Main Page
Alphabetical Menu

2011 Tribeca Film Festival (April 20th - May 1st)

Please click here to browse the Film Guide and to purchase tickets online.

In the French thriller The Assault (Dir. Julien Leclerzq), based on a true story, heavily armed terrorists from the Algerian Armed Group hijack a plane en route to Paris. Stylish cinematography and fast-paced editing enhances the relentlessly intense thrill ride. It's not particularly moving, but at least it's throughly entertaining. Black Butterflies (Dir. Paula Van Der Oest), though, is a very absorbing drama about a poet, Ingrid Jonker, who struggles in many ways during the Apartheid in Cape Town, South Africa. The sexy Carice van Houten, who you might remember from Black Book, gives a radiant, well-nuanced performance as the poet, and Rutger Hauer brings some gravitas to his role as her father. The bizarrely entertaining doc Bombay Beach centers around the impoverished dwellers of Bombay Beach, a small community straddling the Salton Sea. At first, it's quite off-putting to get to know all of the strange people who live there, and you ask yourself, "Why am I watching this?", but the more you watch them, the more interesting and even surprising they are. In many ways, this community serves as a frightening microcosm of the hopelessness and loss of the American Dream. One of the most powerful and important docs of the festival is The Bully Project (Dir. Lee Hirsch) which sheds light on the daily lives of five teenagers who experience bullying. Rarely have the thoughts and feelings of alienated teenagers been captured with such poignancy and honesty. It's a true wake-up call much more than American Teen and Finding Kind because not only is it well-edited, but also thoroughly insightful. Every parent should be required to watch this with their young child. The best drama of the festival is Detachment (Dir. Tony Kaye) starring Adrien Brody as a public school teacher who struggles to connect and inspire his troubled students. Marcia Gay Harden, Blythe Danner, Lucy Liu, Tim Blake Nelson and James Caan co-star. Kaye finds just the right balances drama and tragedy with just the right amount of comic relief (provided mostly by James Caan with some hilarious one-liners). There's also a lot of provocative and honest messages about the disconnect not only between teachers and students, but between human beings in general. It's a braver and darker version of Dangerous Minds that will ultimately leave you with a lot to talk and think about.
More Recommendations

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Flowers of Evil
Give Up Tomorrow

The Guard

Directed by John Michael McDonagh


Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleason), a small-town Irish cop, joins forces with FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) to hunt down ruthless drug-smugglers in Ireland. Some corrupt members of the local police might be involved in the drug-smuggling, which complicates the investigation even further, and leads Gerry and Wendell into dangerous territory.      

First-time writer/director John Michael McDonagh has a knack for combining drama and suspense with wickedly funny, dark humor. The Guard doesn't take itself too seriously because it pokes a lot of subversive fun at the genre of crime thrillers. McDonagh sets the darkly comical tone very effectively in the opening scene. Gerry is such an atypical cop from the get-go given his irreverent behavior toward authority figures, but, concurrently, he's a goodhearted human being because, after all, he does look after his dying mother (Fionnula Flanagan). Brendan Gleeson hasn't been funnier since In Bruge. If you enjoyed In Bruge, chances are that you'll equally enjoy The Guard. It will leave you in stitches. Admittedly, though, it could use subtitles because, at times, the Irish accents do get too thick and thereby slightly hard to decipher.

Number of times I checked my watch: 0
Opens July 29th, 2011 at the Angelika Film Center, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, and AMC Empire 25.
Released by Sony Pictures Classics.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Not Recommended

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

Directed by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck.

      Eric (Jason Sudeikis), thirty-something and employed in a NYC job, has always gathered at the family home in the Hamptons with his childhood friends, Mike (Tyler Labine), Adam (Nick Kroll), Laura (Lindsay Sloane), Willow (Angela Sarafyan), Sue (Michelle Borth), Alison (Lake Bell) and Glenn (Will Forte). When he learns that his father (Don Johnson) is about to sell the house, Eric decides to have very special, memorable and unique final party there during Labor Day Weekend. That party will be an orgy, although persuading his friends to come together for such an experience ends up easier said than done. Meanwhile, Eric has a romantic interest in the sexy real estate agent, Kelly (Leslie Bibb).

      Anyone expecting a hilarious, bold ensemble sex comedy will be sorely disappointed because the screenplay by co-writers/directors Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck offers too few laughs, surprises and wit to boot. Any truly great comedy should be at least somewhat grounded in realism, but A Good Old Fashioned Orgy barely has even a morsel of reality. Its characters are, for the most part, one-dimensional and either bland like Eric or over-the-top like Mike. Moreover, the subplot involving Eric’s romance with the real estate agent feels tacked-on as if it were merely added to add more conflict in the one of the re-writes. You’ll find yourself waiting and waiting for the titular orgy to transpire, but when it finally does, it’s too late and there’s not nearly as much nudity as you probably be expected from an orgy scene. If only the filmmakers were to take more risks like those taken in American Pie and Porky’s, perhaps Orgy would’ve been at least much more entertaining and memorable. Couldn’t there have at least been some outtakes provided at the very end?

      At an ideal running time of 1 hour and 35 minutes, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is a lazy, witless sex comedy that’s low on both sex and comedy.

Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Opens September 2nd, 2011 in select cities.
Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Main Page
Film Festivals

Avi Offer
The NYC Movie Guru
Privacy Policy