Twenty-four films: It’s a holiday overdose! | AspenTimes.com

Twenty-four films: It’s a holiday overdose!

Stewart Oksenhorn
Aspen, CO Colorado

Keira Knightley stars in "Atonement," showing during Aspen Film's Academy Screening series, which begins in December. (Courtesy Aspen Film)

ASPEN ” Is it actually possible to overdose on movies? Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings will put that question to the test.

The annual Academy Screenings series packages several handfuls of films ” 24 this year ” and presents them to movie lovers who are in Aspen over the holidays. All the films are considered worthy of Oscar consideration, and the idea behind the series is that many members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are in Aspen over the holidays, and that it would be a good idea for them to see the films that they vote for.

The good news is that the screenings are open to the public. The catches are that each film shows just once, and they are presented, as many as three a day, over a frantic two-week period.

This year’s Academy Screenings, the 17th annual presentation of the event, is set for Dec. 21 through Jan. 2 at Harris Hall.

Among the past Oscar winners set to appear onscreen in the series include Nicole Kidman, who stars in the dysfunctional-family drama “Margo at the Wedding”; Daniel Day-Lewis, in Paul Thomas Anderson’s oil-industry film “There Will Be Blood”; Cate Blanchett, one of six actors who play Bob Dylan-esque characters in the offbeat biopic “I’m Not There,” and Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, who team in the Rob Reiner-directed comedy “The Bucket List.”

Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in “The Savages”; and Denzel Washington directs and stars in “The Great Debaters,” based on the true story of the 1935 debate team from Texas’ Wiley College that challenged Harvard for the national championship.

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Directors in the spotlight in the Academy Screenings series include Woody Allen (“Cassandra’s Dream,” a crime caper starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor); Ang Lee (the Chinese-language, World War II-era spy thriller “Lust, Caution”); Jonathan Demme (“Jimmy Carter Man From Plains,” a documentary of the former president); and Francis Ford Coppola, who returns with his first film in a decade, “Youth Without Youth,” a romantic thriller set in pre-World War II Romania.

Foreign films to be screened are “Persepolis,” an animated adaptation of a comic book by Iranian-born writer Marjane Satrapi; “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” a French film by Julian Schnabel; the Romanian drama “Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days”; the Spanish horror film “The Orphanage”; and “La Vie en Rose,” a biopic of French singer Edith Piaf.

Also set for screening are “The Kite Runner” and “Atonement,” both adaptations of recent best-selling novels; director Jason Reitman’s dark comedy “Juno”; and “Grace is Gone,” starring John Cusack.

Previously released films in the series are “Across the Universe,” “Sleuth,” “Into the Wild,” “The Darjeeling Limited” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

Tickets will go on sale to the public Dec. 12 at the Wheeler Opera House’s Aspen Show Tickets. For further information, including screening dates and times, go to http://www.aspenfilm.org.

Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com

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