Phoenix Picks – November

And so it’s Winter. Eugh. The nights are drawing in, the sky is a relentless grey, the weathers awful, what better time than to come and bask in the Technicolor sun of your local Independent Cinema? I’m Jake Harvey from Phoenix Square and every month I will be giving you a run-down of my favourite films being shown at Phoenix.  From American indie imports, short films made for a budget of around two kopecks, to the very latest world and independent cinema, each month will be a selection of the best celluloid we have on offer.

Peepli [Live]First off we have hugely popular Indian comedy Peepli [LIVE] (15th-18th Nov) finally arriving at Phoenix Square. The simple story follows Natha, a poor farmer, as he considers suicide in order to benefit from a Government policy of helping farmer’s widows. A somewhat dark premise for a comedy perhaps, and occasionally the film does slip into some overwrought sentimentality, but a superb quirky cast helps to propel us through these moments. Overall it’s a very, very funny film with Writer/Director Anusha Rizvi’s smart script finding a lot of humour in Natha’s strife, particularly in his interaction with his brother Budhia. It was a smash hit in India and it’s easy to see why, highly recommended.

The-Girl-Who-Kicked-the-Hornets-NestCause for celebration next as Lisbeth and Mikael return for the final adaptation of Stieg Larson’s Millennium series: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (26th Nov- 9th Dec). Sustaining the incredible tension and pace of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was always going to be a struggle, and for many the second instalment The Girl Who Played with Fire was a disappointment. Loosely scripted and without a satisfying finale it at times felt like merely a build up to this final third movie. It is a relief then to find that the build up was worth it. Fast paced, astonishingly tense and breathlessly exciting, Hornet’s Nest is the masterpiece of the trilogy. To write anything of the plot would mean spoilers galore, but with a brilliant ending that should go some way to satisfying fans of both the movie and books series, one wonders how the upcoming American remakes will possibly compare.

The Kids Are All Right

With a continuing family theme, hugely popular American indie flick The Kids are All Right (19th-25th Nov) arrives at Phoenix for a week long run. With a top-notch cast and superb warm-hearted script it is easy to see why American audiences fell in love with this charming, bittersweet comedy drama. Julianne Moore and Annette Bening are fantastic as Jules and Nic, a seemingly happy couple living with their two kids in Los Angeles, whose peaceful reverie is broken when their children decide they want to meet their “moms’” sperm donor. Said donor turns out to be motorbike riding, organic restaurant owning, laid back “Dude” Mark Ruffalo. The following low-key chaos that his arrival causes is handled with great skill by writer/director Lisa Chodolenko particularly as the film is never allowed to become too preachy. This is no liberal diatribe on the ability of two Lesbian mums to raise children; yeah the kids of the piece are happy and well-adjusted, it’s just the adults who are unable to grow up.

So that’s your lot for November, coming up in December we again have a wide range of movies ranging from the sure to be Box Office smashes of the Tron reboot in painfully awesome Xpand 3D and Harry Potter 7, through to Sofia Coppola’s latest directorial outing Somewhere (we have our fingers crossed for a Lost in Translation rather than a Marie Antoinette), film festival favourite Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and a sack full of festive films including some showing the darker side of Christmas. I’m sure we will have quite enough to keep you entertained up to the Yule-tide season and beyond!

Jake Harvey – Phoenix Square

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