Review: ‘The Justice of Bunny King’ is a tale of morality, redemption, and unconditional love.

Bunny King (Essie Davis, THE BABADOOK), a headstrong mother of two with a sketchy past, earns her keep by washing windows at traffic lights. Using her razor-sharp wit to charm money from gridlocked motorists, she saves every cent to get back the custody of her kids. After promising her daughter a birthday party, Bunny must fight the social services and break the rules to keep her word, but in doing so risks losing her children altogether. Accompanied by her niece Tonya (Thomasin McKenzie, Film Independent Spirit Award nominee, LEAVE NO TRACE, LAST NIGHT IN SOHO), a fierce teenager running away from home, Bunny is in a race against the clock and headed towards an epic showdown with the authorities.


Essie Davis helms this tale of morality, redemption, and love. Davis’ no holds bar performance of raw reactive emotion will have you on your feet. You cannot help but root for Bunny. Every opportunity comes with an unexpected challenge, but Davis’ slick attitude and ingenuity keep the audience in the palm of her hand. Bunny’s backstory is heartbreaking. The weight of her unresolved trauma is in every breath. It’s a stunning turn.

The Justice of Bunny King pits a broken system against a desperate mother. Boasting a heart-pounding climax, The Justice of Bunny King is an intriguing dive into survival and unrelenting determination.

Opens in Theaters September 23rd

Director: Gaysorn Thavat
Story By: Gregory David King, Gaysorn Thavat, Sophie Henderson
Writer: Sophie Henderson
Producer: Emma Slade
Director of Photography: Ginny Loane
Editor: Cushla Dillon

Country: New Zealand
Genre: Drama
TRT: 101 minutes


 

Tribeca 2022 reviews from Unseen Films: ‘Space Oddity’

SPACE ODDITY

One of my favorite films of this year’s Tribeca was a film I wasn’t planning on seeing. It wasn’t until I decided to focus on the films not in the press library that it jumped onto my dance card…. and right into my heart.

The story follows Alex, a young man in a broken family, who is planning on heading to Mars on a one-way mission.  He wants to go to get away from the troubles of the world, but also from the reminders of his brother who died saving his life in a car crash. Unfortunately for him, his plans end up crashing into Daisy, a young woman new to the town. Now that Alex has met Daisy will he give up his plans and stay on earth.

Do you have to ask?

Yea, you know how this will go but it’s so well done you won’t care. I mean you really won’t care because you will be so absolutely in love with everyone on screen. These are wounded people we know. They are us. God bless director Kyra Sedgwick for keeping everyone real and not insisting that everyone gets fixed by the end. Yea there is hope but the damage is still there. As a result, the film resonates deeper.

What a glorious film.

The performances are across the board wonderful Kevin Bacon may have his best role here. Yea it’s nothing special on the face of it but watch all of the shading he gives it. Listen to the emotion in his voice. Alexandra Shipp is magical. She makes Daisy the person we all want to fall in love with.

I love this film. I really do.

It’s a joy.

Highly recommended.


DIRECTOR
Kyra Sedgwick
PRODUCER
Valerie Stadler, Kyra Sedgwick, Meredith Bagby, Richard Arlook, Jack Greenbaum, Mark Maxey, Mickey Schiff
SCREENWRITER
Rebecca Banner
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Alar Kivilo
EDITOR
Stefanie Visser
COMPOSER
Travis Bacon and Scott Hedrick
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paolo Mottola Jr., Joe Z. Crosby, Ibrahim Alhusseini, JL Pomeroy, Daryl Roth, Brent Emery
CAST
Kyle Allen, Alexandra Shipp, Madeline Brewer, Carrie Preston, Simon Helberg, Kevin Bacon, Andrew Polk

Tribeca 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG’ is out now!

HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG (2022)

One of the great films playing Tribeca this is a look at Leonard Cohen through the song Hallelujah. It took him seven years to finish it enough to record it and then it took a long path to discovery and rediscovery along a path that resulted in many versions (he wrote at least 180 verses) and many hits.

The audience I saw this with was crying. Yea it’s about a song, but it’s also about a man’s quest to find his place in the universe. It’s a moving tale of more than any one thing. It’s a film that reveals to us our lives as lived and sung by other people. Everyone saw themselves up there.

I was rocked to my core.

This film spoke to me on a deeply personal and spiritual level and I came out loving the song and it many versions even more. It also made me very sad I could never have sat down and talked to Cohen about life and his journey.

Go see it.

One of 2022’s best



Directed by: Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine Selections: Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and more Featuring: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Glen Hansard, Sharon Robinson, Rufus Wainwright, and many others Synopsis: HALLELUJAH: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song is a definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, “Hallelujah.” This feature-length documentary weaves together three creative strands: The songwriter and his times; the song’s dramatic journey from record label rejection to chart-topping hit, and moving testimonies from major recording artists for whom “Hallelujah” has become a personal touchstone. Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, the film accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage, and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews.


Review: From scholarships to scandal, Dan Chen’s ‘ACCEPTED’ is explosive.

ACCEPTED

Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of Ivy League college admissions and the true cost of getting that first foothold into elite American society. In his first documentary feature, director Dan Chen grounds a broader look at the inequities in the American education system with unbelievable access to T.M. Landry and the deeply personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome countless obstacles to achieve their dreams.


TM Landry was a beacon of hope for the underserved community of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. In Dan Chen‘s ACCEPTED, the incoming senior class of 2019 gears up for the admissions process, chasing that elusive stat; 30% of Landry students who receive acceptance to an Ivy League school. But, that’s not all this documentary catches during the school year. An explosive New York Times expose sends shockwaves through the student body. ACCEPTED delves deep into the subsequent chaos. 

 There is a Montessori feeling to the day. Children of all ages break out in small groups in a nondescript warehouse/office building, tackling complex arithmetic and socially relevant discussion. Founder Mike Landry‘s enthusiasm and passion are infectious. He’s the ultimate hype man for his students. He takes calls from them after hours, assisting them with homework. As a former teacher, I am captivated by his fiery pep talks. 

