Tribeca Festival 2023 Curtain raiser: Films we are putting on our must-see lists before the festival begins

TRIBECA FESTIVAL 2023 brings thrills, mystery, comedy, fantasy, you name it, there is something for everyone. This year’s lineup features Joe Lynch‘s latest, Suitable Flesh, Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s I.S.S., and David Duchovny‘s Bucky F*cking Dent. Let’s get into a few of the films we are dying to get our eyeballs on this year.

 

THE LISTENER – North American Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 
Directed by: Steve Buscemi
Written by: Alessandro Camon
Produced by: Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi, Oren Moverman, Lauren Hantz, and Tessa Thompson
Executive Producers: John Hantz, Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, and Suzanne Warren
Co-Producers: Billy Mulligan, Kat Barnette, and Joyce Pierpoline
Associate Producer: Brian Miele
Starring: Tessa Thompson


An understated drama about a night in the life of a mental health helpline volunteer, The Listener is a stirring testament to the power of empathy.

Tessa Thompson continues her Tribeca greatness in a role that could easily translate from film to stage. This is a character study.


MAGGIE MOORE(S) – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 

In Theaters & On Demand June 16th

Directed by John Slattery
Written by Paul Bernbaum
Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Garcia Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, and Ross Kohn
Starring Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, and Mary Holland

When two women with the same name are murdered days apart, small-town police chief Jordan Sanders (Hamm) finds himself wading through an unlikely collection of cheating husbands, lonely hearts, nosy neighbors and contract killers in an effort to put the pieces of the case, and his life, together. The film is inspired by actual events.

The cast alone should get you through the door. This bizarre tale, based on real-life events, is a wacky we-know whodunit, but it doesn’t lessen the impact.



THE MIRACLE CLUB – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category (Sony Pictures Classics)



Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan (Vera, Call the Midwife)

Written by Jimmy Smallhorne, Timothy Prager, and Joshua D. Maurer

Produced by Joshua D. Mauer, Alixandre Witlin, Chris Curling, Larry Bass, Aaron Farrell, John Gleeson and Oisín O’Neill


Three close friends who have never left the outskirts of Dublin (much less Ireland) get the journey of a lifetime — a visit to Lourdes, the picturesque French town and place of miracles.

An absolute charmer about healing old wounds and forgiveness set in the gorgeous French countryside. Laura Linney and Dame Maggie Smith? That’s an instant yes.

Check out the trailer below:


SOMEWHERE QUIET– US Narrative Competition

Director/Writer: Olivia West Lloyd

Producers: Emma Hannaway, Taylor Ava Shung, and Eamon Downey

Cast: Jennifer Kim, Kentucker Audley, Marin Ireland, Michéal Neeson

Running Time: 98 minutes

In the ominous and tense Somewhere Quiet, a woman readjusts to normalcy after surviving a traumatic kidnapping — but her grounded sense of reality soon starts to deteriorate when she travels with her husband to his wealthy family’s isolated compound.

This solid thriller will catch you off guard, making you second-guess your sanity along the way.


OUR SON– Spotlight Narrative

Director/Co-Writer: Bill Oliver

Co-Writer: Peter Nickowitz 

Producers: Fernando Loureiro and Eric Binns

Key Cast: Luke Evans, Billy Porter

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Nicky (Luke Evans), a book publisher devoted to his work, lives with his husband Gabriel (Billy Porter), a former actor and stay-at-home dad, and their eight year-old son, Owen. Gabriel loves Owen more than anything; Nicky loves Gabriel more than anything. Despite appearances, Gabriel has been dissatisfied with their marriage for some time and files for divorce, leading to a custody battle that forces both of them to confront the changing reality of their love for each other and for their son.

This beautifully complex story of the growing pains of changing love.


I.S.S. – Spotlight Narrative

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Writer: Nick Shafir

Producers: Pete Shilaimon and Mickey Liddell

Cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Maria Mashkova, Costa Ronin

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as a worldwide conflict occurs on Earth. Reeling from this, the astronauts receive orders from the ground: take control of the station by any means necessary.

A stunning look at loyalty. This intense sci-fi thriller captivates you with Ariana DeBose holding you in the palm of her hand.


SUITABLE FLESH –  Midnight (World Premiere)

Director: Joe Lynch
 
Screenwriter: Dennis Paoli
 
Producers: Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Inderpal Singh, Joe Wicker
 
Cast: Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Barbara Crampton, Johnathon Schaech
 
Running Time: 100 Minutes
 

After murdering her young patient, a once-esteemed psychiatrist helplessly watches her life spiral into a nightmarish maelstrom of supernatural hysteria and gruesome deaths, all linked to a seemingly unstoppable ancient curse.

