Friday, April 29, 2016

Tribeca Times Thirty

So it's time to put the Tribeca Film Festival for 2016 to bed at last - I feel as if my brain has finally caught up to the rest of me, or at least as close a marriage as those two ever achieve, and I can sort of put what I saw somewhat into perspective. It was a pretty good year! I mean that substance wise, that the movies were generally pretty good - if we're talking accomplishment wise, I really went above and beyond: I saw THIRTY full-length films at the Festival.
I also saw a couple of short films (I watched those in a bit of a daze and didn't keep track of them but the one called "Curve" by director Tim Egan is one I'll never forget), a couple of Q&As attached to screenings (Tom Hanks for A Hologram For the King! David Byrne for Contemporary Color!), and three of the Tribeca Talks -- the one for the new series Animal Kingdom with Scott Speedman and Ellen Barkin; I saw director Andrea Arnold reflect on her career and what's ahead; and I saw the great Samantha Bee talk about her show.
I haven't reviewed everything I saw but I did review HALF of them, which seems like an excellent percentage. Along with what Nathaniel and Manuel reviewed of what they saw over at The Film Experience I think we gave a pretty great representation of the Fest had to offer, and yesterday Nat rounded up all of our reviews into one place - click here to see that
Anyway since the number of movies I saw is so perfectly rounded out at 30 I figured I'd bite off more than I can probably chew and attempt to rank everything I saw. Since I've only reviewed half of these I will try to offer a brief thought or two on the ones I haven't spoken of, because why make this easy on myself? If I have previously written about the movie, I will just link to it. I only distinctly disliked the bottom couple of films - like I said, the Fest was really pretty decent this year. It might've lacked masterpieces, but there was gold scattered about.
The 30 Movies I saw at Tribeca 2016, 
Ranked Worst To Best

30. TIGER RAID -- I found this movie easier to watch at the time than it deserved because Brian Gleeson & Damien Molony look really good all sweaty and bearded and covered with war paint while grabbing at each other, but it's positively choking on posture and cliches in place of having anything worth saying. Pretty pointless.

Read my review here
It's on Netflix now, but don't waste your time.

28. HOLIDAYS -- Read my review here.

27. SHOW OF SHOWS -- It's kind of not fair to lump this in because it was meant to be screened as a "visual experience" projected around you; it's a bunch of silent footage from circuses and carnivals in the early 20th century arranged by theme - here's some acrobats! Here's some clowns! Here's some Boxing Babies! And even if as a viewing experience all at once on its own Show of Shows was somewhat exhausting, I have to give big time credit to it for introducing me to the concept of Boxing Babies, you guys. AMAZING.

26. THE FIXER -- Nathaniel wrote up this movie at The Film Experience, or at least he focused in on the only part that will remain memorable: gorgeous leading man Dominic Rains.

He's very good too. The movie is not good though - it's nonsensical, and James Franco is downright terrible in it. And as much as I loved Franco's other movie playing Tribeca (see below) he's also the weak link in that. He needs to stop making that face. The one where he looks like he smells something so terrible that he might barf at any moment. It's his go-to and it's godawful.

25. HERE ALONE -- I actually wrote an entire review about this movie talking about how it feels like a very special episode of The Walking Dead, but I never bothered publishing it because it kept reading meaner than I intended it to be. I mean I'd rather watch these actors do their thing than I would watch another second of half of the characters on The Walking Dead, so that's a plus. But it should hit harder, and it meanders too much for its own good.

24. WOLVES -- Read my review here.

23. DETOUR -- Read my review here.

22. A KIND OF MURDER -- Read my review here.

21. FEAR INC -- Read my review here.

20. LIFE, ANIMATED -- Owen Suskind, an autistic man making his way into adulthood who used Disney movies to find his way to communicate with the world, is a fascinating character for sure. That said I might not be the most receptive audience for this movie since too much Disney Musical Theater all at once is a lot for me to deal with. And sometimes the movie seemed sliiiightly condescending towards Owen?

