Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tribeca Film Fest Theme: Celebrity Directors Steve Buscemi, Lily Rabe, John Slattery, Randall Park, Michael Shannon, David Duchovny, Jennifer Esposito, More

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The 2023 Tribeca Film Festival has a theme: movies directed by actors and celebrities. This means stars, stars, stars all over town in mid June.

Here’s just the Spotlight Narrative selections. Bold faced names everywhere! This is going to be fun.

PS Pay close attention to the Lily Rabe film. She’s a great, underrated actress, daughter of director-writer David Rabe and the late amazing actress Jill Clayburgh. She’s collaborated with husband Hamish Linklater. If this were a horse at Belmont, I’d put some money on it!

The Adults, (United States) – North American Premiere. A short trip back home reunites three siblings with a complicated past. The Adults explores the family dynamics that unfold when one of the siblings tries to assert his dominance as the best poker player in town. Directed and written by Dustin Guy Defa. Produced by Allison Rose Carter, Jon Read, Michael Cera, Julia Thompson, Hannah Dweck, Theodore Schaefer. With Michael Cera, Hannah Gross, Sophia Lillis.

Afire, (Germany) – New York Premiere. Leon and Felix travel to a summer home near the Baltic Sea hoping to dive into creative pursuits, but an unexpected guest disrupts their plans. As the sky turns orange from a nearby forest fire, it’s clear that trees aren’t the only thing burning. Directed and written by Christian Petzold. Produced by Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber, Anton Kaiser. With Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, Langston Uibel. A Sideshow and Janus Films Release.

The Blackening, (United States) – US Premiere. Based on the viral digital skit, The Blackening tells the story of old friends who reunite in a cabin in the woods (where have we heard that before?). The fun weekend quickly becomes a fight to survive, and the only way to make it out is to figure out which friend is the Blackest of them all. Directed by Tim Story, written by Tracy Oliver, Dewayne Perkins. Produced by Tim Story, Tracy Oliver, E. Brian Dobbins, Marcei A. Brown, Jason Clark, Sharla Sumpter Bridgett. With Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, Dewayne Perkins, Antoinette Robertson, Sinqua Walls, Jay Pharoah, Yvonne Orji. A Lionsgate release.

Blood for Dust, (United States) – World Premiere. Jeff loses his traveling salesman job and decides to take on a risky new opportunity with Ricky, an old acquaintance. Soon, he is submerged into a dangerous underworld in this edge-of-your-seat action thriller. Directed by Rod Blackhurst, written by David Ebeltoft. Produced by Noah Lang, Mark Fasano, Nathan Klingher, Bobby Campbell, Arun Kumar, Ari Novak. With Scoot McNairy, Kit Harington, Josh Lucas, Stephen Dorff, Ethan Suplee, Nora Zehetner, Amber Rose Mason.

Bucky F*cking Dent, (United States) – World Premiere. Aspiring novelist and Yankee Stadium peanut slinger, Ted, discovers his estranged, Red Sox fanatic father is terminally ill. Wanting to mend fences and take care of the old man, Ted returns home with results as wild and unpredictable as the 1978 baseball season. Directed and written by David Duchovny. Produced by Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Tiffany Kuzon, David Duchovny. With David Duchovny, Logan Marshall-Green, Stephanie Beatriz.

Cinnamon, (United States) – World Premiere. Two young lovers risk it all to chase their dreams. With great performances, including a menacing Pam Grier, Cinnamon deftly brings the Blaxploitation genre to the modern day. Directed and written by Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr. Produced by Oz Scott. With Damon Wayans, Hailey Kilgore, David Iacono, Jeremie Harris, Pam Grier. A Tubi release.

Cold Copy, (United States) – World Premiere. The kinetic drama Cold Copy follows an ambitious journalism student’s tactics to impress, and get into the good graces of, an esteemed yet cutthroat news reporter — even if it involves manipulating her latest story … and truth itself. Directed and written by Roxine Helberg. Produced by Justin Lothrop, Brent Stiefel, Daniel Bekerman, Roxine Helberg. With Bel Powley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jacob Tremblay, Nesta Cooper.

