ENTERTAINMENT

29 Must-See Movies At The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

04/15/2014 10:32 am ET | Updated Apr 17, 2014
Tribeca

From April 16 through April 27, some of Hollywood's biggest stars will make their way to New York for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. This year's lineup includes new movies from directors Jon Favreau, Chris Messina, Courteney Cox and John Carney, screenwriters Nicole Holofcener and Joss Whedon, and even rapper Nas. (The fest's opening night documentary is "Time Is Illmatic," a celebration of Nas' seminal 1994 album, "Illmatic.") Ahead, a look at the 29 movies HuffPost Entertainment is most excited about seeing at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

  • "Time Is Illmatic" (dir. One9)
    Tribeca
  • Twenty years ago, Nasir "Nas" Jones released his critically acclaimed debut album, "Illmatic," which not only marked his entry into the hip-hop industry, but also cemented his position as one of the genre's most prolific lyricists. To commentate the project's anniversary, director One9 and writer Erik Parker open this year's festival with "Time Is Illmatic," an in-depth look at the rapper's trajectory in recording the classic opus. The premiere is also followed by a performance from Nas. -- Brennan Williams
  • "In Your Eyes" (dir. Brin Hill)
    Tribeca
  • East Coast housewife Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) lives a comfortable, yet sheltered life as the soft-spoken and neglected spouse of a doctor. Still, she always knew there was something special about herself. Across the country in New Mexico is charismatic ex-con Dylan (Michael Stahl-David), who is ready for a fresh start after paying his debt to society. When Rebecca and Dylan realize they are strangely connected in ways they can't understand, a unique, metaphysical romance begins. Fun fact: Joss Whedon is this film's screenwriter. Mark Feuerstein, Jennifer Grey, Nikki Reed and Steve Harris all co-star. -- Leigh Blickley
  • "Match" (dir. Stephen Belber)
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  • A Seattle couple (Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard) travels to New York to interview an eccentric former choreographer named Tobi (Patrick Stewart) for research on a dissertation about the dance landscape in 1960s New York City. But when questioning veers away from his career and becomes uncomfortably personal, the true motives of the couple's visit begins to emerge. -- L.B.
  • "Miss Meadows" (dir. Karen Leigh Hopkins)
    Tribeca
  • Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) is not everything she seems in this satirical comedy centered on a proper elementary school teacher who moonlights as a vigilante. Miss Meadows takes it upon herself to right the wrongs in this cruel world by whatever means necessary, but when she falls for the town sheriff, things get, well, complicated. James Badge Dale co-stars. -- L.B.
  • "Third Person" (dir. Paul Haggis)
    Tribeca
  • Three stories set in cities known for romance -- New York, Rome and Paris -- take raw and personal twists as characters grapple with the difficulties of modern relationships. The cast includes Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Olivia Wilde and Maria Bello. -- L.B.
  • "Palo Alto" (dir. Gia Coppola)
    Tribeca
  • Based on James Franco's "Palo Alto: Stories," several stories intertwine in this dark drama focused on a group of teens. April (Emma Roberts) is a levelheaded, intelligent young woman who finds herself attracted to introspective artist Teddy (Jack Kilmer), whose friend Fred's (Nat Wolff) destructive nihilism brings Teddy down with him. But when April's soccer coach (James Franco) comes onto her, the teen's world begins to spiral out of control. "Palo Alto" is the directorial debut for Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola. -- L.B.
  • "X/Y" (dir. Ryan Piers Williams)
    Tribeca
  • This character-driven drama centers around four friends -- Mark, Jen, Sylvia and Jake -- living in New York and the interactions they have with one another. America Ferrera, Melonie Diaz, Amber Tamblyn and Common all co-star. -- L.B.
  • "Every Secret Thing" (dir. Amy Berg)
