Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Women in Trouble

I just viewed this teeny-tiny film from 2009, one I'm sure few have heard about...it's current box office is a measly pathetic $18,000. It was directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, and it's a collection of vignettes focused on women in trouble as the title says. It's a twee, very small, fairly absurd collection of stories that rate somewhere in the sub-Pedro Almodovar caliber. But it's also a fairly enjoyable, silly film. There's a woman who recently discovered her husband had an affair, a flight attendant having randy sex with a rock star in an airplane bathroom, a porn star who discovers she's pregnant, and a woman hiding a secret involving her niece. However what makes Women in Trouble noteworthy is that the film spotlights nice form-fitting roles to two superior actresses who really should be more famous, and who should be getting the lion's share of superior roles out there. There names are Carla Gugino and Connie Britton.

Gugino came to somewhat fame as the mother of Spy Kids (films I admittedly have never seen), and Britton can be seen on the television show Friday Night Lights. Ironically both actresses first appeared in the Michael J. Fox show Spin City. The point of this post is that I was engaged fully and foremost when these two actresses where on here, and there work, as in general for both them, is stellar. Gugino seems to have a preternatural gage on what she's playing and who she's playing to at all times, as evident in her terrific turns in Sin City, The Center of the World, and most recently in Watchmen, and here she's porn star Eletra Luxx-- she nails every punchline and has this wonderful ease, in that she plays up when required and plays down as well, but always feels comfortable and confident.

She's striking in her upfrontness, but still able to play poignancy and vulnerabilty. In short she's always a joy to watch, and in a fair world she would rank with people like Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett in the roles of non-ingeniunes, real female characters. Of course she's no where near as famous, and sadly getting to that age where Hollywood forgets about you altogether. Really was I the only one who felt it was shameful she had to settle for the mother role in Watchmen when she was 100% more vibrant and sexy than the stiff and boring Malin Ackerman. (Tangent) Britton has mostly done television work, but I personally, would love to see more of this beautiful, earthy creature on the screen. The high points of Guttierez's work here are the segments involving Britton and Gugino stuck on an elevator, and these two pros (mostly in sadly forgettable projects) act the hell out of it. And so I emplore and movie gods to keep these two employed for years, decades to come, because they have such a knack of creating interesting, completed characters out of basically nothing, and I pray one day that some miraclous filmmaker will bestow each of them a character worthy of their enormous talents.

Women in Trouble didn't do anything in theaters, but it's worth a rental for these two alone, and some well-written absurdist humor, as well as a hammy performance by Josh Brolin as a Brit rock star. And kudos to Guttierez for giving a segment to Marley Shelton, my favorite performer from Grindhouse (Her three little friends were classic.) B-

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