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Fading Gigolo (Blu-ray Review)

fading gigolo whysoblu thumbIt can be interesting to watch veteran actors continue to try their hand at directing.  Fading Gigolo is John Turturro’s fifth effort as a director and while he builds a very non-flashy film out of a fairly silly premise, it is not without merits.  While the film owes a lot to one of its main stars, there is something here that Turturro manages to bring out quite well.  It has to do with the emotional state of some of these characters, but it is hard to put that thing into words.  Regardless, while Fading Gigolo ends up being fairly forgettable, the film had a few entertaining aspects that at least made it worthwhile for the time spent watching it.  Now the film is on Blu-ray for many others to check out for themselves.

Film:

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Set in New York, Fading Gigolo is the story of two guys that decide to make a living through the gigolo trade.  Woody Allen plays Murray, a man who convinces his friend Fioravante (Turturro) to take up a job as a gigolo in an attempt to make some extra money, while Murray serves as his pimp of sorts.  There are some circumstances that make this a feasible idea, but suffice it to say that Fioravante becomes successful in this trade, but eventually falls for one of his clients, Aviagal (Vanessa Paradis).

The story is pretty simple, but along with Allen and Turturro, the supporting cast also includes Sharon Stone as a dermatologist with an out-of-the-blue request that sparks this whole enterprise to begin.  Then you have Sofia Vergara as another client with a common interest shared with Stone.  Liev Schreiber also turns up as a neighborhood patrolman, who also happens to be a Hassidic Jew.  Yes, this film is one that mixes the quietly captured sexual escapades of Turturro’s character with quirkier aspects like Schreiber as a Hassidic neighborhood watchman, which is why this movie can only be so entertaining.

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Sure, enjoying the humor of Woody Allen will easily help make this film more enjoyable, but enjoying the film for its other merits may be a bit more challenging.  To be fair, I think Turturro is not only very good in his role, but also does his best to find a way of balancing the broader moments with Allen and Schreiber, with his more emotional moments that involve Paradis’ character.  Unfortunately, it is the script that provides little to really work with.  Essentially I have more respect for the ideas of a lot of these characters, as opposed to how they all function in the world of this film, let alone some developments in the third act, in an effort to wrap up this story.

Nicely shot, while clearly limited in scope, Fading Gigolo is very low stakes and can only go so far with the premise established, but it does have enough heart to be decent enough for a recommendation.  As one who personally enjoys Woody Allen’s humor, I felt he did just enough to keep the spirits high in the midst of an occasionally humorous romantic drama.  Turturro is good here too.  Both in front of and behind the camera, he seems to have enough confidence in how to put this together, even if the film is challenged by a limited idea and some tonality issues overall.  Not great, but a fun idea that is a pretty simple watch.

Video:

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: Fading Gigolo is a softly lit film that lends itself to many moments that look good, be it outdoors or indoors.  The level of detail is very pleasing throughout, with a number of nicely presented surfaces, costumes, and other elements that come through just fine.

Depth: Depth is pretty great for what the film is.  A sense of space is noticeable in this fairly low-key neighborhood story.

Black Levels: Black levels are never bothersome. They register nicely.

Color Reproduction: The use of a lot of warm colors works well for this film and comes across nicely on this Blu-ray disc.  The use or red, in particular, makes for a fine way to acknowledge what the film tries to get across in various instances.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones always have the right amount of detail and texture to make for a pleasing experience.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing spotted.

 

Audio:

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Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The lossless soundtrack is nice, but given what this film is, there is not a whole lot that really challenges a sound system.  That in mind, the sound presentation is fine here.

Low Frequency Extension: No crucial moments, but background music has some bass work to offer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Given that the more spread apart sound moments are based in mood, a fine job is done with the balance, even if there is not a ton of audio factors to keep track of.

Dialogue Reproduction: The most crucial part of this film and dialogue registers loud and clear throughout.

 

Extras:

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I was not expecting much, but was happy to get a commentary track to help go into detail regarding the development of this film.

Features Include:

  • Audio Commentary from writer/director/actor John Turturro and assistant Cameron Bossert – A nice listen for fans of the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – Presented in HD, this is simply a collection of moments that were excised from the film for clear reasons, but still nice to check out.
  • Previews

Summary:

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Fading Gigolo is a film that has no real frills.  The film has a goofy premise that is treated with a level of respect that is fine, as the cast is solid.  It is pretty straightforward, but an entertaining watch.  The Blu-ray is fine from a technical standpoint and while not overwhelming with special features, as a solid commentary for fans to check out.  If you are curious about Turturro’s filmmaking style and interested in seeing Woody Allen in a film he only acts in, this is a decent film to check out.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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