Volume 19 Issue 50 | April 27 - May 3, 2007

A Downtown Express Special Supplement

Tribeca Film Festival 2007

All photos courtesy Tribeca Film Festival

Worth the price of admission

Tribeca’s most buzzed about films

By Sarah Norris

Gardener of Eden
The Story: Adam Harris (eighties kid star Lukas Haas) plays a college dropout stuck in a rut, working at a deli and living at his parents’ home in this dark comedy. After accidentally capturing a serial rapist, his life takes on a whole new purpose as he starts setting up “rescues” that make him the hero.

The People: Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Kevin Connolly (a.k.a. Drama in HBO’s “Entourage”), and co-starring Giovanni Ribisi and Erika Christensen.

The Grand
The Story: Hilarious mockumentary in which actors improvise their dialogue while playing real poker — on their way to a tournament modeled after the World Series of Poker. One Eyed Jack (Woody Harrelson) goes all-in to win the world’s most famous high stakes game and save his dead grandfather’s casino from developers.

The People: Directed by Zak Penn (co-writer of “X-Men: The Last Stand”), the cast includes Jeff Goldblum, David Cross, Cheryl Hines, Ray Romano and director Werner Herzog as “The German.”

The Story: Inspired by his experience starring in a movie that was bashed by reviewers, comedian Jamie Kennedy (who was in all three “Scream” flicks and a bunch of others you’ve probably never heard of) created a documentary that examines the relationship between hecklers and the heckled. (Perhaps Michael Richards should take notes.)

The People: With (mean) spirited appearances from Bill Maher, Jon Lovitz, Larry Flynt, David Cross and Roseanne, to name a few.

The Power of the Game
The Story: Six real stories intertwine in a documentary about soccer, the world’s most popular sport. The movie juxtaposes thrilling footage from games leading up to and throughout the 2006 World Cup, sharing accounts of heart-racing triumphs from around the globe. In English, French and Spanish.

The People: Directed by Michael Apted (creator of the popular “Up” series that has tracked a group of Britons every seven years since their childhood.)

Charlie Bartlett
The Story: At a high school run by a disillusioned principal (Robert Downey, Jr.), misfit Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) is desperate to make friends — until he poses as the school shrink. When he starts doling out advice, and the occasional pill, to classmates, his popularity takes off — and things get even more interesting when Charlie begins following his own advice.

The People: Directed by Jon Poll, who produced “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and edited both “Meet the Parents” movies, it also stars Hope Davis and Mark Rendall.

The Hammer
The Story: A retired boxer now doing construction work, Jerry Ferro (former “Man Show” co-host Adam Carolla) is persuaded to return to the ring after a 20-year hiatus. This time around, he embarks on a quest for what he missed: a spot on the Olympic boxing team.

The People: Directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld and produced by and co-starring Heather Juergensen (they previously teamed up for the indie hit “Kissing Jessica Stein”).

Beyond Belief
The Story: In this astonishing documentary, two courageous women whose husbands died on September 11 turn their grief into a catalyst for action. They travel to Kabul to help other widows, soon recognizing that the plight of the Afghan women leaves them feeling blessed.

The People: Director Beth Murphy followed the two women, Susan Retik and Patti Quigley, who appeared on “Oprah” earlier this month to tell their story.

The Story: Probably the most terrifying movie in the festival — because it’s a worst-case scenario in a neighborhood where the lights aren’t working and the cops are overworked. In the summer of 2003, America experienced the largest blackout in its history. Everyone was inconvenienced but the scene in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush was absolute chaos. This drama really begins as night falls and looters emerge, things turn violent and people fear for their lives.

The People: With Melvin Van Peebles, Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Saldana and Jerry LaMothe, who also directs.

2 Days in Paris
The Story: With a crackling comic edge, the story revolves around a French photographer, Marion, traveling with her American boyfriend Jack (the underrated Adam Goldberg) on a visit to Paris. Their relationship is tested by clashes of culture, language, flirtatious ex-boyfriends and too-small French prophylactics.

The People: Julie Delpy (“Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”) writes, stars in, edits and even composes music for her directorial debut film.

The Education of Charlie Banks
The Story: A coming-of-age drama about a Vassar College student, Charlie Banks, who gets a surprise visit from the scariest kid from his old neighborhood — who may or may not know that Charlie once ratted him out to the police.

The People: Fred Durst, of the band Limp Bizkit, makes his directorial debut. Starring Jesse Eisenberg (“The Squid and the Whale”), Eva Amurri (“Saved!”) and Jason Ritter.

Surburban Girl
The Story: Based on Melissa Bank’s best-selling “The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing,” this romantic drama/comedy is about an ambitious book editor who hesitates to get involved with a high-powered publisher many years her senior. 

The People: Sarah Michelle Gellar (former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Alec “I’m going to straighten your ass out” Baldwin should certainly have some combative chemistry. 

Planet B-Boy
The Story: An evocative documentary about the vibrant resurgence of break-dancing, “Planet B-Boy” goes inside the international underground hip-hop dance scenes as crews prepare for the battle of the year. The film combines spectacular dance footage with insight into why these dancers make tremendous sacrifices for their art. In English, French, Japanese and Korean. This movie is showing at the Drive-In, a free event Saturday 4/28 at 8:30 at the World Financial Center courtyard.

The People: Director Benson Lee produced this film through Tribeca’s “All Access Program,” a mentorship program that pairs filmmakers with interested investors and distributors. 

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