Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Charlie Says’ flips the script on the Manson girls.

 

Charlie Says

Charlie Says, directed by masterful filmmaker Mary Harron and written by Guinevere Turner, tells the familiar story through fresh eyes—those of Manson’s most devoted girls, van Houten (Game of Thrones’ Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón). Thanks to a devoted prison educator who slowly draws the women out from years of a madman’s mesmerizing and abusive spell (Matt Smith), the women’s story is told in eerily detailed flashbacks, forcing them to reflect on the path that leads them to such unforgivable crimes.

This is not a story about Charles Manson. This is a story about three women who were manipulated by a mentally ill man who convinced them they were loved. Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Leslie Van Houten, all came to be followers of Charles Manson because they were lost and looking for someone to make them feel important. It’s the performance from Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, and Merritt Wever that catapult this story forward. Wever, in particular, is the heartbeat that guides these broken girls into reality. Bacon represents every girl that needed Manson (played by Matt Smith with a quiet but fiercely alarming power) to be their father figure. Murray, as Leslie, is the audience. You feel for these ladies through intercut flashbacks and prison scenes. Each like a peek behind the curtain and into the insanity of a man who thought the Beatles were speaking to him through the ‘White Album”. These women were brainwashed sex slaves. It wasn’t until a feminist teacher Karlene Faith, with enough empathy to teach these women, did anyone begin to realize that they too were victims alongside those murdered. The film is chilling. The structure is disturbingly effective. You end up caring about these women who history has taught us to loathe. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. I’ll say it again. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. It is about the victims he kept closest to him.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Mary Harron is the writer and director of films including American PsychoThe Moth DiariesI Shot Andy Warhol, and The Notorious Bettie Page. Her television credits include episodes of The L WordSix Feet UnderBig Love, and Oz, and, most recently, The Following (FOX), Constantine (NBC), and Graceland (USA).

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Picture Character’ #therealemojimovie

PICTURE CHARACTER

Spotlight Documentary, World Premiere – Directed by Martha Shane and Ian Cheney

As silly as you may think the topic, you can’t deny that emojis are everywhere. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? The story of the creation/inception of emojis is interspersed with three stories of the quest to get new emojis added – hijab emoji, mate and menstruation (blood).

While following these stories, something is revealed that is is far more interesting. Remember when emojis weren’t the same on iOS vs Android? Then, miraculously, they became universal? Welcome to the Unicode Consortium. A non-profit organization that unifies character sets.

Suddenly, there are a lot of questions. The film gives enough information about Unicode without overwhelming the audience and changing the course of the story, but for me, it was such a large elephant in the room that I couldn’t stop wondering about it.

Whether you just send the occasional smiley face or you carry on conversations via emoji, you’ll enjoy seeing the behind the curtain.

List of universal emojis: https://unicode.org/emoji/charts/emoji-list.html

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Something Else’ is aptly named.

SOMETHING ELSE

The Midnight section at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival gives us Something Else. A story about Hank, whose longtime girlfriend Abby abruptly leaves him, but with a lot of extra flair in the plot. The editing is spectacular. Crisp still camera images set against a bleakly lit Hank, make for a perfect early jump scare. Then you catch on that’s it’s a repeated theme. Abby equals brightness. No Abby equals darkness… and a monster at the front door. The music has a heavily Gen X quality. The daytime dialogue (once Abby is absent) feels reminiscent of early Kevin Smith, particularly from everyone around Hank. This gives teeth to the naturalistic performances from a small cast. Classic tropes weave into the darker scenes and then the film becomes something altogether different. Something Else is exactly that. It’s like two films in one. It’s a monster movie and a serious relationship drama which incidentally includes a 15-minute single camera take of dialogue. Something Else is aptly named and unexpected on all fronts.

SOMETHING ELSE

For small-town bar owner Hank (Jeremy Gardner), his 10-year relationship with Abby (Brea Grant) has been storybook-quality. Abby, however, wants more: marriage, to be exact, which Hank doesn’t seem ready to initiate anytime soon. As a result, she leaves him without so much as a note or any subsequent communication. Hank is crushed. Even worse, Abby’s departure seemingly triggers the arrival of an unseen monster that claws at Hank’s front door at night. As the nocturnal threat intensifies, Hank must figure out how to not only save his relationship but also himself.

