Published on April 20th, 2013 | by Greg0
Tribeca Film Fest: G.B.F And Rocket Amuse And Thrill
Today, we biked through the stunning Laos backdrop of karst mountains and enjoyed the manipulations and schemes of a high school world obsessed with finding the hot new accessory: the gay best friend. Though we’ve recommended and checked out several other films- see previous coverage and our preview of the 12th annual Tribeca Film Festival, being held right now in New York City- these are two of the best we’ve seen so far and with the widest appeal.
We’ll start with the lighter teen drama/comedy G.B.F, from the director (Darren Stein) of the excellent Jawbreaker. The synopsis is pretty simple- the bitter fight for supremacy between the three most popular girls at North Gateway High takes an unexpected turn when their classmate, Tanner, is outed and becomes the school’s first openly gay student. The trio races to bag the big trend in fashion accessories, the Gay Best Friend, while Tanner must decide whether his skyrocketing popularity is more important than the friendships he is leaving behind.
And though the movie might not grab you in the opening few minutes, the characters quickly win you over- especially true for actress Sasha Pieterse who stars as the proto-typical blonde cheerleader but with an unexpected depth that turns her from a caricature to an engrossing part of a film that actually has you guessing in a few spots. There’s plenty of laughs, whether at the snappy dialogue filled with the acronyms of the youth today, or the overly-supportive mother who touchingly puts on “Brokeback Mountain” and tries to awkwardly chat over the more suggestive scenes. It’s a sort of film that often falls a bit flat in the third act, where the ends are often tied up too nicely, or things happen to fit the narrative. Here, pretty much every scene feels well-reasoned if not totally organic, and it’s a solidly-written and engaging film that will rope in any fan of “Mean Girls” or other high school comedies. Showing two more times, next Friday at 10PM and next Sunday at 4.
Gorgeously-filmed and surprisingly great, we strongly recommend Rocket. From the absurdly good casting and acting to the wonderful characters, there is really something for just about everyone. In Lao with English subtitles, this is sort of a more upbeat and exotic “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, with a touch of the fantastic and a lighter heart. Though the synopsis might sound a bit depressing, the film is anything but. Rocket “tells the story of scrappy ten-year-old Ahlo, who yearns to break free from his ill-fated destiny. After his village is displaced to make way for a massive dam, Ahlo escapes with his father and grandmother through the Laotian outback in search of a new home. Along the way, they come across a rocket festival that offers a lucrative—but dangerous—chance for a new beginning. With the help of his new friend Kia and her eccentric, James Brown-loving uncle, Ahlo sets out to build his own rocket, enter the contest and prove his worth to his family. “
It’s a film that hits all of the right notes- with no weak spots and plenty of memorable moments. Director Kim Mordaunt and her Australian team have put together a film with soul. Showtimes are Monday at 11:30AM and again at 8:30PM on Wednesday, and we definitely suggest checking it out!