The Reel Breakdown

Val Kilmer bikes on the wild side plus other edgy films at the 2012 Tribeca Film Fest

The Reel Breakdown

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Photo by Danilo Parra

Val Kilmer wouldn't be my first choice for career or spiritual advice, given the fascinating train wreck that has been his career to date. Yet in a segment by director Harmony Korine of the edgy omnibus flick "The Fourth Dimension" (premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival), Kilmer plays a bike-riding, Bermuda-shorts wearing, roller-rink preaching motivational speaker named, yes, Val Kilmer. It's the sort of role that promises to unlock some of Kilmer's bizarro must-see maniacal performance potential.

A combination of pretty-boy looks and acting chops put Kilmer on the A-list alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. He played Batman in "Batman Forever," Jim Morrison of "The Doors," and Cruise's rival in "Top Gun." But stardom weighed heavily, and the Juilliard-trained actor eventually got rich, bought a ranch, gained weight, and seemed to be going the way of his hallucinogenic "The Island of Dr. Moreau" co-star Marlon Brando. Recently, he returned to the headlines with a one-man show of Mark Twain (a role he plans to reprise in a self-directed film).

Still, Kilmer has had his career highs. I would be even less likely to turn to Kilmer's director Korine for words of wisdom. This is a guy, after all, who once had the idea to film himself picking fist fights with stranger until he was hospitalized for his efforts. Yet he said that writing Kilmer's motivational speeches was easy. "I always thought that would be a great job," said Korine. "The advice given in the monologue ... was all advice my father had given me."According to the trailer, which you can see below, you can hear some of that advice, like such bon mots as "As I'm saying this, forget I'm saying it. But then do it."

Korine also said to keep an eye out for cotton candy, which plays a significant symbolic role. "It's very easy to get stuck in it."

[Related: The must-see movies of 2012 Tribeca]

"Fourth Dimension" is just one of the freakier films floating around between the mainstream bookends of "The Five-Year Engagement" and "The Avengers" at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. For a few of the fringier films, check out:

"Jackpot": If you are hooked on "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," you'll love the wave of film adaptations of Edgar-award winning Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo coming your way.  In this darkly comic thriller, a man awakens in a strip club, clutching a shotgun and surrounded by eight corpses — and a detective. How did he get there? Think "The Hangover," but as a Scandinavian thriller.

"First Winter": Who doesn't love a good hipster comeuppance movie? In this low-budget thriller, a bunch of groovy Brooklynites head to upstate New York for some fun in the wild — only to face their inner demons when a blackout tests their survival skills. Benjamin Dickinson's debut puts a new twist on the cabin-in-the-woods horror genre, coming up with a sex, drugs, and frostbite thriller. Can't we all just get along? In a winter that would have challenged the Donner Party, obviously not.

[Related: Will 'The Avengers' assemble again for a last-minute scene?]

"Eddie — The Sleepwalking Cannibal": You know the drill — you move into a new town, try to assimilate, find a local bar, and make a few friends. So what does Lars (Thure LIndhardt) ex-art darling turned yokel teacher in Koda Lake, Canada, do when he discovers that his new best pal, Eddie (Dylan Smith), has some weird nocturnal habits? His unexpected discovery of inspiration is at the heart of this darkly comic North American premiere.

"Trishna": Favorite British director Michael Winterbottom ("The Trip," "A Mighty Heart") makes a daring creative leap when he transplants the BritLit classic "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" to India, where a rich bachelor (rising star Riz Ahmed) seduces a poor beauty (Frieda Pinto) with tragic consequences. The contemporary East Asian setting echoes Thomas Hardy's theme of the clash between traditional and modern values, while creating a vibrant star vehicle for "Slumdog Millionaire" beauty Pinto.

"Mansome": He's been "Supersized," and now Morgan Spurlock is getting groomed and clipped and polished in his latest self-obsessive documentary about the nature of American masculinity in the era of the metrosexual. Participants include Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis: man-crush, any one?

The Tribeca Film Festival, which opens today with "The Five-Year Engagement," runs through Sunday. April 29.

See the trailer for 'The Fourth Dimension':

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