The annual Tribeca Film Festival begins screenings on Thurs Apr 18th and continues through Sun Apr 28th. The Festival offers up a multitude of films from various countries around the globe, in all genres, both as features and shorts. With so much going on you may need to plan ahead by perusing the films and their showtimes at THE OFFICIAL SITE FOR 2013. There are tons of amazing new films for lots of different tastes, but here is a Horror Homework guide to the genre specifics that you sickos will want to check out. There is a whole classification called “Midnight Movies” with Horro, Sci-Fi, Thrillers, and Action along with other major features.
A Single Shot- When John Moon accidentally shoots a young woman and discovers a bag full of cash, the isolated hunter becomes the hunted. His struggle to conceal both the death and the money triggers a cascade of events and encounters that ultimately escalates into a battle for survival. Returning to Tribeca following the release of his personally driven father-daughter fable Janie Jones, director David M. Rosenthal takes a different direction altogether in his strongly collaborative backwoods thriller. The stellar cast of indie stalwarts led by Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy and Jeffrey Wright inhabits a world that blends the ordinary, the classic and the singularly odd into a metaphorical place, one that is both familiar and also a guilty pleasure. Matthew F. Jones’s twisted adaption of his own novel and Spanish cinematographer Eduard Grau’s atmospheric colors and gritty landscapes help set the stage for a chilling film. A Single Shot is an engaging and suspenseful piece of work that is indie genre at its most spirited.
Big Bad Wolves- A vigilante cop and a vengeful father capture and interrogate an accused serial killer. Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s brutal follow-up to Rabies (TFF 2011) examines a horror that most would not want to imagine: what would you do if someone hurt the one you loved most? A revenge thriller with teeth, Big Bad Wolves delivers on its raw tension with operatic drama. The Israeli horror pioneers have stepped firmly out of the slasher genre with this deftly dark riff on unhappily ever after. An unsettling scenario of men pushed too far in the aftermath of a horrific crime against an innocent child, the film avoids cliché by delivering on its creators’ continued promise of unpredictability. The cast, led by award-winning Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi (Footnote), offers a slow-burning intensity that occasionally explodes in bursts of violence and shocking revelations. With a film built on powerhouse performances and tangibly gritty atmospheric touches, the duo is making a solid return to TFF filled with twists and turns.
Byzantium- Neil Jordan’s first exploration into the realm of vampirism began in 1996 with Interview with the Vampire. Now he immerses us in this lurid world via the plight of two willful women, perfectly played by Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. For the past two hundred years, Eleanor’s story has been held captive, silenced by her protective “sister” Clara. Demure Eleanor longs to purge the history that made them into nomadic sanguivores. When the gruesome past comes haunting, they are forced to move to a small seaside town. Clara quickly secures a haven for them in the dilapidated Byzantium Hotel, while Eleanor finds solace in the companionship of a local boy. The bond proves dangerous when Eleanor deems him trustworthy, revealing the truth of who she is and how she survives. As Clara and Eleanor become more exposed, the body count begins to rise, resulting in a wild hunt for blood. Byzantium fuses the polished and alluring with the vicious brutality that accompanies all great vampire films. Jordan skillfully weaves romance with the gothic and gory, producing a seductive story with stunning spectral scenes.
Dark Touch- In a remote town in Ireland, eleven-year-old Neve finds herself the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother. Suspecting a gang of homicidal vandals, the police ignore Neve’s explanation that the house is the culprit. To help ease her trauma, dutiful neighbors Nat and Lucas take her in with the supervision of a social worker. Neve has trouble finding peace with the wholesome and nurturing couple, and horrific danger continues to manifest. Haunted objects, an eerie score and a moody, oneiric look complement this intense and frightening peek into child abuse and the searing imagination of writer/director Marina de Van. If you don’t know Marina de Van’s work, you should. She has written with Francois Ozon (8 Women), and her daring first feature, In My Skin, included her main character eating her own flesh. Her second feature, Don’t Look Back, screened at Cannes in 2009. De Van’s films are intense, intellectual and brutally honest. This newest film is a viciously drawn and taut supernatural thriller that adds to her growing body of bold work.
