The Phoenix Film Festival has announced that the family-friendly, ‘Kids’ Day’ will take place on Saturday, April 6!!


PHOENIX (March 20, 2019) – The Phoenix Film Festival has announced the family-friendly, Kids’ Day to take place on Saturday, April 6. Kids’ Day is a great way for kids of all ages to come out and experience the festival. Attendees can select from a series of hands-on activity stations focusing on different aspects of film production and geared to various age and ability levels. Stations are age-appropriate and run the full gamut of the filmmaking process…and best yet, it’s FREE! Some of the fun activities include:

  • Test out your acting chops against a green screen presented by Arizona State University
  • Learn techniques of stop motion animation
  • Create your own soundtrack with instruments from the Musical Instrument Museum
  • Create your own festival poster
  • At the conclusion of the activities, guests are invited to a $5 family-friendly screening of DisneyNature’s “Penguins” (Showing at 1:05 pm)

Disneynature’s all-new feature film “Penguins” is a coming-of-age story about an Adélie penguin named Steve who joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family. None of it comes easily for him, especially considering he’s targeted by everything from killer whales to leopard seals, who unapologetically threaten his happily ever after. From the filmmaking team behind “Bears” and “Chimpanzee,” Disneynature’s “Penguins” opens in theaters nationwide in time for Earth Day 2019.

The 19th Annual Phoenix Film Festival, occurring this year from its opening night on April 4th to its conclusion on April 14th, is rapidly approaching. Continually breaking attendance records since its inception, last years’ festival saw over 28,000 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  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 $15 for a single screening to $450 for a platinum pass.   For more information call 602-955-6444 or go to

Phoenix Film Festival Announces ‘The Farewell’ Will Be Their Closing Night Film

PHOENIX, AZ, Wednesday, March 13 – The Phoenix Film Festival is thrilled to announce their Closing Night Film as A24’s “The Farewell” starring Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and directed by Lulu Wang. The story is based on Lulu Wang’s real life and stems from a story she told on NPR’s “This American Life” podcast.

In “The Farewell”, after learning their beloved matriarch has terminal lung cancer, a family opts not to tell her about the diagnosis, instead scheduling an impromptu wedding-reunion back in China where the family can say their goodbyes.

“The Farewell” will screen at the Phoenix Film Festival on Sunday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit

About A24’s “The Farewell”

After learning their beloved matriarch has terminal lung cancer, a family opts not to tell her about the diagnosis, instead scheduling an impromptu wedding-reunion back in China. Headstrong and emotional writer Billi rebels against her parents’ directive to stay in New York and joins the family as they awkwardly attempt to rekindle old bonds, throw together a wedding that only grandma is actually looking forward to, and surreptitiously say their goodbyes.

A heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, “The Farewell” masterfully interweaves a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a thoughtful exploration of how our cultural heritage does and does not travel with us when we leave our homes. Writer/director Lulu Wang imbues “The Farewell” with warmth and knowing wit, while the uniformly excellent ensemble cast (anchored by a breakout performance by Awkwafina) invites us to share this extended clan’s joy and sorrow—and to feel, for the length of this remarkable film, like a part of their family.

“The Farewell” will be released in theaters July 2019.

About Phoenix Film Festival

The 19th Annual Phoenix Film Festival will take place from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 14. Continually breaking attendance records since its inception, last year’s festival saw over 28,000 attendees and there are hopes to pull in even more film enthusiasts this year. The eleven-day Festival will once again be held at Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theatre located at 7000 E. Mayo Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85054. 

For movie lovers, this is an event not to be missed. Tickets and passes are on sale now and available through the Phoenix Film Festival website Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Phoenix Film Festival Ticket Center next to the Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theatre. Tickets range in price from $15 for a single screening to $450 for a platinum pass. For more information, call 602-955-6444.

Live-Action “Dumbo” to Soar with Spirit Airlines! *Take a peek….

Celebrating the upcoming release of Disney’s live-action movie “Dumbo,” Spirit Airlines today unveiled its specially-themed Airbus A321 that features a larger-than-life image of the beloved Disney character Dumbo!
Spirit and Disney revealed the new plane with a short time-lapse video of the decal-wrapping process which took place at Spirit’s state-of-the-art Detroit maintenance hangar.

From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.

 “Dumbo” flies into theaters on March 29, 2019.

