03 Dec Aspen Film Screenings Include ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Carol’
By Dave McNary, Variety
Aspen Film has set the lineup for its 24th Academy Screenings at the Harris Concert Hall at the Aspen Music Festival and School, opening with “Spotlight” on Dec. 22 and closing with “Carol” on Jan. 2.
“From star-studded features directed by master filmmakers to the best independent documentaries and foreign films of the year, this big-screen celebration spotlights the highest caliber and most talked about films vying for Oscar,” said Aspen Film Artistic Director Maggie Mackay.
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Other notable titles include “Amy,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Concussion,” “The Danish Girl,” “Room,” “Sicario” and “Where to Invade Next.”
24th Aspen Film Academy Screenings Program:
Tuesday, December 22
SPOTLIGHT, 7:30pm (128 min., USA)
Based on the investigation that lead to the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning expose on the Catholic Church abuse scandal, veteran filmmaker Tom McCarthy’s latest, and arguably his best, stars an incredible ensemble cast led by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d’Arcy James, John Slattery and Liev Schreiber.
Director/Writer: Tom McCarthy Writer: Josh Singer Producers: Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Faust Cinematographer: Masanobu Takayanagi Editor: Tom McArdle Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James, Jamey Sheridan, Billy Crudup
Wednesday, December 23
SUFFRAGETTE, 5:30pm (106 min., U.K.)
Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep star in a powerfully realized historical drama about a struggling young mother who hesitantly joins the suffrage movement only to become one of its most powerful advocates. Deeply moving and surprisingly timely, Suffragette is more than a movie, it is a call to arms.
Director: Sarah Gavron Writer: Abi Morgan Producers: Alison Owen, Faye Ward Cinematographer: Edu Grau Editor: Barney Pilling Cast: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, Meryl Streep
45 YEARS, 8:00pm (95 min., U.K.)
On the eve of their 45th anniversary, a couple makes a startling discovery from their past that forces them to face hard truths about their marriage and themselves. Starring two beloved Brit actors, silver-screen grand dame Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, 45 Years is an emotionally gripping love story unlike any we’ve ever seen.
Director/Writer: Andrew Haigh Producer: Tristan Goligher Cinematographer: Lol Crowley Editor: Jonathan Alberts Cast: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay
Saturday, December 26
SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE, 3:00pm (86 min., U.K./France)*
Shaun the little sheep, seeking respite from his humdrum country routine, hatches an ill-advised escape plan that lands him and his flock dangerously far from home. From the masterminds behind Wallace & Gromit comes an animated romp to delight kids and grownups alike.
Directors/Writers: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak Producers: Julie Lockhart, Paul Kewley Cinematographers: Charles Copping, Dave Alex Riddett Editor: Sim Evan-Jones Cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes
*Complimentary film admission for all kids.
THE END OF THE TOUR, 5:30pm (106 min., USA)
Jason Segel, cast against type, delivers a knockout performance as beloved American author David Foster Wallace in this poignant and warmly funny road movie about two young scribes waging a duel of wits over art and life. Jesse Eisenberg shines as the Rolling Stone writer tasked with covering Wallace on the book tour for his epic novel “Infinite Jest.”
Director: James Ponsoldt Writer: Donald Margulies Producers: James Dahl, Matt DeRoss, David Kanter, Mark C. Manuel, Ted O’Neal Cinematographer: Jakob Ihre Editor: Darrin Navarro Cast: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Ron Livingston, Mamie Gummer, Mickey Sumner
CONCUSSION, 8:15pm (121 min., USA)
Tackling a timely controversy with bracing clarity and sensitivity alike, Peter Landesman’s thriller stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian neuropathologist forced to speak truth to no less an American power than the NFL when he discovers the link between football and brain trauma. A powerhouse supporting cast includes Alec Baldwin and Albert Brooks.
Director/Writer: Peter Landesman Producers: Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman, Elizabeth Cantillon Cinematographer: Salvator Totino Editor: William Goldenberg Cast: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Morse, Albert Brooks
Sunday, December 27
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, 5:00pm (119 min., USA)
English, Italian, French, German, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Arabic w/English subtitles
In a tradition that stretches back to his first hit, “Roger & Me,” Academy Award-winning documentarian Michael Moore sets out on an eye-opening trek across Europe to investigate, with his signature warmth and humor, everything from healthcare to prison reform to women in politics. On a mission to help save America from itself, Moore asks us to consider how things might be done differently.