When emotions run high and the stress piles on, our kids start to push back against Mike’s methods. They realize something is incredibly wrong. When media becomes more important than being in the classroom, everything backfires. Going into Accepted knowing nothing, you’d think he was the high school Messiah. Mike Landry is no Wizard. He is the man behind the curtain. 

Adia is an avid animal lover whose spirit almost collapses under Mike Landry. But, her spirit outshines the negativity, and she’s a soul that will undoubtedly achieve greatness. Isaac’s dream school is Stanford. His levelheaded approach to life and learning is something we should all aspire to be. Alicia is the new girl, admittedly baffled by the school’s structure when she arrived halfway through Junior year. When you hear her college essay, you’ll gasp in awe of her eloquence. Cathy would be the first member of her family to attend college. With two disabled older sisters and a widowed mother, a car accident payout allowed her to prepay for two years at Landry. Cathy is a powerful young woman, flipping the script on her narrative. For her, truth and integrity reign supreme. 

The deteriorating mental health of these kids is palpable. Their bravery cost them their potential future. Fear and shame should not be the motivating factor to succeed. You cannot help but walk from the film filled with anger and questions about the socioeconomics of higher education. ACCEPTED is an unexpected emotional rollercoaster. 

 

GREENWICH ENTERTAINMENT is releasing the timely documentary Accepted, from director Dan Chen in theaters and VOD on July 1st!


DIRECTOR:
Dan Chen
PRODUCERS:
Jason Y. Lee
Dan Chen
Jesse Einstein
Mark Monroe
GENRE:
Documentary
RUNTIME:

91m


FESTIVALS & AWARDS:
Tribeca Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Sidewalk Film Festival 2021
Winner Audience Choice Award Best Black Lens Film
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection
Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Cleveland International Film Festival 2022

Nominee Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award


  Original New York Times article as referenced in the film linked HERE.


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Of Medicine and Miracles’ provides a balanced look at the potential and problems of modern medicine.

OF MEDICINE AND MIRACLES

You cannot help but be moved by Of Medicine and Miracles. This is an in-depth documentary of a thrilling achievement: an attempt to cure cancer by using cutting-edge medical science.  This story is told through the prism of one patient, young Emily Whitehead, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only 6 years old. When the standard course of treatment fails Emily, her health quickly worsens. Out of options, she is given the chance to enroll in a promising, but risky clinical trial.

The documentary benefits from direct interviews with Emily’s parents. Their emotional re-telling of events is incredibly moving. Their urgency and desperation are palpable. The audience also peers behind the curtain at the vast medical infrastructure supporting Emily’s treatment – the researchers, physicians, nurses, regulators, and the extended care team. The expression “it takes a village” will truly resonate differently for you after viewing this documentary.

You will be inspired, yes, but also frustrated. Of Medicine and Miracles also provides a clear-eyed perspective on the dysfunction plaguing the medical system. While the documentary takes great pains to showcase the innovation at the core of Emily’s treatment, it is equally clear that her life was often in the balance due to incredibly frustrating circumstances. Emily’s local care center does not recommend she seek out a clinical trial – it is only because her family shows the courage to solicit a second opinion from a leading pediatric facility (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) that Emily is even offered a chance at a new treatment. Not everyone has the luxury of such a facility within driving distance. A critical last-minute care decision is shown to be possible only because members of Emily’s care team have read the right medical journal articles. This documentary shows us a miracle, yes, but also demonstrates that this miracle finds the light thanks to a foundation of privilege and luck.

Ross Kauffman’s documentary is an impressively balanced effort. It provides an incredibly intimate look at a family undergoing an incredible challenge, and the way this family is at times equally supported and challenged by our country’s medical structure.  I left it both inspired and enraged.


Available Starting

Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM

At Home

DIRECTOR
Ross Kauffman
PRODUCER
Robin Honan, Nicole Galovski
CINEMATOGRAPHERS
Ross Kauffman, Henry Roosevelt, Naiti Gamez
COMPOSER
Amie Doherty
EDITOR
Hypatia Porter
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Sean Parker, Lessing Stern, Babbie Lester, Pam Williams, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Randall Gebhardt, Christopher Gebhardt, Eric Esrailian, Regina Scully, Jamie Wolf, Rusty Robertson
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS
Gabriela Figueredo, Minoo Allen, Zada Clarke

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 reviews from Unseen Films: ‘It Ain’t Over’ & ‘Of Medicine and Miracles’

Of Medicine and Miracles (2022) Tribeca 2022

This is the story of young Emily Whitehead’s battle with cancer through the battles of her doctors to cure her and others.

This is a good look at the battle to cure cancer for everyone. There is a great story here about how thinking outside of the box has opened the door to curing numerous cancers and possibly other diseases as well. Watching the film you will be filled with a great deal of hope for tomorrow.

As good as the film is the film isn’t perfect. The film is very dense with a lot of material, some of which doesn’t need to be here. Points are hammered home several times and more than once I wished bits had been removed. The film also is a bit too manipulative. This film is structured from the start to be a tearjerker in an obvious way. We are not given the choice to feel, the editors took care of it for us. I felt manipulated.

And yet this film has haunted me. The hope for a cure the film highlights can’t help but make you smile.

Reservations aside the film is worth a look.


It Ain’t Over (2022) Tribeca 2022

When Major League Baseball had the four greatest living baseball players show up at the  All-Star Game, they made a major mistake in forgetting Yogi Berra. While he is best known for his Yogi-isms, most people forget how good a player he really was. How good was he? He has 13 World Series rings, 10 as a player, which is more than the four players the shuttled out combined. When Berra’s granddaughter saw the “mistake” she took steps to correct it.

