The big film festivals tend to have their own identities. Sundance gives us the best (and in some cases, the worst) of modern independent cinema. SXSW is for the funky little movies that are too cool and offbeat for Sundance. Cannes showcases epic auteurist fare from some of the biggest directors working today. Yet though it’s fairly recognizable, the Tribeca Film Festival has never really exhibited a brand before.
However, worry not – even if there’s no such thing as a quintessential Tribeca movie, and even though most of the screenings are actually in Chelsea and the East Village, our most local film festival has a seriously impressive lineup this year.
With tickets going on sale today for Amex members, on Sunday for downtown residents, and on Monday for the general public, here are our picks for what you should be on the lookout for at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
2 Days in New York: The sequel to Julie Delpy’s delightful 2007 film 2 Days in Paris exchanges one major city for another, subs Chris Rock in for Adam Goldberg, and has Vincent Gallo apparently playing himself. What more do you need?
Jack and Diane: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: It’s a teenage summer love story about two girls… one or both of whom might be werewolves. This could easily be a complete disaster, but, by the same token, it could just as easily become the new Let the Right One In. Either way, with a script that initially attracted Ellen Page and Olivia Thirlby, you’re not going to want to miss what is sure to be one of the most discussed films of the festival.
Lola Versus: Greta Gerwig! Being awesome and adorable! Ignoring Fox Searchlight’s logical but frustrating attempts at designating this the successor to their own 500 Days of Summer, Lola Versus looks like it could hit that sweet spot between charmingly frothy and genuinely heartfelt. Also: Greta Gerwig.
Side by Side: Hey, did you know that Keanu Reeves produced and narrated a documentary about the death of film and the rise of digital filmmaking? Perhaps this one will appeal only to the hardcore movie people out there, but considering that Reeves managed to snag candid interviews with David Lynch, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher and Martin Scorsese, it’s safe to assume that Neo done good.
Sleepless Night: This French thriller blew audiences away at Toronto, where its nonstop action sequences and hardcore fight scenes earned comparisons to Die Hard and the like. What has us sold? The film’s beautifully simple tagline: “He took their drugs. They took his son.” Concise, badass, perfect.
Take This Waltz: The astonishingly assured debut Away From Her planted indie queen Sarah Polley on the map as a director to watch, and her follow-up feature looks even more interesting. Here, Polley’s put together one of the big screen’s least likely but most interesting couplings in recent memory: Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen play a happily married pair at an existential crossroad. Rogen playing earnest and dramatic? With Williams delivering another emotionally charged portrait of a marriage in crisis, in the wake of Blue Valentine? No matter how this one shakes out, the talent coming together here is definitely worthy of attention.