The Best of the Tribeca Film Festival 2014

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Seeing every film in the Tribeca Film Festival is impossible, but in the screenings leading up to the festival and during the festival itself, I saw 48 feature-length and 34 short films. Out of that field of 82 films, I have selected my top 20 best and 10 worst films of the festival, some of which are reviewed more in-depth in my previous coverage. I decided to choose 20 Best Films and 10 Worst Films because there were a lot of great films at the festival that I wanted to recognize and only a few films that I would recommend avoiding altogether. Read on to see the best of what the Tribeca Film Festival had to offer this year.

May
12
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature “Match” and “Venus in Fur”

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The tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks.

May
10
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature "In Your Eyes" and "5 to 7"

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As Rose is advised in Gypsy, “You gotta have a gimmick if you wanna get ahead.” And, in the romantic comedy genre, that advice couldn’t seem more relevant. It seems that each new rom-com tries to outdo the last with innovative (read: increasingly absurd) premises. And, at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, there are some pretty gimmicky rom-coms. Between 5 to 7 and In Your Eyes, you can take your pick of intriguing premises, but only one of them succeeds in delivering a compelling film.

May
10
2014
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NBC Officially Cancels "Community"

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Despite all the fan love and outcries of support, NBC has finally done what many suspected was inevitable since its second season: cancelled Dan Harmon's Community. Then again, it was really only 4/5 Dan Harmon's thanks to his dismissal from the show for the fourth season that led to many really unfortunate episodes, a handful of decent ones, and the unfortunately poor wrap up of a number of really great ideas in some very unsatisfying ways (see: alternate timeline season 4 finale). The fifth season was only slightly better despite Harmon's return to the writer's chair, but by then the already weak ratings that kept Community on the will they, won't they cancellation bubble had sunk to a low that made this fate all the more certain. At least we got a season 5 finale that felt suitably final.

May
09
2014
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In May, Criterion's Ace in the Hole, Overlord Steve Zissou, goes to Red River Like Someone in Love

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If you're a fan of classic cinema and contemporary filmmaking alike, then chances are you're more than familiar with The Criterion Collection, a DVD and Blu-ray distributor that releases polished editions of cinema masterpieces with a slew of exclusive extras in an effort to preserve some of the most important film achievements, Each month, Criterion releases 4-7 new Blu-ray editions of classics that might otherwise never get such treatment.This month, those films include: Howard Hawks's John Wayne western, Red River; Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love; Stuart Cooper's WWII drama Overlord; Billy Wilder's newspaper drama Ace in the Hole, starring Kirk Douglas; and an update of the always whimsical Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

For full details on all these releases and their extras, read on.

May
09
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Totally Twisted

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Totally Twisted is one of the nine short film programs in the Tribeca Film Festival this year. The theme of the program was summed up with three words: “Fun. Creepy. Weird.” Read on for a rundown of each individual film included in Totally Twisted.

May
09
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature “Brides” and “Starred Up”

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The tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks. In this edition, we watch Brides and Starred Up.

May
09
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature "About Alex" and "The Bachelor Weekend"

tribeca2014bannerThe tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks. In this edition, we're looking at About Alex and The Bachelor Weekend.

May
07
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Bright Days Ahead

medium_Bright_days_ahead_web_2In the past year, Caroline (Fanny Ardant) has lost her best friend to breast cancer, quit her job as a successful dentist, and fallen into a depression. Hoping to help their mother find a new purpose in life, Caroline’s daughters buy her a trial package to Bright Days Ahead, a local senior’s educational center. She finally agrees to give it a try and finds herself attracted to a much younger computer teacher Julien (Laurent Lafitte), and despite the age difference, the attraction is mutual. They start an affair, using extra classes at Bright Days Ahead as Caroline’s cover, and they spend their afternoons together smoking weed, eating cookies in bed, and having sex. When people around town start to notice the affair, Caroline has to make a choice between the womanizing Julien and her devoted husband Philippe (Patrick Chesnais).

May
07
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature “Loitering with Intent” and “NOW: In the Wings..."

tribeca2014bannerThe tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks. This time, it's Loitering with Intent and NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage.