Containing a who’s who of admirers, both in baseball and out, IT’ AIN’T OVER is a moving film that fixes the record regarding Yogi Berra. One of the greatest that ever played, this film makes it clear that he was in many ways more amazing than Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. The trouble is he was a lovable guy who said things that sounded goofy (When you see a fork in the road take it).  He let the media create a character for him and he went with it, which endeared him to generations while hiding his real achievements.

Everything seems to be here, from his friendship with Jackie Robinson to his support of LGBT rights to a long laundry list of amazing things. Berra never stopped doing and doing the right thing.

I really liked this film a great deal. This is a superb film that is full of laughs and tears and more nostalgia than you can shake a stick at.

That said the film has one big problem and that is the film relies a bit too much on Berra’s granddaughter. While what she tells us is golden, having so much come from her and not other baseball players kind of lessens things. Why is she telling us this and not some of the other people who are interviewed? While I’m a long-time Berra fan and understand how good he was, I know people coming in blind may not be convinced.

Slight reservation aside, this film is an absolute must, more so if you love baseball.


For more of Steve’s insights on Tribeca 22, head over to Unseen Films!


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 reviews from Unseen Films: ‘Bowery’ & ‘The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks’

Brief thoughts on Bowery (2022) Tribeca 2022

BOWERY is a wonderful film. A deeply moving portrait of people living on the street in the Bowery section of New York City, it is warts and all portrait of some good people in a bad circumstance. I was moved.

One of the biggest head-scratching moments to come out of Tribeca is why BOWERY didn’t play in person at the festival (it played online). The Bowery is down the street across  Manhattan from the area that gives the festival its title. It’s a film that is rooted deeply in New York City and the festival should have put it up on the big screen.

I really liked this film a great deal. Being someone who frequented the areas in the film I felt at home. I loved that the film didn’t judge anyone. It simply let everyone be, with the result being is a documentary of great power.

A must-see.


The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (2022) Tribeca 2022

The life and times of Rosa Parks, best known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in the segregated south. The truth is there is a hell of a lot more to the small woman than most people know. She was politically active from an early age and never stopped trying to change the world.

This is a really good look at a woman who was revered by millions around the world. She was a woman who shook the pillars of heaven and influenced unexpected people. For example, when Nelson Mandela came to the US  he was going along a receiving line shaking hands until he caught sight of Mrs. Parks and he then bolted to her and snatched her up and gave her a bear hug. This is a film that is going to go a long way toward enhancing her reputation simply because it lets everyone know how special she was.

If I have any problem with the film it’s that the film drops the linear structure a couple of times to jump ahead for various reasons. While I understand why it was done, thematically the flash-forward tied into the moment at hand, the problem was that we didn’t have a setup for them. For example, The Republic of New Afrika is mentioned but fully explained.

Minor quibbles aside this film is a must-see simply because odds are you don’t know the full story of what Mrs. Parks did, and you really need to.

Recommended


See more of Steve’s insane amount of Tribeca 22 coverage at Unseen Films


Tribeca Immersive 2022 reviews: ‘Plastisapiens’ & ‘This Is Not A Ceremony’ are visions of despair and pleas for action.

THIS IS NOT A CEREMONY

I was greeted outside the exhibit by director Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) before I knew I was about to enter his endlessly effective film. As I sat with VR goggles on in a small dark room, I was treated to an experience that would leave me forever changed. I bore witness to tragic stories of racism and mistreatment of Canadian Indigenous people. This structure is like a fever dream with reenactments, an enormous burning buffalo, and two indigenous narrators that guided my eyes in a 360-degree manner. When immersive tech first started to appear at film festivals, I was one of the earlier guinea pigs. Now, outside of the gaming world, immersive films have the ability to place an audience inside a story, touching almost every one of our senses. When This Is Not A Ceremony concluded, Van Loon handed me a Blackfoot tobacco tie, thanking me for being part of this narrative. The passion and format of this film are unmissable. You cannot help but feel the need to do something about the ongoing injustice. This Is Not A Ceremony is a haunting call to action.


PRODUCED BY
NFB (Dana Dansereau)
PUBLISHER
NFB (Dana Dansereau)
DIRECTOR
Ahnahktsipiitaa
PROJECT CREATOR
Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon)
SCREENWRITER
Ahnahktsipiitaa
EDITOR
Jessica Dymond
ART DIRECTOR
James Monkman
NAGAMO PUBLISHING
Nagamo Publishing
PRODUCER
Dana Dansereau


PLASTISAPIENS

Plastisapiens had an ethereal appearance as I approached the experience. Housed in a draped tent, with dripping and “organic” masses hanging from its ceiling. I was left to a small enclave and comfy stool where I was given my VR goggles and controllers. Plastisapiens had me on the bottom of the ocean floor back in time. The evolution of life and the introduction of plastic toxins into that environment are tracked into a speculative future. Used the controllers and my breath to maneuver forward through time and grasp objects. As the timeline pressed on, I skyrocketed upwards from sea to a new environment. The narration utilizes a modulated voice-over that is absolute perfection, as human merges with inorganic material, changing the very existence of life as we know it. Plastisapiens was mesmerizing. Writer-directors Miri Chekhanovich and Édith Jorisch created something mysterious, educational, and terrifying. I left awestruck.

PRODUCED BY
NFB (Marie-Pier Gauthier, Isabelle Repelin), Dpt. (Raphaëlle Sleurs), Lalibela Productions
PUBLISHER
National Film Board of Canada
KEY COLLABORATORS
Canada Media Fund, The National Film Board of Canada, Makor Foundation of Israel, The Israel Film Council, The Ministry for Culture and Sports
PROJECT CREATOR
Miri Chekhanovich, Édith Jorisch, Dpt.
CREATED BY
Dpt.
PRODUCER. NFB
Isabelle Repelin, Marie-Pier Gauthier
PRODUCER, DPT.
Raphaëlle Sleurs
PRODUCER
Lalibela Productions

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘VENGEANCE’ is an impressive directorial debut.

