The New York Film Festival reaches its final weekend

Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux play lovers in "Blue is the Warmest Color." Credit: IFC Films
Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux play lovers in “Blue Is the Warmest Color.”
Credit: IFC Films

The New York Film Festival winds down this weekend, but still includes premieres of some of its biggest grabs. “Her,” Spike Jonze’s love story between Joaquin Phoenix and a Siri-esque computer voiced by Scarlett Johansson, has yet to screen for critics. But here are some of its other gets. (For times and tickets, visit the NYFF site.)

‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’
4 (out of 5) Globes
A pair of extremely graphic sex scenes have dominated the press for Abdellatif Kechiche’s epic drama, even moreso than the impressive fact that it took the top prize at Cannes, plus a special award for its two lead actresses. For the record, the bedroom bouts are important factors in understanding the relationship it depicts. Adele Exarchopoulos plays a high schooler whose bi-curiosity leads her to a lesbian bar, where she accepts the overtures of a blue-haired twentysomething artist (Lea Seydoux). Soon the two are making the beast with two backs for six (not 10, as reported) minutes. Carnality leads, with sad inevitability, to a union so comfortable it can’t help but fade away.

Because he’s a man directing women touching each other in bathing suit areas, “Blue Is the Warmest Color”’s blue moments can’t help but feel male gaze-y. But Kechiche (“The Secret of the Grain”) shoots these scenes the way he shoots the rest of the film: intimate yet clinical. He’s of the handheld grit style of French filmmaking, his camera pushing into everyone’s faces. But such intensity doesn’t mean the relationship it shows is tumultuous. This may be the first awards-gobbling, brutally honest look at lovers that only features one over-the-top fight. That there isn’t huge passion after the first half is what makes the film unique: It’s a look at a relationship that’s only significant and life-altering for one member, who’s left far more distraught and lost than the other. For what it’s worth, the three hours fly by, in part because so much of the apparently seven-year relationship is never shown. Even with an immense canvas, it’s amazing how much is never dwelled on.

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play old vampires in love in "Only Lovers Left Alive." Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play old vampires in love in “Only Lovers Left Alive.”
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
5 (out of 5) Globes
You’re not a real filmmaker, apparently, unless you do your own twist on the vampire movie. Jim Jarmusch’s stab is predictably odd and, of course, not at all a horror film, a couple of token drained humans aside. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play Adam and Eve, 500 and 5,000 years old respectively. They’re a literally old couple who, when we first see them, are on a scheduled break: He’s a famous but reclusive musician holed up in a shady part of Detroit; she’s hanging in walkable Tangier. Their reunion powers a film that’s at its best when it has no plot and no forward thrust, which is luckily most of the time. It mostly hangs with them, capturing them when they’re most comfortable: either alone or together.

The arrival of Eve’s younger, reckless party girl sister (Mia Wasikowska) threatens to destroy the bubble they’ve created, as well as the film. But it remains one of the best films about couples who live only for each other. They’re used to each other without being bored of each other. That they’re a bit of an odd fit — he’s a moody brooder; she’s more about living without being a live wire — helps, too. It’s a film that lives at night with people who enjoy it, the camera prowling homes powered by dim lights and records, and streets that have a calming lack of people. And it’s funny, too, and not just with the occasional nudgey we-couldn’t-resist lines about famous people they once knew. It’s the warmest film Jarmusch has ever made, and one of his best.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…