The Tribeca Film Festival starts this week in New York City, which I’m sure you’ve already noticed if you live here, by way of the programs that were inserted into every free newspaper being thrust in front of you as you stepped out of the subway last week. Even if you didn’t take one, you saw them on the ground. Personally, I took two. One for reading, and one for marking up in a complex system of pictographs indicating which films to see, when, where, and how.
The line-up is pretty alright this year, although I find myself missing the midnight selections. Tribeca has a pretty distinct lack of horror and science fiction. No worries, flipping through my guide, I was perfectly capable of getting totally psyched about plenty of films. Tickets went on sale today, and I have, so far, bought 5. I intend to see many more films than just these, but I figured I’d share my first few picks with you.
Headshot (More Info & Tickets)
Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s new film is sure to be an exciting, stylized offering from the highly regarded Thai director. This is co-presented by Subway Cinema (the dudes who run my favorite festival in the world, the New York Asian Film Festival).
When honest cop Tul seizes a drug den belonging to a powerful politician, his good days are numbered. Refusing to be paid off to keep the case quiet, Tul is set up for a murder he didn’t commit and lands in prison, where he is offered a job by a philosopher who argues that evil must be weeded out if good is to survive. Out of prison and deeply disillusioned, he takes the job as a Robin Hood-esque hit man, targeting the corrupt and powerful in Thai society. After a job goes wrong and he is shot in the head, he wakes up to find that he sees everything upside down. Suddenly, nothing is what it seems, and Tul must exact revenge according to his own moral code.
Resolution (More Info and Tickets)
Two young unknown directors (Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead) making what is definitely a independent horror film, and one that appears as if it may defy many of the more boring conventions. Looks like it could be a bit supernatural, very creepy, and plenty dark. This is my dark horse pick for the festival, I know almost nothing about it, but I’m into it.
Michael (Peter Cilella) is committed to getting his best friend Chris (Vinny Curran) to sober up and get his life back on track. With the best of intentions, Michael implements a plan to convince Chris to go to rehab before his drug addiction leads to an early death. But what begins as an attempt to save his friend’s life quickly takes an unexpected turn as the two friends confront personal demons, the consequences of past actions, and forces beyond their control.
The Fourth Dimension (More Info & Tickets)
A three part film, with three directors, of all… weird stuff. I was sold when I heard Harmony Korine (Gummo, Trash Humpers) was going to be directing Val Kilmer. And Vice Magazine’s film production company? I’m either going to hate this or really love it. I’m too interested to pass it up.
The journey begins with Harmony Korine’s new age brainchild “The Lotus Community Workshop,” starring Val Kilmer as “Val Kilmer.” Alexey Fedorchenko comes next with “Chronoeye,” the story of a Russian time traveler whose expectations for seeing the past stifle his ability to live in the present. Fittingly, we end with the quasi-apocalyptic and ominously allegorical “Fawns,” directed by Polish newcomer Jan Kwiecinski. All three directors transcend convention by challenging themselves and audiences to find something new in cinema. Together, the triptych of pieces crash but don’t clash in a fashion that would make both Einstein and Eisenstein beam.
Freaky Deaky (More Info & Tickets)
Crispin Glover and Christian Slater. Glover looks like he’s channeling his beloved alter-ego Rubin Farr. Slater is a bonus. That is all.
A disgraced Detroit cop gets a shot at a comeback when a beautiful young actress needs help taking down a powerful movie producer. Extortion, treachery, and dynamite are just a few of the complications that stand between him and the woman he loves in Charles Matthau’s adaptation of the classic Elmore Leonard novel. Billy Burke, Christian Slater, Crispin Glover, and Michael Jai White star.
As Luck Would Have It (More Info & Tickets)
A black comedy with the lovely Salma Hayek, directed by Alex de la Iglesia, who I’m quite a fan of. (The full synopsis on the TFF website refers to him as a cult director, that explains it!) Hayek’s husband, played by Jose Mota, falls down at an historical monument, impaling himself through the head on a metal rod. In order to keep him alive, his body cannot be moved, and the whole thing stirs up a media sensation. Nailed it!
Once upon a time Roberto (Spanish comic José Mota) had a promising career in advertising. But the economy has kept him out of work for a long time, and he’s struggling to hide his family’s dire economic situation from his adoring wife Luisa (Salma Hayek, as vivacious as ever), who dotes on him job or no job. When his latest interview goes nowhere, his spirit seems irrevocably dampened. Then a freak accident suddenly puts Roberto at the center of a media frenzy. The enterprising ad man hires a snaky agent to help him cash in on his life-or-death situation, but it’s up to Luisa to convince Roberto that his life is worth more to his family than financial security.