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  • Documentarian Amy Berg (“West of Memphis”) embarks on her first feature film with a script from Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said,” “Friends with Money”). After a baby goes missing in a New York suburb, two young girls are locked away for seven years. When they get out, another child goes missing and the town’s secrets push to the fore. Dakota Fanning and Danielle Macdonald star as the newly freed young women, with Elizabeth Banks and Nate Parker on board as the police officers tending to the case. Matthew Jacobs
  • "Just Before I Go" (dir. Courteney Cox)
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  • In Courteney Cox’s directorial debut, a down-on-his-luck guy (Seann William Scott) returns to his hometown one last time before following through with his suicide plan. Upon arriving, he finds comfort in the fact that his old acquaintances’ lives aren’t in tip-top shape either. Originally titled "Hello I Must Be Going," Cox’s dramedy co-stars Olivia Thirlby, Kate Walsh and Michaela Watkins. -- M.J.
  • "Life Partners" (dir. Susanna Fogel)
    Tribeca
  • Codependent gal-pal tales are all the rage, and "Life Partners" is next in line to extend the trope set forth by "Frances Ha" and "Broad City." This time it’s Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs who star as the inseparable duo. One plays a straight character and another a lesbian, with their newfound conflict revolving around the man (Meester’s real-life husband Adam Brody) who comes between them. Gabourey Sidibe co-stars alongside "SNL" players Kate McKinnon and Abby Elliott. -- M.J.
  • "Loitering With Intent" (dir. Adam Rapp)
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  • Pulitzer Prize nominee Adam Rapp directed this dramedy about two aspiring screenwriters (Michael Godere and Ivan Martin, who also wrote the script) who meet an impasse when one’s loopy sister (Marisa Tomei) moves in as a respite from her boyfriend (Sam Rockwell). -- M.J.
  • "Love Is Strange" (dir. Ira Sachs)
    Tribeca
  • Ira Sachs ("Keep the Lights On") directs this sweet tale of Ben and George, (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina), an elderly gay couple who are finally able to marry legally following a decades-long relationship. But Ben is a Catholic-school choir instructor, and when the marriage leads to his termination, the couple must sell their apartment and move in with relatives (including a delightful Marisa Tomei) while hunting for a place to live. "Love is Strange" is a rich portrait of the thorny trajectories that love and family take. -- M.J.
  • "Lucky Them" (dir. Megan Griffiths)
    Tribeca
  • Toni Collette stars as a veteran music journalist who's tasked with tracking down her long-lost ex-boyfriend who was once a rock god. In a last-ditch effort to prove herself to her editor, she hits the road with an amateur documentarian (Thomas Hayden Church) to find her cloistered former flame. -- M.J.
  • "Boulevard" (dir. Dito Montiel)
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  • Robin Williams stars in the drama "Boulevard" as Nolan Mack, a bank employee and devoted husband whose life begins to unravel after one late-night drive. While aimlessly cruising down an unknown street, Nolan meets a troubled man and is forced to face his secret life. "Boulevard" also stars Bob Odenkirk ("Breaking Bad") and Kathy Baker. -- Erin Whitney
  • "Five Star" (dir. Keith Miller)
    Tribeca
  • From writer director Keith Miller -- whose previous film was the Slamdance Grand Jury Prize-winner "Welcome to Pine Hill" -- "Five Star" tells the story of two men in the midst of gang life. Blending fiction with reality, the film follows Primo, a member of the Bloods (in the film and in real life), who decides to teach John the ways of the streets. -- E.W.
  • "Glass Chin" (dir. Noah Buschel)
    Tribeca
  • In Noah Buschel's latest film, "Glass Chin," Bud is a man who will do anything to get his glory back. Played by Corey Stoll ("House of Cards"), Bud was once a revered boxing champ, but lost everything in one bad fight. He makes a deal with corrupt restaurateur J.J. (Billy Crudup) to turn his life around, only to be framed for murder. -- E.W.
  • "Mala Mala" (dirs. Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles)
    Tribeca
  • This documentary from Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles celebrates and explores the transgender community in Puerto Rico and their constant fight for acceptance. Making its world premiere at Tribeca, "Mala Mala" offers a look into the daily lives of sex workers, LGBTQ activists, business owners, and drag performers known as The Doll House. -- E.W.
  • "Regarding Susan Sontag" (dir. Nancy Kates)
    Tribeca
