J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock Discussion

Last weekend Tribeca Film Festival hosted a special chat between filmmaker J.J. Abrams and comedians Chris Rock (who is also a filmmaker himself) as part of their 15th anniversary festivities. We already featured some tidbits when their discussion turned to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, mainly its similarity to Star Wars: A New Hope and Mark Hamill’s hesitancy to return for the sequel. But now you can watch the whole discussion yourself.

Tribeca Film Festival has made the entire 74-minute J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock discussion available to watch online, and it’s chock full of some great moments between the two entertainment icons. Read More »

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Elvis and Nixon review 1

At first glance, the 1970 picture of Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon shaking hands in the Oval Office looks flat-out bizarre. The flamboyantly attired musician makes for a striking contrast to the staid politician, and it’s a little jarring to realize that not only did these two people once inhabit the same universe, they actually crossed paths once. Somehow, the story behind that picture is even stranger: To Elvis, at least, this was no mere photo up but a meeting to discuss his swearing-in as an undercover federal agent-at-large for the Bureau of Narcotics.

Liza Johnson‘s Elvis & Nixon is about that how that meeting came to be and what happened when these two larger-than-life figures finally collided, with Michael Shannon as the King and Kevin Spacey as Tricky Dick. But it’s less about the vast differences between this two men than the one thing, even more than a shared distaste for the counterculture of the times, that truly bound them together: the strangeness of fame.  Read More »

Dean review

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a successful young(ish) creative type hits the film festival circuit with a semi-autobiographical dramedy about a somewhat less successful young(ish) creative type who struggles to pull his life together, grow up, and move on. That’s the very familiar premise of comedian Demetri Martin‘s directorial debut Dean, which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Fortunately, Dean‘s got a few fresher tricks up its sleeve that justify retracing this very familiar pattern.

One is that Dean is less about the precious ennui that all young(ish) creative types seem to suffer from in indie dramedies, than it is about the strange and complicated and even ugly process of grief. Another is a gently played subplot about Dean’s father (played by Kevin Kline). And the third and perhaps most important are the many wry cartoons Martin uses to emphasize and comment on Dean’s mental and emotional state.  Read More »

benefactor

Richard Gere is one of those movies stars who’s probably slightly undervalued as an actor because of his stardom. But for the past decade, aside from the occasional hokey romance or two, he’s been doing some of his most thoughtful work as a performer. He’s taken on smaller and more intimate projects, frequently playing some wonderfully unlikable and deeply human characters (see The Hoax or The Hunting Party, if you haven’t already). His next film, The Benefactor, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, and it was met with mostly positive reviews.

After the jump, watch the trailer for The Benefactor.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger in Maggie

If nothing else, Maggie deserves credit for approaching zombies from a whole new angle. While the angst of watching a loved one get infected is a common trope of the genre, it is rarely if ever the main focus of a zombie movie. But as Maggie shows, it’s a premise with great potential. Unfortunately, Maggie also shows there are many ways to sell that potential short.  Read More »

Man Up

There are those who mourn the death of the classic romcom, and those who prefer the genre in its newer, more Apatovian incarnation. Both groups would do well to watch Man Up, a British charmer that has one foot firmly planted in each camp. It’s full of meet-cutes and grand romantic gestures, just like your favorite ’90s classics, but it’s got the grounded messiness and R-rated jokes of a more modern affair. And it absolutely nails the most important aspect of any romcom: a lead couple with chemistry, in this case played by Simon Pegg and Lake Bell.

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Live From New York release date

You can’t overstate the cultural significance of Saturday Night Live. The live sketch comedy show has been airing for 40 years and developed some of our biggest stars, coined our favorite catch phrases, and created some of our favorite characters. It’s a massive, rich history that’s chronicled in the new documentary Live From New York! directed by Bao Nguyen. The doc is going to open the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival this month and now everyone will officially be able to see the film soon after.

Live From New York! will open June 12 in major cities, via Abramorama and everywhere else, based on demand via Tugg. See the full poster and read more about the Live from New York release date. Read More »

New Joss Whedon Film

Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently in production but there’s another new Joss Whedon film now available online. In Your Eyes, a new film written and produced by Whedon, premiered Sunday at the Tribeca Film Festival. Following the screening, Whedon announced the film would immediately be available online to download for $5. It’s a “metaphysical romance” starring Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David and directed by Brin Hill.

Below, watch a video message from the writer/producer and find out how to download the new Joss Whedon film. Read More »

What Richard Did

If you’ve heard of What Richard Did, there’s a good chance it was in the context of a conversation about Transformers 4. A few months ago, Irish actor Jack Reynor was plucked from relative obscurity to become Michael Bay‘s new Shia LaBeouf, and What Richard Did was one of the few films on his resume. If Transformers 4 does well, this young star has the potential to become one of Hollywood’s hottest young stars overnight. But as he moves on to higher-profile roles, his sensitive turn in What Richard Did makes me hope he won’t leave indies behind completely.

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