Downtown Owl, (United States) – World Premiere. Based on the novel by Chuck Klosterman, Downtown Owl is a stylish and energetic adaptation that thrusts viewers into small-town Owl, North Dakota, as a motley crew of characters brace for a historic blizzard. Directed by Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, written by Hamish Linklater. Produced by Bettina Barrow, Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, Rebecca Green. With Lily Rabe, Ed Harris, Vanessa Hudgens, August Blanco Rosenstein, Jack Dylan Grazer, Arianna Jaffier, Finn Wittrock, Henry Golding.

Eric LaRue, (United States) – World Premiere. In the aftermath of a shocking crime at the hands of their son, two parents seek solace in rival religious congregations in Michael Shannon’s emotional directorial debut. Directed by Michael Shannon, written by Brett Neveu. Produced by Sarah Green, Karl Hartman, Jina Panebianco. With Judy Greer, Alexander Skarsgård, Alison Pill, Paul Sparks, Tracy Letts.

First Time Female Director, (United States) – World Premiere. Chelsea Peretti makes her directorial debut with this hilarious ensemble comedy set in a Glendale theater where a new female director struggles to fill the shoes of her male predecessor, putting her Southern rural drama in jeopardy. Directed and written by Chelsea Peretti. Produced by Deanna Barillari, Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, Kate Arend, Jordan Grief. With Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, Kate Berlant, Benito Skinner, Megan Stalter, Megan Mullally.

Fresh Kills, (United States) – World Premiere. After their patriarch goes to prison, the loyal women of the Larusso family must survive by following the unspoken code of the New York City mafia world in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Directed and written by Jennifer Esposito. Produced by Leslie Owen, Jennifer Esposito, Samantha Sprecher, Christine Crokos. With Emily Baden, Odessa A’zion, Jennifer Esposito, Dominick Lombardozzi, Annabella Sciorra, Nicholas Cirillo.

The Good Half, (United States) – World Premiere. An emotionally distant writer returns home for his mother’s funeral in this tender family dramedy. The Good Half offers an honest and nuanced approach to grief, regret, and healing. Directed by Robert Schwartzman, written by Brett Ryland. Produced by Russell Wayne Groves. With Nick Jonas, Brittany Snow, Matt Walsh, David Arquette, Alexandra Shipp, Elisabeth Shue.

He Went That Way, (United States) – World Premiere. A fateful meeting in 1964 along Route 66 pairs a 19-year-old serial killer with a celebrity animal handler shepherding an American TV darling — his chimpanzee, Spanky. Directed by Jeffrey Darling, written by Evan M. Wiener. Produced by Marc Benardout, Hugh Broder, James Harris, Jeremy Kotin, Mark Lane. With Jacob Elordi, Zachary Quinto.

I.S.S., (United States) – World Premiere. Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as nuclear war begins on Earth. Reeling from these events, astronauts and cosmonauts receive similar orders: take control of the station at any cost. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, written by Nick Shafir. Produced by Pete Shilaimon, Mickey Liddell. With Chris Messina, Ariana DeBose, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Costa Ronin, Maria Mashkova.

John Early: Now More Than Ever, (United States) – World Premiere. A comedy special by way of The Last Waltz, New York’s alt-comedy godfather John Early performs his silly, surreal, spontaneous stand-up set in front of a live audience, a full band … and his parents. Directed by Emily Allan, Leah Hennessey. Produced by John Early, Dave Kneebone, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Janel Kranking. An HBO Original Release.

LaRoy, (United States, France) – World Premiere. After discovering his wife’s affair, Ray Jepsen plans to kill himself, but fate intervenes. Through a bizarre turn of events, he is mistaken for a low-rent hired killer and decides to become one. Directed and written by Shane Atkinson. Produced by Caddy Vanasirikul, Sébastien Aubert, Jérémie Guiraud. With John Magaro, Steve Zahn, Dylan Baker, Megan Stevenson, Matthew Del Negro, Brad Leland.

