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From Best To Worst: The Playlist's Complete Tribeca Film Festival Coverage

Festivals
by Oliver Lyttelton
May 2, 2012 3:38 PM
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That's it. It's a wrap. The Tribeca Film Festival is over for another 12 months. And while it was an improvement from years past, despite a promising line-up the festival proved to be somewhat disappointing: most of the best regarded films ("2 Days In New York," "Take This Waltz," Searching For Sugar Man" being three prime examples) had premiered elsewhere, while the more high-profile, star-laden of their world or North American exclusives landed with a thud.

However, even while the festival still grapples with its own identity, there were some real gems in the line-up: there are a few films that justify whatever else we had to sit through in the course of the last few weeks. And let's not forget the festival did secure "The Avengers" and "The Five-Year Engagement," two films we loved (though try and ask any civillian who got into either and you'll hear a lot of crickets). Below, you'll find our complete coverage from Tribeca, with links to all 42 of the festival films we reviewed, roughly from best to worst, with a smattering of interviews from the festival as well. In the meantime, here are three highlights from the festival beyond the films we already mentioned.

"Una Noche"
The media noise made outside of this striking and remarkable debut feature threatened to drown out the good word about the film itself, and with a dark irony in tow: two of the three lead Cuban actors went AWOL after they arrived in Miami en route to New York City. This is, of course, a drama about three teenagers that are trying to escape their desperate and impoverished situations in Cuba for the United States. Directed by newcomer Lucy Mulloy, who instantly falls on our director to watch list, the film won three major awards at Tribeca including Best New Narrative Director, Best Cinematography (well-deserved) and Best Actor In A Narrative Feature. More importantly the sun-kissed picture pops with genuine life-affirming electricity, palapable emotional energy and via an intimate camera that makes you feel you are in the midst of this poignant drama. While there's been no distributor announced yet, we imagine it can't be too long before it invades (and hopefully) takes over an art-house theater near you.

"As Luck Would Have It"
Admittedly, the last time Salma Hayek blew anyone away onscreen was in 2002's "Frida" by Julie Taymor, and aside from some diverting appearances on "30 Rock," we might have guessed her best days were behind her now that motherhood seems to be at the forefront. Directed by Spanish cult director Álex de la Iglesia ("El Crimen Perfecto," "The Last Circus"), with "As Luck Would Have It," he delivers darkly comic satire with a suprisingly emotional drama about a family's unconditional love. We called it one of the jewels of the festival and said it is "mordantly funny and sharp as a razor." Sold.

"Side By Side"
OK, technically, this film had its world premiere in Berlin, but your average filmgoer and film critic doesn't often have that luxury, so "Side By Side" was a North American premiere. Directed by Christopher Kenneally and starring the narrator and documentary tour guide Keanu Reeves (also one of the film's producers), "Side By Side" is a fascinating, utterly absorbing film about the science, art, and impact of digital cinema and how it's affecting celluloid, potentially making it extinct. The talent on board is an exciting who's who of everyone important in film. You have the early adopters and trailblazers, George Lucas, James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez, Danny Boyle, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher; the old school naysayers who want to shoot on film as long as they can, Christopher Nolan, Wally Pfister; and those who love film stock and the texture and grains it provides in the moving image, but are aware the digital revolution is making celluloid go the way of the dodo bird; folks like Martin Scorsese, editor Walter Murch ("Apocalypse Now"), cinematographer Michael Chapman ("Taxi Driver"), indie cinematographer Reed Morano and many more. From giving Anthony Dod Mantle his due (a Danny Boyle regular who won the first cinematography Oscar for a film primarily shot in digital, "Slumdog Millionaire") as the one of the first professional cinematographers to adopt digital cinema (for Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration" during the Dogme years) despite the ridicule, to illuminating about the photochemical process vs. the digital one, its revolutionary workflow and more, "Side By Side" is easily one of the most compelling documentaries of the year and a must-watch for anyone who has at least some vested interest in cinema and its future.

Alright, see you in Cannes in two weeks...

Reviews

"Take This Waltz" (A)
"Keep The Lights On" (A)
"As Luck Would Have It" (A)
"Una Noche" (A-)
"The Revisionaries" (A-)
"Nancy, Please" (A-)
"Searching For Sugar Man" (A-)
"Ballroom Dancer" (A-)
"Side By Side" (A-)
"Headshot" (A-)
"While We Were Here" (B+)
"Sleepless Night" (B+)
"Benji" (B)
"Graceland" (B)
"2 Days In New York" (B)
"Francophrenia" (B)
"Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal" (B-)
"Lola Versus" (B-)
"The Girl" (B-)
"Replicas" (B-)
"Babygirl" (B-)
"Queen: Days Of Our Lives" (B-)
"Supporting Characters" (C)
"Polisse" (C)
"Your Sister's Sister" (C)
"Hysteria" (C)
"Rubberneck" (C)
"Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr Movie" (C)
"Alekesam" (C)
"Beyond The Hill" (C-)
"Cheerful Weather For The Wedding" (C-)
"Room 514" (C-)
"Chicken With Plums" (C-)
"Mansome" (C-)
"Sexy Baby" (C-)
"Knife Fight" (D+)
"Jack And Diane" (D+)
"Free Samples" (D+)
"Deadfall" (D)
"Freaky Deaky" (D)
"Whole Lotta Sole" (D)
"The Giant Mechanical Man" (D-)
"Revenge For Jolly" (F)
 

Interviews/Panel Reports

Robert De Niro & Judd Apatow
Lucy Molloy ("Una Nocha")
Michael Jai White ("Freaky Deaky")
Bradley Rust Gray & Riley Keough ("Jack & Diane")
David Riker & Abbie Cornish ("The Girl")

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