August 2017

Rebel in the Rye

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Directed by: Danny Strong

Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Zoey Deutch, Kevin Spacey, and Sarah Paulson

Synopsis: The world of legendary writer J. D. Salinger is brought vividly to life in this revealing look at the experiences that shaped one of the most renowned, controversial, and enigmatic authors of our time. Set amidst the colorful backdrop of mid-20th century New York City, Rebel in the Rye follows a young Salinger (Nicholas Hoult) as he struggles to find his voice, pursues a love affair with famed socialite Oona O’Neill (Zoey Deutch), and fights on the frontlines of World War II. It’s these experiences that will inform the creation of his masterpiece, The Catcher in the Rye, bringing him overnight fame (and notoriety) and leading him to withdraw from the public eye for the rest of his life. Costarring Kevin Spacey and Sarah Paulson, Rebel in the Rye offers a tantalizing window into the life and times of a little-understood genius who broke the rules and redefined American literature.

August 2017

Pushing Dead

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Directed by: Tom E Howard

Cast: Robin Weigert ("Deadwood", "The Sessions", Things We Lost In The Fire), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, Saw), James Roday ("Psych"), Khandi Alexander ("CSI Miami")

Official Selection – San Diego Film Festival, Austin Film Festival and Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Synopsis:  A comedy. When a struggling writer—HIV-positive for 20+ years—ill-advisedly deposits a $100 birthday check, he is dropped from his health plan for earning too much. In this new era of sort-of universal care, his only options are long shots: take on a helpless bureaucracy, or come up with $3000 a month to buy his medication.

July 2017

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Ingrid Goes West

 

Directed by: Matt Spicer

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, Wyatt Russell, Pom Klementieff and O'Shea Jackson Jr

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing likes for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is an Instagram-famous influencer whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid's latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star's life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF. Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance) is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be.

 

July 2017

Wind River

Written & Directed by: Taylor Sheridan

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal, Gil Birmingham and Julia Jones.

WIND RIVER is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American Reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death. 

WIND RIVER premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

June 2017

The Exception

Directed by: David Leveaux

Cast: Lily James, Jai Courtney, Janet McTeer, and Christopher Plummer

A riveting World War II thriller that is filled with espionage and romance in equal measure, The Exception follows German soldier Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) as he goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer). The Kaiser lives in a secluded mansion in The Netherlands, and as Germany is taking over Holland, the country’s authorities are concerned that Dutch spies may be watching the Kaiser.   As Brandt begins to infiltrate the Kaiser’s life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with Mieke (Lily James), one of the Kaiser’s maids whom Brandt soon discovers is secretly Jewish.

When Heinrich Himmler (Eddie Marsan), Head of the SS, decides to come for an unexpected visit with a large platoon of Nazis in tow, the stage is set for a breathtaking showdown, as secrets are revealed, allegiances are tested, and Brandt is forced to make the ultimate choice between honoring his country and following his heart.

June 2017

The Big Sick

Directed by: Michael Showalter

Cast: Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Kumail Nanjiani, Matty Cardarople

Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail, who connects with grad student Emily after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents.

May 2017

Churchill

Directed by: Jonathan Teplitzky

Cast: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, James Purefoy, Ella Purnell, Julian Wadham

Synopsis:  Tensions mount for the beleaguered British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Brian Cox) in the days leading up to infamous Allied D-Day landings in Normandy, France in June, 1944. Fearful of repeating his deadly mistakes from World War I in the Battle of Gallipoli, exhausted by years of war, plagued by depression and obsessed with his historical destiny, Churchill is reluctant to embark on the large-scale campaign, one that the entire war effort hinges upon. Clashing with his Allied political opponents U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower (John Slattery) and British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (Julian Wadham), the troubled Churchill receives support and devotion from his wife, the brilliant and unflappable Clementine Churchill (Miranda Richardson). With her strength and shrewdness, "Clemmie" halts Winston's physical, mental spiritual collapse and inspires him on to greatness.

May 2017

The Wedding Plan

Directed by: Rama Burshtein

Cast: Noa Koler, Amos Tamam, Oz Zehavi

Michal is 32 years old. She became religious 12 years ago, and only now is she getting married. A month before the wedding, while checking out the catering for the event, the groom has a change of heart and the wedding is called off. Michal feels she's unable to go back to ordinary life, to the usual course of matchmaking. She feels this is the moment to change something very basic in her personality: the simple belief that God is good and sweet - that He wants to give and is only waiting for her to wish it. Michal goes on a month-long journey up to the planned wedding day: "I have the venue, the dress, the apartment; God can easily come up with my groom."

