Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Adult World

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The protagonist of Adult World may be a familiar figure. She just graduated from college. She relies on her parents for money. She thinks she’s the greatest writer of her generation. No, this isn’t Hannah Horvath; this is Amy Anderson. But don’t worry, Adult World isn’t trying to be like Girls, it’s trying to be funny—and it’s highly successful at it, too.

Apr
21
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Dark Touch

DarkTouchFeatWarning: This review contains spoilers.

If Stephen King had written Matilda instead of Roald Dahl, it might look something like Dark Touch. This bizarre little movie is the creation of writer/director Marina de Van who became infamous after 2002's In My Skin, a film in which the protagonist eats her own flesh. Dark Touch is similarly not for the faint of heart, but for people with similar horror sensibilities, they will get more than they expected from this grade-school Carrie.

Apr
20
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Floating Skyscrapers

large_Floating_Skyscrapers_1_pubsFor fifteen years, Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk) has been training to be a champion swimmer. When not at the gym or in the pool, he spends his time sexing his girlfriend Sylwia (Marta Nieradkiewicz) and dealing with his overbearing mother Ewa (Katarzyna Herman), who bares a disturbing resemblance to Norma Bates (for instance, she makes Kuba massage her shoulders while she’s in the bath—with him still nursing a Sylwia-inspired erection, no less). Out of a seeming boredom with the status quo, Kuba begins to be distracted by guys at the gym—even going to so far as to hook up with a guy who cruises him in the shower (although he freaks out about it leaves before he can finish).

Apr
20
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Bluebird

bluebird-john-slattery-skipLance Edmands’ debut film Bluebird is inspired by the Robert Frost poem, “The Last Word of the Blue Bird.” As he summates, “the poem tells the story of a little girl named Lesley who finds a bluebird, which she befriends. But when winter comes, the bird tells her that it must fly south.” The bird must escape the inhospitable environment of the wintry north if it hopes to survive. Edmands says, “The poem was used to teach children about loss.” It is exactly this loss and striving to find an environment to live in that he captures in his film.

Apr
20
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Lil Bub and Friendz

Lil_Bub_660_Grab_What makes internet cat celebrities so darn lovable? Lil Bub and Friendz asks this question but isn't really all that interested in the answer. The film is not really quite a documentary and more of a greatest hits reel of the best internet cat videos and memes. Its examination of cat celebrities, internet meme celebrity agents, and their devoted fans is fine, but the film works best when it is true to its fans and gives them what they want, which is more cats please.

Apr
20
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: The Genius of Marian

max_600_600_the-genius-of-marianThe Genius of Marian is a moving personal account of the effects of early-onset Alzheimer's disease on a loving, vivacious wife and mother. Filmed by her son Banker White, the filmmaker behind Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars, the audience follows Pam White shortly after her diagnosis in 2009 and over the next three years. At first, The Genius of Marian was meant to be a tribute to Pam's mother Marian Williams Steele who had passed away in 2001 from Alzheimer's disease. As the project progressed, though, it became a tribute from Banker White to his mother Pam.

Apr
19
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Hide Your Smiling Faces

graffiti_web_7002013 is shaping up to be the year of Kids with Guns (cue that Gorillaz song). From Mia Wasikowska toting a rifle in Stoker to those Disney darlings forcing James Franco to fellate a pistol in Spring Breakers, youth gun violence is percolating throughout pop culture. But Hide Your Smiling Faces isn’t a hedonistic look at violence; it’s a quiet contemplation of death through the eyes of children (with guns).

When a young boy is found dead (presumably an accident), his friends in a rural American town suddenly face their own mortality. 9-year-old Tommy (Ryan Jones), who was closest to the boy, finds the inexplicability of death most befuddling and worrisome. His older brother Eric (Nathan Varnson) is initially disturbed (he’s the one who finds the body at the bottom of a bridge) before internalizing his confusion over his feelings about death into a deep rage. But it’s Eric’s best friend (Thomas Cruz) who takes the boy’s death the hardest, sparking intense suicidal thoughts.

Apr
17
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Byzantium

SaoirseRonanByzantiumVampires Clara (Gemma Arterton) and her teenage daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) have been on the run for 200 years. Living entirely off the grid, Clara supports them through prostitution, stripping, and various less-than-legitimate money-making schemes, and they quietly bleed the town folk for as long as they can before moving on. After ditching the latest of many small towns, Clara and Eleanor move into a rundown seaside hotel owned by sad-sack schmuck Noel (Daniel Mays). Noel is a lonely man with very little in his life, and he is happy to keep a roof over Clara and Eleanor's head. Having Clara's companionship is just a nice perk. The longer they stay in the town, the more Eleanor lets her guard down and makes the town her home. She befriends a sweet local boy Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), and when she starts to fall for him, she struggles with telling him the truth about what she is. Unfortunately, secrets from Clara's past are lurking in the shadows and threaten to destroy Clara and Eleanor once and for all.

