Review: Intrigue, morality, and fantastic performances make ‘The Forgiven’ a must-watch.

THE FORGIVEN

Based on the Lawrence Osbourne novel, written for the screen, produced, and directed by John Michael McDonagh, The Forgiven centers around privilege and humanity. On their way to an extravagant party in the desert, an argumentive married couple, David and Jo, hit a young man on a dark Morrocan road. Partygoers contemplate the truth as rumors swirl. Things get complicated when the boy’s father arrives. With a cast to die for, The Forgiven is teeming with intrigue and social commentary.

The opening credits are an entity unto themselves. They give the film a thrilling and timeless quality from the very beginning. The cinematography is beautiful, and the costumes are vibrant against the desert backdrop. Watching people so desperately out of touch is a fascinating character study. Arguing with one another is like watching a tennis match. Just shy of a two-hour runtime, there isn’t a single moment to take a breath. These are deliciously complex characters.

Matt Smith plays Richard, a surprisingly down-to-earth, incredibly wealthy host. He’s charming alongside Caleb Landry Jones as his boy toy of the moment. Smith’s chemistry with Jessica Chastain is entertainment for days. His performance is immaculate. I must address the extraordinary turn from Mourad Zaoui. He acts as the mediator of cultures throughout the entire film. He is essential and impressive. Saïd Taghmaoui as Anouar is also quite excellent. He is a safe harbor for Fiennes in many ways.

Ralph Fiennes plays David with a horrendous aura about him. He is loathsome, but his journey surprises. Jessica Chastain seems less vile as Jo, but it’s a facade. Her boredom with her husband bleeds into her disdain for those she deems below her. It’s one hell of a performance. Chastain and Fiennes share an abhorrently dismissive nature that plays like a concerto. Once parted, each reveals their unfiltered self.

The juxtaposition of stories creates relentless tension and a perfect comparison of circumstances. The Forgiven is an exceptional example that ignorance truly is bliss. It is an exquisite character study and a shocking catharsis.


THE FORGIVEN

In Theaters July 1, 2022

DIRECTED & WRITTEN BY:

BASED ON:

STARRING:

 

PRODUCERS:

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:

John Michael McDonagh

Lawrence Osborne’s novel The Forgiven

Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, Matt Smith, Ismael Kanater, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbey Lee with Saïd Taghmaoui and Christopher Abbott

John Michael McDonagh, Elizabeth Eves, Trevor Matthews, Nick Gordon

Norman Merry, Peter Hampden, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Jack Heller, Scott Veltri, Kimberly Fox, Donald Povieng, Ollie Madden, Daniel Battsek

CO-PRODUCERS:

EDITORS:

CINEMATOGRAPHER:

Mark Lane, James Harris, Carter Stanton

Elizabeth Eves, Chris Gill

Larry Smith

RUN TIME: 117 minutes
RATING: Not yet rated

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 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


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: ‘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


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 capsule reviews: ‘January,’ ‘The Year Between,’ and short film ‘Girls Night In’

January

The visual aesthetic of Tribeca 2022 film JANUARY feels like it was actually filmed in 1991, using a mixture of super 8 footage, archival footage, and inspired cinematography. Performances are solid. The soundtrack is outstanding, highlighting gorgeous framing. The lack of urgency overall was challenging to overcome. I wasn’t sure if I felt connected enough to give a damn. This is from an arts academy grad. It was refreshing to see young female ambition in the character of Anna.

At the 52-minute mark, I was suddenly at attention. I wish this had come sooner in both the narrative and the score. Ultimately, January keeps your attention with its unique editing and intriguing, sometimes dizzying, cinematography. At times, I could not decern who was filming, whether it was archival or handheld footage from the cast. It’s a weirdly meta experience in that way. JANUARY is a coming-of-age story of a life torn between art and war.


The Year Between

Alex Heller wears all the hats in Tribeca 2022 film The Year Between. As a writer, director, producer, and star, she’s a spectacular nightmare. As Clemence, she is perfectly punchable. Even if it doesn’t sound like it, this is a compliment. As Clemence, she is a hellacious person. An entitled brat with zero social graces. Come to find out that she is undiagnosed bipolar. Through horrible life choices, Clemence slowly climbs her way out of her pity party to ingratiate herself into her family’s hearts. Navigating jobs, drugs, therapy, medication, relationships, and self-actualization, The Year Between goes hard in every aspect. Heller is unapologetic in style. The voice is loud and clear, and I look forward to what comes next.