VENGEANCE

If you haven’t checked in on B.J. Novak since The Office, you’ll be surprised by the pitch-black tone of his directorial film debut, Vengeance. There are great laughs aplenty here, but the film presents an overall bleak view of humanity as it relates to our ability to connect and communicate. This is a stellar premier film.

Novak pulls triple duty as the film’s writer, director, and star. He brings the perfect mix of smug arrogance and bewildered empathy to Ben Manalowitz, a New York writer (and aspiring podcaster) who is coasting through every moment. Ben’s catchphrase is “100 percent”, but the audience quickly comes to see that Ben isn’t really giving 100 percent to anything. His life is all surface, no depth. He believes he’s having deep conversations about his work and the meaning of society, but he’s looking at his phone the whole time. His relationships are nothing but informal hookups.

Then Ben gets a fateful call from West Texas – his former girlfriend (well, they had hooked up a few times), Abilene Shaw, has died of a drug overdose. Abilene’s family are under the impression that she and Ben were a real couple, and invite him to the funeral. Ben shows up in West Texas out of pity, but quickly decides to stay for more selfish reasons: Abilene’s family suspects foul play, and Ben can’t turn down a chance to tackle the “holy grail” of podcasting: a dead white girl. Ben’s editor mails him some fancy podcasting equipment faster than you can say “true crime”, and he’s off to discover the truth about Abilene (and hopefully make himself famous in the process.)

I’m still in awe of this supporting cast. Boyd Holbrook somehow manages to balance sincerity and absurdity as Ty, Abilene’s revenge-crazed brother. Could this be Ashton Kutcher’s best work since Dude, Where’s My Car? (don’t get it twisted, I mean that as a sincere compliment!) Kutcher’s Quintin Sellers is complex and layered. As a small-town record producer, Quintin is equally opportunistic and charismatic. Quintin provides a twisted country-fried contrast to Novak’s Ben, and their few scenes together are some of the strongest of the film. The female characters are unfortunately more thinly written, and mostly function to help us better understand the men.

A film like this doesn’t work without a rock-solid script, and this one delivers. Good comedy writing ensures that the pace of the film is maintained; great comedy writing is concerned with showing us deeper truths about character that may produce a smile, but also a sting. The soundtrack is also self-aware – I’ve never laughed so hard at a Lana Del Rey song.

Vengeance is a dual threat – a legitimately funny comedy that also lands sincere dramatic moments. It left me excited for whatever Novak has coming next (hopefully a podcast.)


DIRECTOR
B.J. Novak
PRODUCER
Jason Blum, Adam Hendricks, Greg Gilreath
SCREENWRITER
B.J. Novak
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Lyn Moncrief
EDITOR
Andy Canny, Hilda Rasula, Plummy Tucker
CAST
B.J. Novak, Issa Rae, Ashton Kutcher, Boyd Holbrook, J. Smith-Cameron, Dove Cameron, Isabella Amara


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 reviews: ‘The Drop’ & ‘Don’t Make Me Go’ are two different films about parenting and identity.

THE DROP

I’m a huge fan of Sarah Adina Smith‘s work. Midnight Swim, Buster’s Mal Heart, and most recently Birds of Paradise are an eclectic group of films that show her imagination and vision are one of a kind. Her latest Tribeca 2022 film is no exception. In The Drop, Lex and Mani are a vivacious married couple trying to get pregnant. Lex does the unthinkable after they arrive at a friend’s destination wedding. She allows the bride’s infant daughter to slip from her grip. The fallout from this moment sends this group of close friends into a tailspin of pretentiousness, ego, judgment, confessions, and chaos. The Drop is a proper hard R-rated adult comedy. The laughs are endless. Huge quirky personalities clash in a way that doesn’t let anyone off the hook. The film centers on parenting styles, communication, and the facade we all put up to survive. Smith and co-writer Josh Leonard skewer Millenial culture in the most brilliant ways possible. Anna Konkle and Jermaine Fowle lead this ensemble cast of your dreams. There is not a weak link in the bunch. The Drop is a crowd pleaser you’ll want to see with your closest friends. Then you can all sit around and decide which asshole character most represents you. You’re welcome.


DIRECTOR
Sarah Adina Smith
PRODUCER
Jonako Donley, Mel Eslyn, Sarah Adina Smith, Joshua Leonard, Shuli Harel, Tim Headington, Lia Buman
SCREENWRITER
Sarah Adina Smith, Joshua Leonard
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Shaheen Seth
EDITOR
Daniel Garber, Sarah Adina Smith
COMPOSER
Ellen Reid
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
CAST

Anna Konkle, Jermaine Fowle, Jillian Bell, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Elisha Henig, Jennifer Lafleur, Joshua Leonard, Aparna Nancherla, Robin Thede


DON’T MAKE ME GO

Hannah Marks is a damn gem. Her films have insight and heart for days. Her latest Tribeca 2022 film, Don’t Make Me Go, takes on a father-daughter relationship that will shake even the hardest of hearts. John Cho and Mia Isaac play Max and Wally. When Max discovers that his headaches are a brain tumor, he takes a reluctant Wally on a road trip to his college reunion. The journey serves a dual purpose; spending time with Wally and reconnecting with his ex-wife and Wally’s estranged mother. The screenplay by Vera Herbert is overflowing with coming-of-age moments, humor, and grounded conversations about mortality. It manages to be a story of redemption through creative means. We watch Wally make one bratty and irresponsible decision after another, yet her actions are ceaselessly relatable on the journey of finding your identity. Max is chasing the clock and lies to Wally for most of the film. With the purest intentions and all the love and emotional sacrifice a parent can muster, Don’t Make Me Go is a beautiful story about vulnerability and living life to the fullest every day.


DIRECTOR
Hannah Marks
PRODUCER
Donald De Line, Leah Holzer, Peter Saraf
SCREENWRITER
Vera Herbert
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Jaron Presant
EDITOR
Paul Frank
CAST

John Cho, Mia Isaac, Mitchell Hope, Jemaine Clement, Stefania LaVie Owen, Kaya Scodelario


US Release Date: July 15, 2022


Now in Theaters! ‘OFFICIAL COMPETITION’ is sheer perfection.

