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What to see during the last weekend of the Tribeca Film Festival

It's the fest's last weekend, but you can still see a high-rise apartment fall apart and James Franco making gay porn.

High-RiseKing CobraThe Last LaughMadlyNational Birdthe TicketAll This PanicAlways ShineBurdenCommand and ControlDo Not ResistThe PhenomShadow World

‘High-Rise’
A 10-course buffet of insanity, this take on J.G. Ballard’s thought-to-be-unfilmable 1975 novel proves it's pretty filmable, drinking in the sights and sounds of a London high-rise apartment building as its inhabitants turn beautifully feral. Tom Hiddleston is the well-dressed center of the storm, struggling to keep cool as a star-studded cast of neighbors take up orgies and beatings and tribalism. Director Ben Wheatley (“Sightseers”) isn’t so interested in the class aspect of Ballard’s tome, but he makes up for that with a neverending parade of crazed images and his own brand of coal-black humor. Fri., 3 p.m. Bow Ties Cinemas Chelsea

RELATED: 12 films to see at the Tribeca Film Festival

'King Cobra'
Movies about gay porn starring or made by James Franco could be a Netflix category by now, but if you must watch one, watch this. Alternately campy and deeply felt, it relates the true-life tale of a strapping, smirking aspiring star (Garrett Clayton, of “Teen Beach” fame) who would up at the center of a crazy murder case. Franco is very game as a low-level porn director, but it’s Christian Slater who really surprises, playing a rival entrepreneur with deep reservoirs of regret. If this and “Nymphomaniac” are to be believed, the onetime Jack Nicholson knockoff artist is aging really well. Fri., 8:30 p.m. SVA Theater, Sun., 9:30 p.m. Bow Ties Cinemas Chelsea

‘The Last Laugh’
A serious movie about comedy, this doc soberly examines the positive side of gallows humor, plus the times it’s negative and misjudged. The focus is the Jewish penchant for jokes about deeply unfunny subjects, from Mel Brooks putting Hitler on Broadway in “The Producers” to Joan Rivers’ infamous 2013 one-liner connecting Heidi Klum to Auschwitz. For a movie with a lot of sickeningly hilarious quips, this is a disarmingly straight-faced affair, not even busting out a jaunty musical score against talking heads like Gilbert Gottfried, Sarah Silverman and a sometimes humorless member of the Anti-Defamation League. It’s still gut-busting. Sun., 6:15 p.m. Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea

'Madly'
Anthology films are crapshoots, usually a succession of mediocrities (or worse) with a diamond here and there. This one, on the subject of love, has two diamonds, which ain’t bad. Japan’s bad boy Sion Sono coats the screen in one helluva orgy, as you’d expect if you’ve seen his relentlessly nutso four-hour instant classic “Love Exposure.” Mia Wasikowska reveals she’s as strong a visual stylist as an actor, looking at the skittish love between a newborn and her seriously freaked young mother. The other four minis, by the likes of Gael Garcia Bernal and Natasha Khan, aren’t without their pleasures, but they’re time-killers before the biggies. Sat., 12:45 p.m. Regal Cinemas Battery Park

‘National Bird’
Drone movies: Collect them all! Flipness aside, it’s a testament to the thorniness of the issue that a small but growing cottage industry has arisen around it, with films that only have a touch of overlap. Even more outraged than "Eye in the Sky" and "Good Kill," “National Bird” sits down with former pilots who had no idea what they were getting into and are now racked with guilt. One suffers from PTSD; another heads abroad to meet with families of innocents killed in the crossfire. Fri., 5:30 p.m. Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea

‘The Ticket’
Beautiful if a little too basic, Ido Fluk’s mood piece kicks off its first few minutes with a series of abstract blurs. Its hero (Dan Stevens) is blind, and when he inexplicably regains his sight, the movie becomes all about the act of looking. Fluk shoots most of his scenes in single long takes that stare fixedly at its photogenic and magnetic star, as though cuts would be a crime. The story itself veers a little too close to pat and even alarmist: Stevens’ James finds himself easily tempted by the superficial, even ditching his family (including an excellent Malin Akerman) for a hottie colleague (Kerry Bishe). But though it threatens to collapse into a mere parable, “The Ticket” keeps enough messiness to make it more than a meticulously designed visual feast. Sat., 6 p.m., Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea

