Tribeca First Look: Naomi Watts In ‘Sunlight Jr.,’ Melissa Leo In ‘Bottled Up,’ The Hotties Of ‘GBF’ & More
Tribeca First Look: Naomi Watts In 'Sunlight Jr.,' Melissa Leo In 'Bottled Up,' The Hotties Of 'GBF' & More
The Tribeca Film Festival is rolling out more first-looks. First off, is director Steph Green’s latest endeavor, entitled “Run and Jump.” The
film marks Green’s return to Tribeca after winning in the Best Short Narrative category
in 2008 for her film “New Boy.” “Run and Jump” stars “Saturday Night Live“ alumnus Will
Forte in a rare dramatic turn (perhaps a preview of things to come in Alexander Payne‘s “Nebraska“), Ruth McCabe, and Edward MacLiam. It follows an Irish wife and mother who find herself having to band her family together after her husband suffers a stroke.
The plot is below:
After a stroke leaves her husband disabled and fundamentally changed, a spirited Irish
wife struggles to keep her family members together. All the while they are under the
microscope of an American researcher documenting their recovery process.
Green is not just a Tribeca alumnus, she’s also an Oscar-nominated director, getting the nod in 2009 for Best Short Film, Live Action for “New Boy.” This will be her
first foray into feature-length filmmaking, and since she’s already received prior acclaim,
the stakes are she jumps into her debut. The cast doesn’t have any A-list
names, outside of Will Forte, but Green’s strength as a director and the emotional subject
matter make it one to pay attention to.
Whatever happened to the director of “Jawbreaker“? Well, Darren Stein never really went away, he had two pictures after his 1990s teen comedy, but neither resonated much, but he’s back with to teen territory with “GBF” (Gay Best Friend).
It stars lot of relative newcomers Michael J. Willett, Sasha Pieterse, Xosha Roquemore, Evanna Lynch with a supporting cast that includes “Jawbreaker” alum Rebecca Gayheart, Megan Mullally, Natasha Lyonne, Jonathan Silverman and Horatio Sanz. The synopsis below.
The bitter fight for supremacy between a school’s most popular girls takes an unexpected turn when Tanner (Michael J. Willett) becomes its first openly gay student. As they race to bag the big trend in fashion accessories, the Gay Best Friend, Tanner must choose between skyrocketing popularity and the friends he is leaving behind. Darren Stein (Jawbreaker) returns with another comic send-up of high school clique culture, including memorable cameos by Megan Mullally and Natasha Lyonne.
Can it move the needle like teen comedies of yore? Time will tell.
Next up is Oscar-winner
Melissa Leo in director Enid Zentelis’ “Bottled Up” which sets-up the makings for a
compelling drama about the nature of addiction. It’ll debut in the Narrative section of the
festival this April. The film co-stars Josh Hamilton and Marin Ireland who had a little stint on “Homeland” last season. The synopsis is as follows:
Complaining of back pain months after a car accident, Sylvie’s (Marin Ireland) addiction
to painkillers is clear to everyone except her mother, Faye (Leo). A promising solution
appears in Becket (Josh Hamilton), but relationships and loyalty are soon tested when his
feelings fall in an unexpected place.
Zentelis went to Sundance in 2004, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize with
her film “Evergreen.” Meanwhile, Leo has bene working steadily post-“The Fighter,” but “Bottled Up” looks to return her to the gritty material that caught the Academy’s
attention back in 2008 with “Frozen River.”
Here are two more films premiering as part of Tribeca’s World Narratives
category. A category that will present works from directors of different countries,
with the goal of “nurturing dialogue between American filmmakers and their global
Starting things off is the taut drama “Bluebird
.” Starring a diverse cast
of actors including “Girls” star Adam Driver
, “Mad Men
” lead John Slattery
and character actor
, the movie follows a school bus driver who – through an interaction
with a bluebird in her path – changes the entire community of a small logging town.
