Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

May 6, 2014

CALLERI: Woody, Zac, and a couple of vampires in Detroit

Niagara Gazette — Tired of superheroes? Three new movies explore human interaction in very different ways.

“Only Lovers Left Alive” begins in a dark and ominous Tangier, moves on to a bleak and barren Detroit, and returns to the desert mysteries of Morocco.

When she needs to, the languid Eve (Tilda Swinton) prowls the alleys of Tangier to meet with her compatriot Marlowe (John Hurt) and to get her fix of blood. When he needs to, the torpid Adam (Tom Hiddleston) drives his white Jaguar through the deserted streets of Detroit, stopping at a hospital to pick-up blood from Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright).

Lovers Adam and Eve communicate through Skype. He’s extremely depressed by the downward slide of humanity and would like to see her. She flies to the once-great Motor City. She’s a woman of many facets and a lot of history. He’s currently a faded rock star. They are both centuries old. They are both vampires.

Noted writer-director Jim Jarmusch has long ago earned his indie filmmaking stripes. He again moves his audience along with the care and ease of someone for whom storytelling is less about action and more about poetics.

Not much happens in the alluring movie, but what does occur is believable and compelling. Eve’s off-kilter and wasteful sister (Mia Wasikowska) shows up and creates chaos. Also hanging around is Adam’s puppyish friend Ian (Anton Yelchin), who’s blessedly naïve.

“Only Lovers Left Alive” celebrates languor as few films have. Michelangelo Antonioni was a master at making ennui interesting. His subjects were upper-middle-class Italians who lived in a self-absorbed state. Jarmusch’s subjects are vampires who might be tired of living. A superb movie? I think so.

“Neighbors” is a fraternity house comedy about excessive noise and how to deal with it. The film isn’t as good as it could have been. Through 96-minutes, many of the same jokes, some of which are actually quite funny the first time you hear them, keep getting repeated. Once? Hilarious. Third time? Not so much.

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