Girls Night In

When a masked man threatens to ruin a girls’ night, Becca and Delaney attempt to best the intruder against all logic. This satirical short is an ode to the Bechdel Test and horror fans everywhere. Skylan Benton, as Delaney, is dressed similarly to Drew Barrymore in Scream and has an unmissable Alexis from Schitt’s Creek vibe going on in her tone. Becca (Jess Adams) is the more overtly cautious of the two girls, but everything changes, including her wardrobe, once challenged. Spot the cliché and hilarious quick-change by removing her glasses, a classic 90s reference. This is another example of how writer Landon LaRue and director Alison Roberto are true genre fans, beyond the lighting shifts and Davey Oberlin‘s throwback score. The addition of unapologetic Gen Z chatter infuses another layer of funny. Girls Night In will be a hit with not only horror fans but all Tribeca 2022 short film enthusiasts this year. 


 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 capsule review: Midnight section ‘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, and 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 create 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. 


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
KEY CAST
David Dencik
US DISTRIBUTOR
Shudder
CAST
Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 capsule review: ‘There There’ is a star-studded cinematic experiment.

THERE THERE

Andrew Bujalski attempts to make a film where no actor ever actually appears in the same space as their scene partners. In year three of the pandemic, we’ve been watching cleverly shot movies made through zoom and phones. Despite the star power and phenomenal writing, There There falls flat. I never realized the emotional impact of a two-shot until I didn’t have any in a film. The musical transitions between vignettes performed by Jon Natchez made the flow even more disjointed. Admittedly, it took me until midway through the first scene between Lili Taylor and Lennie James to realize there were not in the same room. I cannot say the same for the next story in which Taylor and actress Annie LaGanga. The script is overlong, and the editing doesn’t help. The third story of a parent-teacher conference is, hands down, the most intriguing. As a former educator and current parent, I was squirming in my seat. It’s cringeworthy and brilliant. Jason Schwartzman reigns supreme in the way only Jason Schwartzman can in the subsequent two scenes. I’ll watch him do anything. Finally, we come full circle with Lennie James ladies man and Molly Gordan‘s teacher, decompressing from the day from hell. This editing is the best sleight of hand by a long shot. Performances across the board are outstanding. It is a cast from movie heaven. I feel compelled to reiterate that Bujalski’s concept of interconnected storytelling is slick and works 90% of the time. If There There were ever reshot with this cast in the same place at the same time, I would watch that version.


DIRECTOR
Andrew Bujalski
PRODUCERS
Houston King, Dia Sokol Savage, Sam Bisbee
SCREENWRITER
Andrew Bujalski
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Matthias Grunsky, BVK
COMPOSER
Jon Natchez
EDITOR
Andrew Bujalski
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Greg Stewart, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Cody Ryder, Lance Acord, Sam Slater
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Emily Da Silva Prado
CO-PRODUCER
Danielle Massie
CAST
Jason Schwartzman, Lili Taylor, Molly Gordon, Lennie James, Avi Nash, Annie LaGanga, Roy Nathanson, Jon Natchez


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘DREAMING WALLS: Inside The Chelsea Hotel’

DREAMING WALLS: Inside The Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel was a bohemian enclave in New York City. Artists, movie stars, and musicians passed through the halls during the height of avant-garde Manhattan. Now, the remaining long-term residents of the hotel mingle within the current renovations, attempting to coexist amongst the chaos. 

The residents are an eclectic group of creators. Each possesses a unique story and a timeless aura about them. It just so happens that I know one of the artists and have a few of his pieces. A few years ago, Skye Ferrante (AKA Man Of Wire) recreated selected quotes sculpted from wire for each member of my family. They are one-of-a-kind creations. To watch him is to witness magic. Ferrante provides original and poetic voice-over passages of his own writing as we watch the chemistry between him and his models and his daughter. He is a snapshot, and one of the youngest, of the creative beings left behind.

Filmmakers Maya Duverdier and Amélie van Elmbt watch them maneuver within the halls and their respective spaces, listening to them recall their glory days and how long they think they can survive until renovations are complete. Their emotional attachments vary from apartment to apartment. Haunting footage of dark, cavernous hallways creates an eerie effect, while archival footage and audio layer on top of one another. It’s entrancing and a little rock ‘n roll. Tribeca 2022 audiences are in for a love letter and a history lesson in the form of a breathing time capsule. 


CAST & CREDITS

Directed by Amélie van Elmbt and Maya Duverdier

Amélie van Elmbt studied at the IAD Film School. In 2011, she directed her first feature film, Headfirst. Her second feature The Elephant & The Butterfly premiered at Tribeca. Maya Duverdier holds a master’s degree in film from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne. Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel is her first feature-length documentary.