Director/Writer/Producer: Michael Moore Producers: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal Cinematographers: Richard Rowley, Jayme Roy Editors: Pablo Proenza, T. Woody Richman, Tyler Walk Featuring: Michael Moore
BRIDGE OF SPIES, 8:00pm (141 min., USA)
English and Russian w/English subtitles
Steven Spielberg delivers a crackling Cold War-era thriller starring Tom Hanks, in original form as an all-American man-of-the-law who risks everything when called upon to defend an accused Soviet spy. An incredible supporting cast and a near perfect script from Matt Charman and Joel and Ethan Coen position “Bridge of Spies” as a new American classic.
Director/Producer: Steven Spielberg Writers: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Producers: Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger Cinematographer: Janusz Kaminski Editor: Michael Kahn Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Alan Alda
Monday, December 28
LOVE & MERCY, 3:00pm (120 min., USA)
Featuring riveting performances from Paul Dano and John Cusack, “Love & Mercy” recounts the turbulent life of tortured Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson with compassion and honesty. Centered on the making of “Pet Sounds,” the group’s seminal album, Bill Pohlad’s touching portrait is a musical delight that packs a deeply emotional punch.
Director/Producer: Bill Pohlad Writers: Oren Moverman, Michael Alan Lerner Producers: Claire Rudnick Polstein, John Wells Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman Editor: Dino Jonsäter Cast: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti
ROOM, 5:30pm (118 min., Ireland/Canada)
Indie darling Brie Larson and wildly talented young newcomer Jacob Tremblay deliver two of the year’s most talked-about performances in this alternately harrowing and touching adaptation of a best-selling novel, which explores the strength of parental love under the worst of circumstances.
Director: Lenny Abrahamson Writer: Emma Donoghue Producers: Ed Guiney, David Gross Cinematographer: Danny Cohen Editor: Nathan Nugent Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macey, Tom McCamus, Sean Bridgers
TRUMBO, 8:30pm (124 min., USA)
Supported by an A-list cast including Helen Mirren (brilliant as infamous gossip columnist Hedda Hopper), Louis C.K., John Goodman and Diane Lane, Bryan Cranston delivers an electric, nuanced performance as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in Jay Roach’s engaging, quick-witted biopic, which doubles as a moving exploration of Hollywood’s tarnished golden age.
Director: Jay Roach Writer/Producer: John McNamara Producers: Michael London, Janice Williams, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson, Nimitt Mankad, Kevin Kelly Brown Cinematographer: Jim Denault Editor: Alan Baumgarten Cast: Bryan Cranston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., John Goodman
Tuesday, December 29
THE DANISH GIRL, 5:30pm (120 min., U.K./Germany/USA)
Two Oscar winners — director Tom Hooper and actor Eddie Redmayne — join forces in this extraordinary period biopic, at once a tender love story and a raw portrait of self-discovery. Redmayne astounds as Einar Wegener, an artist in 1920s Denmark whose gender transition sends his wife, fellow artist Gerda, on a transformational journey of her own.
Director/Producer: Tom Hooper Writer: Lucinda Coxon Producers: Gail Mutrux, Anne Harrison, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner Cinematographer: Danny Cohen Editor: Melanie Ann Oliver Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Ben Wishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts
*PRIVATE SCREENING: Complimentary and exclusive to AMPAS, BAFTA and associated guild members as well as new and current Aspen Film REEL PEOPLE Members.
AMY, 8:15pm (128 min., U.K.)
Acclaimed “Senna” director Asif Kapadia returns with another stunning archival portrait -this one documenting the meteoric rise and tragic fall of the late 27-year-old musical genius Amy Winehouse. Emotionally wrought and deeply engaging, “Amy” asks us to consider the demands we place on those graced by fame.
