The Sarasota Film Society's annual Cine-World Film Festival, which starts Friday, again features a fine mix of pictures generating Oscar buzz as well as surprises from around the globe.
The 50 selections are being primarily shown at Burns Court Cinemas but there are also festival screenings at Sarasota Film Society's Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.
SFS Artistic Director Michael Kayatta deems this year's Cine-World as strong as any in the festival's 23-year history.
"We have a lot of weird and interesting films this year," he said.
"One of the interesting things about this festival is people can get a pass or tickets and just go and pick 10 movies and there's a really good chance they'll enjoy what they find."
The opening night film, "Quartet," is the directorial debut by Dustin Hoffman. It stars Oscar winner Maggie Smith (of "Harry Potter" and "Downtown Abbey" fame) as a once-popular opera diva who creates a stir with her arrival at a home for retired performers.
Other spotlight titles include David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," which has generated Oscar buzz for best picture as well as best actress (Jennifer
and best supporting actor (Robert De Niro). The film also stars Bradley Cooper, best known for the "Hangover" movies.
Roger Michell's "Hyde Park on Hudson" takes audiences to June 1939, when the reigning British king and queen visited President Franklin D. Roosevelt. War with Germany loomed on the horizon and England desperately needed the president's support.
Bill Murray plays FDR in a role that reeks Oscar, especially after the funny man got snubbed for his excellent work in 2003's "Lost in Translation" and not even nominated for an equally Academy Award-worthy performance in 1998's "Rushmore."
Edward Burn's "The Fitzgerald Family Christmas," which has a Lakewood Ranch screening, finds "The Brothers McMullen" writer-director-star returning to the family well with a story about an expansive Irish clan's long-absent patriarch deciding to come home for the holidays.
Michael Haneke's "Amour" is Austria's official submission to the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. It's about a couple in their eighties whose bond of love is severely tested.
"It's a really difficult film about a couple dealing with the aging process and their relationship as they move into the future," Kayatta said.
"From description, it sounds highly sentimental but what's interesting is how its purposely lacking in sentiment. It's really fantastic, although it sounds like a bummer."
The documentary "Music From the Big House," which had a special engagement at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas in July, will be screened Nov. 15 at Burns Court. Blues-singing star Rita Chiarelli performs the next day at The Five O'clock Club in Sarasota. "We had to turn to people away," Kayatta said of the summer screening of "Big House" that also featured a Chiarelli performance. "So it's back by popular demand."Details: Nov. 9-18, Burns Court Cinemas, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive #8Lakewood Ranch Tickets: $8.50 members, $11.00 non-membersInformation: 941-955-3456 or filmsociety.org
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.