Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

One of the great things about being in Aspen for the Christmas holidays, aside from the skiing, the dining, the drinking, the shopping, the partying, etc., that is, is the opportunity to see some great flicks as part of the Academy screenings.

Kudos, as always, go to the get-it-done brain trust of Aspen Film which annually brings our community the best in film. This is the 19th year that we have had the Academy Screenings which feature films that will be vying for the Academy Awards in the upcoming year.

As exceptional as the films are, perhaps even better is the venue where they are exhibited. Harris Concert Hall, the subterranean theater that was designed by the local architect with the global reputation, Harry Teague, is a pleasure to visit even if nothing is going on. But to travel the stairs down to the wooden confines of the theater, sit in the dark and watch new films is a sublime pleasure.

This year the screenings begin at 5:30 next Wednesday, December 23, with the debut of “The Wildest Dream,” a film that will appeal to both historians and mountaineers. Narrated by Liam Neeson, this documentary tracks the travails of George Mallory’s quest to become the first person to climb Mt. Everest.

At 8 p.m., Rob Marshall’s much-anticipated screen adaptation of the Broadway hit “Nine” gets its Aspen opening. Old Snowmass’s own (hey, she spent summers here) Kate Hudson stars alongside a gaggle of beautiful and talented women in this sure to be honored film.

Over the next nine days seventeen additional films will be screened until Jeff Bridges closes it all out in Scott Cooper’s “Crazy Heart.”

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Lots of Oscar buzz for this one as critics are already applauding Bridges portrayal of an aging musician. The T Bone Burnett score may be worth the price of admission and should sound great in the warm woods of Harris Hall.

If you have the time on Tuesday, Dec. 29, I highly recommend the screening of “Valentino: The Last Emperor.” This directing debut by Vanity Fair writer Matt Tynauer chronicles the offbeat relationship between the flamboyant and passionate fashion designer and his longtime companion Giancarlo Giammetti who ran the business end of the couples firm for decades. Not only do they both look marvelous, but the film is a visual feast for those who value all things Italian.

Again, this is a special treat that you are afforded simply because you live here. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the Wheeler Opera House (920-5770) from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily and at http://www.aspenshowtickets.com and, if you don’t mind gambling, you can go to the shows 60 minutes before the doors open and hope there are tickets left.

As Jon Bush would say, “Enjoy the Show.”