Let Joe Lynch direct all the Lovecraftian weirdness. Honestly, as a genre fan, you had me at Barbara Crampton.


BAD THINGS – US Narrative Competition 

DIRECTOR: Stewart Thorndike
 
PRODUCER: Lizzie Shapiro, Lexi Tannenholtz
 
SCREENWRITER: Stewart Thorndike
 
 
CAST: Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald
 
A weekend getaway for a few friends at a snowy resort becomes a psychological tailspin and bloody nightmare. Long-deceased guests and the space itself come to life in this haunting thriller.
 

There is always something to be said for a film that gets snapped up by Shudder before its premiere. The platform’s ability to spot great genre storytelling goes head-to-head with the major studios. Gayle Rankin‘s ability to live in whatever role she takes on is astounding. I have no doubt that she’ll kill it. *wink, wink*

**COMING TO SHUDDER (US, UK, IRELAND, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND) 
AND AMC+ (US, CA, ANZ) ON AUGUST 18TH, 2023**


BUCKY F*CKING DENT – Spotlight Narrative

DIRECTOR: David Duchovny
 
PRODUCER: Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Tiffany Kuzon, David Duchovny
 
SCREENWRITER: David Duchovny
 
CAST: David Duchovny, Logan Marshall-Green, Stephanie Beatriz, Jason Beghe, Evan Handler, Pamela Adlon, Daphne Rubin-Vega
 
Follows Ted who moves in with his father Marty when he develops a fatal illness. To keep him happy and alive, Ted enlists Marty’s grief counselor Mariana and friends to fake a Red Sox winning streak.
 
As a born and bred Red Sox fan, Bucky Dent felt like the modern-day equivalent of “He Who Shall Not Be Named,” long before that reference was a pop-culture reference. I grew up sitting against The Green Monster. You can clock my age in successive photographs. Based on his novel, David Duchovny brings this father-son story to the big screens at Tribeca. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m pretty sure that for true fans, this one is destined to be a home run. 
   OF NIGHT AND LIGHT: THE STORY OF IBOGA AND IBOGAINE – Spotlight Documentary

DIRECTOR:Lucy Walker
PRODUCER:Julian Cautherley, Lyn Davis Lear, Laurie Benenson, Lucy Walker
CINEMATOGRAPHER:Sebastian Denis, Lorenzo Hagerman, Aaron Phillips
EDITOR:Parker Laramie

Of Night and Light: The Story of Iboga and Ibogaine tells the astounding unknown story of what might be the scientific discovery of our generation. Back in 1962, a teenage psychonaut in New York City named Howard Lotsof experimented with an obscure psychedelic from the root bark of a West African shrub and recognized its unique therapeutic potential. Together with his African-American wife Norma, a pair of outsider NYU film students, they dedicated their lives to convincing the scientific community and government agencies to research it, certain that it would be of great medicinal benefit, despite it sounding too good to be true – like the textbook definition of snake oil – and being written off as con artists.

Sixty years later, their dream is now materializing as clinics spawned from their original test sites have treated more than 100,000 people with opiate use disorder and now over 1,000 US Special Forces veterans, who have experienced dramatic relief from a spectrum of problems including traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, ptsd, addictions, and physical disabilities through the use of ibogaine. Now jaw-dropping new research, about to be published, is revealing that ibogaine is the most powerful therapeutic ever observed for the human central nervous system.

Psychedelics have a complicated past, but their present-day use is more prevalent than most people know. I can’t wait to dig into the history of this life-changing medicine because that’s what it is. I have family members in the medical industry who use them, and audiences will have family members with PTSD, so this one has the potential to be more personal than anyone expected.


THE FUTURE– International Narrative Competition (World Premiere)

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Noam Kaplan
STARRING Dar Zuzovsky, Samar Qupty, Reymonde Amsellem
PRODUCED BY Yoav Roeh, Arit Zamir
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY Shark de Mayo
EDITED BY Effi Cohen Vertes
MUSIC BY David Klemes

At 42, Dr. Bloch (Reymonde Amsellem), a profiler, wants a child. A future. Her only way is to find a surrogate mother. At the same time, her groundbreaking algorithm designed to identify individuals planning to carry out terror attacks fails and a young Palestinian woman (Samar Qupty) assassinates the Israeli minister of Space and Tourism. In order to ‘fix the bugs’ in her algorithm, Nurit faces the assassin in person. The sessions between these two brilliant women raise questions about their past, while the sessions between Bloch and the potential surrogate (Dar Zuzovsky) challenge Bloch’s decision about her future.

