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Tribeca Film Festival: 9 Buzziest Titles From Jenny Slate to Jeffrey Dahmer

Variety logo Variety 4/19/2017 Brent Lang
© Provided by Variety

In its 16th year, Tribeca has become the Duane Reade of film festivals. There’s something for everyone, but you can’t always find the right aisle. As the Manhattan gathering has expanded into TV and virtual reality, with panels featuring the likes of Barbra Streisand and Kobe Bryant, it’s still most closely associated with a sprawling lineup of indie films. Here are nine titles that, at least on paper, look the most promising.

(1) “Flower”

Zoey Deutch, resident “it girl” and Lea Thompson offspring, stars as a sexually promiscuous teenager who takes her psychologically damaged stepbrother under her wing with disastrous consequences. The pitch-black drama could be a hot sales title at the market given Deutch’s rabid social media following and a supporting cast that includes Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn. Max Winkler, son of Henry “The Fonz” Winkler, directs.

(2) “The Trip to Spain”

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s gastronomic globe-trotting continues in the third installment of Michael Winterbottom’s comic portrait of two competitive actors’ culinary adventures. Having toured England and Italy’s finest restaurants, the acerbic duo take a jaunt along the coast of Spain as part of an all-expenses paid excursion to the country’s finest restaurants. Come for the food porn, stay for the dueling Michael Caine impressions.

(3) “Get Me Roger Stone”

The legendary dirty trickster takes center stage in this Netflix documentary. Stone, a Svengali of sorts to Donald Trump, who engaged in mud slinging with the likes of Richard Nixon and Lee Atwater, is back in the news for his alleged ties to Russian election hackers. With his taste for bespoke suits and conspiracy theories, Stone is certainly a larger-than-life figure, one who never shies away from the klieg lights. Film festivals don’t tend to be filled with Trump supporters, and Stone, who is expected to attend the premiere, will be heading into the lion’s den. Expect fireworks.

(4) “Aardvark”

While the premise sounds familiar, reminiscent of the Meryl Streep dud “Prime,” about a therapist who falls in love with the relative of one of her patients, the early word of mouth is upbeat on this comedy. And it boasts Tribeca’s most star-studded cast, headlined by Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto and Jon Hamm.

(5) “My Friend Dahmer”

Think “Portrait of The Serial Killer as a Young Man.” The adaptation of a cult graphic novel of the same name by Derf (a high school classmate of Jeffrey Dahmer) takes place before Dahmer went on a murderous rampage that left 17 people dead. As Dahmer, a shy, deeply troubled teen with thick glasses and a mop of hair, Ross Lynch is nothing short of chilling. It’s a breakout performance that’s a dramatic change of pace from his Disney Channel roots.

(6) “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives”

Tribeca has had a dismal track record recently with its opening night movies — nobody outside of the festival ever heard again of such docs as “Nas: Time is Illmatic” or “Live From New York!,” a rehash of “SNL” cast memories. Could this year’s feature about the music mogul behind Aretha, Whitney and Alicia finally break that curse? (Let’s hope it at least touches on his feud with Kelly Clarkson.)

(7) “Gilbert”

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is best known for that grating, nails on chalkboard squawk and for pushing the envelope with outrageous standup routines. This documentary gets unfettered access to the jokester, making the case that he belongs alongside the likes of Joan Rivers and Dave Chappelle in the pantheon of humorists.

(8) “The Clapper”

A comedy set in the world of infomercials. The cast’s the thing with Tracy Morgan, Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, Leah Remini, and Adam Levine filling out the top-shelf ensemble. Also of note: it marks one of the final onscreen appearances of Alan Thicke, the “Growing Pains” star who died last December.

(9) “Hondros”

This documentary about war photographer Chris Hondros is produced by Jake Gyllenhaal. Hondros risked everything to bring back haunting images from the frontline of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, where he ultimately died in an explosion. The non-fiction film is drawing interest from buyers, as documentaries — particularly ones about hot-button social issues — continue to fly off festival shelves.

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