These days, it feels like every major city — and more than a few minor ones — has its own film festival. But few can approach the credibility, level of quality and star-studded pleasure of the annual Tribeca Film Festival, which once again kicks off in the heart of New York City this week. When we recently sat down for an interview with co-founder Robert De Niro, he was as excited for the new crop of films as we are.
"I'm very happy that we've managed to make it work and it be a success, and I'm very happy," explained the Oscar-winning screen legend. "I hope it goes down for a long time — a lot longer than I'm around. That would be great. [I hope it becomes] part of a real tradition of New York and part of the fabric of New York."
With that in mind, and as the fest kicks off, we've combed over our TFF guide and humbly present this list of the five films we're most eager to see:
"Shrek Forever After": The crew is back for what is (in the studio-approved press notes, at least) the final chapter of the "Shrek" series — and in 3-D! This time around, everybody's favorite ogre finds himself struggling with domesticated life and is lured into an alternate reality where he's never met Fiona, ogres are hunted and Rumpelstiltskin rules over it all. The nation can feast its eyes on the film next month, but a few lucky Tribeca ticketholders get to say goodbye to Shrek early.
"Meskada": For "Twilight" fans, three words explain why this movie is in such great demand: Shirtless. Kellan. Lutz. The crime drama follows an affluent town dealing with the brutal murder of a young boy, co-stars Nick Stahl and Rachel Nichols and is sure to elicit an "OME!" or two.
"Beware the Gonzo": Sadly, this is not a horror film about a deranged blue Muppet, but instead a highly anticipated indie film starring Jesse McCartney and Zoe Kravitz. The flick follows a school newspaper reporter who begins his own off-campus publication and drives the faculty crazy with his scoops. If the "Pump Up the Volume"-meets-"Assassination of a High School President" plotline plays as good as it promises, this one could be something special.
"Meet Monica Velour": Let's face it: Kim Cattrall was a cougar before the phrase had even been coined. Now she embraces the title once again as Monica Velour — a soft-core actress whose '80s heyday is long forgotten in the minds of many, but not dorky Tobe ("Unfabulous" star Dustin Ingram). The movie starts off with Tobe driving a Weinermobile for hundreds of miles to meet the sexpot — and from there, things get really interesting.
"Nice Guy Johnny": Believe it or not, somebody is still giving Edward Burns money to direct movies after all these years. We've gotta admit, we're still holding out a glimmer of hope that he can return to his "Brothers McMullen" brilliance with this film about a man who makes his fiancée a promise that he'll get a real job — then meets a girl who may change his mind. Burns is still a great dialogue writer and engaging screen presence, and with any luck he's done spinning the same wheels he's been on since the mid-'90s. Then again, it could be worse — at least he's not doing Geico commercials.
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