In the masses of offerings at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, there's quite a few strong New York-centric selections both in and out of competition to seek out. Granted at $25-$14 per, tickets for the festival don't come cheap, so if you're going to see something at the fest make it a local joint.
Our favorite film so far at the festival has been West 32nd, a thriller directed by NYU alum Michael Kang (The Motel) set in Manhattan's Korea town. John Cho (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) stars as a Korean-American lawyer trying to make partner in his firm by taking on a K-town gang murder case. It's a bit like Fast and the Furious, with a fish-out-of-water teetotaler trying to infiltrate a sexy subculture, but West 32nd is miles more morally complex than any ordinary Hollywood cop movie. For the oddness of the casting alone, Suburban Girl sounds interesting--Sarah Michelle Gellar is a book editor trying to rise through the ranks by wooing an older publishing exec played by Alec Baldwin. The story is based on two parts from Melissa Bank's best selling book A Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing. Of course it wouldn't be Tribeca without an entry from rom com devotee Edward Burns. His newest Purple Violets with Selma Blair and Patrick Wilson is playing at the festival. Also two stand out documentaries that sound worth a viewing: Chops about the Wynton Marsalis hosted jazz festival Essentially Ellington for high school musicians and Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe about the '70s/'80s New York art scene and these influential players in it.
Other non-Tribeca Film Festival movie events happening around town this weekend include Canadian actress Sarah Polley presenting her directorial debut Away From Her starring Julie Christie at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens tonight, on Saturday BAM Cinématek is screening the Howard Hawks classic Ball of Fire as a part of their Barbara Stanwyck Centennial and Film Forum is celebrating Vintage 007 with showings of Sean Connery in the penultimate spy movie Goldfinger.
[Pictured: Sam Wagstaff & Robert Mapplethorpe by Francesco Scavullo
(© Francesco Scavullo Editions)]