January 2018

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Permission

 Directed by: Brian Crano

Cast: Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Gina Gershon

Anna and Will were each other's first every-things: first kiss, first love, first relationship. Now years on, at Anna's thirtieth birthday party as Will is about to propose, the couple's best friend stands up and makes a drunken toast, suggesting that as their relationship is so functional, equitable and stable, it's threatening to their friends and perhaps they should sleep around before their inevitable marriage. The joke lingers and eventually Anna proposes that they try it, as a sexual experiment. As a couple, with complicity, they venture out of the purely monogamous boundaries of their relationship and in so doing are forced to evolve and grow up.

December 2017

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Hostiles

Directed by: Scott Cooper

Cast: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, West Studi, Adam Beach, Jesse Plemmons, Rory Cochrane and Ben Foster

Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. Making the harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico, to the grasslands of Montana, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Rosamund Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains. Together, they must join forces to overcome the punishing landscape, hostile Comanche and vicious outliers that they encounter along the way. 

December 2017

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Permanent

 Directed by: Colette Burson

Cast: Patricia Arquette, Rainn Wilson And Kira Mclean

Bad hair day? Nope!  More like a bad hair life.

Set in 1982 in small town Virginia, PERMANENT centers around 13-year-old Aurelie Dickson (Kira McLean) and her parents, Jeanne and Jim (Patricia Arquette and Rainn Wilson).

In this hilariously awkward and unique telling full of wit and wisdom of a hairstyle gone wrong, the Dicksons are struggling through major life changes together all the while trying desperately to emerge intact on the other side.

For the Dicksons family, just getting through the day is a win.

November 2017

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Darkest Hour

Directed by: Joe Wright

Cast: Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Kristin Scott Thomas

Synopsis: During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms. As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman). While maneuvering his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds.

November 2017

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Lady Bird

Directed by: Greta Gerwig

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Jake McDorman, Odeya Rush, Kathryn Newton, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts and Beanie Feldstein

The relationship comedy stars Saoirse Ronan as Christine McPherson, a rebellious student at a conservative Catholic Sacramento high school who wants to escape her family and small town constraints to go to college in New York.

October 2017

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The Florida Project

Directed by: Sean Baker

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto and Bria Vinaite

Warm, winning, and gloriously alive, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood.

Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite, another major discovery) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (a career-best Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion.

Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmates—including Jancey, a new arrival to the area who quickly becomes Moonee’s best friend—fearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they’ve been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter. 

October 2017

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Goodbye Christopher Robin

Directed by: Simon Curtis

Cast: Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Geraldine Somerville and Alex Lawther

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children's author A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne, and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?

September 2017

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Stronger

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany and Clancy Brown

Stronger is the inspiring true story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become the symbol of hope following the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Jeff, a 27-year-old, working-class Boston man who was at the marathon to try and win back his ex-girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany). Waiting for her at the finish line when the blast occurs, he loses both his legs in the attack. After regaining consciousness in the hospital, Jeff is able to help law enforcement identify one of the bombers, but his own battle has just begun.

He tackles months of physical and emotional rehabilitation with the unwavering support of Erin and his family. It is Jeff’s deeply personal account of the heroic journey that tests a family’s bond, defines a community’s pride and inspires his inner courage to overcome devastating adversity. Filled with raw emotion, humanity and humor, Stronger is the inspirational real-life story of the man who became the living embodiment of “Boston Strong.” The film also stars Academy Award® nominee Miranda Richardson and is directed by David Gordon Green.

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.