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Directed by Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger (“Ophelia,” “Dream House”), and produced by Justin Springer (“TRON: Legacy”), Kruger, Katterli Frauenfelder (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Big Eyes”) and Derek Frey (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Frankenweenie”)


Today is the first of March! What this means is the Phoenix Film Festival, which runs from April 4th to 14th, is fast approaching!

The festival already has the first round of the film’s up on their site and will be adding more films to it over the next few weeks. Time to start looking at what to go see and get your tickets early so you don’t miss out… as I did a few times last year!

Prepare ahead of time! You don’t want to miss out!



U.S. Release Date: April 17, 2019

Ed Helms (“The Office,” “The Hangover” trilogy, “The Daily Show with John Stewart”) is diving in with “Penguins” this spring as narrator of Disneynature’s upcoming theatrical feature. The coming-of-age story follows an Adélie penguin named Steve who joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family. None of it comes easily for him, especially considering he’s targeted by everything from killer whales to leopard seals, who unapologetically threaten his happily ever after.

“Disney movies are filled with poignancy and real emotion, but also are extremely funny and relatable—this movie is no different,” says Helms. “It’s a true-life adventure with real footage of penguins in Antarctica, but told in a way that tugs at your heartstrings a little and also has quite a few chuckles. For me, this movie is a very cool mash-up of narration and character work. I get to voice Steve’s inner monologue as well as straight narration. It was a really fun challenge for me—a privilege getting to imagine what this penguin might be thinking—and I’m really excited about it.”  

Check out a video Helms recorded to share the announcement:

As an actor, writer and comedian, Helms established himself as one of Hollywood’s most beloved performers with scene-stealing roles on both film and television including NBC’s award-winning comedy series, “The Office,” and the box office smash hit film trilogy “The Hangover.”

“Penguins,” the first-ever Disneynature film to be released in IMAX® as the label, celebrates 10 years since its first feature film hit theaters. The film continues Disneynature’s conservation tradition: for every ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2019), Disneynature will make a donation to the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) to help protect penguins across the southern hemisphere. Founded in 2002, WCN invests in a select network of on-the-ground conservationists, including top experts in the field of penguins like the Global Penguin Society (GPS). The worldwide leader in science-based penguin conservation, GPS champions specific programs that align with Disneynature’s conservation mission.

From the filmmaking team behind “Bears” and “Chimpanzee,” Disneynature’s “Penguins” opens in theaters in time for Earth Day.



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U.S. Release Date: April 17, 2019

Narrator: Ed Helms

Directors: Alastair Fothergill, Jeff Wilson 

Producers: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield, Keith Scholey, Roy Conli

Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams



The award-winning movie, with almost 12 minutes of additional footage, including extended musical performances, will be released on 1150+ screens in North America for one week beginning Friday, March 1

Burbank, CA – February 27, 2019 – This Friday, March 1, for one week only, Warner Bros. Pictures will release an “Encore” version of Bradley Cooper’s global hit “A Star Is Born” in theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada.  This special edition of the film contains extended performances of such songs as opener “Black Eyes”; “Alibi”; and Lady Gaga’s Ally in her impromptu a cappella performance of “Shallow,” which received the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 91st Annual Academy Awards, following Cooper and Gaga’s moving performance during the ceremony. 

Moviegoers will also be treated to never-before-seen footage of Ally singing to Jack “Is That Alright?” in the wedding sequence; Jack in his studio singing “Too Far Gone”; Jack and Ally writing a new song together, entitled “Clover”; and much more, totaling nearly 12 additional minutes.


About “A Star Is Born”

In “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life.  Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and the heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

In this new take on the iconic love story, seven-time Oscar nominee Cooper (“A Star Is Born,” “American Sniper,” “American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”), made his directorial debut.  He stars alongside multiple award-winning music superstar Gaga, who took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Shallow,” and who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in her first leading role in a major motion picture.  Cooper portrays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls in love with struggling artist Ally.  She has given up on her dream to become a successful singer until she meets Jack, who immediately sees her natural talent.

            The film also stars Andrew Dice Clay (“Blue Jasmine”), with Dave Chappelle (“Chi-Raq”) and Sam Elliott in his Oscar-nominated performance for Best Supporting Actor.

In addition to playing Ally, Gaga—who also previously earned an Oscar nod for the song “Til It Happens to You” from the film “The Hunting Ground”—performs original songs in the film with Cooper, which they wrote with a handful of artists, including Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell, and newly minted Oscar winners Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt and Anthony Rossomando (Best Original Song, “Shallow”).  The music is original and all vocals for the movie were recorded live during filming.