  • Susan Sontag was one of the most influential literary, feminist and political icons of her time and her work still resonates today. Nancy Kates' documentary, "Regarding Susan Sontag," gives a vast look at the life of the cultural critic, from her personal love life to her bold, brilliant writings on art and politics. -- E.W.
  • "Champs" (dir. Bert Marcus)
    Tribeca
  • Prior to catapulting to the top of boxing's elite class, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Bernard Hopkins managed to fight their way through the poverty stricken areas of America. Director Bert Marcus takes an introspective look at the three heavy hitters' professional careers and humble beginnings in this new documentary. -- B.W.
  • "Keep On Keepin' On" (dir. Alan Hicks)
    Tribeca
  • Playing alongside the likes of jazz greats Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones is a rare opportunity for any musician. For legendary trumpeter Clark Terry, however, playing amongst the trio is just one of the many accomplishments in his 70-plus-year career. And in recent years the 93-year-old has forged a special relationship with blind piano prodigy named Justin Kaulflin, a 23-year-old preparing for a competition in "Keep On Keepin' On." -- B.W.
  • "Untitled James Brown Documentary" (dir. Alex Gibney)
    Tribeca
  • James Brown's innovative music and electrifying stage presence has inspired legions of artists through the years. And as the world gears up for the highly anticipated release of Brown's biopic, "Get On Up," later this year, director Alex Gibney and legendary musician Mick Jagger are set to premiere their definitive documentary on the life and times of Soul Brother Number One. -- B.W.
  • "About Alex" (dir. Jesse Zwick)
    Tribeca
  • Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Nate Parker and Maggie Grace star in "About Alex," which has been described as a modern-day "The Big Chill." Jesse Zwick, whose father is Ed Zwick, directs. -- Christopher Rosen
  • "Alex Of Venice" (dir. Chris Messina)
    Tribeca
  • Here's one to keep an eye on: Chris Messina makes his directorial debut with "Alex of Venice," a comedy-drama about a couple going through a divorce. Messina, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Don Johnson and Derek Luke star. -- C.R.
  • "Goodbye To All That" (dir. Angus MacLachlan)
    Tribeca
  • Paul Schneider plays a recently divorced man getting back on his feet. The film's great supporting cast includes Anna Camp, Melanie Lynskey and Amy Sedaris. -- C.R.
  • "When The Garden Was Eden" (dir. Michael Rapaport)
    Tribeca
  • The Tribeca Film Festival has a reputation for debuting some great sports documentaries ("Catching Hell," "Knuckleball"), and this year is no different. Actor Michael Rapaport directs "When The Garden Was Eden," a look at the halcyon era for the New York Knicks. -- C.R.
  • "The One I Love" (dir. Charlie McDowell)
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  • The strangest romance of the year? Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass star as a married couple who go on a weekend retreat to save their marriage. Once at the secluded house they find ... well, the less you know about this one the better, but suffice it to say that things become bizarre and unexpected. Moss shines. -- C.R.
  • "Intramural" (dir. Andrew Disney)
    Tribeca
  • Fans of "Wet Hot American Summer" should take note of "Intramural," a future stoner comedy classic about an intramural flag-football team. Director Andrew Disney plays up the sports cliches, and the cast -- including "SNL" stars Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon -- do the rest. Pay attention to Jake Lacy, who is on the verge of becoming the next big thing. -- C.R.
  • "Chef" (dir. Jon Favreau)
    Tribeca
  • Jon Favreau returns to the world of indie filmmaking with "Chef," a drama-comedy about a successful chef (Favreau) who hits rock-bottom following a poor review. Favreau cast many of his big-name friends in the film, including Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara. -- C.R.
  • "Begin Again" (dir. John Carney)
    Tribeca
  • The closing night film at this year's Tribeca Film Festival is "Begin Again," a Weinstein Company release that first debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Mark Ruffalo stars as a down-on-his-luck record executive, Keira Knightley is a down-on-her-luck singer and Adam Levine (yep) is along for the ride too. -- C.R.

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