This near-future femme-centric drama from Noam Kaplan gives brilliant women the chance to challenge one another at every turn.  A futuristic collision within the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, THE FUTURE has more nuance than you are prepared for.


TO MY FATHER – Shorts (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sean Schiavolin
PRODUCER: John Papola, Troy Kotsur, Justin Bergeron
SCREENWRITER: Sean Schiavolin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brody Carmichael 
EDITOR: Josh Meyers, Sean Schiavolin
COMPOSER: Hanan Townshend
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Jessi Bennett
CAST: Troy Kotsur

 

To My Father depicts Deaf actor Troy Kotsur’s journey to winning an Oscar and his father’s inspiring influence on him, despite a tragic accident.

Grab the tissues and be prepared for the beauty presented by Sean Schiavolin. If you haven’t been living under a rock then you are familiar with the extraordinary Troy Kotsur. This twenty-minute short pierces your heart, once again, as we learn more about the deaf actor’s inspiration. Do Not Miss It.


CHASING CHASING AMY – Viewpoints (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sav Rodgers
PRODUCER: Alex Schmider, Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew C. Mills, Sav Rodgers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Winters, Bradley Garrison
CAST: Kevin Smith, Guinevere Turner, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier, Sav Rodgers, Andrew Ahn, Kevin Willmott, Trish Bendix, Princess Weekes, Regina “Riley” Rodgers

 

12-year-old Sav Rodgers watched the film Chasing Amy, and his life was forever changed. Developing a kinship — and maybe a slight obsession — with it as he grew into his queerness, he decides to fund and direct a documentary that examines its role in LGBTQ+ film culture. He makes significant progress, even garnering the support and collaboration of its director, Kevin Smith. However, as the production of the documentary continues, Rodgers realizes that the legacy of the film and his relationship with it might be changing. So where does that leave him?

Chasing Amy was a sexual awakening for more of us than we might like to admit. It felt like a narrative shock to the system in the most welcome way for audiences obsessed with Clerks and Mallrats. We were open-minded Kevin Smith nerds and we were ready to listen. This timely look at LGBTQAI+ issues is sure to spark conversation.


For all things Tribeca Festival, click here!

Keep your eyes peeled for shared coverage from us, Unseen Films, and AWFJ.org!


 

News- Coming to Digital June 6th, with select theatrical screenings: Sex sells in new documentary ‘ALL MAN: The International Male Story’ how one “It” catalog introduced lifestyle branding for men.

All Man:
The International Male Story

The following is our original Tribeca Film Festival 2022 coverage:

The impact of men’s fashion takes center stage in Tribeca 2022 doc ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY. One innovative catalog gave men the freedom to be themselves. Its global and cultural influence spans generations like no other men’s fashion publication. In building International Male, Gene Burkard’s emphasis wasn’t on sex, even if the catalog featured chiseled men in high fashion. He and his creative team broke the mold of selling menswear while pushing a lifestyle brand. In the same way men ogle Victoria’s Secret, International Male became a household object to covet for innumerable reasons. 

Matt Bomer‘s narration adds a brilliant touch of nostalgia in a way that is hard to describe until you experience it for yourself. The film uses archival footage and photography, sit-down interviews, and creative transitional animation. The catalog was bright, smart, and sexy, and gave men something to aspire to be. It challenged the idea of masculinity with its European-inspired fashion and copy, written by Gene. He was meticulous in his work ethic, taking customer feedback and recognizing that 75% of their shoppers were women. Watching the images from the catalogs made me want to order (almost) every single article of clothing for my husband. Gene clearly understood the broad appeal. If International Male existed today, I’d be begging them to take my money. 

Everything shifted for International Male once the AIDS epidemic touched the employees and the world. Gene sold the catalog, and the new creative directors were more hesitant to hire queer staff, in fact, firing a huge percentage of them. In the 90s, the positive changes came in the form of more models of color. But with the loss of gay buyers and department stores filled with men’s retail, International Male was no longer a cash cow. But it’s easy to see how the catalog catapulted our current influencers in pop culture with the freedom to express themselves on a gender spectrum now celebrated across the globe. So, thank you, International Male. You made a difference while allowing us to drool.

