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The reel good stuff: Aspen Film announces lineup for annual Academy Screenings

Actors from "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery."
Courtesy of Aspen Film
The highly anticipated murder mystery "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" will screen at Aspen Film's annual Academy Screenings on Dec. 19. Rian Johnson directed the film, which follows a detective first introduced in "Knives Out" to a new locale with a new cast of characters.

Film buffs will have a full buffet of the season’s top films to see on the big screen in late December for Aspen Film’s 30th annual Academy Screenings.

On the movie menu: a highly anticipated murder mystery, an apocalyptic dark comedy, several family sagas, and a slew of other domestic and international festival darlings for mature audiences.

The festival is an opportunity for locals and visitors to see awards-season contenders at the Isis Theatre and Wheeler Opera House before the movies hit streaming services or other screens in the region.

The audience is peppered with film industry pros who get to decide who takes home those shiny statues at the Oscars in March — hence the festival name, Academy Screenings.

Even though some of the films will be available later on smaller screens, Aspen Film executive director Susan Wrubel believes there is something special about watching the films in a theater.

“I always prefer seeing a really beautiful and cinematic film on a big screen. To me, there's nothing like it,” Wrubel said. “You really get lost in the experience. You know, as we always say, it's a shared experience in the dark, and there's just something so much more immersive about it.”

There are 17 films at this year's festival.

Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” plays opening night, Dec. 19, and is followed by a Q&A with one of the actors, Kate Hudson.

“White Noise,” directed by Noah Baumbach, closes out the festival on Dec. 23.

The apocalyptic dark comedy stars Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle.

Other buzzy films include director Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” which stars Brendan Fraser as an English teacher attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter, and writer-director Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” in which the women of an isolated religious community grapple with their faith.

Also on the lineup is the latest “Puss in Boots” movie, “The Last Wish,” which is suitable for kids and the young at heart. (The movie has a 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.)

Individual tickets go on sale Dec. 6 for Aspen Film members and Dec. 9 for the general public. Festival passes are already on sale.

For the full lineup, go to Aspen Film’s website.

Kaya Williams is the Edlis Neeson Arts and Culture Reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering the vibrant creative and cultural scene in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. She studied journalism and history at Boston University, where she also worked for WBUR, WGBH, The Boston Globe and her beloved college newspaper, The Daily Free Press. Williams joins the team after a stint at The Aspen Times, where she reported on Snowmass Village, education, mental health, food, the ski industry, arts and culture and other general assignment stories.