Tribeca Film Festival Preview

Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise

The Tribeca Film Festival has always been pretty geeky, and this year is no exception.  From star-studded talks—hello, J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon!—to the first ever sci-fi shorts program, here’s a look at all that’s geeky (and gay) about TFF 2016.

King Cobra

          Feature Presentations

          This year’s Midnight section includes the true life gay porn murder saga King Cobra, starring Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, James Franco (who else?) and Teen Beach Movie’s Garrett Clayton as Brent Corrigan; the seasonally themed Holidays, one of the best of the recent crop of horror anthologies; Fear, Inc., about a company that brings your worst fears to life (for a price); and the religious cult thriller Rebirth, with The Cabin in the Woods’ Fran Kranz and Harry Clash of the Titans Hamlin!

          Other geek friendly flicks include the Mememto-esque thriller Lavender, co-starring Justin Long; Hunt for the Wilderpeople, an adventure comedy from What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi starring Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill; the Hitchcockian period piece A Kind of Murder, from the book by Patricia Highsmith (Carol) and starring Watchmen hunk Patrick Wilson; High-Rise, a dystopian J.G. Ballard adaptation featuring Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons; the sci-fi romance Equals, with Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart; and “Warped Speed,” Tribeca’s first program of science fiction short films.  (Take it from me: the short film programs are always worth going to and have included some of my favorite films from past years.)

Women Who Kill's Ingrid Jungermann

          Gay for Play

          The absolutely terrific lesbian dramedy/mystery thriller Women Who Kill leads the pack of LGBT themed offerings this year.  Writer/director Ingrid Jungermann stars as Morgan, who runs a popular podcast about female serial killers with her ex Jean and begins to suspect that her new girlfriend (the beguiling Sheila Vand) may be a psychopath. She seeks advice from a previous subject, the murderous Lila, played by Smallville’s Annette O’Toole in a scene-stealing performance.  Other queer films to look out for include the Taylor and Ultra on the 60s, the Factory and Being a Warhol Superstar, screening as part of the “New York Then” shorts program, and the documentaries Check It, about a gang of gay and trans teens in inner-city DC, and Strike a Pose, about the young men who served as Madonna’s dancers on the Blonde Ambition tour.

         

         Adam and Leonard Nimoy

         Special Guest Stars

          Tribeca Talks this year include J.J. Abrams interviewed by Chris Rock (April 15); Joss Whedon interviewed by hunky Hulk Mark Ruffalo (April 18); and Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) (April 20).  Storytellers features the likes of Idina “Let It Go” Menzel (April 18) and Tina Fey and Damian Holbrook (April 19).  There are also special screenings of the documentary For the Love of Spock, with director Adam Nimoy (Leonard’s son) and Zachary Quinto on hand (April 18) and a retrospective showing of the Six Feet Under finale with live commentary by True Blood creator Alan Ball (April 19).

              Seth Green in Christmas VR  

           High Tech Hijinks

          Storyscapes, Tribeca’s new media installation, returns with offerings including Sens, “the first project to adapt a graphic novel into a virtual reality.”  Speaking of VR, there’s a whole arcade full of it this year, including “Christmas,” a spin-off of Holidays starring Seth Green, and the slasher “Killer Deal” from Sharknado director Anthony C. Ferrante and Ian Ziering (?!). 

 

          'Toon In

          Animation takes center stage in a variety of films this year:  “Whoopi’s Shorts,” an hour long montage of animated segments selected by Ms. Goldberg; Nerdland, an adult comedy featuring the voices of Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt; and Life, Animated, a documentary about an autistic man who gains the ability to speak through his beloved Disney films.

Ghostheads

          Stranger Than Fiction

          Speaking of documentaries, Tribeca always boasts some great ones.  This year’s selections include Bugs, about two men seeking to capitalize on edible insects; the satirical My Scientology Movie; and Houston, We Have a Problem!, a new look at the space race and moon landing.  There’s also two in-progress features: Untitled Bill Nye Documentary and Ghostheads, about Ghostbusters die hards.  The latter screens April 23, the same day as “Ghostbusters Fan Fest,” which includes a showing of the original film, a proton pack training, a photo op at the ‘Busters firehouse, and more.

          The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 14-24 at various venues.  Visit tribecafilm.com/festival for more info.

on April 11, 2016