ON DIGITAL June 6, 2023
Select Theatrical Screenings to be announced

Written and Produced by Peter Jones
Directed and Produced by Bryan Darling & Jesse Finley Reed
83 minutes / Not Rated / English / 2022 / Documentary


ABOUT THE FILM
ALL MAN: The International Male Story journeys across three decades of the catalog’s unlikely but lasting impact on fashion, masculinity, and sexuality in America. Gene Burkard, a once-closeted Midwesterner and GI, found freedom in San Diego, where he transformed men’s fashion into something cosmopolitan, carefree, and trend-setting. International Male reached gay and straight customers alike as it redefined images of masculinity in popular culture, generating revenue and circulation in the millions.

This character-driven documentary crafts a portrait of a band of outsiders who changed the way men would look – at themselves, at each other, and how the world would look at them. This is their story – a modern day fairy tale about a dream that really did come true.


 

First Official Trailer & Poster Release for John Slattery’s ‘MAGGIE MOORE(S)’ starring Jon Hamm & Tina Fey.

Presents

The Official Trailer & Poster Release for

MAGGIE MOORE(S)

Directed by John Slattery

Starring Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, and Mary Holland


*World Premiere – Tribeca Festival 2023*
When two women with the same name are murdered days apart, small-town police chief Jordan Sanders (Hamm) finds himself wading through an unlikely collection of cheating husbands, lonely hearts, nosy neighbors and contract killers in an effort to put the pieces of the case, and his life, together. The film is inspired by actual events.


IN THEATERS AND ON DEMAND JUNE 16

Written by Paul Bernbaum
Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Garcia Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, and Ross Kohn

RT: 99 Minutes




Shudder capsule review: ‘Attachment’ dazzles with its smart script.

ATTACHMENT

New couple Maja and Leah battle terror and tradition when they move back into the same house as Leah’s Hasidic mother, Chana. Jewish mysticism takes center stage in this unique entry for Tribeca 2022 Midnight section. Is Chana an overprotective parent, or is something more sinister happening? Enter writer-director Gabriel Bier Gislason‘s ATTACHMENT.

The writing is perfectly genius, as it disguises the mystery within the secretive nature of the religion. I watch a lot of horror. ATTACHMENT had me on the ropes. I had no idea where this script would land. The language barrier raises the stakes, as important revelations become lost in translation, literally. Performances are spectacular and nuanced. The emotional journeys are lush. Their pasts slowly revealed creating a genuine and curious bond. I could not take my eyes off the screen while watching Attachment, fearing I’d miss the smallest detail. Audiences will be hypnotized.


*STREAMING EXCLUSIVELY ON SHUDDER*
FEBRUARY 9th, 2023


FEATURE | DENMARK | 105 MINUTES | DANISH, ENGLISH | ENGLISH SUBTITLES
DIRECTOR
Gabriel Bier Gislason
PRODUCER
Thomas Heinesen
SCREENWRITER
Gabriel Bier Gislason
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Valdemar Winge Leisner
EDITOR
Nikoline Løgstrup
US DISTRIBUTOR
Shudder
CAST
Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik


 

Sundance 2023 short film review: ‘TROY’ is a New York rite of passage with a twist.

TROY

Living in New York has its ups and downs. No matter how expensive your apartments are, the walls are always paper thin. You come to know your neighbors for better or for worse. Director Mike Donahue and writer Jen Silverman give Sundance 2023 audiences so much in their 15-minute short film TROY.

Thea and Charlie share a wall with Troy. He has very loud sex 24/7. When the moans turn to arguments and tears, Thea and Charlie’s emotional investment in their mysterious neighbor’s life takes on a life of its own.

Adina Verson, Michael Braun, and Florian Klein dazzle. Klein’s physicality speaks volumes. It could have easily wandered into a goofy territory but remained wholeheartedly sincere. Verson and Braun have a grounded chemistry that I bought instantly. I found myself in their delightful shenanigans again and again. The film also includes recognizable faces from television.

There is a visual gag with bleach that is perfection. Turning up the music and elevator run-ins become an all too familiar activity. Couples’ internet snooping is also an indulgent pastime. It’s funny because it is so relatable. In this city of over 8 million, most of us never meet. But we still protect our own with small gestures of kindness every once in a while. TROY is one of those stories you tell your friends back home during the holidays and a stellar proof of concept for an entire series of building-wide encounters.


TROY is screening in person at Sundance on January 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 25th.

