Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Critics Rank the Best Movies and Performances at the Tribeca Film Festival

Photo of Steve Greene By Steve Greene | Indiewire April 30, 2013 at 1:26PM

We asked the members of the Criticwire network to single out some of their favorite films, scenes and performances of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.
2
"Lil Bub & Friendz"
TFF "Lil Bub & Friendz"

Joey Magidson, Awards Circuit


BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
1. Before Midnight  
2. The Pretty One
3. A Case of You
4. Prince Avalanche
5. Trust Me

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. Lil Bub & Friendz 

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Richard Linklater, Before Midnight
2. David Gordon Green, Prince Avalanche
3. Clark Gregg, Trust Me
4. Jenee LeMarque, The Pretty One
5. Phil Morrison, Almost Christmas

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Zoe Kazan, The Pretty One 
2. Paul Giamatti, Almost Christmas
3. Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
4. Clark Gregg, Trust Me
5. Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Saxon Sharbino, Trust Me
2. Paul Rudd, Almost Christmas
3. John Cusack, Adult World
4. Jake Johnson, The Pretty One
5. Emile Hirsch, Prince Avalanche

BEST ENSEMBLE
1. Trust Me
2. Before Midnight
3. The Pretty One
4. A Case of You
5. V/H/S 2

BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Jenee LeMarque- The Pretty One
2. Lance Edmands- Bluebird

MOST ANTICIPATED (BUT MISSED IT AT TRIBECA)
1. Some Velvet Morning
2. Greetings from Tim Buckley
3. Byzantium
4. Frankenstein's Army
5. Teenage

BEST SCENE
1. The opening scene of Before Midnight
2. The "who'll blink first" scene in Trust Me
3. The funeral scene in The Pretty One
4. The "birth" scene in V/H/S 2
5. The final scene in Almost Christmas

BIGGEST SURPRISE
1. The Pretty One
2. My vague disappointment in Almost Christmas

3. How little I wound up seeing

Kristy Puchko, Cinema Blend

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. Wadjda
2. The Rocket
3. The Pretty One
4. Whitewash
5. Prince Avalanche

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

1. The Kill Team 
2. Mistaken For Strangers
3. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

4. Bending Steel

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Haifaa Al-Mansour, Wadjda
2. Dan Krauss, The Kill Team

3. Jenée LaMarque, The Pretty One
4. Kim Mordaunt, The Rocket
5. Tom Berninger, Mistaken for Strangers

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Thomas Haden Church, Whitewash
2. Zoe Kazan, The Pretty One

3. Maxine Peake, Run & Jump
4. Waad Mohammed, Wadjda
5. 
Sitthiphon Disamoe, The Rocket 

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Jake Johnson, The Pretty One
2. Emile Hirsch, Prince Avalanche
3. Loungnam Kaosainam, The Rocket
4. Brendan Morris, Run & Jump
5. Gemma Arterton, Byzantium

BEST ENSEMBLE

1. G. B. F.
2. Run & Jump

BEST FIRST FEATURE

1. Wadjda
2. The Pretty One
3. Whitewash

4. Mr. Jones
5. Run & Jump

MOST ANTICIPATED (BUT MISSED IT AT TRIBECA)

1. Before Midnight. Haven't gotten around to it yet. I know, I know.
2. Flex is King. I hear it's insanely amazing. I just missed it again and again.
3. A Single Shot. Sam Rockwell plus buzz of a high tension finale makes me kick myself for having missed this one.
4. Six Acts, I heard only great things about.
5. Teenage. 

BEST SCENE

1. The finale of Wadjda. Because of its subject matter (gender disparity in Saudi Arabia), I feared horrendous soul-crushing tragedy would be a given for its third act. But instead Al-Mansour gave her heroine a happy ending that the narrative earned, and left me elated. When the credits rolled, I was a mess of tears and smiles.
2. Chris Schoeck's Coney Island performance at the end of Bending Steel was extraordinary. We've watched this shy strong man come out of his shell over the course of the film, and before he attempts his final feat of strength—one we've only seen him fail at—he gives a speech about overcoming his fears, laying himself bare before the audience. I literally held my breath in hopes he'd succeed. Fantastic, simply fantastic.
3. In Run & Jump there's a spectacular sequence that crosscuts between the teen boy Lenny as he proudly outs himself at a swim meet, with his mother and father attempting to connect through sex for the first time since his father's brain-devastating stroke. It's contains a heady mix of emotions, defiance, hope, ecstasy and despair.
4. James Gandolfini talking about his relationship with Elaine Stritch in Elaine Stritch: Just Shoot Me: "If we had both met when we were 35, I'm sure we would have had a passionate love affair that would have ended very badly." Beyond being hilarious, this comment is evocative, beautifully capturing Stritch's brassy allure.
5. The final freaky and funny shot of Gareth Evans "Safe Haven" contribution to V/H/S/2. 

