Posts Tagged ‘John Turturro’

Sex, death and money: The Coens’ ‘Miller’s Crossing’ chronicles the lives and loves of Prohibition gangsters

December 8, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Dec. 8, 2015

Miller’s Crossing, the third movie written and directed by the prolific cinematic siblings Joel and Ethan Coen, is a love story in which the central romance is wholly sublimated.

The movie’s main character is Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne), the No. 2 man in an urban crime syndicate in the Prohibition era. If a viewer weren’t paying close attention, she or he might think that Reagan’s love interest is Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), the calculating beauty whose brother, Bernie Bernbaum, becomes a bone of contention in gangland tumult.

Bernie (John Turturro) is a troublesome bookie who’s attracted the ire of a powerful Italian underboss named Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito) because the former’s handling of betting on fixed fights has prevented Caspar from making major profits. Bernie pays protection money to Liam “Leo” O’Bannion (Albert Finney), Reagan’s boss and the big man in town. And Bernie’s sister is sleeping with both Tom and Leo.

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Gigolo meets Hasidic widow. Oddity ensues in John Turturro’s new movie.

June 12, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 12, 2014

Against all odds, Fading Gigolo is an oddly a strangely charming feature starring, written and directed by John Turturro.

The film hinges on three relationships. One involves Turturro’s character, a lonesome jack-of-all-trades with the unlikely name Fioravante, and his longtime friend and mentor, Murray (Woody Allen). Murray is closing down the New York City rare bookstore that was started by his grandfather and has been in the family ever since, a transition that leaves “Mo” at loose ends. A joking exchange with his rich, glamorous and randy dermatologist, Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone), who longs for a ménage à trois, prompts Murray to persuade his buddy Fioravante to become a prostitute.

The sophisticated but taciturn Fioravante is a reluctant gigolo; still, women love his quiet confidence, dark looks and trim body. Mo proves to be an enthusiastic pimp. Within moments, thanks to the power of montage, he’s recruited a variety of clients, and the boys are soon rolling in money.

One of the clients is Avigal (Vanessa Paradis), an Orthodox Jewish widow whom Murray meets while she combs through the lice-infested hair of his stepkids. Although her community’s strict customs forbid a man from riding in the back seat of an automobile with her, and bar women from displaying their real hair in public, Avigal travels to Fioravante’s apartment for a massage. The tightly wound single mother sheds tears when Fioravante’s bare hands gently touch her skin.

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