Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux play lovers in "Blue is the Warmest Color." Credit: Sundance Selects
It doesn't always happen, but right now there are actually some good movies worth seeing. Call it awards season, but awards-seekers aren't always good. Here are some you can pencil into your calendar.
‘Blue is the Warmest Color’: You probably don’t need anyone else telling you about the three-hour French movie with long scenes of attractive young women having sex with eachother. But it’s a rather insightful (and detailed) look at the life of a relationship, one that starts off hungry then becomes claustrophobically comfortable. Our review is here.
’12 Years a Slave’: Last month this was a lock for Best Picture. This month, who knows? But it’s no Spielbergian reminder that slavery was/is bad. It’s a battle between a cold filmmaker, Steve McQueen (who, admittedly, keeps his usual experimental behavior in relative check), and a star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, who’s incapable of not being emotional, even as he has to keep that side in to stay alive. Our review is here.
‘All is Lost’: 77 year old Robert Redford is in much better shape than you are, as witness him go solo —seriously, there’s no one else in this movie — as a man fighting the ocean on a dying yacht. “Gravity” is great, but this is more stripped down, calm and doesn’t suffer from that film’s third act letdown. It’s an unfailingly calm look at process, with Redford’s never-named survivalist tending from one catastrophe to the next. Our review is here.
‘Bastards’: Moody French filmmaker Claire Denis (“35 Shots of Rum,” “White Material”) makes arguably her darkest film yet, with Vincent Lindon (who looks like the Gallic Huey Lewis) a withdrawn ship captain on an obscure fit of revenge on a wealthy businessman (Michel Subor) who may be involved in a sex ring. Our review is here.
‘Camille Claudel, 1915’: Previously filmed in 1988 in a three hour prestige picture with Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu, the tale of the turn of the last century sculptor who was driven mad by lover Auguste Rodin and spent most of her life in a dingy mental institution gets a film that only focuses on a slither of her life. Juliette Binoche is the artist, struggling to get out of her prison. Our review is here.
‘A Touch of Sin’: Four tales of the working class battling against the powers that be, each with gruesome cappers, make up the latest from director Jia Zhang-ke, whose past work (“The World,” “24 City”) has taken a more quasi-documentary approach to China’s many, many contemporary ills. (And have usually been banned at home because of it.) Our review is here.
‘Enough Said’: One of the final (and best) performances by James Gandolfini is the main (but not only) highlight of this wise middle aged indie rom-com, with the actor playing a man in a hesitant relationship with a massage therapist (Julia Louis Dreyfus). Our review is here.
We also liked such big mainstream films as "Captain Phillips," the undying "Gravity" and especially "The Counselor," which features a scene where Cameron Diaz has sex with a Ferrari windshield.