Deadbolt: 8 Shorts- In The Girl With the Mechanical Maiden, an inventor takes an unorthodox approach to childrearing after the death of his wife. A young girl who lives in a remote wrecking yard confronts the town bullies when they torment her father in Yardbird. It is 2021, and imprisoned journalist Joseph Michaels faces government execution and contemplates a desperate escape attempt in order to return to his young family in The Exit Room. Following a gruesome accident, a man finds himself stuck and injured on a remote road in the dead of winter waiting for first responders in AB-. As a young runaway heads to Harlem, where her father is a low-level drug dealer, she is assaulted by a mysterious creature and left for dead in Peanut Butter & Jelly. A special American guest is coming to a hotel in Beijing to stay in the Honeymoon Suite, but the new guest services manager soon learns that the visitor is not quite what he appears to be. A culinary connoisseur and a chef go on a hunt for a rare animal in Delicacy. Set in the candy-colored world of 1950s suburbia, The Root Of the Problem follows a reluctant young housewife who suspects that the friendly neighborhood dentist is hiding a horrible secret.
Frankenstien’s Army- In the waning days of World War II, a unit of Russian soldiers finds itself on a mysterious mission to locate and rescue a missing team of comrades in a remote East German village. Arriving at an abandoned town, the soldiers notice strange and unusual clues: the corpses in the local graveyard have been exhumed, some lying scattered in the village, and now the team’s radio signal is being jammed. Stumbling upon what appears to be an abandoned factory, they unearth a terrifying Nazi plan to resurrect fallen soldiers as an army of unstoppable freaks and are soon trapped in a veritable haunted house of cobbled-together monstrosities. Between its darkly comic voice and the inventive and elaborate set design, Frankenstein’s Army quickly proves to be a demented and delightful horror extravaganza. First-time feature director Richard Raaphorst, much like Dr. Frankenstein himself, brings to life his monster menagerie, at turns cartoony and grotesque, to terrorize his band of hapless soldiers in a nonstop adrenaline-fueled onslaught of utterly imaginative and terrifying creations. In sum, Frankenstein’s Army is the wild steampunk Nazi found-footage zombie mad scientist film you’ve always wanted.
Fresh Meat- On the lam after a poorly executed escape from the police, a gang of bumbling criminals led by the Tan brothers flees to the suburbs for shelter. They get more than they bargained for when they crash-land in the upper-class home of Maori academic Hemi Crane, his celebrity chef wife Margaret and their teenage daughter Rina, fresh out of an all-girls boarding school: a family whose refined palates have a taste for human flesh. When the Tan gang discovers their hostages’ dark secret, the tables start to turn as the two groups of unlikely adversaries enter a deadly showdown. Director Danny Mulheron channels Peter Jackson with a dash of Tarantino to produce a gleefully over-the-top action comedy, combining blood, guts, explosions and a healthy dose of cheeky social satire. The resulting splatter-fest is a gory tale of shifting alliances and basement butchery that pits a cast of dysfunctional characters against one another in a suburban battle royale.
The Machine- Already deep into a second Cold War, Britain’s Ministry of Defence seeks a game-changing weapon and enlists brilliant programmer Vincent McCarthy to research and develop a cybernetic super soldier in a secret governmental lab. When a programming bug causes his prototype to run amok, McCarthy takes his obsessive efforts underground, far away from inquisitive eyes. Soon he has perfected the ideal marriage of human and machine in his ultimate creation, a beautiful and dangerous being that may be the key to ending the endless war, but a sentience stirring inside the machine puts everyone’s plans in jeopardy. With rare vision, jaw-dropping special effects and Caity Lotz’s (The Pact) versatile and nuanced interpretation of a machine that may be the most human character of all, visionary director Caradog James fully realizes his unique future dystopia. The Machine is an entertaining, thought-provoking techno romance and the latest gripping sci-fi adventure to come out of the U.K.
Mr. Jones- Scott is a filmmaker in need of inspiration. After he and girlfriend Penny move into a desolate house, hoping to make a creative breakthrough, their lives spiral downward. Then they discover their neighbor, the elusive Mr. Jones. Famous for his haunting sculptures, Mr. Jones has remained a mystery to the world. Scott and Penny, convinced that they have found the perfect film subject, sneak into his workshop, only to realize that their curiosity may have chilling consequences. Who is Mr. Jones? With his debut feature, writer/director Karl Mueller has taken the found-footage fright film to a new dimension, introducing a completely unique labyrinth of terrors. Mueller is no stranger to the horror genre, having co-written Xavier Gens’s post-apocalyptic The Divide in 2011. Ominous and disturbing, this is a shining example of the new generation of indie horror. Mr. Jones weaves its reality with supernatural elements and a touch of mysticism. Imbued with ingenuity and vision, this film delivers good old-fashioned scares.