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘The Gasoline Thieves’

THE GASOLINE THIEVES

Poverty and puberty are a dangerous mix for young Lalo. Feeling overwhelming monetary pressure from family and ultimately to impress a girl at school, our young lead dives head first into the deadly game of gas siphoning for cash. Among the chaos of gas price protests and violence, Lalo has no idea the kind of shady dealings surround what he’s signed up for. This is a coming of age story set against extreme poverty and soaked in cartel-like chaos and vengeance. The handheld camera work is sheer perfection that heightens the intensity of Lalito’s plight. You can feel the pit of your stomach wrenching as the story progresses. Edgar Nito‘s direction is phenomenal, performances (especially Eduardo Banda) outstanding, and the film is amplified by its great soundtrack. The Gasoline Thieves does not pull any punches. It’s a solid piece of filmmaking and a captivating story.

THE GASOLINE THIEVES

Living with his mother and working as a farmhand in his hometown, fourteen-year-old Lalo (Eduardo Banda) sees buying a smartphone for his high-school crush the only surefire way into her heart. When his mother is forced to use his savings in order to pay for medical bills, Lalo decides to approach the local huachicoleros for help, who quickly enlist his aid in their business of illegally siphoning gas in order to take advantage of the country’s shortage and re-sell on the black market. As Lalo naively becomes more involved with the huachicoleros’ work, an uneasy air of violence begins to overtake the world around him, while investigators narrow their search for those responsible.

FILM INFO

 

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Come To Daddy’ is everything you’d want an Ant Timpson film to be.

COME TO DADDY

Elijah Wood plays an emotionally overwhelmed uber hipster attempting to reconnect with his estranged father. Summoned to a secluded home via a mysterious letter from his dad, he finds himself in an unexpected situation. Wood, as always, is vulnerable and funny. I’ll buy anything he’s selling. His body of work is so eclectic and wonderfully bizarre, what’s not to love? Now let’s talk about Ant Timpson‘s amazing directing. As a producer, The ABC’s Of Death is off the wall fun and don’t even get me started on the insanity that is The Greasy Strangler. Come To Daddy, Timpson’s directorial debut is a genre-bending funhouse. Tribeca’s Midnight section is the perfect slot for Timpson’s work and I do mean that as a compliment. This film takes a sharp turn at 30 minutes in, then hurtles from mysterious to funny, unsettling to WTF, and it is a delight. The camera work is top-notch. There is mayhem for days. Wonderfully timed plot treats fall into our laps like a busted piñata. I simply cannot express how damn fun this film is. You will not have any clue where this is going.

Norval’s (Elijah Wood) life has been, to put it lightly, difficult. Currently living home with his mother, the troubled young man is coming off alcohol-related struggles. So when he receives an unexpected letter from his estranged father requesting a visit, Norval catches a bus up to his dad’s secluded and scenic waterfront home. Maybe reconnecting with his father will give Norval the emotional fulfillment he’s been lacking. Before long, though, he notices something off about his dad, an uneasy feeling triggered by inappropriate comments and a possible over-dependence on booze. Norval quickly realizes that his hope of father/son bonding is doomed. Instead of a family reunion, he finds himself in waking nightmare.
FILM INFO

Tribeca Film Festival 2017 review: ‘Buster’s Mal Heart’ is chilling and downright weird.

An eccentric mountain man is on the run from the authorities, surviving the winter by breaking into empty vacation homes in a remote community. Regularly calling into radio talk shows, where he has acquired the nickname”Buster,” to rant about the impending Inversion at the turn of the millennium, he is haunted by visions of being lost at sea, and memories of his former life as a family man.

Buster’s Mal Heart took everyone by surprise this year. There seemed to be 2 distinct reactions once the credits began to role. 1. That was terrible. 2. That was amazing. I happen to be in the party of the amazing. Rami Malek is the perfect choice for this role. With the incredibly successful run of Mr. Robot, Malek takes on yet another role that is mysterious and mind-bending. Whether you enjoyed the film or not, there was no arguing that it left you wondering what the hell you just watched. The plot is left to the audience’s interpretation at times. There is zero doubt about the talents of Malek in what is a challenging role. Half the film has no dialogue from his character at all. Nuanced and heartbreaking but also filled with innocent humor, you will never be bored and you will be made to think. Buster’s Mal Heart will keep you guessing long after you leave the theater and well, isn’t that what great cinema is all about?
The film is now in theaters and if you’re already a fan of Malek, I highly recommend you catch this film. The 1hr 36min run feels longer but in the best way possible. The film’s themes go full speed ahead, and there is a number of them. From best intentions, living up to other’s expectations, to anarchy and testing one’s own sanity, Buster’s Mal Heart will confuse and provoke you. You’re going to want to watch it over and over. We’d love to hear your thoughts once you’ve seen the film! Check out the madness that is the trailer below.

