Romance & Cigarettes

Release Date: No Release Date at this Time
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, April 27, 2005
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James is a decade late for Hands Across America.

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John Turturro, last seen tormenting Johnny Depp in Secret Window, has signed on to write and direct a very unusual project.

Turturro, who has directed two indie projects before, 1992's Mac and 1998's Illuminata, will again celebrate the quirk with this, his third effort at the helm. Since his last two outings earned combined box office of $1.2 million, it's safe to say that the talent involved here indicates that Romance and Cigarettes is his first major production as a director. For good measure, he is the writer of the eclectic film as well.

Romance and Cigarettes is a musical, except that it's not exactly one. A throwback to a different era of Hollywood, this production will have several of its performers lip synch to songs rather than actually recreating them. Artists who will be used for the film are a diverse group (to the say the least) including Bruce Springsteen, Dusty Springfield, Nick Cave, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, Connie Francis, and Irving Berlin. This relatively novel decice was recently tried with middling success in The Singing Detective, so it's not revolutionary but certainly not conventional either.

The cast who has signed on to partake in this fascinating project is top notch. Noted TV actor James Gandolfini joins Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon, three-time nominee Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, and a couple of relatives of the director, Aida (John's cousin) and Amedeo (John's son). Also noteworthy is that two of the cast members, Broadway performer Mary-Louise Parker and Mandy Moore, have some credibility as singers. While not confirmed yet, it's possible that not all of the musical numbers will be lip-synched, though that is only speculation.

The plot of the movie revolves around a working stiff who is suddenly faced with a tough decision. His wife and his mistress are no longer willing to tolerate each other's existence, so he must choose which one to love. Isn't it strange how conventional the story is yet how singularly unique the rest of the project sounds? (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Romance & Cigarettes
Main Cast James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Mandy Moore
Supporting Cast Kate Winslet, Mary-Louise Parker, Christopher Walken, Eddie Izzard, Julia Stiles, Steve Buscemi, Aida Turturro
Director John Turturro
Screenwriter John Turturro
Distributor Sony Pictures Classics
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Rating R
Running Time 115 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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