Monday, October 24, 2016

TrustMovies bonus: Watch HOTEL NOIR -- Sebastian Gutierrez's latest (and still in limbo) charmer -- for free!

Made in 2012 but, after a brief pay-per-view window, still stuck in distribution limbo, HOTEL NOIR is the latest film to have been written and directed by one of TrustMovies' favorite filmmakers: Sebastian Gutierrez. No other movie-maker that I can think of has this guy's oddball sense of humor coupled to an enormous love of women (in so many ways). His product is as charming, enjoyable and off-the-wall as it gets, as demonstrated by his trio of "lovely lady" movies -- Women in Trouble, Elektra Luxx and Girl Walks Into a Bar.  This trilogy (I'd call it that, anyway) offers non-stop delight, with the additional "plus" of an anything-goes attitude that views sexuality as something that ought above all to be enjoyed as pleasurable and joyous -- hell, even humorous, too.

Gutierrez, pictured at right, may not be the first to make a movie that harks back to 1950s noir, but it is certainly one of the more lovingly recreated. It doesn't so much make fun of noir as it does pay it a grand homage -- while at the same time taking the kind of multiple stories and plot strands that this filmmaker so dearly loves and bouncing them into each other with pizzazz and finesse.

My biggest surprise here in that the movie does not have quite the buoyancy and lightness of that earlier trilogy, the reason being, I suspect, that the themes and concerns of film noir -- mystery, murder, betrayal and love (generally unrequited when not out-and-out trashed) -- don't exactly lend themselves to things graceful and lighter-than-air.

Still, what Gutierrez has accomplished here is quite lovely to look at -- the black-and-white cinematography is aces -- with performances from some fine actors, many of whom have graced his earlier work, that pull you in and keep you amused and impressed throughout.

Chief among these is Gutierrez regular, Carla Gugino (above), as a cocktail lounge chanteuse with connections to quite a number of other characters in the film. One of these is the good-looking cop played by Rufus Sewell (above, right. and below, whom the filmmaker used earlier to fine effect in his "naughty mermaid" cable movie She-Creature).

Malin Akerman (below, center) plays a night club performer with ties to the mob and a yen for Mr. Sewell, while Kevin Connolly (in the rain-soaked auto three photos up) plays a nasty piece of work who evidently has attributes that make him very good in the sack.

Since its title would indicate than there's a hotel involved here, most of the film indeed takes place in one -- in which another of our favorites, Rosario Dawson, below, works as a maid who moonlights as, well... other things. 

Along the way she encounters another Gutierrez delight, Danny DeVito, below, who actually begins this movie with a shaggy dog narration that leads to.... No. I don't want to give one more thing away.

Completing the major cast members is another favorite, Robert Forster, below, playing the older, kindly and more seasoned cop who is partner to Sewell. Sex, mostly straight with a little gay tossed in, rears its lovely head, as do a robbery, several killings and a number of surprises along the way, a couple of the best of which are saved for the last.

For folk who are partial to noir, you can relax into this one, knowing that for all the fun to be had, the movie still plays it straight, never descending into camp. The actors are all on the same page regarding style, and much of the fun comes from their very genuine, straight-faced line readings provided by Gutierrez's smart and charming script.

The filmmaker tells me that Hotel Noir came about because YouTube, which commissioned Girl Walks Into a Bar, asked for a follow-up (not a sequel but a similar size/cast movie), so he responded with the idea of a black-and-white period film noir.  

Shot in just 15 days (by Gutierrez regular, Cale Finot), the result can now be viewed by TrustMovies' readers free-of-charge. Gutierrez has graciously agreed to keep the movie up on line for a month, but don't wait too long. I'd hate to have you all ready for a nice evening of noir, only to discover the movie is suddenly gone. To access the film, click here , and if that does not work for you, copy and paste the following link into your web browser: .  Oh -- and Mr. Gutierrez suggests that you view the movie in as high a definition as possible because, yes, it does look good! 

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