Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Romance & Cigarettes”

(Sony. 2008. 106 minutes. Rated R. 1 Disc. Widescreen. Directed by John Turturro.) James Gandolfini (Nick Murder), Susan Sarandon (Kitty), Kate Winslet (Tula), Steve Buscemi (Angelo), Mandy Moore (Baby), Mary-Louise Parker (Constance), Aida Turturro (Rosebud), Bobby Cannavale (Fryburg), Eddie Izzard (Gene Vincent), Christopher Walken (Cousin Bo). With Elaine Stritch and Tony Goldwyn. Available now.

Director Turturro calls this a “savage musical.” The critics mostly savaged it; it’s a great cast, and there are fun moments, but also cringe-worthy moments in this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink movie. Nick’s a bridge construction worker whose marriage to Kitty is on the rocks, primarily because he’s having a flaming affair with a flame-haired floozy, Tula (a nearly-unrecognizable Winslet, clearly having fun as the sexpot). Meanwhile Kitty and their three daughters Baby, Constance and Rosebud bemoan their dad’s behavior. Nick’s co-worker up on the bridge is Angelo (Buscemi providing welcome comic relief). Kitty enlists her oddball Cousin Bo (the ever-present Walken) to help track down Tula. Izzard’s character is the church organist/ choir director (I love that he’s named Gene Vincent). It’s a musical in that everyone bursts into song from time to time; there’s no original music, but characters sing along to pop standards of the 50s and 60s. Any soundtrack which includes Englebert Humperdinck’s “A Man Without Love” gets my vote; you’ll also hear Bruce Springsteen, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, and Janis Joplin. This movie may be Sarandon’s second film (waaaaay after Rocky Horror) to be destined for the midnight-movie circuit. Just a nutty kind of movie. Extras include an introduction and commentary by John Turturro, and deleted scenes.