Apr
15
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Before Midnight

214673-before-midnight-richard-linklater-julie-delpy-ethan-hawkeBefore Midnight is the final chapter in the romance between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). Their love story started with 1995's Before Sunrise when Jesse and Celine met as strangers on a train, and Jesse challenges Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna. They have one magical day together, but before sunrise, they go their separate ways. Their story continues in 2004's Before Sunset when they meet again in Paris years later and wonder what might have been. In Before Midnight, Jesse and Celine have been together for nine years living in Paris. They have twin daughters together, and Jesse has a son Hank with his ex-wife who lives back in Chicago. When the film opens, Jesse and Celine have just spent an unforgettable summer in Greece. Hank is flying back to Chicago, and Jesse is seeing him off at the airport. He is clearly broken up that he will be missing out on most of Hank's high school years and is sick of missing Hank's soccer games and music recitals. Jesse's guilt is the catalyst for the tension between Jesse and Celine on their last day in Greece, and as they walk the cobblestone streets and try to enjoy a romantic evening, one question lingers in the air. Is all love temporary, and can any couple make love last?

Apr
15
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: At Any Price

at-any-price-zac-efron-new-skip-cropIn the middle of Iowa farming country, Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) is nursing delusions of grandeur. With his eldest son Grant (Patrick Stevens) returning home from college, he is buying up land and dreaming that Grant will take over the family business. Together, Henry with Grant and his other son Dean (Zac Efron) will take care of the farm together, sell genetically modified corn for Liberty Seeds, and beat out Henry's Liberty Seeds sales competitor Jim Johnson (Clancy Brown) and his all-American sons. Henry's dreams begin to dissolve, however, when Grant doesn't return home, and the family receives a postcard from Grant recounting his adventures climbing mountains in South America. Suddenly, Dean becomes Henry's last chance at the Whipple Family farming legacy, but Dean wants nothing of it. He already has a dream of his own, to become a race car driver. When Dean gets the chance he has been hoping for, though, he is faced with the stark reality that he might not have what it takes.

Apr
15
2013
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Tribeca Film Festival 2013: "Michael H - Profession: Director"

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SPOILER WARNING: This article explores themes and events from the documentary Michael H - Profession: Director which will have its international premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Michael Haneke and James Broughton are two filmmakers who are just about as different as two filmmakers can be. Michael Haneke uses his films to explore human suffering and the terrors lurking in the corners of our minds. James Broughton wants everyone to lighten up, get a little high, and have lots of sex. Going into Michael H - Profession: Director and Big Joy, I expected to connect more with Broughton and his philosophy of joy and ecstasy in life than Haneke's harsher reality. Much to my surprise, the method behind Haneke's madness was far more satisfying that Big Joy's shallow pleasures.

Apr
10
2013
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In April, Criterion Has a Naked Lunch with Richard III, Repo Man & Pierre Etaix at the Gate of Hell

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Every month the folks at Criterion Collection select a number of classic and contemporary films deemed culturally and/or artistically significant and then take great pains to remaster them for a Blu-ray transfer to help preserve them for another generation of cinephiles. If you love film, then you can appreciate the public service Criterion Collection does for the medium when it offers us HD remasters of cinematic classics like 1984's Repo Man (starring Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez), the Teinosuke Kinugasa's samurai tale Gate of Hell, Laurence Olivier's take on Shakespeare's Richard III, and David Cronenberg's adaptation of William S. Burrough's drugged out head trip novel Naked Lunch led by Peter Weller. Additionally, this April, Criterion Collection has assembled a collection of 5 films by French filmmaker Pierre Etaix. For details on all of this month's releases, just keep reading.

Apr
09
2013
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Exclusive Interview: Sharon Badal, Head of Shorts Programming at the Tribeca Film Festival

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The Tribeca Film Festival has long-been a home for established artists and up-and-comers to highlight their material for an eclectic audience. I’ll be fortunate enough to cover Tribeca in person for the first time for JustPressPlay and perhaps the most exciting aspect of the festival is the shorts programming.

Sharon Badal, who has been with Tribeca since its inception, is the head of shorts programming. A current associate professor at the Tisch School at NYU, she was kind enough to take some time during her hectic schedule to chat with me about the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and the exciting shorts exhibited this year.