 

April 2017

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Phoenix Film Festival

Membership into the Phoenix Film Society also gets you a pass to the Phoenix Film Festival depending on your level. Some members enjoyed 4 different films as part of their membership, while others went to as many films as they could over the 8 day event.

Thank you for being a member of the Phoenix Film Society!

March 2017

Going in Style

Directed by: Zach Braff, Theodore Melfi

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margret, Joey King, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, John Ortiz, Peter Serafinowicz

Lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Al, decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty. Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.

March 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife

Directed by: Niki Caro

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, Iddo Goldberg, Michael McElhatton, Anna Rust, Johan Heldenbergh, Goran Kostic, Shira Haas, Efrat Dor

The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Zabinski and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski, have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are stunned - and forced to report to the Reich's newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck. To fight back on their own terms, the Zabinskis covertly begin working with the Resistance - and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and her family at great risk.

March 2017

Brave New Jersey

Directed by: Jody Lambert

Cast: Tony Hale, Heather Burns, Anna Camp, Dan Bakkedahl, Sam Jaeger, Raymond J. Barry,

A comedy about a small town on the night of Orson Welless legendary, 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio hoax, which terrified millions into believing Martians were invading America.  As the citizens of Lullaby, NJ face what they think is their last night on Earth, their lives will change forever.  An alien invasion movie where the aliens never show up.

February 2017

The Sense of an Ending

Directed by: Ritesh Batra

Starring: Michelle Dockery, Freya Mavor, Emily Mortimer, Charlotte Rampling, Jim Broadbent and Harriet Walter

Tony Webster leads a reclusive and quiet existence until long buried secrets from his past force him to face the flawed recollections of his younger self, the truth about his first love and the devastating consequences of decisions made a lifetime ago.

February 2017

A United Kingdom

Directed by: Amma Asante

Starring: David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike

A UNITED KINGDOM is the true story of the forbidden love of King Seretse Khama of Botswana (David Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a white woman from London, which caused an international uproar when they decided to marry in the late 1940s just as apartheid was being introduced into South Africa.  It was a decision that altered the course of African history.

January 2017

The Space Between Us

Directed by: Peter Chelsom

Starring: Britt Robertson, Carla Gugino, Gary Oldman and Asa Butterfield

In this interplanetary adventure, shortly after arriving to help colonize Mars, an astronaut dies while giving birth to the first human born on the red planet. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot - an inquisitive, highly intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in his very unconventional upbringing. While searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he's never known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl named Tulsa. When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth, Gardner is eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about on Mars. But after his explorations begin, scientists discover that Gardner's organs can't withstand Earth's atmosphere. Gardner joins with Tulsa on a race against time to unravel the mysteries of how he came to be, and where he belongs in the universe.

January 2017

20th Century Women

Directed by: Mike Mills

Starring: Elle Fanning, Alia Shawkat, Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, Annette Bening

With 20th Century Women, acclaimed filmmaker Mike Mills brings us a richly multilayered, funny, heart-stirring celebration of the complexities of women, family, time, and the connections we search for our whole lives. It is a film that keeps redefining itself as it goes along, shifting with its characters as they navigate the pivotal summer of 1979.

 

January 2017

To celebrate the release of Mike Mills' new film 20th Century Women, The Phoenix Film Society is presenting a retro screening of Beginners, Mills's Oscar winning film from 2010 starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.

Beginners

Director: Mike Mills

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent 

When it comes to relationships, we’re all beginners. From writer/director Mike Mills comes Beginners, a comedy/drama about how deeply funny and transformative life can be, even at its most serious moments.

Beginners imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Golden Globe Award nominee Ewan McGregor). Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna (Mélanie Laurent of Inglourious Basterds) only months after his father Hal Fields (Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer) has passed away.

This new love floods Oliver with memories of his father, who, following the death of his wife of 45 years, came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life – which included a younger boyfriend, Andy (Goran Visnjic of ER). The upheavals of Hal’s new honesty, by turns funny and moving, brought father and son closer than they’d ever been able to be. Now Oliver endeavors to love Anna with all the bravery, humor, and hope that his father taught him.

At once deeply personal and universal, Beginners was inspired by Mike Mills’ own father and is meant in turn to inspire everyone weighing their chances and choices in life and love.

December 2016

Paterson

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani and Helen-Jean Arthur

Synopsis: Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey - they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer. He goes home to his wife, Laura. By contrast, Laura's world is ever changing. New dreams come to her almost daily, each a different and inspired project. Paterson loves Laura and she loves him. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his secret gift for poetry. The history and energy of the City of Paterson is a felt presence in the film and its simple structure unfolds over the course of a single week. The quiet triumphs and defeats of daily life are observed, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.