19. ELVIS & NIXON -- Read my review here.

18. THE LAST LAUGH -- This doc, which talks to comedians (mostly Jewish comedians) about Hitler & Holocaust Jokes, if often very very funny, but for some reason I felt as if I've heard most of this stuff before? It's a topic that's been spoken of, once and again. The best bit were the bits following an actual Holocaust survivor around and talking to her about how she finds (and prefers)  joy in life.

17. RESET -- I left this documentary - about Benjamin Millepied's short tenure as the director of the Paris Opera Ballet - with more questions than I did answers. Like how is the show ultimately received, and why the heck does he jump ship so soon after? And where's Natalie Portman dammit? That said Millepied comes off well in the film (better than I expected a man that pretty and talented to anyway) and the process of putting together the first show is fascinating enough.

16. CUSTODY -- Manuel reviewed this movie right here. Viola Davis and Ellen Burstyn are typically incredible in this movie, but it's very "Movie of the Week" feeling.

15. HIGH-RISE -- Read my sort of review here. Like I said I need to re-watch this movie and grapple with some of my issues with it, it could very much move upwards once I do. Oh and Nathaniel reviewed this right here.

14. EQUALS -- Read my review here.

13. THE TICKET -- Dan Stevens is great in this movie, about a blind man whose sight suddenly comes back. Great enough to pad over some of its aimlessness. I wish it was tighter.

12. OBIT -- Read my review here.

11. REBIRTH  -- Read my review here.

10. MADLY -- Manuel reviewed this movie right here. This anthology film telling stories of on the subject of love from around the globe has a great hit to miss ratio - I actually don't think any of the short films are bad at all, and a couple of them are straight up fantastic. My favorite was probably Mia Wasikowska's directorial debut called "Afterbirth" about a woman (played by Kathryn Beck) taking a strange journey to motherhood, which taught me that Mia Wasikowska is a straight up awesome person with a wickedly dark sense of humor that I really want to become best friends with right this second.

9. MAURIZIO CATTELAN: BE RIGHT BACK -- My fascination with Cattelan and his art might have colored my enthusiasm for this movie, which is kind of a straight-forward telling of his astonishing career and vision... until it isn't. It's trickstery, like Maurizio is, and it delighted me. Anyway he is one of my most favorite artists so of course I was into this.

8. PARENTS -- I missed the first press screening of this Danish movie but I was there when it was letting out, and I watched my fellow journos walk out of this thing in a straight up daze. That was enough to convince me to catch it when I could. It's a strange little film, but lovely I thought, and has some incisive and beautiful things to say about growing old with the person you love.

7. MOTHER -- Nathaniel reviewed this right here. I can't believe it was the lead actress' first performance - she's marvelous. And the movie's surprisingly funny, for something so dark.

6. CONTEMPORARY COLOR -- Read my review here.

5. HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING -- Out of all the movies I saw and didn't review this is the one that I most wish I'd written a proper review for, but I don't know that this long list is the place to do it. I very much liked this movie though, which felt like a breath of fresh air in the middle of some small dark movies. It's aggressively bright and mainstream but Tom Hanks is really firing on all engines at this point in his career when he could very much be coasting, and the last half an hour of this movie, when the sense of wandering begins to find a destination, is surprising and romantic and just absolutely lovely. Early on it often feels very Lost in Translation plus a laugh track, but it ends up just as moving in the end.

4. WOMEN WHO KILL -- Read my review here.

3. ALWAYS SHINE -- Read my review here.

2. KING COBRA -- Read my review here.

Read my review here. What a delight.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

Not Mia Wasikowska's first directorial effort, that. She had another short film in another anthology movie called THE TURNING in 2013. That one is a three-hour adaptation of a collection of short stories. Very famous book in Australia and the movie featured the likes of Cate Blanchett. Mia's short is one of the very best and most distinct ones there.

Also, I know the director of CURVE. I have passed along your (brief) praise.