FILM INFO
CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Sarah Adina Smith
  • Screenwriter:
    Sarah Adina Smith
  • Cinematographer:
    Shaheen Seth
  • Editor:
    Sarah Adina Smith
  • Composer:
    Mister Squinter
  • Executive Producer:
    Mynette Louie, Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, Wendy Ettinger, Samuel T. Bauer
  • Producer:
    Jonako Donley, Travis Stevens
  • Associate Producer:
    William Adashek, Kevin Cannon
  • Co-Producer:
    Erika Kelton, Regina K. Scully, Lesley Ann Skillen
  • Sound Design:
    Paula Fairfield
  • Art Director:
    Tessla Hastings
  • Cast:
    Rami Malek, DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil, Sukha Belle Potter, Lin Shaye

Tribeca Film Festival 2017 review: ‘MANIFESTO’ is life giving art.

Originally a stage experience in which 13 vignettes play simultaneously, Manifesto the film is another vehicle for Cate Blanchett to be Cate Blanchett being awesome. Performing words from the likes of Karl Marx, Freidrich Engel, and Jim Jarmusch, the film begs the question, ‘What is art?’ from every angle possible. Blanchett is a masterclass, playing each of the 13 characters completely differently and with precision, humor, and honesty worthy of a nomination for each. This film is most definitely not for everyone. It is highly stylistic and gorgeously shot. While it is up to the audience to decide whether there is an actual plot line, it’s more about the interpretation of the words and the specific decisions director Julian Rosefeldt and Blanchett have made as a team. The transitions from “scene” to scene are just as striking as the bold costume and makeup choices. One cannot help but be fully engrossed in every word and chosen movement, by both the camera and our leading lady. Defying gender, class, or form, Manifesto will challenge your mind and capture your imagination.


CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Julian Rosefeldt
  • Screenwriter:
    Julian Rosefeldt
  • Director of Photography:
    Christoph Krauss
  • Makeup:
    Morag Ross
  • Costume Designer:
    Bina Daigeler
  • Editor:
    Bobby Good
  • Sound:
    David Hilgers, Fabian Schmidt, Markus Stemler, Tschangis Chahrokh
  • Production Designer:
    Erwin Prib
  • Executive Producer:
    Wassili Zygouris, Marcos Kantis, Martin Lehwald
  • Producer:
    Julian Rosefeldt
  • Hair Stylist Designer:
    Massimo Gattabrusi
  • Post Production Supervisor:
    Jan Schöningh
  • Cast Member:
    Cate Blanchett

Coming to Netflix July 1: Gun violence documentary from Tribeca Film Festival ‘The Armor of Light’

What price conscience? Abigail Disney’s directorial debut, The Armor of Light, follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. The film tracks Reverend Rob Schenck, anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, who breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Reverend Schenck is shocked and perplexed by the reactions of his long-time friends and colleagues who warn him away from this complex, politically explosive issue.
Along the way, Rev. Schenck meets Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, an unarmed teenager who was murdered in Florida and whose story has cast a spotlight on “Stand Your Ground” laws. McBath, also a Christian, decides to work with Schenck even though she is pro-choice. Lucy is on a difficult journey of her own, trying to make sense of her devastating loss while using her grief to effect some kind of viable and effective political action-where so many before her have failed.
ARMOR follows these unlikely allies through their trials of conscience, heartbreak and rejection, as they bravely attempt to make others consider America’s gun culture through a moral lens. The film is also a courageous look at our fractured political culture and an assertion that it is, indeed, possible for people to come together across deep party lines to find common ground.
Featuring: Reverend Rob Schenck, Lucy McBath and John M. Phillips
Directed by: Abigail E. Disney, Kathleen Hughes
Genre: Documentary
Run Time: 88 Minutes

Official Website: http://armoroflightfilm.com/
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Watch all the Tribeca Talks from the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival!

