that men don’t even have words for yet. It is that dynamic nature of women that Carla Gugino and the rest of the cast of Women In Trouble and its sequel, Elektra Luxx, attempt to capture alongside a healthy bit of soap operatics and sexual comedy. Gugino plays a porn star who finds out that she’s pregnant and stands as the center piece of several other stories that intertwine directly and thematically. Both movies are great, and now Elektra Luxx is seeing the light of day and so are these images:

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Carla Gugino’s latest film, Every Day, says a lot about the writing and creative process. The story follows a screenwriter (played by Liev Schreiber). It’s one of those films where nearly everything seems to be going wrong for the lead, and a part of one of those falling pieces is working on a terrible seeming television series. The film explores ideas of being unfulfilled by the creative process, how difficult criticism is to take, and how the idea of making films for an audience in mind. These were things I wanted to ask Carla Gugino about in our quick 8-minute phoner, as well as the upcoming (and ultra-cool looking, Sucker Punch). Gugino has a small role in Every Day so talking about the themes seemed to the best topic to explore. And for those of you who are just as excited for Sucker Punch as I am, Gugino says it’ll be a little bit more emotional than you’re probably expecting it to be and will definitely feature Snyder’s stamp of kick-ass action.

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There’s something to be said about movies that adamantly refuse to give you whimsical circumstances or endearing characters. There’s something to admire about a movie that refuses to pander to its audience, instead expecting a certain degree of work and a different kind of investment from them entirely. Such is the situation in the indie-family-drama Every Day, the feature writing/directing debut by Nip/Tuck producer Richard Levine. Ned (Liev Schreiber) is a staff writer on a medical melodrama whose cheap theatrics are reminiscent of Grey’s Anatomy, and is growing increasingly sick of the limitations and deep lack of satisfaction experienced in both his personal and professional lives. His wife Jeannie (Helen Hunt, who really needs to be in more movies) has just moved her sick father Ernie (Brian Dennehy) across the country to take care of him at their home, but quickly realizes she is in over her head with the responsibility and the mess. Their openly gay son Jonah (Ezra Miller) is a high school student ready to start dating, but is suffocated by the overbearing paranoia and implicit homophobia of his father. The younger son Ethan (Skyler Fortgang) is suffering from, well it’s never made quite clear – either a dark chronic pessimism or performance perfectionism as a young violin player.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr loosens his belt and falls asleep on the couch after eating too much turkey. But with three days left in the weekend, there’s always the opportunity to brave the hoards of crazy holiday shoppers to see a movie. It’s time to look at a new Disney princess with Tangled, dance with the divas from Burlesque and go Faster with a piece of the Rock.

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First there was a teaser, and then there was the report from Comic Con. Now, there’s the first full length trailer for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch – a movie about several young women who escape the oppressive world of their juvenile home through the power of fantasy. Imagine Girl, Interrupted if there were dragons and robot ninja armies to battle. The rich visuals continue to impress, as does the action, and it looks like the story may deliver the kind of mental journey that fans appreciated from Inception earlier in the year. Plus, there’s Carla Gugino with a Balkan accent. Polish your glasses or contacts or your eyeballs directly, and enjoy:

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Brian Salisbury returns to the program alongside Scott Weinberg for an all-out, guns-blazing exploration of B Movies that you should have in your rental queue. Plus, Weinberg does his best Rocky impression, does his best Australian accent, and Salisbury does the entire show wearing a Spider-Man costume. Double plus, we find the time to review Piranha 3D. In 3D!

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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