The Lesson, (UK) – World Premiere. A young novelist eager to make a name for himself begins tutoring the son of one of the most influential writers in the world. Good intentions soon give way to suspicion as darker motivations surface and the lines of master and protégé are blurred. Directed by Alice Troughton, written by Alex MacKeith. Produced by Camille Gatin, Cassandra Sigsgaard, Judy Tossell, Fabien Westerhoff. With Richard E. Grant, Julie Delpy, Daryl McCormack, Stephen McMillan, Crispin Letts. A Bleecker Street release.

The Line, (United States) – World Premiere. Coming-of-age feature The Line explores the moral ambiguity of loyalty to tradition, as seen through a college sophomore in the throes of fraternity culture. Directed by Ethan Berger, written by Ethan Berger, Alex Russek. Produced by Alexandre Dauman, Jack Parker, Adam Paulsen, Lije Sarki. With Alex Wolff, Lewis Pullman, Halle Bailey, Austin Abrams, Angus Cloud, Scoot McNairy, John Malkovich.

The Listener, (United States) – North American Premiere. An understated drama about a night in the life of a mental health helpline volunteer, The Listener is a stirring testament to the power of empathy. Directed by Steve Buscemi, written by Alessandra Camon. Produced by Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi, Oren Moverman, Lauren Hantz, Tessa Thompson. With Tessa Thompson.

Maggie Moore(s), (United States) – World Premiere. A small-town sheriff is baffled when two women with the same name get murdered days apart. Things quickly ratchet up in this comedy that reunites leading Mad Men alumni. Directed by John Slattery, written by Paul Bernbaum. Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, Ross Kohn. With Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, Mary Holland. A Screen Media release.

The Miracle Club, (Ireland, UK) – World Premiere. Three close friends who have never left the outskirts of Dublin (much less Ireland) get the journey of a lifetime – a visit to Lourdes, the picturesque French town and place of miracles. Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, written by Joshua D. Maurer, Timothy Prager, Jimmy Smallhorne. Produced by Joshua D. Maurer, Alixandre Witlin, Chris Curling, Larry Bass, Aaron Farrell, John Gleeson, Osín O’Neill. With Laura Linney, Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, Agnes O’Casey, Stephen Rea. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

Our Son, (United States) – World Premiere. Fed up with the state of his relationship, Gabriel files for divorce from his partner of thirteen years, Nicky. Thus begins their complex journey to find themselves and support their son along the way. Directed by Bill Oliver, written by Peter Nickowitz, Bill Oliver. Produced by Fernando Loureiro, Eric Binns, Guilherme Coelho, Jennifer 8. Lee, Christopher Lin. With Billy Porter, Luke Evans, Robin Weigert, Andrew Rannells, Isaac Powell, Phylicia Rashad.

The Perfect Find, (United States) – World Premiere. Looking for a fresh start, a forty-year-old returns to the workforce, where she must navigate a challenging workplace, a demanding boss, and a lusty secret romance. directed by Numa Perrier, written by Leigh Davenport. Produced by Glendon Palmer, Gabrielle Union, Jeff Morrone, Codie Elaine Oliver, Tommy Oliver. With Gabrielle Union, Keith Powers, Aisha Hinds, DB Woodside, Janet Hubert, Alani “La La” Anthony, Gina Torres. A Netflix release.

Shortcomings, (United States) – New York Premiere. A biting satire following the romantic journeys of its trio of protagonists, led by an appealingly misanthropic Justin H. Min, Shortcomings is a charming, witty and hilarious directorial debut from Randall Park. Directed by Randall Park, written by Adrian Tomine. Produced by Hieu Ho, Randall Park, Michael Golamco, Margot Hand, Jennifer Berman, Howard Cohen, Eric d’Arbeloff. With Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola, Ally Maki, Debby Ryan, Tavi Gevinson, Sonoya Mizuno, Jacob Batalon, Timothy Simons. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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