DIRECTOR
Amélie van Elmbt, Maya Duverdier
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (MAIN CREDIT)
Martin Scorsese
PRODUCER
Hanne Phlypo, Quentin Laurent
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Joachim Philippe, Virginie Surdej
COMPOSER
Michael Andrews
EDITOR
Alain Dessauvage, Julie Naas
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Lori Cheatle
CO-PRODUCER
Frédéric de Goldschmidt, Simone van den Broek, David Herdies
US DISTRIBUTOR

Magnolia Pictures


To learn more about Tribeca 2022 click here!

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Peace In The Valley’

PEACE IN THE VALLEY

Writer-director Tyler Riggs brings one of the most relevant and heart-wrenching films to Tribeca 2022 in Peace In The Valley. Ashley and her son are survivors of a mass shooting at a grocery store. Ashley’s husband sacrificed himself to save the other shoppers. The aftermath is a complex look into grief and gun culture.

William Samiri brings innocence, curiosity, and a genuine longing for a male father figure to the role of Jesse. Playing identical twin brothers John and Billy, Michael Abbott Jr. is no stranger to this subject matter. He starred in Vincent Grashaw‘s gut-wrenching film And Then I Go in 2017. These two films are quite the companion pieces. Abbott Jr. plays John as calm and respectable. As Billy, he emits a country roughness that keeps you on edge. Countered with well-meaning attention for Jesse and Ashley, it is a fantastic showcase for him. Brit Shaw is extraordinary in this role. The physical manifestation of grief is palpable in her performance. Her attempts at normalcy through staying busy and distractions translate universally. It’s messy and cathartic, and she nails every beat.

The camera work is noteworthy. You’re on a dizzying emotional ride with these characters, and the handheld cinematography forces the audience to stay present. The score has a melancholy twang that sticks in your brain. There is no manual on how to deal with grief. Peace In The Valley is a film that will connect with a broad audience. We’re all living through this national nightmare daily. For those who turn s blind eye, Peace In The Valley is a reminder of the continued trauma. We have to do something to heal and feel safe again.


DIRECTOR
Tyler Riggs
PRODUCER
Andrew Carlberg, Brit Shaw
SCREENWRITER
Tyler Riggs
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Mack Fisher
EDITOR
Adam Lemnah
COMPOSER
Chris Dudley
CAST
Brit Shaw, Michael Abbott Jr., Dendrie Taylor, William Samiri


Available Starting

Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM

At Home

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: Director Floor Van Der Meulen receives special mention with the Best New Narrative Director Award for ‘PINK MOON’

PINK MOON

Iris (Julia Akkermans) and her older brother Ivan (Eelco Smits) are faced with life-altering news when their father (Johan Leysen) decides to end his life. Iris is confused, devastated, she tries to be a little accepting.. It seems like her father is never been more sure with anything in his life, and that leaves Iris in an emotional shamble.


Tribeca 2022’s award-winning film Pink Moon will undoubtedly strike a chord with Gen X. We currently exist between aging parents and parenthood. Mortality has weighed heavy in recent years. No one gazes into the future to imagine the death of their Mom or Dad, so to be told that death is a choice is an entirely new level of madness. In Pink Moon, Iris and Ivan take two different approaches to their father’s declaration that he is “done living.” Ivan is practical, almost emotionless. Iris, understandably, pushes back with unsurmountable sadness. Doing everything in her power to change his mind, Iris takes leave from work, pretending to plan his final day, only to ditch the plan and kidnap him for one last hurrah. Pink Moon slowly delves into the complex relationship between children and parents. Actress Julia Akkermans tackles the script by Bastiaan Kroeger with humor and heart. Watching her emotional journey unfold feels palpable and grounded from start to finish. To think that this is the directorial debut for Floor van der Meulen blows my mind. I cannot wait to see what comes next. Audiences can watch the film on Tribeca 2022’s At Home option. The film dives into universal truths that will touch the coldest of hearts. I highly recommend you give Pink Moon your full attention. 


Available Starting

Wed June 15 – 6:00 PM

At Home

 

DIRECTOR
Floor van der Meulen
PRODUCER
Derk-Jan Warrink, Koji Nelissen
SCREENWRITER
Bastiaan Kroeger
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Emo Weemhoff NSC
EDITOR
Mieneke Kramer
CAST
Julia Akkermans, Johan Leysen, Eelco Smits, Anniek Pheifer, Sinem Kavus