PRESENTS

OFFICIAL COMPETITION

Turning a Nobel Prize-winning novel into a movie on the whim of a millionaire, “it” director Lola Cuevas pairs two different kinds of actors to breathe life into her version of the story. What could go wrong casting a serious leading actor with a box office action star? Only everything, of course. If you’ve ever been through the rehearsal process with a director that is secure in their vision, Official Competition is for you. The film is a masterclass in writing and acting. It encompasses all the temperamental moments in the history of cinematic genius.

Oscar Martinez plays Ivan will a cultured legitimacy that feels elevated. He has a pedigree and air that is unmatched. His humble passion is so overblown you’ll give him a standing ovation while rolling your eyes. Antonio Banderas plays Felix with a Blockbuster pretty boy carelessness that is so familiar it’s brilliant. He is every cliché wrapped in a bow. Banderas brings a hot-tempered and diva nature to Felix. Almost play acting against Martinez, the evolution of their chemistry is like a tennis match. Each man absorbs traits from the other.

Penélope Cruz is eccentric director Lola. Her commitment to this character is extraordinary. The interactions between Lola and her leading men will have you smirking. The script allows her to push boundaries that challenge her fellow actors and the audience’s comfort. It’s another role that tops the last. She’s cheeky, powerful, unapologetic, and completely unconventional. Cruz gives her best performance to date.

These three astonishingly talented actors epitomize the industry. Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat explore the sheer absurdity of Hollywood. The cinematography is unforgettable. In many instances, our leads speak directly into the camera. Breaking the fourth wall is equal parts intrusive and entrancing. Official Competition might be the most extraordinary industry farce I’ve ever experienced. Making an award-worthy film while simultaneously acknowledging that awards are meaningless is a stroke of genius. It’s a wild meta joyride.

ONLY IN THEATERS JUNE 17, 2022  

DIRECTED BY Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat

WRITTEN BY Mariano Cohn, Andrés Duprat and Gastón Duprat

STARRING Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, and Oscar Martínez

ABOUT THE DIRECTORS

Gastón Duprat (December 8, 1969, Bahía Blanca – Argentina) and Mariano Cohn (December 1, 1975, Villa Ballester – Buenos Aires, Argentina) have directed ten films including the successful “The Man Next Door,” “The Distinguished Citizen,” “Todo sobre el asado,” “My Masterpiece,” and “4×4” which competed in the most important international film festivals garnered with more than thirty international awards, including a Goya, the Platinum and the Ariel for Best Ibero-American Film. “Official Competition” is his latest, and highly anticipated feature film.

NEW YORK THEATERS

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE MANHATTAN 14

 28 Liberty Street, Suite SC301 | New York, NY 10005

AMC LINCOLN SQUARE

 1998 Broadway | New York, NY 10023

AMC EMPIRE 25 THEATERS

 234 W 42nd St | New York, NY 10036

BAM ROSE CINEMAS

30 Lafayette Ave | Brooklyn, NY 11217

IFC CENTER

323 6th Ave | New York, NY 10014

STORY SCREEN / BEACON THEATER

445 Main St |Beacon, NY 12508

BELLMORE PLAYHOUSE

525 Bedford Ave | Bellmore, NY 11710

NEW CITY CINEMAS

202 S Main St | New City, NY 10956

STARR THEATRE – RHINEBECK

6415 Montgomery St | Rhinebeck, NY 12572

SAG HARBOUR CINEMAS

90 Main St | Sag Harbor, NY 11963

CINEMAPOLIS

120 E Green St | Ithaca, NY 14850

TIME & SPACE LIMITED HUDSON

434 Columbia St | Hudson, NY 12534

MOUNTAIN CINEMA

7971 Main St, Hunter, NY 12442

SPECTRUM 8 THEATERS

290 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209

PICTUREHOUSE

175 Wolfs Ln | Village of Pelham, NY 10803

WESTHAMPTON BEACH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

76 Main St | Westhampton Beach, NY 11978

CONNECTICUT THEATERS

AVON THEATRE FILM CENTER

272 Bedford St | Stamford, CT 06901

CRITERION CINEMAS NEW HAVEN 9

 86 Temple St | New Haven, CT 06510

NEW JERSEY THEATER

CLAIRIDGE CINEMAS

 486 Bloomfield Ave | Montclair, NJ 07042

114 MIN / SPANISH / COLOR

#IFCFilms

#OfficialCompetitionMovie


The original version of this review appeared on AWFJ.org. To see more reactions to the Official Competition from the amazing members Click Here!


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: Colson Baker paves a dark road to stardom in ‘TAURUS’

TAURUS

An all too familiar story of the rise and fall of a musician takes center stage at Tribeca 2022. TAURUS stars Colson Baker as a talented rapper battling addiction and the industry’s ownership of his brand.

If you’ve got a sharp ear, TAURUS opens with the melody from “Eyes On Fire” by Blue Foundation. That single track becomes a theme that appears throughout the film. The reworking of the original track makes it feel like a horror soundtrack. The lyrics of that song profoundly linked to every part of this story.

Maddie Hasson as Ilana is electric. As his assistant, handler, babysitter, and closest confidant, she bears the brunt of his aggression and strung out misbehavior like a saint. Hasson goes toe to toe with Machine Gun Kelly’s presence, never once overshadowed. You can’t deny Colson Baker’s (Machine Gun Kelly) powerful demeanor as Cole. He fills each frame with visceral sadness, which often manifests as rage. He brings volatility that hits hard. Watching him work is like getting high. If you ingest music and art as I do, the scene in the studio will give you full-body chills. Baker is a star.