May
07
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Ne Me Quitte Pas

NeMeQuittePas_750x198Ne Me Quitte Pas is an odd documentary, a film where the synopsis sounds like an indie festival joke. A Dutch film about two Belgian men, bound together by a suicide pact and a love for drinking, as they shuffle along together through life and a shared midlife crisis. Marcel, the younger of the two, has lost all sense of purpose since his wife left him for another man. He sees his kids on the weekends, and he spends his week not doing a whole lot of anything. Bob, a grizzled so-called cowboy, spends his days soaking his liver in rum and his nights looking after Marcel as he behaves similarly. The film moves from one scene to the next with the feeling that very little is happening and yet time is rapidly slipping away from both Marcel and Bob. Soon, hope might be gone for them as well. Suicide, alcoholism, loss of hope. Yup, sounds like the set-up for a film festival joke.

May
07
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature “Honeymoon” and “The One I Love”

tribeca2014bannerThe tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks. This time, it's Honeymoon and The One I Love

May
07
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Lucky Them

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Ellie (Toni Collette), a journalist for music magazine Stax, has just been informed by her editor Giles (Oliver Platt) that she has one last chance to save her job. All she has to do is write a story about her rocker ex-boyfriend Matthew Smith who mysteriously disappeared years ago and is believed dead. Before his disappearance, he was a beloved music icon like Kurt Cobain, and since his apparent death, he has become a legend, influencing a whole generation of musicians. With the help of her ex-boyfriend Charlie (Thomas Haden Church), an aspiring documentary filmmaker, Ellie sets out to find out if Matthew is still alive and if he is, where he has been hiding all these years. Her attempts to find closure, however, are complicated by her feelings for Lucas (Ryan Eggold), an up-and-coming singer-songwriter.

May
05
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: The Canal

large_Canal_web_1(Warning: This review contains spoilers regarding the plot of The Canal as well as descriptions of disturbing violence and sexual imagery.)

David (Rupert Evans) is a film archivist with the National Archive, living happily with his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) and his son Billy (Calum Heath), or so he believes. When reviewing film of a crime scene, David realizes that a brutal murder happened in his family’s home, and shortly after, Alice’s body is found in a nearby canal. In the days and weeks following her death, David starts to question his own senses and suspects that Alice was killed by a ghost or other-worldly creature, and he worries that the ghost will return to claim his son Billy as well. Is David’s home and family haunted by the ghosts of an ancient murder, or is David losing his mind because he really killed Alice?

May
05
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature “Point and Shoot” and “Garnet’s Gold”

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The tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks. This time, it's Point and Shoot and Garnet's Gold.

May
05
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature "Just Before I Go" and "Goodbye to All That"

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Ensemble casts can either be an asset or a hindrance. Dramas tend to make better use of the bountiful cast, utilizing actors for one or two killer scenes; but comedies tend to fail in that regard, never knowing when to let a character fade to the background or disappear altogether. Two buzzy Tribeca Film Festival comedies exemplify this misuse—or, really, overuse—of the ensemble cast. Both Just Before I Go and Goodbye to All That don’t know when to cut out the extraneous characters and focus on the main ones.

May
04
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature “An Honest Liar” and “Art and Craft”

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The tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks.

May
04
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Handle With Care

Handle With Care is one of the nine short film programs in the Tribeca Film Festival this year. The theme of the program was characters caught in delicate situations, and subjects ranged from dating technology to working at a suicide hotline. Read on for a rundown of each individual film included in Handle With Care.

May
04
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Alex of Venice

alexofveniceChris Messina, best known for his acting (The Mindy Project, Newsroom, Argo) puts on his director’s hat for Alex of Venice. The film is a coming of age story of sorts, just for a woman who is almost 30. Titular Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds her life in flux when her husband of 11 years, George (Messina), leaves her. Suddenly, disconnected Alex must deal with her complicated family life while working an important, time-consuming legal battle for the environment.

May
01
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature "Zero Motivation" and "Human Capital"

Human-Capital_web_3Films have toyed with the concept of time and storytelling almost since the simple film narrative was started. But, as our attention spans continue to get shorter and harder to maintain, toying with a film’s structure could increase that hard to maintain attention (not to imply that all films should do this). Two films in particular at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival show how altering a film’s structure could dramatically improve a film, or, at least, make it an even more engaging film. Zero Motivation segments its stories into episodes and Human Capital divides its varying perspectives into separate chapters to successfully tell these engaging stories.

Apr
30
2014
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