Tribeca Film Festival: Day Six

Lucy Liu the vamp, Sarah Michelle Gellar the pop star and what to do in the event of choking.

by Amber Wilkinson

Having been somewhat disappointed by Unearthed and Mulberry Street in the horror/thriller department, I'm pleased to report that Rise: Blood Hunter is a good addition to the genre. Lucy Liu stars as reporter Sadie Blake, who finds herself on the lunch menu of the local vampire sect, after which she becomes one of them and sets about hunting them down with a view to wiping them off the face before they 'convert' more people. Torn between the need to feed and self-revulsion, Sadie's character is particularly well fleshed out (no pun intended) for a film of this sort. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Michael Chiklis, whose many talents are again wasted on a character he could play in his sleep. There isn't anything new here in terms of plotting - think Blade with bosoms - but there is a decent level of tension maintained throughout and a character to care about. I would have thought it deserved a flutter at the box office.

Also likely to get a release at some point is the second Sarah Michelle Gellar outing of the week - an ensemble film, The Air I Breathe which also stars Forest Whitaker, Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia and Kevin Bacon, which should make playing Six Degrees of KB (see wikipedia for details) even easier in future.

The film is based on a Chinese proverb which believes all of life can be broken down into three concepts: love, sorrow, pleasure and happiness. Director Jieho Lee neatly interlinks three stories, one concerning a man who gets into gambling debt he can't pay off, a second involving a gangster's heavy with second sight and a third concerning Sarah Michelle Gellar as a pop pixie in peril. Initially, too full of Confucianisms for it's own good, the film settles down and finds its best rhythm in the second segment. The exploration of the ambivilance of emotions is clever and the lid stays firmly on the sugar jar. It is the story's neatness, however, that is almost its own undoing, with the desire to wrap things up a little too neatly resulting in an overwrought denoument. Still, any film that allows Gellar to do more than just run around looking frightened should be welcomed.

On the subject of the air that we breathe, I'm becoming increasingly intrigued by the posters in bars all over New York telling you how to cope with a choking hazard. Apparently, there is a "universal choking sign" - that will be someone grabbing at their throat, then - but reading on things become much more fun. If you think someone is choking, you should, apparently, ask "Are you choking?". One wonders what the response to this should be, presumably a spluttering noise from your co-diner. What if they don't respond at all? Does this mean people will wait until they keel over blue in the face before administering Heimlich? Better not to think about it, I suppose.

Also better not to think about, but equally compelling was the headline on page 11 of the New York Post: "He's got spunk in his trunk". The mind boggles. Although not being quite the porn story the headline suggests, the details are fun nonetheless. And I'm not making this up. An armless, one-legged man has been suspended from driving 18 times. He has also been done for kicking a cop with his good leg - twice - and headbutting his wife. Marvellous.

Also, I know I've been distinctly quiet on the subject of Spidey. I confess I didn't go to the red - sorry, black - carpet but it seems plenty of other people did, with James Franco, who plays Harry Osbourne in the film, telling MTV: "This is, I think, the biggest turnout we have had all over the world!"

James Franco is pretty busy this week, since he also stars in and directs Good Time Max, more of which tomorrow.

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