            “A Star Is Born” was produced by Bill Gerber, Jon Peters, Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips and Lynette Howell Taylor.  Ravi Mehta, Basil Iwanyk, Niija Kuykendall, Sue Kroll, Michael Rapino and Heather Parry served as executive producers.  The screenplay was written by Oscar-winner Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”) and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters.

Cooper’s behind-the-scenes team included Oscar-nominated director of photography Matthew Libatique (“Black Swan”), production designer Karen Murphy (“The Light Between Oceans”), three-time Oscar-nominated editor Jay Cassidy (“American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Into the Wild”), and costume designer Erin Benach (“Loving”).

            Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, in association with Live Nation Productions, in association with Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures, a Jon Peters/Bill Gerber/Joint Effort Production, “A Star Is Born.”  The film is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.  It is rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse.

2018 Awards Winners vs. MY picks!

This years Academy Award®-Winners were quite different than what I had anticipated but what and who won was hardly disappointing. 2018 was a good year in film and in several catagories, it was hard to choose who I thought was the more worthy of the gold. Here are my pics for some of the best. My ultimate choice for the winner in these categories will be in bold type and italics following a list of four others, in order of best to worst, that I sent to the Phoenix Critics Circle to be widdled down for our Oscar nominations.

Under my choice will be the selections that were in the envelopes on awards night. How’d I do?? Keep in mind these are sent in early.
*Again, my choices are listed below but HERE is a link to the Phoenix Critics Circle and the winners we sent to the Academy this year. You’ll notice that some groups are ours and ours alone. 

Best Film – BlacKkKlansman, Roma, First Reformed, A Star Is Born, Leave No Trace

Academy Award®-Winner: Green Book

Best Director – Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman, Alfonso Cuaron for Roma, Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite, Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born, Paul Dano for Wildlife

Academy Award®-Winner: Alfonso Cuaron

Best Film Based on a Graphic Novel or Comic Book – Black Panther, Venom, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp

Best Documentary – Free Solo, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, RBG, Active Measures, McQueen

Academy Award®-Winner: Free Solo

Best Foreign Language Film – Roma, Cold War, Shoplifters, The Interpreter, Burning

Academy Award®-Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature – Isle of Dogs, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Incredibles 2, The Grinch, Ralph Breaks the Internet

Academy Award®-Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Horror Features – A Quiet Place, Halloween, The First Purge, Hereditary, Upgrade

Best Science Fiction Film – Ready Player One, Solo, The Predator, The Meg, Annihilation

Best Comedy – The Favourite, Game Night, Eighth Grade, Crazy Rich Asians, Sorry to Bother You

Best Actor – Ethan Hawke for First Reformed, Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody, Timothée Chalamet for Beautiful Boy, Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, Joaquin Phoenix for You Were Never Really Here

Academy Award®-Winner: Rami Malek 

Best Supporting Actor – Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman, Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Steve Carell for Beautiful Boy, Michael B. Jordan for Black Panther, Stephan James for If Beale Street Could Talk

Academy Award®-Winner: Mahershala Ali — Green Book

Best Actress – Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Lady Gaga for A Star is Born, Emily Blunt for Mary Poppins Returns, Yalitza Aparicio for Roma, Felicity Jones for On the Basis of Sex

Academy Award®-Winner: Olivia Colman 

Best Supporting Actress – Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk, Emma Stone for The Favourite, Olivia Colman for The Favourite, Carey Mulligan for Wildlife, Meryl Streep for Mary Poppins Returns

Academy Award®-Winner: Regina King

Best Screenplay – Eighth Grade, First Reformed, Roma, The Favourite, Isle of Dogs

Academy Award®-Winner: Green Book by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

Best Score – First Man, If Beale Street Could Talk, Black Panther, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns
Academy Award®-Winner: Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson

They couldn’t all win but they could have. Yes. 2018 was a marvelous year in film!! Try and see as many of the listed as possible… even the documentaries. I promise you’ll be surprised and how good they are and thoroughly entertained.    

‘The Highwaymen’ starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson coming soon to Netflix!!

The outlaws made headlines. The lawmen made history. From director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), THE HIGHWAYMEN follows the untold true story of the legendary detectives who brought down Bonnie and Clyde. When the full force of the FBI and the latest forensic technology aren’t enough to capture the nation’s most notorious criminals, two former Texas Rangers (Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson) must rely on their gut instincts and old school skills to get the job done.