Raze- Stuntwoman-turned-action-star Zoe Bell (Death Proof) headlines this sly subversion of the women-in-prison genre. When Sabrina is mysteriously abducted, she finds herself in an underground lair, forced to do battle with other innocents for the amusement of unseen spectators. Each of these reluctant warriors has something to lose, but only one will remain when the game is done. Violent and relentless, Raze takes its video game aesthetic to the deepest and darkest places, rarely surfacing for air. After showcasing her amazing physicality and tough-as-nails persona in films and television, Tarantino muse Zoe Bell finally has a film to call her own, filled with bloodshed and mayhem of the highest order. With a cast of who’s-who genre favorites, including Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks) and a rare performance sans prosthetics from Guillermo Del Toro mainstay Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), Raze announces its extreme intentions from the very first frame. Director Josh Waller has created a terrifying world of savagery in which nothing is what it seems.
Taboor- A frail, bearded man awakens in a foil-lined room. Equipped with a protective aluminum body suit and motorcycle, he rides through the vast and solitary megalopolis of an alternate-future Tehran at night. He travels between various scheduled appointments ranging from fumigating factories, experiencing virtual reality amusement rides and posing as target practice for a rich, blanks-firing dwarf. His experiences unfold organically as the night approaches dawn. Director Vahid Vakilifar slowly and steadily creates a surreal yet minimalist world with strikingly composed long takes and an entrancing score. Amid a monolithic cityscape, the lone motorcyclist is small and solitary. Carefully framed architecture expounds on the man’s frailty in this atmospheric film. Using naturalistic lighting and sparse dialogue, Vakilifar constructs a new reality by simplifying rather than exaggerating his current one.
V/H/S/2- Two investigators tracking the disappearance of a student break into an abandoned house to find a collection of VHS tapes strewn around an ominous, flickering AV setup. Each unmarked cassette reveals traces of the paranormal, the flesh-eating undead, evil alien invaders and an apocalyptic vision of hell on earth. Drawn closer to the warbling static, the obsessed trespassers fall prey to the unforeseen doom of the inhabited home. This highly anticipated next installment to last year’s midnight sensation V/H/S features segments from contemporary genre film’s leading talents. Jason Eisener’s frenetic entry recalls ’80s pre-teen adventure movies as pranking adolescents run terrified from otherworldly visitors. Blair Witch Project innovators Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sánchez return with a singular slant on the perspective of gut-hungry zombies. Adam Wingard provides perhaps the most first-person viewpoint, capturing apparitional menaces via a cybernetic eye. With every turn of a corner, unimaginable satanic forces spawn to sounds of air raid sirens in Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans’s godless joint effort. Contained within Simon Barrett’s chilling wraparound segment, V/H/S/2 is an expansive portmanteau of clever unrestrained brutality and fun.
Whitewash- The brutality of winter and the power of the mind are aptly portrayed in this dark comedy starring Thomas Haden Church. Bruce is lost. His wife has died and he lost his job. He is merely trying to survive a harsh Canadian winter when he meets Paul and only too late realizes the newcomer is more than he appears. When conflict leads to a death, Bruce finds himself even more isolated in the forests of Quebec, grappling with guilt and creating a prison from which he cannot escape. Director Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais co-wrote Whitewash with Marc Tulin, creating an intense and entertaining one-man show centered on the landscape of a guilty mind. Against the harsh terrain, Thomas Haden Church delivers a wry, captivating performance, illustrating that where the mind goes, the body follows. When Bruce begins to comprehend the possible consequences of his actions, he flees. However, much to his chagrin, and as Whitewash cleverly reveals, the worst possible punishment is often the one we construct for ourselves.
ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the movie theater…the Old School Kung Fu Fest is back! The New York Asian Film Festival’s wildly popular celebration of kung fu movies from the 70s and 80s that pop your lock, rattle your chops, and put the pain inside your brain has returned after a 10-year absence to send your kung fu knowledge back to school. This time the spotlight shines on some of the biggest stars in some of their rarest movies. We’ve got Gordon Liu (36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN), Sammo Hung (Jackie Chan’s “big brother”), Kara Hui (Lau Kar-leung’s female star of choice), Bruce Leung (KUNG FU HUSTLE), and even Bruce Lee (after a fashion). With prints loaned from the vaults of the American Genre Film Archive and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office New York, prepare to earn your Master’s Degree in Kick Ass-ology!!