‘All This Panic’
You might think you know what to expect from an intimate look at New York teens. But instead of being alarmist (like “Kids”) or reductive (like “American Teen”), Jenny Gage's doc is empathetic and even thrilling. The subjects are several high school girls perched in that in-between spot as angst dissolves and young adult life awaits. Eschewing talking heads and “Real World” confessionals, Gage shoots them expressionistically, as though their lives are a dream that will soon be spoiled by responsibilities and disappointments. They’re still figuring themselves out, and the world — not just NYC — seems boundless. Fri., 7:30 p.m. and Sat., 1:30 p.m., Regal Cinemas Battery Park

‘Always Shine’
First Alex Ross Perry, now Sophia Takal — both filmmakers started with scruffy no-budgeters and have now graduated to art-thrillers on slightly less tiny budgets. Like Perry’s “Queen of Earth,” Takal’s “Always Shine” milks high tension out of very little. Following two estranged friends (Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald) as they struggle to reconnect over a Big Sur getaway, it uses precise long takes and a jittery score to chart their crumbling relationship, which isn’t helped by both being competitive struggling actors. But even when things turn Lynchian, it never loses sight of its astutely observed prickly interpersonal dynamics, not to mention two peerless performances. Sat., 2:45 p.m., Regal Cinemas Battery Park

‘Burden’
He had himself shot with a rifle for an art piece, he nailed himself to a Volkswagen and he once tried to explain all this to Regis Philbin. But, as this revelatory documentary shows us, even someone as volatile as Chris Burden eventually can chill out. An architect who reimagined himself as an attention-grabbing performance artist, Burden, who died last year, spent the 1970s shocking people and even scoring a shout-out on David Bowie’s “Joe the Lion.” But as he got older his work became more inclusive, while still being confrontational and angry. He didn’t sell out; he just became, it could be argued, more subversive. Fri., 8:45 p.m. Regal Cinemas Battery Park

‘Command and Control’
Eric Schlosser’s terrifying 2013 expose of nuclear weapons becomes a terrifying documentary, zeroing in on one near-mega-catastrophe: a 1980 incident in which old and easily set-off arms almost bloomed into a mushroom cloud in Arkansas. It’s a “Strangelove”ian dark comedy in which a series of minor mishaps almost destroyed part of the world, and a fun reminder of how the sins of the foolish fathers may doom us all in amusingly unpredictable ways.Fri., 3:45 p.m. Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea

‘Do Not Resist’
An activist doc that’s as formally exciting as it is blood-curdling, this study of the growing militarization of the police doesn’t need to lecture us to get under our skin. Starting with hair-raising footage from Ferguson, director Craig Atkinson patiently tracks through a new problem that’s already well out of control, with localized police forces cheerfully taking federal money and military do-hickeys to combat the citizens it should be protecting, not attacking. The issue reaches its darkly comic apex with no less than Rand Paul asking why small town police forces have added bayonets (!!) to their arsenals. Fri., 6:30 p.m. Regal Cinemas Battery Park

‘The Phenom’
The indie filmmaker Noah Buschel (“Glass Chin”) makes tiny and precise dramas that use a minimum of shots to say loads. His latest is a baseball saga about a struggling young pitcher (Johnny Simmons) wrestling with the influence of his emotionally abusive father (Ethan Hawke). But it’s downright minimalist and heavy on digressions and sarcastic exchanges. Not even the subplot in which our hero chats with a paternal psychologist (Paul Giamatti) never even threatens to devolve into “Good Will Hunting.” Like its characters, it’s defiantly and enjoyably eccentric. Fri., 3:45 p.m. Regal Cinemas Battery Park

‘Shadow World’
As you can probably tell, Tribeca is a gold mine of hair-raising and darkly comic non-fiction looks at awful situations that long ago took on a destructive life of their own. Here’s another. Director Johan Grimonprez examines the genesis of the arms industry and the way it mutated into the indestructible hydra it is today. Journalists like Jeremy Scahill and Chris Hedges are on tap to point out that we now live in a constant state of war, while archival footage shows Cheney and Rumsfeld smiling as they plant the seeds. Enjoy! Sat., 6:30 p.m., Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Visit the Tribeca Film Festival site for more screenings and events.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 

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