The Scottsdale International Film Festival is back in its 13th year and full of premières, special advanced screenings, and thought-provoking documentaries from all over the world. The four-night event runs October 4 through 8 at Scottsdale's Harkins Shea 14 Theatre and promises everything from all-star casts to special Q&A sessions with up-and-coming directors. Jackalope Ranch has the scoop on the five films you don't want to miss.
The Congress Showing Saturday, October 5, at 6 p.m. It doesn't take much more than two words (well, names actually) to make us want to see a movie. Jon and Hamm are two such words. The astonishingly handsome Mad Men star joins Paul Giamatti and Robin Wright in a trippy part live action, part animation look at what would have been if Wright took one last Hollywood role after being an out-of-work actress for years. This one's sure to be just about as weird as it gets.
Decoding Annie Parker Showing Friday, October 4, at 7:30 p.m. Based on a true story, this poignant, heartwarming drama tells the events of Annie Parker's struggle with cancer after losing both her sister and mother to it over the course of 15 years. In his directorial feature debut, Steven Bernstein intertwines the paths of Annie and geneticist Marie-Claire King in the fight against breast cancer. While the film has some amazing actresses, including Rashida Jones, Helen Hunt, and Samantha Morton, the post-film Q&A session with both Bernstein and the real-life Parker will definitely be one of the festival's highlights.
Great Expectations Showing Monday, October 7, at 7:25 p.m. Got to love a good period piece, and nothing says depressing, dark, and dingy England quite like a Dickens movie. With Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter bringing the era to life in ways that at least she is pretty much synonymous with, we're sure this take on the classic novel will shine, regardless of its subject matter. Director Mike Newell, who is also known for bringing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to life, is clearly going for something more meaty than his past book-to-movie adaptations, not to mention the past incarnations of this book-to-movie.
Oh Boy! Showing Friday, October 4 at 2:45 p.m. and Tuesday, October 8 at 7:25 p.m. It seems painfully hip to bag on Millennials these days and Oh Boy! is one of those coming of age Gen Y tales that happens a little past the learning curve. Getting your allowance taken away, quitting college, and the pursuit of coffee are all fair game in this foreign flick, but there's clearly more to the story than poking fun at 20-somethings. The black-and-white German film, which occurs over the span of one day, received the 2013 German Film Award -- Germany's equivalent to the Oscars.
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A.C.O.D. Showing Saturday, October 5 at 4 p.m. A.C.O.D., or Adult Children of Divorce, explores the awkward world of developmental disorders, sociological studies, and bad family ties in a way that only Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) could. Joined by fellow Parks and Recer Amy Poehler and other notable funny women Jane Lynch and Catherine O'Hara, A.C.O.D. will be a nice break from the odd, sad and serious picks on the rest of the list.
Single tickets are available for between $8 and $12, full event passes are $45, and VIP passes are $250. For tickets and more information, visit the event's website at www.scottsdalefilmfestival.com