Thursday, April 23, 2009

FILM: Tribeca Film Festival 2009 Picks

If you're in NYC from April 22 - May 3, try to get a ticket to one of these Big Apple odes to cinema (I asterisked the ones I'm interested in):

Don McKay
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) plays a guy who returns home after 25 years "at the out-of-the-blue bidding of his cancer-stricken ex-girlfriend" played by Elisabeth Shue (Hamlet 2).
Why you should see it: There's an old secret that adds a twist.

**Easy Virtue

It's an adapted play about a young Englishman (Ben Barnes from Prince Caspian) who has to introduce his uptight and rigid parents (Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth) to his adventurous and feisty American wife (Jessica Biel).
Why you should see it: Because it's an opportunity to see if Biel and Barnes can actually do something other than be attractive.

***In the Loop
Tom Hollander (Pirates of the Caribbean: At the World's End) plays an idiot British cabinet member who insights a publicity storm after making inappropriate comments to the press about a possible invasion by the US and Britain into an enemy nation.
Why you should see it: James Gandolfini comically represents the American point of view, Steve Coogan (Hamlet 2) effortlessly brings the funny, and none other than My Girls' Anna Chlumsky makes her slow-and-steady return.

Whatever Works
"An eccentric New Yorker played by Larry David abandons his upper-class life to lead a more bohemian existence. He meets a young girl from the South and her family, and no two people seem to get along in the entanglements that follow." It also stars Evan Rachel Wood.
Why you should see it: Because Larry David is reliably entertaining.

Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB
Why you should see it:
Because CBGB no longer exists and it's one of the most famous places in music history.

The Eclipse
It's "about a widower (Ciarán Hinds from Munich) who sees and hears strange things in his house. His life converges with a beautiful author of supernatural fiction (Iben Hjejle from High Fidelity) and a full-of-himself pop novelist (Aidan Quinn from Practical Magic) at an international literary festival that will alter their lives in surprising ways."
Why you should see it: Because it's sure to be an eye-opening examination of a writer's mind.
The Girlfriend Experience
"Director Steven Soderbergh follows five days in the life of a $2,000-an-hour Manhattan call girl (adult film star Sasha Grey) who thinks she has her life totally under control. She even has a devoted boyfriend who accepts her lifestyle. But when you're in the business of meeting people, you never know who you're going to meet next."
Why you should see it: The premise alone is reason enough to at least watch the trailer.

Queen to Play
French actress Sandrine Bonnaire plays "an inquisitive hotel maid captivated by a vacationing couple (Flashdance's Jennifer Beals and French actor Dominic Gould) playing chess. Thus begins her obsession with mastering the game and transforming her uninspired life. An American expat (Kevin Kline from Dave) mentors her in the game that alters both their lives in this delightful feel-good French import."
Why you should see it: To add a little culture to your life.

City Island

"Vinnie's (Andy Garcia) been secretly taking acting classes, his daughter's moonlighting as a stripper, his son's got a weighty fetish, and mom's eye is wandering… the Rizzos might get along a lot better if they weren't keeping so many secrets." It's said to be a "smart and poignant dysfunctional-family comedy, set in unassuming City Island."
Why you should see it: It stars Emily Mortimer and Alan Arkin. Plus, it's a chance to see Steven Strait (10,000 B.C.) gain a little indie cred.

Here and There
"Miserable middle-aged musician Robert suddenly finds himself homeless and in need of quick cash. He accepts an offer from a young, enterprising Serbian immigrant named Branko: Travel to Belgrade, marry Branko's girlfriend, and bring her back to New York. But while on the trip, Robert meets Branko's mother, discovers that happiness comes when least expected, and begins to question whether money or love would be the true cure to his ills."
Why you should see it: To figure out why Cyndi Lauper is in it.


"In this fresh and colorful lovable loser tale, Henry has spent most of his life trying to blend in. When his seemingly normal life turns upside down, his friend convinces him to move to Spain and open a restaurant. But before he can break free of the mundane, he gets sidelined caring for his mentally unstable mother, running into a lost-soul feminist who does performance art in a strip club, and a big bag of steroids."
Why you should see it: Because watching someone on their road to discovery usually helps you on yours.

**Serious Moonlight
"High-powered attorney Louise (Meg Ryan) arrives at her country nest for a little R and R only to discover that her husband (Timothy Hutton) plans to leave her for a younger woman (Kristen Bell). Oddly cool, Louise plots to hold Ian captive until he commits to working on their marriage, but that's when things really start to go wrong."
Why you should see it: Because this is the late Adrienne Shelly's (Waitress) script and her dear friend Cheryl Hines ("In the Motherhood") is directing.

**Stay Cool
"Henry McCarthey (Mark Polish) returns home to give the commencement speech at his high school. But even after almost 20 years, it's as if he never left--he again wants the girl, gets suspended by the principal, and is grounded by his parents. This charming comedy, featuring Winona Ryder and Hilary Duff, reminds us that time certainly does fly and old flames are hard to put out."
Why you should see it: Because you miss Chevy Chase and/or want to see Lost's Josh Holloway somewhere other than a creepy island.