Writer/director Mike Donahue is a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Drama. Prior to making this, his debut film, he’s worked extensively as a theatre director in New York and Los Angeles. Just some of his extensive credits include the world premieres of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC, The Geffen and Denver Center, Joe A. Callaway Award, Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Ovation Award Nomination); Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage (MCC, Woolly Mammoth, Drama League Nomination); The Moors (Playwrights Realm – NYC premiere; Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb); Ana Nogueira’s Which Way To The Stage (MCC); Ethan Lipton’s Red-Handed Otter (Playwrights Realm); the LA premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance (Geffen Playhouse); and Little Shop of Horrors with MJ Rodriguez, George Salazar, and Amber Riley (Pasadina Playhouse).

Starring Adina Verson and Michael Braun as Thea and Charlie, the stellar cast also features Emmy Award winner Dana Delaney (Desperate Housewives, China Beach), Emmy Award nominee Dylan Baker (The Good Wife), Billy Carter (Apple + The Crowded Room, HBO’s The Plot Against America), Kristin Villanueva (Gossip Girl), Max Jenkins (High Maintenance + Special) and Samantha Sherman (Showtime’s Billions).



Review: ‘TURN EVERY PAGE’ takes you on a journey from cover to cover

Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb

When it comes to everyday popularity of historians, Robert Caro must have one of the highest batting averages out there. I haven’t read a piece of historical non-fiction biography that wasn’t assigned to me since 2010, and I know this guy’s name off the top of my head. It’s Caro and the guy who did the Hamilton biography. That’s the Mount Rushmore of historical biographies – the kings of books so fat they easily double as door stops or improvised weapons against home invaders. Among these books, Caro’s The Power Broker reigns supreme. It is the rare biography that has crossed over into nearly being a status symbol. I confess I’ve had a copy since the start of the pandemic, but have yet to start it. After watching Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, I’m inspired to pull it off the shelf and dive in.

Turn Every Page is not only interested in providing background on Caro’s process and work, but also in taking a deep dive into his partnership with his editor, Robert Gottlieb. Gottlieb is no slouch himself, having edited hundreds of books over his illustrious career. The documentary details the delicate manner in which these two fundamentally different (sometimes even warring) perspectives and sources of expertise must come together to produce a harmonious end product.

The insights into Caro’s work process are breathtaking. One moment, in particular, stands out: while working on one of the volumes focused on the life of Lyndon Johnson, Caro had the opportunity to interview Johnson’s younger brother, Sam Houston Johnson. A tremendous opportunity, but Caro found he wasn’t getting the level of rich detail he craved. So, he brings Sam back into his childhood kitchen and has him sit in the very chair he sat in as a young boy. Caro sits behind him so that everything appears just as it would be in Sam’s memories. It is only then that Caro asks his questions again. Talk about literal background research.

The documentary is also ingenious in the manner in which it takes you into the details of both men’s lives. There is a certain risk that a documentary focused on the crafting of non-fiction biographies might be less than engaging for certain audiences. By balancing showing the men at work while acknowledging the quirkier aspects of their personalities, they come across as fully realized. Caro types his manuscripts up on the typewriter and haphazardly shoves the resulting small mountain-sized stacks of copy into a space above his refrigerator. Gottlieb collects plastic purses and proudly displays them on his bedroom wall, much to the chagrin of his wife. These moments are humorous but are also crucial to presenting these men without the sheen of perfection I find too frequently applied in these types of showcases.

Turn Every Page offers a peek behind the curtain of a complex and critical industry. Ironically, what it offers very little of is the dynamic between its two titular protagonists. Aside from one scene, they never interact on camera. Despite director Lizzie Gottlieb’s best efforts, this cannot help but feel a bit like a missed opportunity. In this framing, both men are free to lay their own narratives. It would have been a pleasure to see them challenged to edit one another’s perspectives.


TURN EVERY PAGE – THE ADVENTURES OF ROBERT CARO AND ROBERT GOTTLIEB (2022, 112 min) 

In Theaters in NY & LA December 30, 2022

Directed by Lizzie Gottlieb. Producers: Joanne Nerenberg, Jen Small, Lizzie Gottlieb. Director of Photography: Mott Hupfel. Editing: Molly Bernstein, Kristen Nutile. Music: Clare Manchon, Olivier Manchon. With Robert A. Caro, Robert Gottlieb. Appearances by Ethan Hawke, Lisa Lucas, David Remnick, Lynn Nesbit, Majora Carter. USA.

A Sony Pictures Classics Release.


 

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