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Tribeca: The people’s film fest

Film festivals aren’t reserved just for the obnoxiously tasteful and opinionated intellectuals of this city. This year, the Tribeca Film Festival would like to extend its reach to the rest of us.

Film festivals aren’t reserved just for the well-heeled, obnoxiously tasteful and opinionated intellectuals of this city. This year, the Tribeca Film Festival would like to extend its reach to the rest of us who would be endlessly entertained by a live rendition of “Crocodile Rock,” a bunch of well-loved Muppets, street kebabs and some 1980s movie musical action.

The opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival is a notoriously difficult event to get into, but this year, the founders decided to thank its home city by opening up tonight’s event to the public. Wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis (with a limit of two per person) today at 4 p.m. at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (199 Chambers St.) for a screening of Cameron Crowe’s new documentary, “The Union,” about the collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell. The screening will start at 8:15 p.m. at the World Financial Center, followed by a live performance by Sir Elton John himself. Not too shabby, Tribeca.

Top picks

‘The Trip’
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play them­­selves taking a trip through the English countryside after Coogan’s girlfriend bails. The largely improvised comedy is part road-movie, part buddy-comedy, and already garnering thumbs up from many critics.

‘Jesus Henry Christ’
Family comedy “Jesus Henry Christ” boasts top talent onscreen and off — Julia Roberts serves as producer, while Toni Collette stars a feminist single mother who conceived her brilliant son in a petri dish. At the age of 10, he decides to find his biological father, following a string of Post-It notes to a university professor (Michael Sheen).

‘The Bully Project’
The strongest offerings at TFF this year are largely part of the documentary competition. “The Bully Project” picks up on one of 2010’s hottest news stories by exploring the epidemic of bullying in American schools. Filmmaker Lee Hirsch follows a few young victims over the course of one heart-breaking, yet inspirational year.

Tribeca on demand

Those outside the city (or Manhattanites who prefer to stay at home this rainy spring) have just as much opportunity to be a part of the festivities. Starting today, a selection TFF films will be available via video-on-demand, as well as streaming online (go to www.tribecafilm.com/tribecaonline for info on how to watch on the Web). Below are on-demand highlights available via cable.

‘The Bang Bang Club’
“The Bang Bang Club” (starring Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman and Taylor Kitsch) tells the true story of renegade photographers capturing the first free elections in post-apartheid South Africa in 1993.

‘Last Night’
Pretty people can be unhappy, too, as is evidenced by this tale of a married couple that struggles with the temptations of infidelity. Sam Worth­ington and Keira Knightley star alongside Eva Mendes as a seductive co-worker.

‘NEDS’
Ned isn’t just a nickname for Edward in Scotland, where it is more commonly known to stand for “non-educated delin­quents.” The feature film tells the tale of a well-intentioned boy drawn into the pressures of this wayward group of kids in a working-class town.

‘The Bleeding House’
This creepy thriller shows what happens when an average family is confronted by a preacher who claims he was stranded down the road. His strange “healing” methods reveal the dark secrets that the family hoped to leave behind.


For more on films, the entertainment industry and her blog, Orange Fingers, follow Heidi Patalano on Twitter at @HeidiatMetro.


 
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