"Finding true love is easier than ever thanks to a bio-technological implant called the TiMER, which counts down to the exact time people meet their soul mates. Love-starved Oona (Emma Caulfield from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is pushing 30, but her TiMER hasn't even started counting down yet. What's worse, she's falling for a guy (John Patrick Amedori from "Gossip Girl") who is set to meet his true love in four months.
Why you should see it: Because most people are dying to know when they're going to meet that "special someone" and this film will indulge that desire.

Entre Nos

"Adoring mother Mariana (talented codirector Paola Mendoza) has toted her two children from Colombia to New York to indulge her husband's whim. But when he abruptly abandons the family, she'll have to rely on her own imagination and courage--and that of her remarkable kids (breakthroughs Sebastian Villada and Laura Montana)--to survive insurmountable odds during their first summer in the United States.
Why you should see it: Because it's always important to see the other side of the illegal immigrant story.

"Mounir desperately puts on some big-shot swagger for his small Algerian village by spinning a fantastical fib that involves his narcoleptic sister Rym's engagement to a European business mogul. As things unravel into a tangled mess of jealousy and irrepressible desire, surprising alliances form that fundamentally shift the way of life for his entire community."
Why you should see it: Because Slumdog Millionaire was just the beginning. Soon laughter will truly know no boundaries.

**My Dear Enemy

"Lee Yoon-Ki's (This Charming Girl) deadpan comedy trails a pair of former lovers--he's a romantic and she's a realist--who bump into each other one year down the road. She wants back a hunk of cash she lent him, so they spend the day winding through downtown Seoul on a hilarious mission to collect his old debts."
Why you should watch it: Because it's nice to watch a realistic love story every now and then. And let's be honest, running into your ex when you least expect it and demanding reparations for their wrongdoings is realistic.

Rudo y Cursi
"Stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna and producers Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men), Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) present a splendid, riotous film about a pair of thickheaded stepbrothers whose rivalry takes them from their jobs on a small-town banana ranch to star spots on opposing soccer teams."
Why you should see it: Because Spanish indie boys are highly entertaining--no rules, no hang-ups, just plain fun.

The House of the Devil
"Set in the early '80s on the night of a lunar eclipse (and all the more shocking for being "based on true unexplained events"), this simmering retro horror film centers on a cash-strapped college girl who answers a babysitting ad only to gradually unravel the terrifying secret behind why she was truly hired."
Why you should see it: Come on. Tell me you don't want to know what the secret is.

**The Good Guy

"Rising Wall Street star Tommy (Scott Porter) has it all: looks, charm, money, and a budding romance (Alexis Bledel). But when he teaches a seemingly hapless coworker (Bryan Greenberg) the ways of money and seduction, Tommy may become the unwitting agent of his own downfall. This true insider view of Wall Street culture explores what it means to be 'good.' The answer just might surprise you."
Why you should see it: 1) Because you miss watching Bledel on "Gilmore Girls." 2) Because you will miss seeing Porter on "Friday Night Lights." 3) Because Greenberg is in desperate need of an official big break.

My Last Five Girlfriends
"Based on the international best seller On Love by Alain de Botton, this delightful romantic comedy explores with delicious wit and whimsy just how modern urban relationships go wrong. Surveying the wreckage of his last five relationships, thirtysomething Duncan (Brendan Patricks) concludes that love is a battleground where only the fittest survive."
Why you should see it: To pick away at Cupid's profession

Wonderful World
"Matthew Broderick is Ben Singer, the world's most negative man. When his roommate, Ibou, falls ill, Ben is forced to host his Senegalese sister, Khadi (Sanaa Lathan from Something New). What starts as an awkward living arrangement soon turns into something more, and Ben's usual self-destructive nature gives way as he begins to find inspiration in the most unlikely of places."
Why you should see it: Because Broderick never fails to surprise you.

"A thoughtful character study wrapped in a hi-tech sci-fi flick, Moon stars Sam Rockwell (Choke) as the sole operator of a lunar mining base, living with only a computer robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey) to keep him company. Three years living on the surface of the moon, far from the touch of his wife and young daughter, has taken its toll--he's starting to hallucinate, touching off a thrilling chain of events that will shake his sense of identity to the core."
Why you should see it: It's an interesting analysis of solitude in an age where people are always connected, whether through Facebook or Twitter.

"Inspired by the classic Edgar Allan Poe horror story, Michael Cuesta's chilling tale follows Terry (Josh Lucas from Glory Road), a single father whose recently transplanted heart leads him on a frantic search to find the donor's killer before he meets a similar fate. This unsettling psychological thriller features Lena Headey ("Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles") and Brian Cox."
Why you should see it: Because body parts-switching thrillers are always surreal and suspenseful.

Also Check out:
Drive-In : Three out-door screenings at the WTC Plaza, where you can see films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Meet the Filmmakers at the Apple Store: You can watch speeches and discussions with Natalie Portman, Gael Garcia Bernal, Dan Fogler, and many more.

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