Tribeca’s Top Ten

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Published April 21, 2009

Single-show tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival, which starts tomorrow, went on sale today. Here are some of the titles that are sure to sell out soon:

Whatever Works. Woody Allen’s latest marks at least a temporary return to New York, where a physicist (Larry David) falls for a Southern temptress (Evan Rachel Wood) after moving downtown. The festival opener, this one screens just once at Tribeca, on opening night at the Ziegfield. It hits theaters June 19. Outrage: Thanks to his documentary about closeted politicians who promote anti-gay legislation, Kirby Dick (who took on the MPAA in This Film Is Not Yet Rated) has been designated this year’s official bomb-thrower. Barney Frank and former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey go on-camera; many of the political rivals they discuss, it goes without saying, do not.

Kobe Doin’ Work: During a 2008 game against the Spurs, renowned hoops fan Spike Lee set up a wireless mic and more than 30 cameras for this intimate day-in-the-life portrait of Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Out on DVD May 19.  (Lee also riffs on the concert film genre at Tribeca this year with Passing Strange, his recording of the off-Broadway rock musical.)

In the Loop: “State of Play” isn’t the only politically-oriented BBC series getting the movie treatment these days. Adapted from on “In the Thick of It,” Armando Iannucci’s satirical take on international relations has the bumbling U.S. and British governments teaming up against a hostile nation. Starring Tom Hollander, with James Gandolfini and Steve Coogan. Poliwood: Susan Sarandon and Anne Hathaway are two of the many people Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Wag the Dog) interviewed for his documentary about celebrities and the political process, which features plenty of behind-the-scenes footage from the 2008 election campaign. Josh Lucas and Rachael Leigh Cook are part of the panel discussion that follows the May 1 screening.

 

The Girlfriend Experience: Real-life porn star Sasha Grey plays a high-class Manhattan escort in Steven Soderbergh’s latest—as in Bubble, his last low-budget venture, the director also shot and edited. It’s filmed documentary-style, with economy-oriented dialogue and restaurant name-drops that add a sense of immediacy. In theaters May 22.

 

 

Love the Beast: In his directorial debut, Aussie actor Eric Bana takes on a risky subject: the long romance between him and his Ford XB Falcon Coupe. With commentary (believe it or not) from Jay Leno and Dr. Phil.

Easy Virtue: Jessica Biel stars alongside Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas in Stephan Elliott’s (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) adaptation of the zingy Noel Coward play. A vamping, fast-driving American (Biel) causes a stir when her new British husband (Ben Barnes) introduces her to the family. Opens May 22.

 

 

Moon: Apart from a computer voiced by Kevin Spacey, Sam Rockwell pretty much has Duncan Jones’s near-future space tale to himself, as a technician serving a lonely, uneventful stint on the moon until things mysteriously starts to go wrong. Opens June 12.

 An Englishman in New York: John Hurt is playing gay icon Quentin Crisp—again. Having starred in the 1975 adaptation of The Naked Civil Servant, the writer/raconteur’s memoir of life in swinging London, Hurt here picks up the Crisp story during its later, less exuberant New York chapter. With Cynthia Nixon as performance artist Penny Arcade.