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: (L-R) Actor Robert De Niro, director Alfonso Cuaron and director, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki attend Tribeca Talks Directors Series: Alfonso Cuaron at SVA Theatre 1 on April 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 20: (L-R) Actor Robert De Niro, director Alfonso Cuaron and director, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki attend Tribeca Talks Directors Series: Alfonso Cuaron at SVA Theatre 1 on April 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, all the talks from this year’s festival are now available to watch online! Two especially good ones are below. Enjoy!

Here’s the entire playlist below. Click on the little icon in the top left to scroll through which you want to watch!

 

Tribeca Film Festival Review: Audience Award winner, ‘HERE ALONE’ wrenches a mother’s instinct.

Tribeca Film Festival logo 2016here alone still tribeca

Being a new mom has had it’s toll on my brain. I’ve forgotten to eat. I’ve put the milk carton in the oven. I’ve gone days without showering or changing into socially acceptable attire. Being alone with an almost 4 month old baby all day makes your mind do/think weird things. Stir-craziness is very real. Isolation can ravage the senses. One the up side, this also means I have “a lot of time” (I know, I laughed as I typed that, too) to watch, or at least play films in the background. As a horror buff, I was excited about one film’s description in particular from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival Midnight Section, even if the plot sounded similar to ones that have cone before it. Like The Walking Dead, Rod Blackhurst‘s Tribeca World premiere HERE ALONE, is not about “zombies” but more about the people left behind.

After a terrible virus ravages human civilization, Ann finds herself living alone in a forest, foraging for supplies, and accompanied only by a radio that broadcasts a single transmission in French. Few animals even remain; the only survivors seem to be the roving hordes of infected creatures with a taste for human flesh. One fateful day, Ann crosses paths with two more survivors, Chris and Olivia. But after surviving on her own for so long, she struggles to relate to them and and their desire to settle down and start a new community.

here alone still chris and annAlmost entirely shot in the woods, our lead character Ann has only her vehicle and two small camps on a lake. Screenwriter David Ebeltoft’s immensely effective script, utilizes intermittent flashbacks to show us how Ann came to be on her own. Once traveling with her husband and infant daughter, the audience must allow themselves to be with Ann in the present in order to feel emotionally connected. She is smart and resilient. She has learned that practicality is the only way to survive. Her newly gained skills sometimes fumble, adding to the realism factor. The minute she allows her emotions to control her path, things are bound to go awry. When Ann stumbles upon Chris and his step-daughter Olivia, her motherly instinct may be her undoing. Two mindsets are at play; Stay put or keep moving. Which would you choose? Blackhurst’s use of nudity is never without purpose. There is no glamour factor here, which is much appreciated in the genre in general. Lucy Walters‘ lead performance is breathtaking. It’s not until the very end that we discover what happened to Ann’s daughter. That particular scene, which we know from the very beginning we’ve been building up to, is one of the most gut-wrenching I’ve seen on film. Maybe it’s the new Mommy hormones, maybe it’s Ebeltoft specifically crafted script, or maybe it’s the perfect storm of the two. I don’t think I have ever wept while watching a horror film until now. In a “what would you do?” scenario from hell, HERE ALONE tears your heart out and challenges how you think you’d react in a doomsday situation. When you’re down to your last bullet, it’s life or death.

HERE ALONE is one to catch. It may not necessarily be a new idea, but it is told from a fresh perspective. (Mothers be warned.)

Tribeca Film Festival Review: Written & Directed by Ricky Gervais, the Netflix ‘Special Correspondents’ tries very hard to be an 80s comedy

Special Correspondents – Netflix April 29th

American politics and media are aptly satirized in this feature by firebrand comedian Ricky Gervais. A pretentious radio journalist and his ineffectual technician botch an assignment in South America, and decide to fabricate an on-the-scene story while hiding out in a New York City apartment. This scheme spirals out of their control when their escalating story becomes a national headline.

If you can accept that this is a silly comedy and go along for the ride, then you’ll enjoy Special Correspondents. I had to keep telling that to myself over and over as each scene was presented as drama, but was obviously farce. From the very beginning, I compared it to the brilliantly funny, Spies Like Us with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. What made that film so funny was that both lead characters were ridiculous and there weren’t major conflicts. It tried to follow a modern formula from a silly 80s-type story.

Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Team Foxcatcher’ from Netflix, ‘Always Shine’ & ‘Little Boxes’

Of the last few days of the festival, these three films were among my favorites.