Apr
09
2013
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The "We're Men, Manly Men, Formerly in Tights" Blu-ray Giveaway

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Who needs to dress up in tights to fight the forces of evil? That's silly superhero stuff. Real men run around in the woods and dive behind convenient pieces of cover as they fire guns wildly into the air. It's a proud tradition championed by the likes of Sylvester Stallone (First Blood), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator), and many others, and today you have a chance to win two movies in that prestigious legacy: last year's Red Dawn and this year's The Marine: Homefront. Now, don't be fooled, just because the stars of both of these films (Chris Hemsworth and Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin) dress up in tights regularly (as Thor or for the WWE), they're still men. Manly men. They're men in tights. Yeah! But no matter the medium, they're always on guard defending the people's rights. Much respect to Mel Brooks.

To find out how how you can win Blu-ray copies of Red Dawn and The Marine: Homefront, just keep reading.

Mar
22
2013
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Got to Get Tough, Yo Joe. Win a G.I. Joe Costume, Let Your Kid Be the Coolest Ninja in the Theater

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Let's not kid ourselves here: the first G.I. Joe movie was awful if you didn't view it as anything more than action flick silliness with a loose connection to a beloved toy franchise that's fluctuated in and out of the public consciousness for the last three decades. The next installment in the live-action film series, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, directed by Jon M. Chu and loaded with stars like Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, RZA, Walton, Goggins, Ray Stevenson and more, looks immensely better than its predecessor just based on the trailers alone and it looks like it could be a lot of fun. You know what's even more fun though? Going to the theater dressed as a Joe.

Courtesy of CostumeExpress.com, we're giving away kids Snake Eyes and Jinx costumes with accompanying swords, sais, and gloves. If you want to win, just keep reading.

Mar
22
2013
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PBS's "American Masters" Unmasks Philip Roth

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Yet another incredible entry in the always-stellar American Masters series, legendary writer Philip Roth is placed under the spotlight here. While regarded as a "Jewish writer," Roth prefers to think of himself as an American author. From first publication in The New Yorker to discussing death and biographical writing, Roth speaks openly and candidly about his life, his writing and more.

Mar
18
2013
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In March, Criterion Collection Meets "The Blob", "Monsieur Verdoux", Colonel Blimp in the "Badlands"

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Self-professed cinephiles the world over appreciate the Criterion Collection's mission to preserve classic and contemporary films deemed culturally or artistically important. Every month they select somewhere between 4 to 6 features and digitally remaster them for new Blu-ray and DVD releases to ensure that some of the world's best cinematic works survive the transfer to today's high-definition era. This March the releases include the horror classic The Blob (starring a young Steve McQueen), the celebrated British dramatic comedy The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Fritz Lang's war drama Ministry of Fear, the Charlie Chaplin comedy Monsieur Verdoux, Terrence Malick's directorial debut Badlands, and Robert Bresson's jailbreak drama A Man Escaped.

For all the details on each of these releases.

Mar
18
2013
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Digimon, Digital Monsters, Digimon Are The Grand Prize

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Pokemon's more story-driven, mature cousin Digimon: Digital Monsters had a good run back in the late 90s and early aughts, but it never got much better than its second season where it got to take advantage of the pre-established world and just dive full in to the mythology. It managed to rise to the top of the still-increasing pile of monster battle cartoons that have been pouring into the states ever since Japan sent us Pokemon, and it also represents a fairly strong carton overall. If you're a fan or want to give the series a try, we've got one grand prize copy of the full second season as well as three runner-up prize copies of Digimon Adventure: Volume 2 (from the first season, they're essentially the episodes where the series starts to come into its own).

To find out how you can win, just keep reading.

Mar
17
2013
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New Posters for "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2", "Monsters University" & More

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It's a big day for new poster releases with a number of notable upcoming features releasing new art on the web this afternoon. Among them is the sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, continuing the story from the memorably funny 2009 animated feature by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The poster has a great riff on The Lost World: Jurassic Park and makes it pretty clear we're getting a bigger helping of animalistic food than we did the first time. Also new today is a poster for Pixar's Monsters Inc. prequel (of sorts) Monsters University, Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines (starring Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling), and Antoine Fuqua's Olympus has Fallen with Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Angela Bassett.

To check out all the posters, read on.

Feb
26
2013
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Severely Indie Spotlight: The Perfect House

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Kris Hulbert's passion is unbelievable. I've met a lot of filmmakers and artists in my time, but this dude just oozes passion. He cares. One conversation with the guy and you're a convert to the cause. The cause being The Perfect House, Hulbert's horror anthology that functions as a love-letter to classic and modern horror. Tense, gory and sometimes brutal, the film is one of the better anthology films in recent years. I'm hesitant to invoke the Creepshow connection here, if only because I know genre nerds will get uptight about it. Comparing The Perfect House to something like the Masters of Horror series is maybe more accurate, only The Perfect House has the balls to go places Masters of Horror didn't. I'd also say that The Perfect House is more effective than Masters of Horror if only for the fact that Hulbert's direction and writing is smarter than a majority of Showtime's horror anthology offering.

Feb
26
2013
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