The 11th Annual Tribeca Film Festival began last night, with a star-studded gala screening of The Five-Year Engagement, starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. It’s a big, funny romantic comedy that you can see yourself at your local multiplex next week, but some of Tribeca’s other offerings are reserved for lucky Gotham cinephiles. New Yorkers are accustomed to a multitude of movie options, even when there isn’t a festival in town. So we won’t fawn over the amazing Searching for Sugarman — Sundance discovered it first — or the adorable period comedy, Hysteria, a Toronto find. New Yorkers like to be first. To that end, there are 50 world premieres at this year’s festival. So without further ado, here are 10 Tribeca screenings — nine world premieres and one ginormous exception — that will fill your festival with me-first Big Apple pride. (But yes, if you must see the delightful Your Sister’s Sister, it’s okay to enjoy that Toronto fave, too.)
A group of hippie urbanites think they’ve found the perfect winter oasis in a country farmhouse, but when the power goes out, their utopian ideals are put to the test.
Friday April 20
Fans of Frozen River and Maria Full of Grace might like this gritty drama about a single Texas mom who breaks the law to make ends meet. As will fans of the lovely Abbie Cornish, who is way overdue for stardom.
Saturday April 21
Spring is the air… Pitcher R.A. Dickey’s Mets are still hopeful… It’s the perfect time to take a swing at this oddball documentary about the lost art and the bewildering physics of the knuckleball, thrown by a few, mastered by none.
Sunday April 22
Olivia Wilde and Eric Bana star in this wintry casino-heist-gone-awry thriller, from the Oscar-winning director of The Counterfeiters.
Monday April 23
Okay, so this feels like a quirky Sundance movie. But it stars Jenna Fischer, Chris Messina, and an enormously distracting wig on Topher Grace. Plus, everyone who lives or works in New York knows Times Square characters like the silver-plated Mechanical Man played by Messina.
Tuesday April 24
The Tribeca Film Festival was established, in part, to remember the brave first responders who rushed towards the World Trade Center on 9/11. So what better way to honor them than with this documentary from Rescue Me star Dennis Leary, about the overburdened Detroit Fire Department.
While others are rushing to see James Franco’s surreal Francophrenia (or Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is), watch Val Kilmer play an extreme version of himself in this three-part anthology about time travel. Kilmer was a Real Genius, people.
Thursday April 26
The eminently watchable Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt play a 1970s gay couple whose noble efforts to care for an abandoned child with special needs is challenged by prejudiced adoption laws.
Friday April 27
A couple recovering from personal tragedy travels to an Italian island to spark their marriage. The spark the fragile wife discovers, however, is for a handsome young American. It’s filmed in black and white, it’s inspired by a Leonard Cohen song, and it stars a Kate Bosworth you haven’t seen before.
Saturday April 28
* Correct, this screening of Joss Whedon’s sure superhero blockbuster is not a world premiere. But since the Avengers defend New York, it is a homecoming of sorts. As Iron Man says, “Guys… I’m bringing the party to you.” And since members of the city’s own heroes — police, fire, military, and first responders — will be the cast’s special guests, this is the perfect way to wrap up a Tribeca Film Festival. Good luck getting tickets.