Team Foxcatcher

Meant to be a retreat for elite American athletes, Foxcatcher Farms, and all it was intended to represent, was lost in the paranoid downward spiral of its troubled benefactor John Du Pont. Heir to the Du Pont family fortune, John Du Pont funneled his considerable resources into his love of sports—wrestling in particular. Aiming to reinvigorate the US Olympic wrestling team, Du Pont created Foxcatcher, and invited gold medal champion Dave Schultz to lead the charge. What began as an idealistic sports idyll soon deteriorated into suspicion, distrust, and ultimately murder.

Through fascinating archival footage and never-before-seen home videos shot during Schultz’s time at the farm, director Jon Greenhalgh’s absorbing film unpacks the events leading up to Foxcatcher’s well-documented tragedy, exploring the complex and contradictory character of Du Pont, while serving as a poignant memoir to the legacy of Schultz as a champion wrestler, husband, and father. Team Foxcatcher charts a true American tragedy of Olympic dreams, ambition, mental illness, and murder.

—Cara Cusumano

I haven’t seen the Foxcatcher movie with Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, so I didn’t have any idea what this was about other than wrestling. I was completely shocked at the story, but even more impressed with the storytelling. It builds up slowing, and documents the events through the stories of those who were there.

Fascinating and compelling, it proves once again that truth is stranger than fiction. Releases on Netflix April 29th.


ALWAYS SHINE_web_2Always Shine

Two women, both actresses with differing degrees of success, travel north from Los Angeles to Big Sur for a weekend vacation in Always Shine, Sophia Takal’s twisty, psychological thriller. Both see the trip as an opportunity to reconnect after years of competition and jealousy has driven a wedge between them, but upon arrival to their isolated, forest retreat, the pair discovers that their once intimate friendship has deteriorated into forced conversations, betrayals both real and imagined, petty jealousies, and deep-seated resentment. As the women allow their feelings to fester, each begins to lose their bearings not only on the true nature of their relationship, but on their own identities. Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) and Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex) give brave and raw performances as Beth and Anna, two women whose ideas of success are dictated as much by external cultural criterion as their own sense of self-worth. Beautifully photographed and assuredly directed by Takal, Always Shine wraps itself in an evocative shroud of dread and paranoia that lingers long after the final frame.

—Cara Cusumano

On the surface, it’s just a jealous rivalry, but tables turn and suddenly you don’t know what is real anymore. The opening sequence is particularly intense, and sets the stage perfectly for the two women. I also found it quite interesting seeing a woman striking out with a potential suitor, as that’s not normally something depicted. Brilliantly acted and told, this is quite a surprising cinematic treat.

Little Boxes

It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark is the new-in-town biracial kid in a sea of white. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black,’ he fumbles to meet expectations, while his urban intellectual parents Mack and Gina also strive to adjust to small-town living. Equipped for the many inherent challenges of New York, the tight-knit family are ill prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents, and soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new suburban context.

Director Rob Meyer (A Birder’s Guide to Everything) returns to Tribeca with his second feature, a poignant comedy about understanding identity, featuring a robust cast including Melanie Lynskey, Nelsan Ellis, Armani Jackson, Oona Laurence, Janeane Garofalo, and Christine Taylor. Executive Produced by Cary Fukunaga.

—Tilson Allen-Merry

Subtle and upfront at the same time, I loved the honesty and accessibility of the characters. I struggled through the entire film to place lead actor, Neslan Ellis, as I knew I’d seen him in something before. Turns out, he played Lafayette on HBO’s True Blood, which is as far away from the character in this film as you can imagine. He’s absolutely brilliant as the father in this family that moves to the suburbs after a life in New York City. I absolutely adored the film.

Tribeca Film Festival Review: ‘The Happy Film’ is surprisingly introspective

the happy film

What makes you happy? Scratch that, it doesn’t matter, it’s not something you attain, its something in the moment.

The Happy Film is a feature-length documentary in which graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister undergoes a series of self-experiments outlined by popular psychology to test once and for all if it’s possible for a person to have a meaningful impact on their own happiness.

The star of the film is the design, as it’s inventive and creative, and delightful. In essence, that’s what makes the designer happy, and he doesn’t even realize it.

What I enjoyed about this film was that even though something happened over and over again, it wasn’t predictable. I completely empathized with Sagmeister and he had an incredible journey making this film. The film is very meta, and it’s as much about making it, as it is about his happiness.