TAURUS encapsulates the hidden pain, pressure, and danger of living in the public eye. The film is outstanding. Taurus’ final take is breathtaking. Writer-director Tim Sutton has thoughtfully crafted a film that allows Baker to soar, and the film’s music, all from MKG, is spectacular. “Paper Cuts,” the track that plays over the credits, is a fucking hit, and his cover of “Girl Like You” is magic. Tribeca 2022 is the perfect place for TAURUS to shine. You’ll find yourself in a woeful state by the end, angry at the cyclical nature of the fame machine.


DIRECTOR
Tim Sutton
PRODUCER
Jib Polhemus, Rob Paris, Mike Witherill
SCREENWRITER
Tim Sutton
CINEMATOGRAPHER
John Brawley
EDITOR
Holle Singer
COMPOSER
Machine Gun Kelly
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Tim Sutton, Colson Baker
CAST
Colson Baker, Maddie Hasson, Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory, Megan Fox, Ruby Rose, Scoot McNairy, Lil TJay, Naomi Wild


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Next Exit’ is a genre bending road movie.

NEXT EXIT

Profound and completely unexpected, Tribeca 2022 film Next Exit tackles suicide and the afterlife. I understand that sounds like an unimaginable task, but writer-director Mali Elfman skillfully crafts a nuanced take on guilt, shame, and regret. The “right to die” is front and center as the discovery that our souls linger on Earth with our loved ones changes the way people look at death. People now apply to enter the afterlife, each with a personal agenda. Program participants Teddy and Rose team up for what would be the road trip of a lifetime. 

Karen Gillan is in full Elizabeth Holmes vocal range as Dr. Stevensen. While we only see her in television clips, Whovians around the globe will be delighted by her presence. Our two leads, and program volunteers, are spectacular. Rahul Kohli plays Teddy. He oozes charm and sharp wit. Katie Parker is Rose. Her past, quite literally, haunts her. She’s a firecracker. Her chemistry with Kohli is electric. Formerly costars in The Haunting of Bly Manor, these two emotional disasters are the perfect pair. Kohli also reunites with iZombie costar Rose McIver as she plays Heather in the film. 

Danny Parker‘s song “Everything Will Change” plays over the credits and perfectly encapsulates the film’s aura. The tonal shifts in the script took me on a wild ride. Next Exit defies genre labels. Elfman melds regret, sadness, fear, and humor for a dark look at existence. I felt like I was in a strange therapy session as I watched. Next Exit is a beautiful balance of human experience and existential crisis. Tribeca audiences are in for surprisingly personal catharsis. 


Directed by Mali Elfman

Mali Elfman is a writer/director and BAFTA nominated producer. She’s written/directed four shorts; her latest Locker Room Z was released on Amazon and Alamo Drafthouse theaters. She’s produced many films including Karen Gillan’s The Party’s Just Beginning and Mike Flanagan’s Before I WakeNext Exit is her feature film directorial debut.

DIRECTOR
Mali Elfman
PRODUCER
Mali Elfman, Derek Bishé, Narineh Hacopian
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Brett W. Bachman, Lindsay Helms, Joel Nevells
SCREENWRITER
Mali Elfman
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Azuli Anderson
COMPOSER
Ariel Marx
EDITOR
Brett W. Bachman
CO-PRODUCER
Lena Mesiano
CAST
Katie Parker, Rahul Kohli, Rose McIver, Karen Gillan, Tongayi Chirisa, Diva Zappa


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Corner Office’ has Jon Hamm trapped in workplace purgatory.

CORNER OFFICE

A Kafkaesque story about a corporate worker bee who prides himself on productivity and efficiency discovers an office no one else seems to notice. Jon Hamm plays Orson, a man who feels misunderstood and underestimated. As he isolates himself from his co-workers due to his holier-than-thou inner monologue, which Hamm provides with his iconic tone of voice, he finds respite in a wood-paneled, impeccably decorated, midcentury modern office space. Just down the hall, between the elevator and the restroom, lies a door to that room. Orson’s visits to the office slowly increase. The problem is that when he does, everyone around him sees something altogether different. They see Orson staring off into space, never moving, as if in a trance.

The audience must decern whether Orson is quite well. Ted Kupper‘s adaptation of Jonas Karlsson‘s short story allows us to go on the emotional journey from Hamm’s standpoint. I use the term “emotional” loosely, as Orson is almost robotic and socially inept. Hamm gives a performance that will undoubtedly be buzzing through awards season. It’s a departure from his sexy manwhore persona from Mad Men, even if Orson’s coveted space would have been Don Draper’s wet dream. It’s no coincidence that the building is a monstrous and overbearing piece of architecture that literally disappears into the clouds and that the company name is “The Authority.” We’re not exactly sure what Orson’s job title is, but when inspiration hits him inside “The room,” he impresses the higher-ups, including the never-seen “EVP.”

Despite the praise, Orson’s co-workers and bosses cannot emotionally manage his request to work in the room. The film begs the larger question about neurodivergence in the world. On a personal note, as a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, Corner Office can connect with audiences for innumerable reasons, whether intended or not. Corner Office is a unique entry into the mental health conversation. The script strings the audience along until the very end. It was, without hesitation, one of my favorite films from Tribeca 2022.


DIRECTOR

Joachim Back

PRODUCER
Dylan Collingwood, Matthew Clarke, Robert Mitchell, Luke Rivett, Oliver Ridge, Andrew Harvey, Joachim Back, David Milchard
SCREENWRITER
Ted Kupper
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Pawel Edelman P.S.C.
EDITOR
James Norris
COMPOSER
Frans Bak, Keld Haaning Ibsen
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Theodore Melfi, Raymond Fortier, Terry Williston, Robert Mitchell, Kimberly Quinn, Lucas Jarach, Robert Ogden Barnum, Jonas Karlsson, Niclas Salomonsson, Dylan Collingwood, Matthew Clarke, David Milchard
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Jeff Mosuk
CO-PRODUCER
Kirby Jinnah
CAST
Jon Hamm, Danny Pudi, Christopher Heyerdahl, Sarah Gadon


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘Jerry and Marge Go Large’

Jerry & Marge Go Large

After retiring Jerry feels lost. A mathematical genius he just wants to feel like he has a place. His wife doesn’t know what to do with him. While sitting having coffee he discovers that one of the lottery games has a legal loophole that assures a win under certain circumstances. After winning 15 grand his secret is discovered by his wife, who decides that they should be stupid together. Realizing that they can help their friends and family they form a corporation and start to make trips to Massachusetts to legally scam the system. All is good until a Harvard student realizes the trick too.