*Launches globally on Netflix on March 29 with exclusive theatrical engagements beginning March 15th.

Distributor: Netflix

Cast: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kathy Bates, Kim Dickens

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Written by: John Fusco

Producer: Casey Silver

Executive Producers: Michael J. Malone, John Lee Hancock, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Costner, Rod Lake

Music By: Thomas Newman

Cinematography By: John Schwartzman

Production Design By: Michael Corenblith

Costume Design By: Daniel Orlandi

*Follow @NetflixFilm on 
Twitter and Instagram

Netflix film ‘The Dirt,’ co-written by members of Mötley Crüe, launches everywhere 3/22!!

A Netflix film


Launches Globally March 22

Based on the bestselling autobiography from Mötley Crüe, the film is an unflinching tale of success and excess as four misfits rise from the streets of Hollywood to the heights of international fame.

 Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, Colson Baker, Daniel Webber

Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Produced by Julie YornErik OlsenAllen Kovac

Executive produced by Rick YornChris NilssonSteve Kline, Ben OrmandMichelle Manning

Written by Rich Wilkes, Amanda Adelson

Based on the autobiography

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band

Co-written by the band members of Mötley Crüe and Neil Strauss

Blast from the Past (February 2019)

Yeah, the Box Office is rockin’ today with a whole lot of movies. But there are some from prior years that you may (or may not) remember. These older movies came out 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, maybe even longer back. Some were instant classics, while others were not. So let’s jump into the DeLorean and travel backwards in time to revisit a few of these forgotten gems…

February 2014 (5 years ago)   — The LEGO Movie – Wait, a movie based on a child’s tiny building block toy? Everything is AWESOME!

Yes, they made a movie out of a small construction block toy set that was way more perfect than it had a right to be… They started with perfect voice casting. Then add a clever script that borders on meta-comedy. Top it off with movie direction (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller) that is both whimsical and profound. What do you get? An unexpected non-stop feast of fun…

February 2009 (10 years ago)  — Coraline – Stop Motion style animated movie of a small child’s nightmare, like the one “Before Christmas”

Neil Gaiman’s book gets the big screen adventure treatment, with the same director from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Only this time, the main role is for an animated Coraline, who finds a path into a nightmare world. In a place where everyone’s eyes are replaced by buttons, Coraline is left to find her way out.

February 2004 (15 years ago)  — Miracle – The 1980 Olympic Games had a hockey game that beat all expectations, thanks to Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell stars as the coach Herb Brooks. He is the leader of an Olympic team of ragtag college players. He is the one who drives them to play as well as the Soviet powerhouse players. They play as well, and then play better, because they have nothing to lose… This movie captured a moment in time, when everyone in American became hockey fans overnight – just because of this ‘miracle’ of a game.

February 1999 (20 years ago)  — Office Space – Mike Judge had created Bevis and Butthead, but this is where he really worked for corporate comedy

Mike Judge takes dead aim at the heart of corporate soul-draining work environments of the mid-90s. The movie scores a huge bulls-eye. This movie has become a cultural touchstone since it was dropped awkwardly into movie theaters a long time ago. The life that it gained since then has created a gold mine of laughs for new generations. “Yeah, we’re gonna need you to come in on Saturday” — to watch this movie, and laugh your ass off!

February 1995 (25 years ago)  — Billy Madison – Adam Sandler play to the LCD, with his first big movie — writing and starring — as Billy Madison

In math the LCD is short for ‘Lowest Common Denominator’. For Sandler, I think it stands for “Lowest Comedy Denominator”. This is the level that Adam Sandler has chosen to create his comedy. It is always as the lowest level. In this (Sandler’s first outing at main writer and star) bag of guano – the 27 year-old Mr. Madison must redo every level of grade school to prove he is worthy to be a CEO. It was not acclaimed for its brilliance or its wit…

February 1989 (30 years ago)  — Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin and others deal with time travel and bogus school reports… 

“Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.” Strange things indeed! This crazy movie gets massice slackers Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) into a time machine with Rufus (Carlin). This is in the shape of a phone booth outside a Circle-K. They time-travel back to fetch many Historical Dudes, so Bill and Ted ca bring them to school for a history report. “Bogus. Heinous. Most non-triumphant.” Such an appropriate (and sad) commentary on outrtimes. “Be excellent to each other. And… PARTY ON, DUDES!”