The Happy Film (festival trailer) from {group theory} on Vimeo.

Tribeca Film Festival Review: The tragic & heart-breaking ‘AWOL’

AWOL_web_1

Love can sometimes make us do stupid things. Joey is blinded by her love for Rayna and won’t give up on her. Even after she joins the Army, Joey can’t stop thinking about a life with Rayna and will do every dumb thing she can to make it happen.

While it can be maddening at times, the story of AWOL is full of good intentions. There are several scenes that are blatantly gratuitous, and unnecessary, but the structure flows well and it keeps you engaged.

Tribeca Film Festival Review: ‘TIGER RAID’ is a spectacular test of loyalty.

Tribeca Film Festival logo 2016

World Premiere in the Midnight Category
Section at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

tider raid brain and glesson and moloney

Starring:
 Brian Gleeson (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Eagle),
Damien Molony (Suspects),
Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service, upcoming Star Trek Beyond)  and
Rory Fleck-Byrne (The Quiet Ones)

Directed by: Simon Dixon

Written by: Simon Dixon, Mick Donnellan

While on a covert mission, two cold blooded mercenaries form an unlikely bond as they race across the desert in the dead of night. When their violent and desperate world implodes, past atrocities come to the surface threatening to tear each of them apart.

Tiger_Raid_brian gleeson

With Tarantino-esque dialogue driven scenes, TIGER RAID opens in the arid Iraq dessert, as Joe and Paddy approach their mission location. They are assigned with the kidnapping of an unknown individual, receiving orders from earpieces whose instructions are just muffled enough to be a mystery to the audience. Along the way, we learn piecemeal that each man has a haunted past. About 10 minutes in, we get our first plot twist. These flips in writer/director Simon Dixon’s script keep coming as the film’s 92 minutes roll along. I think I lost count at 4. Brian Gleeson as Joe is fierce and domineering, yet somehow totally lovable as he revels in his joy for the kill. Damien Molony shines as Paddy, a man whose emotional obsession comes between his sense of right and wrong. The story is about the extremes of loyalty and the justification of past indiscretions. For me, there is not one moment that is out of place in this film. The score has both a menacing and ethereal feel. The close-ups are delicious and meaningful. The sound design is impeccable and poignant. TIGER RAID takes you on a journey into the minds of men who kill for money and for sport. This vibrant and unapologetically violent ride is beyond engrossing from every angle. It will not disappoint.

  • Section: Midnight
  • Year: 2016
  • Length: 92 minutes
  • Language: English
  • Country: U.K.
  • Premiere: World
You can still get rush tickets for tonight’s screening. I highly recommend that you do.
9:45 PM – FRI 4/22 BOW TIE CINEMAS CHELSEA 5Icon-fg-map RUSH

Tribeca Film Festival Review/Interview: Tracy Droz Tragos talks about the Missouri documentary ‘Abortion: Stories Women Tell’

Director Tracy Droz Tragos has a passion for Missouri stories. After her family moved to California, she used to spend her summers in Rich Hill, Missouri, about halfway between Kansas City and Joplin on Highway 49. She even directed a documentary about three boys from that area in the 2014 documentary, Rich Hill. Heartbreaking and honest, it brought to light a seldom heard story of struggle.

Abortion: Stories Women Tell airs on HBO later this year as part of their documentary series.

No matter your position on the issue, these are the women it affects. From those having them to those opposing. Hear my interview with director, Tracy Droz Tragos, below:

Tribeca Film Festival Review/Interview: ‘DETOUR’ is a modern noir with two sides of one story.

Tribeca Film Festival logo 2016

detour, tye, emory, bel

Sometimes in life, a single instance, a momentary decision, is something we wish we could change. Thinking that if only you had said something else, gone the other way, chosen another path, your life might be completely different. These “what ifs” might haunt us but unless you’re a Time Lord there isn’t much you can do about them. That doesn’t stop us from wondering what life would be like. In a Tribeca Film Festival world premiere, DETOUR takes us on a ride that begs that very notion.

Harper, a seemingly naive law student, obsesses over the idea that his shifty stepfather is somehow involved in the devastating car crash that leaves his mother lying comatose in the hospital. He drowns his suspicions in whiskey and, with little forethought, finds himself suddenly entwined in conversation with a volatile grifter, Johnny, and his stripper companion, Cherry. As daylight breaks and the haziness of promises made becomes clearer, how will Harper handle the repercussions—and the violent duo—on his doorstep?

