Live from the Tribeca Film Festival: Wrapping Up


My intentions were the best and yet, after my first visit a week ago, I only made it to one more day of screenings at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. 

Which highlights one of the problems for me with the festival: It's too easy to ignore. That's my own problem, of course. 

When I am at Toronto or Sundance, seeing movies is all I do. It's my job: I'm trying to see as many of the movies that could be game-changers or fare for the film club I program in the limited time I have. I don't go to parties or dinners or do interviews; I'm there to go to movies and write about what I've seen. I'm on the clock, trying to get the most for my money out of the limited time that I have. 

But as I noted in my earlier piece about this year's TFF, there aren't those kind of movies at this festival. While I could assemble lists of films on a given day to go see, being in my home city meant that it was pretty easy to prioritize other things, such as staying home to work on an assignment for an upcoming deadline.

When I'm out-of-town at a festival, that's what I'm there for; I'm not doing anything else. When I'm in New York, the Tribeca screenings have to get in line with all the other things on my calendar -- and most of those take precedence over spending Saturday or Sunday at a multiplex in Battery Park City watching films I probably wouldn't review even if they were released. 

I won't get back to TFF before the festival ends on Sunday. But I did make it back downtown once more to see a couple of screenings. Both turned out to be films I enjoyed, even if I didn't think either worked completely. 

The first was Ashby, which features Mickey Rourke as Ashby Holt, an eccentric Virginia suburbanite just outside Washington, DC, who gets a terminal diagnosis: three months, tops. Prone to fainting spells, he enlists the teen next door, Ed (Nat Wolff), to be his driver. 

That's fine with Ed, a new kid in town who needs to write about the life of an old person and chooses Ashby -- until he discovers that Ashby is a retired government assassin who still has some scores to settle. Ed, meanwhile, has the kindling for a romance in the form of a classmate named Eloise (Emma Roberts) and an urge to go out for football that clashes with his innate cowardice.

The best thing about Ashby is the comic blend between the reticent but pithy Rourke and the flip, chatterbox Wolff.

This commentary continues on my website.