Sweet little film is almost certain to bring a smile to your face. It’s a lovely film about a man finally connecting with his friends and family. It’s a film full of great characters who you really like and want to hang out with. Yes, the plot is contrived, with the whole Harvard student rivalry feeling grafted on for suspense, but you won’t care.

The reason this film works as well as it does is the cast. Bryan Cranston is great going against type as a bookish guy with odd social skills. He is matched by Annette Bening who is radiant and makes it clear that she is madly in love and horny for her husband. ..AND YOU BELIEVE IT. We believe they are long-time lovers who have the love that you want. They are matched by Michael McKean, Ann Harada, Rainn Wilson, Anna Camp, and Larry Wilmore, all of whom you want to hug.

It may not be the greatest film ever but it’s a good time with great people.

See it.


Jerry & Marge Go Large is now available on Paramount+

DIRECTOR
David Frankel
CAST
Bryan Cranston, Annette Bening, Rainn Wilson, Larry Wilmore

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘BODY PARTS’ is a cinematic sex education.

BODY PARTS

I remember the buzz when Halle Berry reportedly got a half-million-dollar payday when she bared her naked breasts in Swordfish. I thought she was a total badass for demanding more money. It was as if a shift in the patriarchal Hollywood structure had been unlocked. Berry has since denied the payment, explaining that she was taking ownership of her body. Until then, audiences had become desensitized to women’s bodies as public currency. Tribeca 2022 audiences got a revelatory education in Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s documentary, BODY PARTS.

The list of things I learned watching the doc is endless. Intimacy coordinators should be on every single set. I didn’t even know this occupation existed. I believe I audibly exclaimed, “Oh! Huh,” as I discovered the art of simulating oral sex. The technical aspects of intimate scenes are paramount to understanding how actresses should feel on a set. These scenes were enthralling for a performer and a writer like myself.

The power of female leads in the 20s and 30s got squashed by the introduction of the Hollywood Censors. These scenes shaped our perceptions of ourselves for decades and told us what intimacy “should” look like. That warped perspective has created generations of unhealthy relationships, unreported assaults, and continued abuse. This is not merely a film industry issue. We see men continue to be indoctrinated into believing they are entitled to women’s bodies. The social commentary on each era in relation to what was acceptable in cinema is ceaselessly fascinating. “Penises are pornography. Tits are art,” might be one of the most relevant comments in the entire film. The male gaze has dominated cinema since the very beginning. #MeToo and the prosecution of Harvey Weinstein ignited a shift in culture.

BODY PARTS is one of the Tribeca 2022’s best documentaries. The editing is a triumph. As figureheads speak, recreations and famous scenes throughout history play out, making the doc incredibly accessible to a wide audience, cinephiles and casual film fans alike. BODY PARTS is such a conversation starter. It’s nothing short of a Wow.


DIRECTOR
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
PRODUCER
Helen Hood Scheer
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Frazer Bradshaw, Jason Joseffer
EDITOR
Liz Kaar, Anne Alvergue
COMPOSER
Nainita Desai
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Ruth Ann Harnisch, Abigail Disney, Daniel Chalfen, Adrienne Becker, Roger Clark
CAST
Jane Fonda, Joey Soloway, Angela Robinson, Karyn Kusama, Rose McGowan, David Simon.


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Wes Schlagenhauf Is Dying’

Wes Schlagenhauf Is Dying

After their friend and former co-worker Wes Schlagenhauf contracts COVID-19, aspiring filmmakers Parker Seaman and Devin Das decide that the best gift for their ailing pal would be a personalized video message from Mark Duplass.


Challenging the dynamics of friendship and ambition, Wes Schlagenhauf Is Dying is a pseudo meta doc making fun of the industry and itself. And, it is damn funny. Stars and screenwriters Devin Das and Parker Seaman (who also directs) make a road trip doc traveling to see their best friend who got COVID. They telegraph every Hollywood cliche along the way, making it all the more amusing. The film is “literally created” for *insert film festival name*. (That’s funnier once you see it, I promise.)

Unapologetic product placement dialogue heightens the ridiculous. But don’t get comfortable with the seemingly formulaic comedy storyline. Das and Seaman do a slick job at injecting conflict. Devin and Parker come to blows in a genuine way. They say you never really know someone until you live with them. In this case, the days spent in the van cause serious friction between the two.

Wes Schlagenhauf makes most of his appearances via zoom, cell calls, and flashbacks. But he hits peak awesome when we finally meet him in person. He could not be more entertaining. Devin Das and Parker Seaman have superb chemistry. Their confidence is evident in their writing.

Ian Skalski’s editing adds another notch of charm to the flow. The mix of handheld footage, personal photos, and cinematography by Tom Banks make for an honestly fun ride. Wes Schlagenhauf Is Dying is a good time for Tribeca 2022 audiences, press, industry, and filmmakers alike. We’re all in on the joke, and you have to respect the hell out of it while you laugh. Oh, and a virtual high five for that final drone shot.


DIRECTOR
Parker Seaman
PRODUCER
Devin Das, Trent Anderson, Adam Maffei, Parker Seaman
SCREENWRITER
Devin Das, Parker Seaman
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Tom Banks
COMPOSER
Koda, VAAAL
EDITOR
Ian Skalski
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Alex MacNicoll, D’Arcy Carden
CAST
Devin Das, Parker Seaman, Wes Schlagenhauf, Aparna Nancherla, D’Arcy Carden, Mark Duplass


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: Perfectly titled, ‘A Matter Of Trust’ is one of this year’s best films.