From director Christopher Smith (Creep, Black Death, Triangle), Detour is a stylized noir throwback with a trio of lead performances by of-the-moment actors: Tye Sheridan (Mud, The Tree of Life), Emory Cohen (Brooklyn) and Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl). Utilizing a unique split-narrative structure to tell his tale of deception and murder, Smith takes his audience on a twisty, thrilling ride, where it’s never quite clear what or whom can be trusted.

Detour-bel

The cast, comprised of Hollywood’s young up and comers Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, and Bel Powley, make this noir throwback as successful as it is. With suspicion and grief fueled motives and a $20,000 agreement, murder and mayhem are the goal. Powley, coming off her extraordinary breakout performance in Diary Of A Teenage Girl, is a stunning presence on screen. Caught somewhere between girl next door and Middle American white-trash, her quiet strength and sympathetic nature make the character of Cherry more intriguing than one might think. Emory Cohen, who was completely unrecognizable from his appearance in Brooklyn, takes on the role of Johnny with vigor. With a badass exterior, and hair trigger temper, Cohen’s  best moments are built in fear and protection. Tye Sheriden‘s Harper is whip smart and more cunning than at first glance. This young man is so incredibly comfortable in his own skin, he probably could have played Johnny had he and Cohen’s wardrobe’s been reversed. Detour-tye

Writer/Director Christopher Smith‘s script is sharp. While I knew about the multi-narrative plot going in, I wasn’t expecting to have to remain on my toes as much as I did. In fact, when I initially left the theater, I waxed poetic with a colleague for a good 25 minutes. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the glorious look of the film. Shot on wide-angle lenses in South Africa (which is skillfully made to look like a road trip from America to just across the border into Mexico), Smith’s choices of color and set dressing are key to the ever so slight differentiation in the two narratives. I completely agree with producer Julie Baines, who I was fortunate enough to run into during interviews, who backed up the notion that once you’ve seen the film for the first time, you’ll want to go back and follow the breadcrumbs knowing what you now know. That is exactly how I felt the morning after. I needed to see it again. Baines also reinforced the infectious chemistry between the three leads, both on and off the screen. Think a more complex version of Sliding Doors with a noir aspect. Detour is aptly named.

I was able to sit down with Tye, Emory and Chris over the weekend. You can listen to a spirited and totally down-to-earth interview below. Ladies and Gentleman, Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, and Christopher Smith on their new film DETOUR… (and other musings). Enjoy!

 

Remaining screenings at the fest are Rush only, but definitely worth trying to check out now!

4:00 PM – THU 4/21 BOW TIE CINEMAS CHELSEA 9Icon-fg-map RUSH
9:30 PM – FRI 4/22 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-1Icon-fg-map RUSH

Tribeca Weekend Wrap-Up: 6 stories of love, loss, happiness and fear

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Love can make us do some pretty dumb things. Joey is trying to make sense of her life and find direction, but love blinds her better judgement. Told with many gratuitous and unnecessary bits of nudity, the vulnerability and naivety of Joey is what makes this tug at your heart.


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Fear, Inc

A company that you hire to scare you? Although it has tremendous potential, the execution (no pun intended) didn’t grab me at all. Once again, I gave horror a try. It’s just not for me.

the happy filmThe Happy Film

Surprisingly introspective, this was just as much about the cool design as it was the idea that we can control our happiness. At the beginning, the film tells you that it will not make you happy, and it won’t, but it could give you some insight on how to be.

FOLK_HERO_AND_FUNNY_GUY_web_1Folk Hero & Funny Guy

So much more than the two guys, one girl troupe, this is a story of two friends discovering their friendship again.

Enlighten_Us_web_1Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray

Remember the sweat lodge incident where people died? Here’s the story of the man behind it, who went to prison for two years. The director is incredibly diplomatic and let the man speak to himself. What I took out of it is how much I am grateful for my friends who love and support me.

HOUSTON_WE_HAVE_APROBLEM_original_1bHouston, We Have a Problem!

Separating fact from fiction is easier in a narrative, but when it’s presented as a documentary, the line is not clear. Besides the subject, the cinematography is really spectacular as the archival footage is lined up with the present.