The full plot summary is included below:
On a freezing January evening, school bus driver Lesley (Amy Morton) completes her
route, but her final inspection abruptly ends when a bluebird comes into view. What
happens next shakes her small Maine logging town, proving that even the slightest
actions have enormous consequences. Co-starring Adam Driver, Margo Martindale, John
Slattery, Louisa Krause and Emily Meade, Lance Edmands’s absorbing feature debut is a
perfect encapsulation of the interconnectedness of life.
The plot, and stellar makes “Bluebird” stand out as an intriguing piece of work. Director Lance Edmands is making his feature film debut, so his experience as a director remains to
be seen, but the strong cast of actors he’s assembled showcases his potential. Each of
these stars has produced strong work in supporting roles, it’ll be interesting to see if they,
combined, have the power to carry the weight of a movie on their own.
Next is Laurie Collyer’s “Sunlight
Jr.” Collyer is well-known for making the indie darling “Sherrybaby” back in 2006, and “Sunlight Jr.” follows a unique couple, played by Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon, who are
ecstatic when they discover they’re going to have a baby. Trouble looms on the horizon,
of course, and fears of financial woes seek to undue their happiness.
The full synopsis is below:
Quickie-mart employee Melissa (Naomi Watts) and paraplegic Richie (Matt Dillon) are
very much in love. Supported only by Melissa’s small hourly wage, they are nevertheless
thrilled to learn that Melissa is pregnant. Then their situation deteriorates, and their
tenuous financial situation threatens to bring their happy life crashing down. Norman
Reedus also stars in this a moving romantic drama from Laurie Collyer, director of the
Golden Globe-nominated Sherrybaby.
“Sherrybaby” and “Sunlight Jr.” seem to tread similar territory. Both have characters hoping
to move on from their fractured pasts, and discover that seemingly happy changes could
have dire implications. This is Collyer’s first film in almost seven years, so the pressure
is on for her to make another indie gem. Based on past expectations look for this to
be a dark drama that will have stand-out performances.
“Deep Powder” is an “intense and sexy drama” following a privileged private schoolgirl (Haley
Bennett from the upcoming Terrence Malick film set in the Austin, Texas rock scene) and the Ecuadorian boy (Shiloh Fernandez) she employs as a drug mule. It’s
based on true events from the 1980s.
The synopsis is as follows:
Privileged and reckless boarding school senior Natasha Tabor (Haley Bennett) is tapped
by her secret society to make its annual drug run to Ecuador. She in turn chooses a
working-class local boy (Shiloh Fernandez) as her partner in crime, launching a journey
with devastating outcomes for everyone involved. Inspired by true events from the
early ’80s, Deep Powder is an intense and sexy drama that speaks to the character that is
revealed when you find yourself trapped.
Films involving drug running are fascinating on their own merits, as there’s source
material that allows for limitless potential from the plot. Then again, with drug movies
being a dime a dozen, is there anything new to be said in the genre? Fernandez
or Bennett will have the biggest test of the talent yet with this film that will find in territory they haven’t been in before.
Last is “The Moment,” directed by Jane Weinstock. Starring Jennifer Jason
Leigh and Martin Henderson as former lovers, the story kicks off when John disappears, only to pop-up in the guise of someone else in a mental
institution leaving his partner to try and unravel what happend.
The plot synopsis:
After a tumultuous affair between international photojournalist Lee (Jennifer Jason
Leigh) and troubled artist John (Martin Henderson) ends in John’s disappearance, Lee
lands in a mental hospital to recuperate. She strikes up a friendship with a fellow patient
bearing an uncanny resemblance to her missing lover. The pair works to uncover the truth
behind the disappearance, but Lee’s precarious sanity comes under threat when the clues
lead to the last place she would ever expect.
There is a certain Hitchcockian flavor this one is giving off that should be interesting to check out. Weinstock was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, back in
2003, with her romantic comedy “Easy,” and this will her first film in a decade. The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 17th through 28th.