The slate for the Tribeca Film Festival has finally been revealed in full, and along with a bunch of interesting indies and Roman Polanski’s much-anticipated adaptation of Broadway hit Venus in Fur, there’s also the possibility of a Katie Holmes comeback beginning here. Something for everyone! (The first half the lineup was announced on March 4).
Young whippersnapper Jesse Zwick (he wrote an episode of Parenthood once?) will make his directorial debut with About Alex, starring a cast of TV hotties (Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Jason Ritter, Maggie Grace) in a serious-sounding comedy about a group of friends reuniting to cheer up a suicidal buddy. According to press notes, when these guys get together, there’s a “tinderbox of old jealousies, unrequited love, and widening political differences.” Don’t let that thing near any matches! Uh-oh! Looks like they do! Because it “leads to an explosion of drama.” Drama everywhere!
Chris Messina (you love him from The Mindy Project or The Newsroom maybe) will also premiere his directorial debut Alex of Venice (what’s with all the Alexes?), starring Messina as a frustrated stay-at-home dad and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim) as his workaholic lawyer wife who suddenly has to run things around the house as well as prepare for “the most important case of her life.” Don Johnson plays her dad, an aspiring actor. Keep at it, Don! You’ll get there one day!
Dito Montiel, who had a great debut film in A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints but has since gone downhill with Fighting, The Son of No One, and Empire State, has Robin Williams heading the cast of his latest, Boulevard. Williams is a soft-spoken man undergoing some kind of mid-life crisis after meeting a troubled young boy named Leo (Roberto Aguire). Kathy Baker plays his wife. While Montiel’s films are usually sweaty and dramatic, this promises to be “quietly stirring.”
Jon Favreau is taking a break from blockbusters to deliver Chef, a zingy little comedy that will hopefully harken back to his Swingers/Made indie days in the 1990s. He wrote, directed, and stars as a chef who has a public meltdown and starts a food truck business from the ashes of his career, with John Leguizamo in tow and cameos from Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, and Sofia Vergara, because Jon Favreau knows a lot of people.
Nicole Holofcener, who gave us the lovely Enough Said last year, has written the screenplay for a searing detective drama called Every Secret Thing, which is the narrative directorial debut of Amy Berg, who directed the outstanding documentaries Deliver Us From Evil and West of Memphis. Starring Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Banks, and Diane Lane, this sees two detectives investigating a missing child case in a Baltimore suburb that dealt with a similar crime several years prior. It’s based on a novel by Laura Lippman.
Joss Whedon is busy working on the new Avengers movie, but in the meantime, Whedonites can slake their thirst with In Your Eyes, which is directed by Brin Hill, who doesn’t have much of a resume up to now. Zoe Kazan is a housewife, Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield) is an ex-con, it’s been described as “Whedon does Nicholas Sparks,” but it’s also a metaphysical romance? Two tickets please!
Now, I know what you’ve all been thinking for years. “Courteney Cox should really direct a movie already, but she should wait until Seann William Scott is available to star in it.” Well, that blessed moment has finally arrived. Just Before I Go sees Scott playing a “down-on-his-luck everyman” who maybe wants to kill himself? The plot description is a little cryptic, but he’s definitely going to run into “a zany cast of characters” including Rob Riggle, Olivia Thirlby, and Garret Dillahunt and learn “a few clumsy, but ultimately valuable lessons.” That is a quote from the promotional write-up of this film.
There’s a couple of Broadway adaptations on the bill. First there’s Match, directed by Stephen Belber (he wrote the play Tape and directed Management with Jennifer Aniston). Based on his play, it stars Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino as a couple going to New York to interview a former dancer (Patrick Stewart). “Common niceties and social graces erode.” We can all agree it’s time for Stewart to get an Oscar nomination, right? Maybe this is his shot!
Venus in Fur, from Roman Polanski, is based on David Ives’ more recent, acclaimed play, starring Emmanuelle Seigner (Polanski’s wife) as an actress trying to nab a role in a play being directed by Matthew Almaric. There’s a lot more to it than that, but just wait and go see it. He doesn’t always deliver, but a Polanski effort should never be ignored.
Another director who pretty much demands everyone’s attention is Kelly Reichardt, who has devastated us with indie hit after hit (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff). Her latest is Night Moves, with Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard, and Dakota Fanning playing activists trying to blow up Oregon’s Green Peter Dam. If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, I don’t know what to do for you.
One project that threatens to blow up the internet, or at least fold a section of it onto itself, is Gia Coppola’s directorial debut Palo Alto, which is based…yes…on a book of James Franco’s short stories. And it stars James Franco (and Emma Roberts). It’s about high school, and overlapping stories, and an “introspective artist.” This thing could eat us all alive.
Finally, remember when Katie Holmes was tying her high school teacher to a chair to get good grades in Teaching Mrs. Tingle? Now she’s on the flipside of that for Miss Meadows, where she’s a “candy-sweet” teacher masking “the soul of a vigilante” who gets entangled with the town sherriff (James Badge Dale). The Holmes comeback has to fire up sometime. Could this be it? It’s directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins. She wrote Stepmom!