BIGGEST SURPRISE

1. How terrific the slate overall was. I was not only felt spoiled for choice, but also deeply enjoyed most of what I saw.
2.  Mistaken For Strangers. I almost skipped it because I didn't know a thing about the band The National, but was urged by fellow critics to give it a shot. I'm ecstatic I did. It's a thoughtful and entertaining look at brotherhood and the creative process.
3. V/H/S/2. I completely hate the first one, finding it frustrating misogynistic and painfully lacking in scares. These troubles didn't bleed in to this sequel.  

Stephen Saito, The Movable Fest

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. The Pretty One
2. Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
3. Whitewash
4. Bluebird
5. Lily


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

1. Lenny Cooke
2. Oxyana

3. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

4. The Kill Team
5. Bending Steel


BEST DIRECTOR
1. Jenée LaMarque, The Pretty One

2. Sam Fleischner, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
3. Emir Baigazin, Harmony Lessons
4. Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, Whitewash
5. Josh and Ben Safdie, Lenny Cooke


BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Thomas Haden Church, Whitewash

2. Naomi Watts, Sunlight Jr.
3. Amy Morton, Bluebird

4. Zoe Kazan, The Pretty One
5. Maxine Peake, Run & Jump

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Tess Harper, Sunlight Jr.
2. Andrea Suarez Paz, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
3. Marc Labrèche, Whitewash
4. Jake M. Johnson, The Pretty One
5. Amanda Peet, Trust Me


BEST ENSEMBLE

1. Trust Me 
2. Bluebird
3. The Pretty One
4. Hide Your Smiling Faces
5. Almost Christmas


BEST FIRST FEATURE
1. Jenée LaMarque, The Pretty One

2. Sean Dunne, Oxyana
3. Lance Edmands, Bluebird
4. Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, Whitewash
5. Steph Green, Run & Jump


MOST ANTICIPATED (BUT MISSED IT AT TRIBECA)

1. Before Midnight
2. The Rocket
3. Before Snowfall
4. The Broken Circle Breakdown
5. Cutie and the Boxer


BEST SCENE

1. Lenny Cooke climax - Wouldn't want to spoil, but what could be an incredibly corny moment near the end becomes eerily effective with some movie magic. 
2. Bluebird - Amy Morton's bus driver, filled with regret over an incident on her bus, feels the whole school is judging her when she attends her daughter's concert and retreats to the bathroom. The unique framing of the scene of scene as she collects herself in the bathroom is Edward Hopper-level and could easily be taken as a still and placed in a gallery.
3. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me - The legendary actress/singer is taking her medicine, insisting to the cameraman that it would be more interesting if he got the shot in a certain way, an incredibly funny moment that shows that even in spite of a weakened state, she still wants what's best for her audience.
4. Stand Clear of the Closing Doors - Although director Sam Fleischner shot the majority of his film on the subway system and braved Hurricane Sandy in the middle of production, one of the film's most striking images is when a cleaning lady (Andrea Suarez Paz) is forced to spend time back at home after her son goes missing and wipes away the dust off her own TV set, never having the time to do so before.
5. The Pretty One - Zoe Kazan and Jake M. Johnson spend an evening in their neighbor's pool, imagining themselves as a married couple in a swooningly romantic moment.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

1. Gasland 2 - A followup that's easier to digest as a narrative and harder to watch for what it says about fracking, Josh Fox's sequel is both necessary and more impressive in all respects than its 2010 forebear. 
2. Hide Your Smiling Faces - A really nice debut from Daniel Patrick Carbone, who has an easy way with a young cast and a great eye for locations.
3. Frankenstein's Army - After a rough beginning, a really pleasant, unexpectedly inventive surprise.
4. The English Teacher - If you can't get past some very pronounced logical gaps, some of the most charming work any of the actors have done in a while in a confident debut that plays like a poor man's "Election" from Craig Zisk.
5. Kiss the Water - Eric Steel's profile of Megan Boyd, who dedicated her life to making the perfect flies for fisherman to use as bait, never once shows its late subject onscreen, but has friends and relatives tell her story. Both unusual and low-key, it sneaks up on you.

This article is related to: Floating Skyscrapers, Hide Your Smiling Faces, Wadjda, The Pretty One, Before Midnight, The Kill Team, Oxyana, Tribeca Film Festival