New films starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Aubrey Plaza, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson —and not one, but two movies featuring James Franco — round out the lineup of 2014’s Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 16th to the 27th in New York City.
Marquee names dot this year’s Spotlight section, with Jon Favreau’s Chef, a comedy about a beleaguered chef who has a public meltdown and decides to take his cuisine on the road, featuring a cast that includes Downey Jr., Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Amy Sedaris, John Leguizamo and Favreau himself. Meanwhile, Paul Haggis’ Third Person, the director’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning Crash, boasts an equally impressive ensemble cast of heavy hitters: Neeson, Wilde, Franco, Adrien Brody, Mila Kunis and Maria Bello.
Franco in particular will be having a good year at the festival: In addition to co-starring in Haggis’ multi-narrative drama about three different romances in New York, Rome and Paris, the writer-director-actor will also star in Palo Alto, an adaptation of his collection of short stories directed by Gia Coppola (as in Francis Ford Coppola’s granddaughter).
Some of the other big titles include Ira Sachs’ recent Sundance favorite Love Is Strange, starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a longtime couple facing eviction from their apartment; About Alex, described as “a Big Chill for our current social media moment” starring Aubrey Plaza, New Girl‘s Max Greenfield and Jason Ritter; Boulevard, Dito Montiel’s story of a bank clerk whose life is turned upside down by a troubled youth and starring Robin Williams; Every Secret Thing, written by Enough Said‘s Nicole Holofcener and dealing with a community rocked by a series of missing children cases, starring Elizabeth Banks, Diane Lane and Dakota Fanning; and In Your Eyes, a “metaphysical romance” written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Avengers’ braintrust Joss Whedon.
A slew of impressive music documentaries also join the roster: In addition to the previously announced Opening Night Selection of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary about Nas’ landmark debut album Illmatic, the festival will host the world premieres of The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir, a look at the life and times of Grateful Dead’s singer-guitarist Bob Weir; Super Duper Alice Cooper, a portrait of both the “man behind the makeup” (birth name: Vincent Furnier) and his legendary shock-rocker persona; and Keep On Keepin’ On, about the friendship between 89-year-old jazz trumpeter Clark Terry and 23-year-old blind pianist Justin Kauflin.
The festival will also host a Midnight selection, an interactive transmedia sidebar called Storyscapes, two World Cinema competition selections (Narrative and Documentary), and a number of special screenings. “Many films feature real-life personalities who’ve accomplished extraordinary feats,” said the Festival’s Director of Programming Genna Terranova. “While in other films, we see personal relationships at pivotal moments of transition. We look forward to sharing these engaging stories with audiences.”