Monday, April 13, 2015

Tribeca 2015-A Conversation (plus our 14 MUST SEE FILMS)

Tribeca is days away and we at Unseen Films are locked and loaded.  As this posts we've waded through 47 films.  Hubert and myself are in our high oxygen hibernation chambers getting ready for the madness which starts Thursday as the festival proper starts.

Going into the festival this year we knew there were going to be some changes- the festival has moved back down town, they've added Spring Studios and are having sever huge events ( Monty Python , Riff Trax and George Lucas are coming).  There are changes everywhere so much so that Hubert and I ended up in a long conversation about it:

HUBERT (H): It does seem like things are running different than two years ago

STEVE (S):... I think the big guns announcements- Lucas, Python, Riff Trax. have sent things into over drive.

H:If anything, this may be the sign of Tribeca trying to up their game and define themselves. Generally Tribeca feels sort of like the post-Sundance, post-Berlin, post-SXSW, pre-Cannes also-ran film festival. Now it's like, "Yeah, motherfuckers, it's fucking New York!"

S As much as I love NYFF, to me Tribeca has become the NYC festival. I mean its a freaking city wide festival at this point. There was one year where they did drive in movies at Rockefeller Center and brought in cars for people to sit in.

Actually the reason that Tribeca is more NYC is because not only is it a city wide fest, its also has tons of world premieres... only 30 (features) have played somewhere else. Its all new films

I do think you're right this is the year they take over their city and mark themselves as THE NYC Fesitival

H:That's kind of an interesting thing about Tribeca as the NYC festival. It doesn't have the same sort of klout as kingmaker festivals (Sundance and NYFF), but it might have that local vibe as the fest for the city. Which makes sense in some ways since it came about post-9/11.... I guess in that sense, it's less about playing kingmaker than it is about coming together and launching some ships. (Mixed metaphors are beautiful things.)

S: You're right over the last couple of years its been a major ship launcher. How many films have come from there?

The films from last year (and the year before) are all over the place. That wasn't always the case in the early years-going back to 2010 or before there are a large number of films that got out of the starting gate but then went nowhere- Trying to find some films I saw in 2010 has been a major chore. If you look at the earlier films there are a number of titles that made me go- "what are these films and did they end up anywhere?" The last few years a good chunk of the films end up getting some sort of a release- hell even the bad ones are getting put into theaters

SO here it is two days away until the Opening Night, three days away from the start of the fest proper. Its terrifying because I have no idea what the hell is going to be happening.

I can say that our coverage will start tomorrow when we run an interview with Bill Corbett about the Riff Trax show Friday. After that expect waves of film reviews, reports from the screenings and loud anguished cries from the Unseen staff who will no doubt be beyond exhausted.

I can say that we will be at Riff Trax, The Kurt Cobain documentary, The Fastball premiere and two Monty Python events. I'm still trying to work out some interviews and other events. I won't reveal more since the new lay out of venues will no doubt play havoc on what I intend to do.

We will keep you posted, well informed and hopefully entertained

I know in past years I listed everything we've seen but this year I'm going to keep it simple and just list the stuff you really should see (the reasons are very short because the embargoes this year are incredibly strict).  I would like to add that despite not liking some films there hasn't been anything I've truly hated.


PALIO- the world's oldest horse race is brought to the big screen in a film that will take your breath away on the big screen. (Seriously you must see this as big as possible)

IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE- Che "Rhymefest" Smith buys his father's house and then things get complicated. An examination of the past, fatherhood and forgiveness kicks ass. I called my Dad as soon as it finished to tell him I loved him

SONG OF LAHORE- Pakistani musicians looking to save their craft begin to fuse their songs with jazz standards. Music this good will make you bop around the theater.

CARTEL LAND - punch in the face film about trying to fight the Mexican drug cartels that threaten both Mexico and the US.

MAN UP- Simon Pegg co-stars in a winning romantic comedy about two people on a blind date. Damn its funny and charming.

FAR FROM MEN - a de facto western set in Algeria during the war that's based on a Camus story. It could be one of the best westerns John Ford never made.

BODYSLAM: REVENGE OF THE BANANA- look at SSP Wrestling and what happens when one disgruntled wrestler gets the government involved. Its like hanging out with your best buds in the corner bar.

KING JACK- Forget BOYHOOD this is the real deal. Its so much like growing up that everyone in the room full of critics were left to ponder their own childhoods when the film ended.

TRANSFATTY LIVES- Filmmaker Patrick O'Brien documents his battle with ALS . It’s a celebration of life showing how one man’s desire to see his son grow up can hold back the inevitable

HAVANA MOTOR CLUB- Underground racing with classic cars struggles to go main stream in Cuba in love letter to the sport and the city.

MONTY PYTHON THE MEANING OF LIVE- I can think of no more fitting send off than this doc about their final shows- Easily one of the best films of Tribeca and of the year

AMONG THE BELIEVERS-  a look at the Red Mosque in Pakistan will depress and frighten you in equal measures

PRESCRIPTION THUGS is Christopher Bell's follow up to BIGGER STRONGER FASTER. It seems like its been there and done that look at prescription dug abuse-and then he flips it into something much more personal and moving

DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON is tied as my favorite film of Tribeca so far. Not only damn funny but a great primer on where modern American comedy came from (and stay through the end credits for a final bit ala S Gross)

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous recommended round-up here Steve! I am still trying to figure out what films to see as we approach the festival proper. Some others that have gotten much advance praise that interest me include:

    A Ballerina's Tale
    Orion/The Man Who Would Be King
    The Survivalist
    Requiem for the American Dream

    I really am no fan of James Franco, so the buzz around THE ADERALL DIARIES hasn't resonated with me. But I'd give it a shot if it fits in.

    Don't know if you've seen some of these -odds are you have with all those already in the can- but if so I'd love to hear your verdicts. Sounds like MONTY PYTHON and DRUNK STONED are your strongest recommendations. We've differed as much as we've agreed in the past (last year you dismissed eventual Oscar nominee VIRUNGA as I recall, and adored that baseball doc that I disliked) but we've been in accord a lot too. Greatly looking forward to comparing notes my friend. -Sam Juliano