“Love After Love”
It’s not uncommon to hear dramas compared to John Cassavetes, especially with his influence hanging heavy over the growing art of independent cinema. Hopefully, such comparisons made to the filmmaker are earned with “Love After Love,” which is set to premiere later this weekend. Starring Andie McDowell, Chris O’Dowd and James Adomian, co-writer/director Russell Harbaugh‘s new film is a broken-family drama that’s also supposed to show shades of Kenneth Lonergan. “Love After Love” hopes to mine the slight comedy in tragedy, the raw emotions found in the wake of sorrow and how shattered relationships come together amid loss. Some movies capture that better than others, but we’ve been told this one is pretty great, so we’re excited to see what’s to come with this Cassavetes-esque tale.
“I Am Heath Ledger”
Directors Derik Murray and Adrian Buitenhuis are back with the latest addition to their “I Am…” series. Having previously explored and mined the lives of lost souls like Chris Farley, Evel Knievel and JFK Jr., to name a mere few, Murray and Buitenhuis will explore the rich talent and tragic loss of one of the absolute finest young actors of the past decade, Heath Ledger, in their latest directing collaboration, “I Am Heath Ledger.” With interviews from friends, family, directors and fellow actors, including Ben Mendelsohn, Naomi Watts, Ang Lee and Ben Harper, to name a few, this moving documentary will explore one of our lost cinematic icons and a rising talent taken from us just when he gave the world his most brilliant performance as The Joker in Christopher Nolan‘s masterful “The Dark Knight.” If you can’t make it to the film festival, though, “I Am Heath Ledger” screens in theaters nationwide on May 3.
When director Antonio Campos returns behind the camera, you watch. The indie filmmaker behind “Afterschool,” “Simon Killer” and last year’s “Christine” is the latest director to enter the world of television, as he’s at the helm of USA Network‘s promising eight-episode miniseries, “The Sinner.” Set to premiere later this summer, Tribeca will screen Campos’ pilot, which stars Jessica Biel, Bill Pullman and Christopher Abbott, on Tuesday, April 25th, followed by a conversation with Campos, Biel (who also serves as an executive producer), Abbott, Pullman and executive producer Derek Simonds.
“The Boy Downstairs”
Zosia Mamet‘s tenure on HBO‘s “Girls” ended with Sunday night’s series finale, and much like her former co-star Allison Williams with Jordan Peele‘s “Get Out,” the big screen serves as her next calling. Mamet leads Sophie Brooks‘ directorial debut “The Boy Downstairs,” a coming-of-age NYC-based romantic comedy which follows writer Diana (Mamet) who, after a two-year stint in London, returns to the Big Apple only to discover her perfect new apartment has one terminal flaw: it houses her ex-boyfriend downstairs. If Mamet is even partly as adorable in Brooks’ new movie as she was as the fast-talking Shosh, “The Boy Downstairs” should be a breezy, if familiar, slice of delectable, whimsical young-adult NYC charm.
“Literally, Right Before Aaron”
Cobie Smulders is adapting well to life post-“How I Met Your Mother.” Whether it’s likable indies like “Results,” “Unexpected” and last year’s “The Intervention,” or her commitments to the MCU, or her surprising supporting turn in a certain recent Netflix series, Smulders doesn’t have the dreaded curse of post-sitcom dearth of work. Her good fortunes continue as the lead of writer/director Ryan Eggold‘s debut “Literally, Right Before Aaron.” Also starring Justin Long, Kristen Schaal, John Cho, Luis Guzmán, Peter Gallagher and Lea Thompson, this new 30-something romantic comedy, based on Eggold’s short film of the same name, might not sound like all that much on paper, but the acting talent involved is promising, and we’re happy to support Smulders’ rising profile whenever or wherever we can.
Real-life couple Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet play themselves in “Rock’n Roll,” a satirical comedy about aging in the limelight. Seriously, what more do you need to know? If that doesn’t get you excited, we suggest reading that sentence again. And again. And again. Until your purchase your ticket. Co-written and directed by Canet (“Tell No One“), this personal, semi-autobiographical self-exploration lets normally serious Cotillard and Canet twist their funny bone a bit, which might prove disastrous, but given their track records, we have good reason to believe this one is going to be absolutely stellar. How can you go wrong with a premise like that? Granted, it’s not impossible, but c’mon! This one just sounds like fun.
A gritty neo-Western with echoes of early Coen Brothers in its exploration of setting and crime, starring Jon Bernthal, Rosemarie DeWitt, Imogen Poots and Christopher Abbott? Say no more. We’re already hyped for “Sweet Virginia,” director Jamie M. Dagg‘s sophomore feature. Not everyone can recreate the signature, sensational success of the Coens; there’s a reason why they’re the Coens in the first place, after all. But given the talent involved in front and behind the camera, including D.P. Jessica Lee Gagné and an original score by the Blair Brothers, we’re more than just optimistic.