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09/23/2014 09:08 am ET Updated Nov 23, 2014

Old School Heroics: Denzel Washington in The Equalizer and Ethan Hawke's Seymour: An Introduction at the New York Film Festival

Old School Heroics: Denzel Washington in The Equalizer and Ethan Hawke's Seymour: An Introduction at the New York Film Festival

Ethan Hawke made it to the Stone Rose Lounge for the premiere of Denzel Washington's new movie The Equalizer. Co-host of the party, Hawke proclaimed that the big blast action movie was polar opposite to the documentary he made about Seymour Bernstein, a poetic composer/ pianist/ educator, one of many highlights of the New York Film Festival opening this week. Superficially, Hawke is right. Denzel Washington plays a classic epic-scale do-gooder, up against the Russian mob in The Equalizer. His formidable opponents sport ominous tattoos and hit the girls they've forced into prostitution. Denzel, as Robert, quietly shuffles through the movie making a lot of noise, reading books for pleasure, and mentoring the young. Tough, he can skewer a fat neck with a corkscrew. Blood obscures inked skin, as a late night Home Depot offers a playground of lethal weaponry. And yes, Pushkin, the main Moscow honcho fries in this sure to be blockbuster.

Denzel did not stay for the party; nor did Chloe Grace Moretz. But others joined in the fun: Aida Turturro, Nikki James, Allen Maldonado, and Haley Bennett, memorable as Mandy, a young hooker friend of Moretz's Alina. From Ohio, she did well with a Russian accent, and outfitted by Louis Vuitton for the opening, the strawberry blond is memorable in person as well.

As to Hawke's Seymour: An Introduction, this non-fiction feature showcases an old school gentleman; inspiring, Seymour is no less a hero. At last week's New York Film Festival press conference, one could easily see why Hawke, a wordsman, would want to be in his orbit. At 87, Seymour dispenses wisdom and encouragement to young people, offering timeless worldviews: "I could touch the sky with my own two hands;" "without craft, there is no artistry;" "we sense in music an extension of our potential for perfection." This is a man you want to know.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.