The political propaganda is everywhere, the politicians are stumping and debating and mudslinging, and the ballots are piling up, ready to be counted. Election Day is right around the corner – a celebration of our freedom of speech. Our voices. Our choices.
This week, as the Presidential race comes down the home stretch and state offices, initiatives, and referendums are on everyone’s mind, the 35th Annual Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF) is hoping you’ll take a moment or two to escape the swing state swirl and get out and Vote for Film.
Tonight, the festivities get underway at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with a special presentation of A Late Quartet, an engaging soap opera about the ups and downs of a classical string ensemble, struggling to stay together amidst a series of personal crises: a life threatening disease, a bitter rivalry, and a marriage on the rocks. Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Mark Ivanir comprise the talent in A Late Quartet, the debut from writer/director Yaron Zilberman that conveys a little bit of elegance, passion, and drama while in the pursuit of musical perfection.
Then, on Saturday, November 3rd, the SDFF delivers another Big Night. Keeping in tune with musical foursomes, it showcases Quartet, the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman that depicts the drama of four former opera singers brought to the same retirement home and forced to confront their past transgressions before one final performance at England’s Beecham House. With a delicate script from Academy Award winner, Ronald Harwood (The Pianist) and sophisticated performances from Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins, Quartet is rich with English charm and humor, times four.
In closing (November 10th), the festival turns to director David O. Russell, who always seems to find absurd humor in serious places or situations. In Three Kings, it was a group of American soldiers searching for treasure in Iraq. In I Heart Huckabees, it was a pair of existentialist detectives investigating the meaning of life. And in his latest film, Silver Linings Playbook, Russell explores mental illness, relationship woes, and pro football.
The film stars Bradley Cooper as a former substitute teacher who attempts to reunite with his wife after spending eight months in a psychiatric facility for beating up his wife’s lover. Upon his release, he receives support from his football obsessed parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) and a mysterious girl (Jennifer Lawrence) with many of her own flaws. The result is a hysterically awkward, razor sharp roller coaster ride of recovery and reconciliation. And most likely, will lead to a string of Oscar nominations.
Sandwiched in between the red carpet events for 10 solid days, the Starz Denver Film Festival will showcase over 225 features, shorts, and student films from 40 different countries around the world, including a multi-film presentation on Argentina cinema. Plus, several interactive panel discussions, like “Chasing Ice: A Conversation,” “Young Guns,” and “The Talent You Don’t See;” animation workshops; youthful films brought to you by Reel Social Club; a celebration of Women in Film; the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender films in Cinema Q; and plenty of post-Halloween horrors at The Watching Hour.
Special appearances include: Vince Vaughn (Art of Conflict), Andrea Riseborough (Shadow Dancer), Tippi Hedren (The Birds), Bob Balaban (Moonlight Kingdom), Jason Ritter (Good Dick), George Romero (Zombie Town Hall), Neil LaBute (sexting) and stuntwoman extraordinaire, Zoe Bell (Death Proof).
With Election Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate! Let your voice be heard. Rock the vote. And be sure to check back with us for some of the year’s leading film candidates from the 35th Annual Starz Denver Film Festival!
Mark Sells, “The Reel Deal”
Mark Sells is a nationally recognized film/entertainment journalist and Critic-at-Large for 100.3 FM The Sound (Los Angeles). In addition to his blog on 303, you can follow The Reel Deal on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for the latest entertainment news, reviews, and interviews.
A Late Quartet – Trailer
Quartet – Trailer
Silver Linings Playbook – Trailer