It’s that time of year again! The 15th Annual Phoenix Film Festival, occurring this year from its opening night on March 26th to its conclusion on April 2nd, is rapidly approaching. Continually breaking attendance records since its inception, last year’s festival saw over 25,000 attendees and there are hopes to pull in even more film enthusiasts this year. The week long Festival will be held once again at Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theaters located at 7000 E. Mayo Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85054.
If you are a movie lover, this is an event that is not to be missed. Tickets and passes are on sale now and available through the Phoenix Film Festival website www.PhoenixFilmFestival.com. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Phoenix Film Festival Ticket Center next to the Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theater. Tickets range in price from $13 for a single screening to $300 for a platinum pass. For more information call 602-955-6444 or go to www.PhoenixFilmFestival.com.
Featured films include:
Directed by: Dan Fogelman
Run Time: 106 minutes
Cast: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale
Synopsis: Inspired by a true story, Al Pacino stars as aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins, who can’t give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act.
Danny Collins is written and directed by Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Last Vegas). The film stars Al Pacino (The Godfather, Scent of a Woman), Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty), Jennifer Garner (Men, Women and Children, Juno), Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine, “Boardwalk Empire”) and Christopher Plummer (Beginners, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Run Time: 97 min.
Cast: Al Pacino, Chris Messina, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, Natalie Wilemon, June Griffin Garcia
Synopsis: AJ Manglehorn is an aging, ordinary guy in a small town. He nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day.
But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he’s an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big ‘job’. He now obsesses daily over the choices he made. After a dramatic effort to start over, Manglehorn faces a terrifying moment and is unmasked as a guy with a very, very dark past.
Sleeping with Other People
Directed by: Leslye Headland
Run Time: 95 Minutes
Cast: Allison Bree, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Jason Sudeikis
Synopsis: Years after impulsively losing their virginity to each other in college, Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) meet at a support group in New York (“What’s a nice girl like you doing at a sex addicts meeting?”). A spark resurfaces, but they’ve walked this road before. Abject failures in romance who lead lives of serial infidelity and self-sabotage, they agree to a platonic friendship to mutually support their recovery—and what’s more supportive than teaching your friend proper self-stimulation? Can love bloom while you’re sleeping with other people?
Directed by: Morgan Matthews
Run Time: 1:40
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins
Synopsis: Preferring to hide in the safety of his own private world, Nathan struggles to connect with people, often pushing away those who want to be closest to him, including his mother, Julie. Without the ability to understand love or affection, Nathan finds the comfort and security he needs in numbers and mathematics.
Mentored by his unconventional and anarchic teacher, Mr Humphreys, it becomes clear that Nathan’s talents are enough to win him a place on the British team competing at the highly revered International Mathematics Olympiad. Being part of a team and one which has a real chance of winning seems like it could change Nathan’s life forever. But when the team go to train in Taiwan, Nathan is faced with a multitude of unexpected challenges, not least the new and unfamiliar feelings he begins to experience for one of the Taiwanese competitors, the beautiful Zhang Mei.
From England to Taipei and back again, this inspiring and life-affirming story follows the unconventional and hilarious relationship between student and teacher, whose roles are often reversed, and the unfathomable experience of first love – when you don’t even understand what love is.
Directed by: Andrew Bujalski
Running Time: 105 min.
Recently divorced, newly rich, and utterly miserable, Danny (Kevin Corrigan) would seem to be the perfect test subject for a definitive look at the relationship between money and happiness. Danny’s well-funded ennui is interrupted by a momentous trip to the local gym, where he meets self-styled guru/owner Trevor (Guy Pearce) and irresistibly acerbic trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders). Soon, their three lives are inextricably knotted, both professionally and personally.
Directed by: Adam Collis
Running time: 105 min
Cast: Patrick J.Adams, Nia Vardalos, Octavia Spencer, Cory Hardrict, George Lopez
Synopsis: Produced and directed by ASU film professor, Adam Collis and written by Scottsdale native and ASU alum, Mark King, Car Dogs tells the story of auto dealership manager, Mark Chamberlain, who has to sell 35 cars to get his own dealership – and finally out from underneath the thumb of his sadistic father. The question is if Mark is willing to cheat his customers, betray his sales team, and neglect his family all for the blind pursuit of profits. A tough as nails film about the challenges of working in a dog eat dog environment, Car Dogs is also a fun look behind the curtain into the world of car salesmen and their shady tricks.
Car Dogs was made as a part of Arizona State University’s Film*Spark Feature Film Internship Program, which gave 85 ASU student interns and 15 recent alums the chance to learn filmmaking by working side by side on a feature film set with a professional Hollywood cast and crew, including Oscar winners Octavia Spencer and David Stump (Cinematographer), Oscar nominee Nia Vardalos and superstar comedian George Lopez.
Best of Enemies
Directed by: Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville
Run Time: 90 min.
Cast: John Lithgow, Kelsey Grammar, Dick Cavett
Synopsis: ‘Best of Enemies’ is a documentary about the legendary series of nationally televised debates in 1968 between two great public intellectuals, the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Intended as commentary on the issues of their day, these vitriolic and explosive encounters came to define the modern era of public discourse in the media, marking the big bang moment of our contemporary media landscape when spectacle trumped content and argument replaced substance. Best of Enemies delves into the entangled biographies of these two great thinkers and luxuriates in the language and the theater of their debates, begging the question, ‘What has television done to the way we discuss politics in our democracy today?’
Kill Me Three Times
Directed by: Kriv Stenders
Run Time: 90 min.
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Simon Pegg, Sullivan Stapleton
Synopsis: A darkly comedic thriller from rising star director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog). Simon Pegg plays the mercurial assassin, Charlie Wolfe, who discovers he isn’t the only person trying to kill the siren of a sun-drenched surfing town. Charlie quickly finds himself at the center of three tales of murder mayhem, blackmail, and revenge.
While We’re Young
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Run Time: 95 min.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, and Amanda Seyfried
Synopsis: Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are Josh and Cornelia Srebnick, happily married middle-aged members of New York’s creative class. They tried to start a family and were unable to — and have decided they’re okay with that. But as Josh labors over the umpteenth edit of his cerebral new film, it’s plain that he has hit a dry patch and that something is still missing.
Enter Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a free-spirited young couple, who are spontaneous and untethered, ready to drop everything in pursuit of their next passion — retro board games one day, acquiring a pet chicken the next. For Josh, it’s as if a door has opened back to his youth — or a youth he wishes he once had. It’s not long before the restless forty-somethings, Josh and Cornelia, throw aside friends their own age — including Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz in a sly supporting role — to trail after these young hipsters who seem so plugged in, so uninhibited, so Brooklyn cool. “Before we met,” Josh admits to Jamie, “the only two feelings I had left were wistful and disdainful.” But is this new inspiration enough to sustain collaboration and friendship with a couple twenty years their junior?
While We’re Young is an openly funny cross-generational comedy of manners about aging, ambition and success, as well as a moving portrait of a marriage tested by the invading forces of youth. No film has better captured the weird, upended logic of urban sophisticates: the older ones embracing their iPads and Netflix, the young ones craving vinyl records and vintage VHS tapes.