The Best and Worst Movies of the Tribeca Film Festival

Capsule reviews of 20 narrative highlights and lowlights, including "Rock’n Roll," "The Lovers," and "Abundant Acreage Available."

As we mentioned earlier today, sometimes the safest bets at Tribeca are the documentaries, and navigating the narrative slate can get a little tricky. But if you’re willing to take some chances among those titles, you’ll often find richly rewarding experiments in independent cinema, and gutsy actors taking thrilling risks.


GO TO THE MOVIES AND SEE THE WORLD
In which I went to contemporary Spain and medieval Ireland without leaving downtown Manhattan.

The Trip to Spain

After 2014’s The Trip to Italy, it looked like director Michael Winterbottom and writer/stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon could’ve spun this series out indefinitely – taking all the eating/joking/confessing trips they wanted to as many countries as they could imagine. I’m not quite as sure the formula is durable as that after the third outing; the seams show a bit, and there’s occasionally a feeling of obligation rather than inspiration. But those moments are fleeting, and this is, for the most part, a jaunty, funny, entertaining personal and geographical journey, brushing up against moments of truth that can sting. And, yes, they do the Michael Caine bit. (Full review here.)

Pilgrimage

Well, here’s a grim little item, in which a group of Irish monks are sent to accompany their ancient relic’s delivery to the Pope, only to have it stolen by bloodthirsty invaders. It takes a while to get going, establishing its mood and the coming-of-age story at it center (Tom Holland, your next Spider-Man, is the young monk who’s never left the monastery) at a deliberate pace. But director Brendan McDowney’s found his bearings by the time they lose the relic in a grimy, bloody, scary ambush in the woods, and tees up the subsequent moral dilemmas and fights-to-the-death with a combination of emotional intelligence and gory glee.