As the 2023 Tribeca Festival gets underway on June 7, there are a bunch of films that I’m looking forward to seeing during the fest.
Rather – Frank Marshall directs this documentary on the longtime news anchor. Dan Rather was a prolific newsman for many years on TV, taking over for CBS Evening News after the departure of Walter Cronkite. At 49 years old, Rather was already a CBS veteran when he replaced Cronkite at the desk in 1981. There was a brief period when he co-anchored with Connie Chung but otherwise, he was mostly solo through his 2005 retirement from CBS Evening News at 73 years old. Along with Tom Brokaw (NBC Nightly News, 1982-2004) and Peter Jennings (ABC World News Tonight, 1983-2005), Rather was one of the Big Three news anchors coming into American homes every night. I grew up in a CBS News home and am looking forward to both the documentary and the post-screening conversation between Marshall and Rather.
Chasing Chasing Amy – Have you met me? I’m a Kevin Smith fan so of course, this film has my interest! Sav Rodgers goes on his own journey of self-discovery while making a documentary about Smith’s controversial 1997 romantic comedy, Chasing Amy. The filmmaker previously delivered a TED Talk about how Chasing Amy saved his life when he was 12 years old. It didn’t feel like there were that many LGBTQ films in the 1990s–at least those that were popular enough to hit the mainstream. It goes without saying that representation matters and that we need to see more LGBTQ films crossover into the mainstream.
Stan Lee – David Gelb directs the Disney+ documentary about the late Marvel icon, which will premiere at Tribeca prior to its release on June 16. For someone of Lee’s stature, an 86-minute film feels rather short. In any event, be sure to read A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee or True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee while your wait.
Rolling Along – Basketball Hall of Famer, U.S. Senator, and former presidential candidate Bill Bradley brings his one-man-show to the big screen. Bradley discusses his Missouri childhod, basketball career, and becoming a social activist in the leadup to a few terms in the U.S. Senate. Recorded live during Bradley’s brief 2021 in New York City, the film is directed by The Last Dance‘s Mike Tollin. Frank Oz and Spike Lee are among the executive producers. If you’re unable to make it to Tribeca, the film will be offered through Tribeca at Home.
First Time Female Director – Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Chelsea Peretti makes her feature directorial debut and stars alongside a star-studded cast. The film’s synopsis describes it as a “hilarious ensemble comedy set in a Glendale theater where a new female director struggles to fill the shoes of her male predecessor, putting her Southern rural drama in jeopardy.” Amy Poehler is one of the producers and co-stars in the comedy.
Maggie Moore(s) – John Slattery directs his Mad Men co-star Jon Hamm, who reunites with Tina Fey in the dark comedy. Hamm stars as police chief Jordan Sanders, who is investigating a pair of murders–two women who share the same name–within days of each other. In addition to solving the case, he also has his own life to deal with. Following the Tribeca premiere on June 12, Screen Media Films will release day-and-date on June 16.
Bucky F*cking Dent – David Duchovny writes, directors, and co-stars in the adaption of the very novel that he wrote. Logan Marshall-Green stars as Ted, an aspiring novelist who works as a peanut vendor at Yankee Stadium. Duchovny portrays Ted’s estranged, Red Sox fanatic father. He’s dying of cancer and it’s the 1978 baseball season.
The Saint of Second Chances – Morgan Neville and Jeff Malmberg direct the documentary about Mike Veeck understanding both redemption and second chances after derailing MLB owner Bill Veeck’s career. Jeff Daniels narrates and Charlie Day portrays Mike Veeck. Netflix will release this documentary at a later date.
The League – In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a big baseball fan so I’m going to stay on theme. Sam Pollard, who already directed the brilliant Bill Russell documentary earlier this year, is back with another sports film. Pollard turns his focus to the history of the Negro League and how these Black ballplayers would define the game. It sounds like another fascinating piece of baseball documentary canon. Magnolia Pictures will release at a later date.
Against All Enemies – Charlie Sadoff directs this documentary, which gets into why U.S. military veterans are taking up arms against the very country they swore to protect. There are perspectives being offered from both sides, including members of Congress, who feared for their own lives on January 6, 2021. The concept as a whole is terrifying but if there’s ever been a time for a spiritual successor to Alt-Right: Age of Rage, it is right now.
Eric LaRue – Michael Shannon directs this film adaptation of Brett Neveu’s 2002 play. To tell you how important it is for writers to be on set during production, Brett Neveu was on set for the entire duration of filming. A mother (Judy Greer) deals with the fallout after her son murders three high school classmates. In addition to Greer, the cast includes Alexander Skarsgård, Alison Pill, Tracy Letts, and Paul Sparks.
The Space Race – Lisa Cortés and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza direct the National Geographic Documentary films doc on Black astronauts and their experiences. Interview subjects include Ed Dwight, Guion Bluford, Charles Bolden, and Victor Glover.
LaRoy – I cannot say no to a film starring my college commencement speaker, Steve Zahn.
Anthem – When Francis Scott Key penned “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1814, it was based on an old British tune, “To Anacreon in Heaven” (or “The Anacreontic Song”). Filmmaker Peter Nicks follows D.J. Dahi and Kris Bowers as they travel across America to find out what the national anthem would sound like if it were based on American music. Disney’s Onyx Collective will release the film on Hulu.
Cold Copy – A journalism drama? Yes, please! Bel Powley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jacob Tremblay, and Nesta Cooper star in the film. While I have your attention, make sure to check out Bel Powley in A Small Light.
The Secret Art of Human Flight – Grant Rosenmeyer stars as Ben, who turns to self-help after his wife’s tragic death. Will he learn how to fly or is his new spiritual guide (Paul Raci) just another con artist? H.P. Mendoza directs.
Elemental – Disney-Pixar and Peter Sohn, enough said. It’s just a question of seeing this during Tribeca or back in Chicago.
The Blackening – I was all set to see this during Tribeca but then Lionsgate started press/WOM screenings in late May. The film premiered at TIFF but the P&I screening was canceled on the morning I planned to attend. Anyway, I usually stay away from horror but this horror comedy puts its own twist on the genre. It’s hysterical and Dewayne Perkins crushes it. If Perkins is not yet a household name in your home, he will be soon.
Other titles of interest include:
- The Good Half
- Every Body
- Break the Game
- Our Son
- Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed
- Rule of Two Walls
- Fish Out Of Water
- Shadow Brother Sunday
- Proof of Concept
The 2023 Tribeca Festival runs June 7-18 across various venues in New York City. Tribeca at Home will run June 19-July 2.
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