Tribeca Interview/Review: Razor sharp ‘Women Who Kill’ from NYC director Ingrid Jungermann

women who kilIn Women Who Kill, Morgan and Jean are an ex-couple who live together and host a podcast together on women serial killers in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When Morgan starts dating someone new, Jean suspects the mysterious, Simone, to be a serial killer herself. Original and hilarious, you never quite know what to believe.

The banter between Morgan and Jean is silly and witty. I really enjoyed seeing an ex-couple portrayed as people who are much better as friends than as lovers. It’s odd how often you don’t see that.

The term “first time director” is used to describe Ingrid Jungermann, who writes, directs and stars as Morgan, but she’s not a novice. She may be a first time feature director, but Jungermann has produced two different web series, The Slope and F to 7th with several A-list actors. She’s been writing and acting for over 20 years and you would never guess this is her first feature.

Episode 1: “Miserable Animals” from The Slope on Vimeo.

I got a chance to have a lovely conversation with Jungermann where we talked about everything from video stores to virtual reality. I felt an immediate connection with her after reading about her growing up in a small town and working in a video store. Both of us have a love for the escapism of the movies but unlike me, she pursued acting and directing to create her own movies.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Jungermann started acting in high school and when she realized that there weren’t many parts for her and her friends, she decided to create them herself.

I asked her what made her decide to go from short form to feature, she explains, “it was all part of the plan.” She also says, “the web series was a way for me to make my own rules and taught me about feature filmmaking.” During the second season of F to 7th, she was working on her feature and developing the three act structure.

I had never considered the difference between, but it’s all about structure. In her web series, F to 7th, each episode is about 5 minutes long and each play out as scenes as part of the entire series. They aren’t directly related, but are connected through the characters. Jungermann uses several of the stories and characters from the series in her feature, and it comes together brilliantly.

“I don’t think I really understood feature filmmaking until this film. But what I didn’t realize is how much I love web series.” She describes that she really couldn’t get a grasp on short films and when she discovered a web series option, she jumped at it.

Jungermann would also love to write a virtual reality comedy. She won me over she defended it saying that it won’t ruin movies, “it’s another dimension.”

Jungermann is working on a new sci-fi feminist thriller with Stewart Thorndike who directed Lyle (below) with Gaby Hoffman.


Also recommended was Krishna, which is playing in theaters in New York right now.

Happy 15th Anniversary! TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2016 started today. Check out some of the films we’re excited about!

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For such a new festival, only 15 years old, the Tribeca Film Festival is well known and becomes more attended every year with almost 500 screenings and over 467,000 attendees in 2015. The screenings take place at 5 different venues throughout lower Manhattan and represent over 40 countries.

“Over 400 films have been acquired after premiering at Tribeca. On average, more than half of available films find distribution within a year of their Tribeca premiere.”

Melissa and I are very excited about several movies this year, and we’d like to share which are on our lists. Here’s the top three for each, in no particular order. We’ll be sharing more day by day. We’ve already got a few interviews lined up and we’ll be tweeting and instagramming some of the unique experiences from the Tribeca Hub. Stayed tuned!

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The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Based on Jason Sudeikis’ brilliant performance in last year’s Tumbledown, I’m excited to see him in another drama. Plus Maisie Williams AND a score by Justin Timberlake, what’s not to look forward to? – Liz

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Women Who Kill

Sharp dialogue and an intriguing premise make this one of my favorites so far. – Melissa

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Don’t Think Twice

Having seen Mike Birbiglia’s comedy in person, his particular brand of humor is something everyone can relate to. Sleepwalk With Me was a Tribeca hit and if Ira Glass is producing your work, well that says a whole lot about the quality. – Liz

Here aloneHere, Alone

Remember those first few episodes of The Walking Dead when life was turned upside down and you watched people change? This movie captures that through the eyes of a young woman trying to survive. Less zombies, more humans = better story. – Melissa

High RiseHigh Rise

Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons are at the helm of this breathtaking adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel. Being familiar with Ben Wheatley’s other work, I was blown away by the colorful feast I was treated to. The entire ensemble cast is beyond stellar. Wrought with foreshadowing, both auditory and visual, from the music to the cinematic framing, High Rise is an incredibly cool and poignant commentary on class warfare. – Liz

nullWolves

I love a deep drama, and look forward to this story of a boy growing up in New York City. – Melissa


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For tickets and more information in the meantime, visit TribecaFilm.com