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JoBlo does Tribeca #1

05.01.2007


by Jenny Karakaya

Since its conception six years ago, I have been an attendee, or "commoner" if you will, of public viewings at the Tribeca Film Festival. Having admired the authenticity and originality of a platform that celebrates unique, independent films, I was elated when proposed with the task of covering my first film festival ever. With its kick-off a few days ago, I simultaneously popped my film festival cherry and entered a new world of chaos. Regardless of my frustrations, I have been enjoying this new experience while checking out some good flicks thus far. Read 'em and weep below...

BLACK SHEEP
Directed/written by: Jonathan King

This marks the first gorefest I truly enjoyed. Although not much of a horror flick fan, BLACK SHEEP was refreshingly comical. The film is set on the breathtaking island of New Zealand, where Henry (Nathan Meister) returns to his family farm to sell his share to big brother Angus (Peter Feeney). Upon his return however, he discovers the baaad plan his brother has concocted to genetically engineer sheep. When a mutant lamb is stolen and accidentally unleashed from Angus’ lab, the result is an onslaught of vicious sheep. Having spent years in therapy caused by a traumatizing childhood event, Henry is now faced with confronting his greatest fear of sheep.

When it comes to scary features, I’m always a little apprehensive but I thought the plot of BLACK SHEEP was intriguing and wrapped up nicely. I enjoyed the cinematography and music, which complimented the script. I especially found myself amused by the well cast actors’ comedic facial gestures and dialogue that shaped it into a somewhat satirical horror film. Although embarrassed, I must confess there were certain moments of fear when I felt compelled to cover my eyes to avoid the sight of disgust, but then no horror flick would be complete without its ghastly and frightful scenes. I’m sure for all you die-hard horror gurus, this film may teeter on fluff. I, on the other hand, admired Meister’s and Feeney’s performances and campy discourse throughout the bloody horror, which made it easier to witness my first gruesome sheep attack down under. -- 6/10

YOU KILL ME
Directed by: John Dahl
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Téa Leoni, Luke Wilson, Bill Pullman

I found myself unexpectedly captivated by this offbeat mob comedy. YOU KILL ME is about a Polish, alcoholic hit man Frank (Ben Kingsley) who screws up an important job for the Polish mob, thus being forced into AA and a job at a mortuary where he meets and falls for the sharp, adventurous Laurel (Téa Leoni.) What sets this mob film apart from others is Frank’s nonchalant honesty. His unexpected, candid confessions generate feelings of sympathy for an otherwise ‘seedy’ character. Directed by John Dahl whose credits include ROUNDERS and THE LAST SEDUCTION, YOU KILL ME also stars Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina, and Bill Pullman.

Props to the DP and editors for the cool and visually sublime opening freeze frame shots leading into a comical sequence coordinated with entertaining Polish sounding beats. YOU KILL ME exposes its comedic value from the start, but what’s more stimulating is the ingenious repartee between Frank and Laurel which never ceases to amaze me. Supported by an all-star cast, Kingsley and Leoni are the perfect embodiment of their mismatched characters who display their acting skills with honest humor and bizarre dialogue. The pace is a little slow, but the story comes together efficiently affirming that even ‘bad’ guys deserve a second chance. -- 7/10

SUBURBAN GIRL
Directed and written by: Marc Klein
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alec Baldwin

As an ambitious NYC woman, I may be impartial when confessing my admiration and attraction to this film. However, aside from its inspiring and vicarious plot, SUBURBAN GIRL’s greatest strength is its stars, Alec Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Previously famed for his screenplay SERENDIPITY, this film is Klein’s adaptation of stories from Melissa Bank’s The Girls’ Guide to hunting and Fishing. The story is based on an aspirant junior editor Brett (Sarah Michelle Gellar) in pursuit of her dreams in the big apple. She meets and falls for big shot book editor Archie (Alec Baldwin) who eventually reveals his imperfections during their tumultuous, romantic journey. The film also stars Maggie Grace, James Naughton, and Chris Carmack among others.

I thought the script was engaging and motivating, but the film was shot in a short story format, which dragged on at times. I was especially amazed by the powerful onscreen chemistry between Baldwin and Gellar. The dialogue was witty and both actors inhabited their roles with great conviction. Baldwin’s comedic timing was impeccable as always. Ironically, his character’s life bore an uncanny resemblance to his real life in reference to the recent scandal with his daughter (which explains his "no show" at the festival.) Regardless, he emanated an irresistible charm on screen, which was entertaining and mesmerizing. -- 6/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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