A Matter Of Trust

A young man outed by a classmate takes solace in his English teacher. 

A doctor honors her Hippocratic oath on a repatriation flight to Afghanistan. 

A mother and her daughter have a beach day. 

A newlywed couple attends a funeral. 

An Airbnb triste is interrupted by the owner of the home. 

We are humble witnesses to these tales. Tribeca 2022 film A Matter Of Trust will enthrall audiences. The film is challenging to describe because I want you to see it. Aptly titled, I want to you take my word that what you’ll see is extraordinary filmmaking. The multiple narrative structure keeps you engaged, but the writing and performances capture your full attention. The cinematography has an intrusive intimacy you cannot escape. The script burns itself into your brain with unexpected moments. Loaded with nuance, director Annette K Olesen and co-writer Maren Louise Käehne, present a shockingly honest portrait of humanity through five stories. A Matter Of Trust is undoubtedly one of the best films from this year’s festival. 


FEATURE | DENMARK | 105 MINUTES | DANISH | ENGLISH SUBTITLES
DIRECTOR
Annette K Olesen
PRODUCER
Jonas Frederiksen
SCREENWRITER
Annette K Olesen, Maren Louise Käehne
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Anders Nydam
COMPOSER
Kåre Bjerkø
EDITOR
Denniz Göl Bertelsen
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Bo Ehrhardt, Birgitte Hald
SOUND DESIGN
Mick Raaschou
ADD’L CREDIT 1
Mick Raaschou
LINE PRODUCER
Julie Carla Mortensen
ADD’L CREDIT 2
Julie Carla Mortensen
ADD’L CREDIT 3
Heidi Plugge Gustav Pontoppidan
PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Gustav Pontoppidan
CAST
Trine Dyrholm, Jakob Cedergreen, Sofie Juul Blinkenberg, Ellen Rovsing Knudsen, Morten Hee Andersen, Emil Aron Dorph


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Carol & Johnny’ – a dark fairy tale of love and bank robbery.

CAROL AND JOHNNY

Tribeca 2022 documentary CAROL & JOHNNY tells the wild tale of crime and devoted love. How do one seemingly mundane husband and wife become the most notorious bank robbers of the early 90s? It’s one hell of a story.

Carol Hawkins Williams and Johnny Madison Williams meticulously planned each robbery like an honest-to-goodness business deal. Johnny’s role was to go inside, and Carol was the getaway driver. After each job, the nonchalant behavior they exhibited will make you smirk. Heading to Vegas to wash the stolen bills, they fined like kings and queens and had a good time. The film uses archival footage, personal photographs, courtroom drawings, and intimate sit-down interviews with Carol and Johnny in the flesh. Twenty-seven years after their conviction, these two lovely humans still love madly in love with one another. But don’t be fooled by the charming retelling of their shenanigans. The story evolves as director Colin Barnicle spends time with the pair individually. 

The doc genuinely delves into the why. Carol and Johnny’s childhoods informed their adult lives from start to finish. It’s easy to feel connected to our protagonists, hearing the physical and emotional abuse they endured. The film explores all the complex emotions involved. The darkness and messy parts of lovers torn apart for so long are on display. Coming to terms with reality is heartbreaking for the audience to witness. The slick and deliberate storytelling makes a ceaselessly intriguing watch. Go into the film without any preconceived notions. CAROL & JOHNNY is a different approach to the true crime genre. 


DIRECTOR
Colin Barnicle
PRODUCER
Barnicle Brothers with Words and Pictures
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Colin Barnicle
EDITOR
Colin Barnicle
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Nick Barnicle, Colin Barnicle, Connor Schell, Libby Geist, Aaron Cohen
CO-PRODUCER
Cora Atkinson
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Julie Schapiro Thorman
CAST
Johnny Madison Williams, Carol Hawkins Williams


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Naked Gardens’ is an insightful look at an alternative lifestyle.

NAKED GARDENS

Everyone arrives for a different reason, but collectively their goal is the same. Leave your judgment at home because at Sunsport Gardens in Florida, “nudity is expected.” It says so on the sign in the office. The naturist property operates similarly to a co-op. Residents own shares in the corporation and a board that makes decisions for the entirety of the community. But, there also appears to be a rental office. This option proves to be a challenge to some of the residents’ way of life. Tribeca 2022 delivers a unique doc with Naked Gardens.

The fact that these residents allowed cameras into the community communicates how comfortable they are in their skin. Here’s what audiences need to understand; society has decided what the rules are. Clothing didn’t always exist. Men have sexualized the naked body. This programming proved inherently true as I found myself staring while watching the film. The residents are not always nude. You sporadically see everyone dressed at one time or another. Christmas is one of those occasions. The tween-aged residents always appear clothed. One of their main goals is protecting the children.

The style of the doc is observational cinema. There are no sit-down interviews, just simple daily interactions between residents within the months leading up to their annual festival. What filmmakers Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan catch on camera is undoubtedly intriguing. They are intimate moments and mundane moments. Naked Gardens showcases a group of earnest people trying to live a harmonious and simple way of life. If nothing else, you have to respect that.


CAST & CREDITS

Directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan

Using precise and illustrative cinematic images, Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan make verité stories that counter the mythic concepts of America. Their short films have premiered at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and Locarno. Their first feature film Pahokee premiered in competition at Sundance and was released in the United States and France.

DIRECTOR
Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan
PRODUCER
Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas, Tabs Breese, Julia Nottingham, Roberto Minervini and Denise Ping Lee
SCREENWRITER
Ivete Lucas
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Patrick Bresnan
EDITOR
Ivete Lucas
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Matthew Perniciaro, Jimmy Goodmon, Shelly Leslie, John W Copeland
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Shakira Refos
CO-PRODUCER
Laurence Reymond, Emanuela Righi, Kelsey Oluk
CAST
Jeremy, McKayla, Jamie, Gretchen, Deedee, Serenity, Morley