Tribeca: But Wait! There’s More!

john-hurtPoor Tribeca International Film Festival. They release their slate to great fanfare and all they get are a bunch of people saying that the recession has made movie-going no fun and another handful of cineastes wondering how to fill up the last two weeks in April. So they’ve decided to toss out a few more feature-length bones to remind us that watching Uzbek animation and Ben Lyons being ushered to the front of the line can be a wonderful thing. If not quite as wonderful as ice cream. The new line-up includes films from Steven Soderbergh, Eric Bana, and Cheryl Hines; a star turn from John Hurt and a woman who has done oral; a biting British satire; and two trawls through the nether world of New York film-making. More after the jump!

When hard times bites, it’s useful to develop new skills. Which might explain why both Israeli superman Eric Bana and Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Cheryl Hines are screening their directorial debuts. Bana’s Love the Beast is–no joke–a documentary about Israeli superman Eric Bana’s love for cars, racing and racing cars. So if you want a Ford GT Falcon Coupe rammed down your throat or your testes tingle at the phrase “Targa Tasmania Rally”, fight for a ticket.

We’d like to make a joke about how Hines’ film is a documentary on her love for her teeth, but in fact it’s a much more serious affair. Kinda. Hines’ Serious Moonlight [The Se-he-he-heriuous Moonlight! – David Bowie] was written by the late (and indeed great) Adrienne Shelly. It’s about a lawyer who finally has her cheating husband right where she wants him (duct taped to the toilet) when there’s a home invasion. The film stars Kristen Bell, Justin Long and Meg Ryan. How cute is that?

Squally Selects

Blank City: A documentary that looks at the early 1980s underground film scene in New York. While Basquiat painted and Madonna danced, filmmakers were making use of super 8 and this newfangled video technology to express their transgressive visions. Interviewees include those who made it out of the L.E.S. like Debbie Harry, Jim Jarmusch and Steve Buscemi, as well as those who didn’t–like provocateur Nick Zedd. Director Celine Danhier also includes plenty of No Wave music, so there’s no excuse not to put on your best bedhead and be there.

Still Walking: Hirokazu Kore-eda is one of Japan’s greatest contemporary directors, but films like After Life and Nobody Knows don’t get seen enough. He returns with a family reunion story that will probably leave audiences gasping as if they have just been stuck in the heart with a chopstick. The Tokyo Story force is strong, as two aging children mull over the death of their brother on a visit to their positively ancient parents. It will be slow. It will be beautiful. It will hurt.

The best of the rest:

  • Departures: You remember … that Japanese film wot won the Oscars?
  • An Englishman in New York: A sequel to The Naked Civil Servant finds John Hurt putting on Quentin Crisp’s fedora to reprise the 1975 performance that made his career. The film focuses on Crisp’s New York years, as AIDS starts cutting a swathe through the King Queen’s coterie. With Cynthia Nixon, Jonathan Rucker and Swoosie Kurtz.
  • The Girlfriend Experience: Steven Soderbergh’s tour through Manhattan’s high life and low life, via the unlikely Virgil of a call girl. Includes A GENUINE PORN STAR.
  • In the Loop: Downing Street and the White House have a crisis on their hands when a cabinet minister hints at invasion. Satire from Armando Iannucci, creator of On the Hour and The Thick of It. With James Gandolfini and Steve Coogan.
  • Tell Tale: The Edgar Allan Poe story, as retold by director Michael Cuesta’s, whose work includes the under-rated L.I.E.. Josh Lucas is the man trying to find out who owned his transplanted heart before he did. Which doesn’t really sound like Poe’s story AT ALL.
  • Variety: Get a taste of what the NYC No Wave scene in Blank Citywas all about with this restored version of Bette Gordon’s 1984 opus. Written by Kathy Acker, the film is a very 1980s take on sexuality and voyeurism. Sandy McLeod is the writer who empowers herself by working as a ticket-taker at Times Square porn theater and shadows some unsavory patrons. Come for the authentic scuzz, stay for appearances from John Lurie and Spalding Gray!
  • The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia: Documentary from director Julien Nitzberg, who spends a year with the titular White family. They huff glue, they deal drugs, they fire guns. Produced by Johnny Knoxville. Are you ready for some MTV-endorsed blue collar naughtiness? Nope, neither are we.

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