Director: Asif Kapadia Producer: James Gay-Rees Editor: Chris King Featuring: Amy Winehouse, Tony Bennett, Yasiin Bey
Wednesday, December 30
BEST OF ENEMIES, 3:00pm (87 min., USA)
The concept of politics as televised blood sport was born at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, when William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal went full contact in a series of nationally televised debates. This electrifying documentary by Robert Gordon and Academy Award-winning documentarian Morgan Neville returns to that watershed moment as we gear up for another national election in a deeply divided country.
Directors/Producers: Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon Producer: Julie Goodman Cinematographers: David Leonard, Graham Willoughby, Mark Schwartzbard Editors: Eileen Meyer, Aaron Wickenden Featuring: William F. Buckley, Gore Vidal
MUSTANG, 5:30pm (94 min., France)
Turkish w/English subtitles
France’s official Oscar submission happens to be Turkish: Full of heartbreak and hope alike, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s gorgeous and refreshingly original coming-of-age tale details the adventures and struggles of five adolescent sisters exploring life in their small village as best they can under their vindictive uncle’s lock and key as their grandmother grooms them for marriage.
Director/Writer: Deniz Gamze Ergüven Writer: Alice Winocour Producer: Charles Gillibert Cinematographers: David Chizallet, Ersin Gok Editor: Mathilde van de Moortel Cast: Günes Sensoy, Doga Dogusluand, Elit Iscan, Tugba Sunguroglu, Ilayda Akdogan
SICARIO, 8:15pm (121 min., USA)
English and Spanish w/English subtitles
A rock-star cast at their best (Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin) drives Denis Villeneuve’s blistering thriller about an FBI agent navigating the geographical and moral gray area that is the U.S.-Mexico border, where the ceaseless drug wars take their Pyrrhic toll against a harsh desert backdrop captured by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins.
Director: Denis Villeneuve Writer: Taylor Sheridan Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill Cinematographer: Roger Deakins Editor: Joe Walker Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, John Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya
Friday, January 1
YOUTH, 2:30pm (123 min., Italy/France/U.K./Switzerland)
By turns delirious and devastating, Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino’s visually dazzling follow-up to his Academy Award-winning “The Great Beauty” is generating Oscar buzz of its own. Supported by an incredible cast that includes Jane Fonda, Paul Dano and Rachel Weisz, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel captivate as old friends looking back on their lives while the future unfolds around them.
Director/Writer: Paolo Sorrentino Producers: Nicola Giuliano, Francesca Cima, Carlotta Calori Cinematographer: Luca Bigazzi Editor: Cristiano Travaglioli Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda
TANGERINE, 5:30pm (87 min., USA)
When rumors of her boyfriend’s infidelities reach a just-out-of-jail working girl, she sets off on a mission to hunt him down, traversing Tinseltown on Christmas Eve with her best friend in tow. This gritty, groundbreaking, outrageous tale, shot entirely on an iPhone 5s, is the most talked about indie of the year and the first Oscar contender lead by a transgender cast.
Director/Writer/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor: Sean Baker Writer: Chris Bergoch Producers: Marcus Cox, Karrie Cox, Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou Cinematographer: Radium Cheung Cast: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, James Ransone
Saturday, January 2
ANOMALISA, 5:30pm (90 min., USA)
As deeply moving as it is wildly original, this fantastic feat of stop-motion animation from Duke Johnson and acclaimed filmmaker Charlie Kaufman introduces us to a sales guru in midlife crisis — and the one woman who can pierce the dull roar in his head.
Director/Writer/Producer: Charlie Kaufman Director/Producer: Duke Johnson Producers: Rosa Tran, Dino Stamatopoulos Cinematographer: Joe Passarelli Editor: Garret Elkins Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan, David Thewlis
CAROL, 8:15pm (118 min., USA)
A chance meeting sparks a forbidden love affair between two women from different worlds in this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking 1952 novel “The Price of Salt.” Stunning cinematography, brilliant direction by Todd Haynes and epic performances from Oscar familiars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara make “Carol” a cinematic masterpiece.
Director: Todd Haynes Writer: Phyllis Nagy Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley, Christine Vachon Cinematographer: Edward Lachman Editor: Affonso Gonçalves Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, Sarah Paulson