Well that's why we're here. Kicking off its ninth year this week, the Tribeca Film Festival has become as eclectic as the city that hosts it. Mixing glitzy red carpet premieres like 'Shrek Forever After' and the Amanda Seyfried starrer 'Letters to Juliet' with a free outdoor screening series (may we suggest 'The Spirit of Salsa'?) and a family festival running down Greenwich St. in Tribeca, the fest also highlights 85 feature films from 38 countries. Needless to say, it can get a little overwhelming to take on the Robert De Niro-backed festival.
Well that's why we're here.
Below are 20 titles you should look out for in the next 12 days. And like Sundance did earlier this year with YouTube, Tribeca has started Tribeca Virtual where you can buy a pass and watch select features and shorts from this year's fest in the comfort of your own home.
Which one of these are you most looking forward to check out?
Stacked with a dream team of documentary filmmakers – Alex Gibney ('Taxi To The Dark Side'), Morgan Spurlock ('Super Size Me'), Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing ('Jesus Camp'), Eugene Jarecki ('Why We Fight') and Seth Gordon ('The King of Kong') – the best-selling book about how economics affect everything from sumo wrestling to crack dealers is brought to the big screen. We can't wait to see these talents go nuts with some amazing subject matter.
'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work'
If you're a fan of stand-up comedy (or red carpet shows) Joan Rivers is a living legend. In this revealing documentary that already wowed audiences at Sundance earlier this year, Ricki Stern & Annie Sundberg ('The Devil Came on Horseback') profile the 76-year-old icon in a powerful piece that gives an unobstructed look at celebrity.
'The Killer Inside Me'
Another film that received a lot of press at Sundance (albeit, not all positive because of its ultra-violent content), Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of the cult noir classic by Jim Thompson stars Casey Affleck in a powerful performance as Lou Ford, a deputy sheriff with a psychopathic dark side. Film also stars Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson as luscious femme fatales.
The follow-up to his award-winning first feature 'Munyurangabo,' Lee Isaac Chung turns his gorgeous visuals on a group of friends who travel to the beach to celebrate the life of one of their friends who's been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
This murder mystery follows Nick Stahl ('Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines') as a small-town detective investigating a juvenile homicide which leads him back to his hometown.
Set in 2024 Europe, this animated Orwellian look at a dreary future stars Vincent Gallo ('Tetro') voicing the lead, Roger, who after hearing voices in his head is lead into a vast conspiracy, and into the arms of a shampoo model (Juliette Lewis).
The much awaited follow-up to 2005's 'Murderball,' Dana Adam Shapiro turns to fiction with this steamy look at a wedding photographer (Chris Messina) who takes on a shady gig for a woman that may cost him his relationship with his fiancée (Rashida Jones).
'My Trip To Al-Qaeda'
One of the most talked about films leading up to the festival, Alex Gibney teams with Lawrence Wright to showcase his one-man play. In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning Wright explores reporting on Islamic terror since 9/11. Think Spalding Gray meets fundamentalist doc, 'Recycle.'
Fantasy and reality clash in Neil Jordan's latest that can be best described as a gritty, Irish re-imagining of 'Splash.' In it Colin Farrell stars as a fisherman who nets himself a mermaid hottie (Alicja Bachleda-Curus) and then deals with the real world to keep their love. Expect major celebrity news coverage on this one as Farrell and Bachleda-Curus met on the set and have since had a child together.
Anna Paquin's brother Andrew writes and directs this twisted love triangle which follows couple David ('The Hurt Locker's' Brian Geraghty) and Lila (Tricia Helfer) who while house hunting decide to become permanent residents of one of the properties they visit and lock up the unsuspecting owner (Rachel Blanchard) in the basement. David soon turns to his captive for solace leading to a perverse relationship. Anna Paquin also stars.
Fourteen years after making her debut feature 'Walking and Talking' in New York City, writer-director Nicole Holofcener returns after close to a decade finding success on the other coast. In her latest comedy, the filmmaker focuses on mortality and NYC real estate as a couple (played by Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) wait out the final years of their neighbor so they can take over her apartment. But while waiting they become friends with the neighbor's family, which makes thing complicated.
'sex & drugs & rock & roll'
Andy Serkis (best known for playing Gollum in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy) stars in this biopic as British punk rock pioneer Ian Dury who battles a childhood with polio and a jaded career as The Blockheads frontman.
'Sons of Perdition'
A polygamist community is the subject of this powerful documentary as directors Tyler Measom & Jennilyn Merten spend two years specifically filming three exiles who try to adapt to the mainstream world why retelling their scarred past. You will never watch HBO's 'Big Love' the same way again.
As Tribeca is known for its great restaurants (and was the site of the fabulous kitchen drama 'Dinner Rush'), the latest from acclaimed Turkish filmmaker Fatih Akin ('The Edge of Heaven,' 'Head-On') could be a crowd favorite. Set in a pub in Hamburg, he mixes comedy and drama to create an entertaining look at a young restaurant owner's struggle to get by.
'The Space Between'
Certain to tug at the hearts of New Yorkers, Melissa Leo ('Frozen River') stars as a flight attendant who becomes responsible for a young Pakistani-American boy after the flight they're on is grounded on 9/11. When she learns the boy's father works in the World Trade Center, the two embark on a road trip to NYC.
'Napoleon Dynamite' meets 'Mean Girls' in this comedy set in '80s junior high as we follow the mishaps of Spork (Savannah Stehlin) leading up to the big talent show where she'll have her chance to get back at the popular girls.
'Straight Outta L.A.'
Part of Tribeca's sports festival, Ice Cube directs this documentary on how his group N.W.A. and the arrival of the Raiders pro football team to Los Angeles helped define a team, a city and a rap group in the '80s.
'Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives'
Grabbing headlines before the festival when GLAAD released a Call To Action demanding the festival pull the film, director Israel Luna's debut film is certain to cause a stir (and lots of ticket sales) throughout the fest. An ode to Russ Meyer and John Waters, a group of girls turn into savage vixens to get back at a guy who won't leave one of the girls alone. The film uses all genres from exploitation to horror to something they've created: "Transploitation."
'The Two Escobars'
Directors Michael and Jeff Zimbalist ('Favela Rising') chronicle the lives of Andrés and Pablo Escobar. Though unrelated and one being a soccer player and the other a drug kingpin, there's much the two have in common, including coming from the same city in Colombia. But what the brothers Zimbalist show through investigations and archival footage is that the most surprising connection of the two Escobars are their murders.
'Untitled Eliot Spitzer Film'
This makes film number three in the festival for Alex Gibney. In this work-in-progress, Gibney focuses on the former New York Governor and "Sheriff of Wall Street" as news of his relationship with prostitutes shatters his ride to the presidency and the fall of the financial markets.