<p>  The Hobbit</p>Cutting Room for December 28

  • For those who get giddy at being teased, this was a heck of a week for teaser trailers. Not only did The Dark Knight Rises finally lift up its proverbial skirt to show us a hint of its knickers, but The Hobbit also gave us a delightful peek and a wink. Early reactions to both have been wildly positive, with the former getting a few sparse complaints regarding the voice used by Tom Hardy as the new baddie, Bane. The latter, on the other hand, has only been celebrated as a dwarf-tastic promise of things to come. It’s rare when the biggest news items of the week are previews, but that’s how the last few weeks of the year usually plays out, yo. Check 'em out below!


  • Bruce Campbell, who I was once afforded the opportunity to converse with thanks to this fine publication, will have a cameo in director Sam Raimi’s The Great and Powerful Oz. This isn’t newsworthy per se, because Campbell is a frequent guest in his buddy’s films, but because early news had this plan ixnayed, it’s somewhat interesting. This doesn’t necessarily renew interest in the ill-conceived, money-grubbing rush back to the world of Oz, but as I’ve always said, if you want something to be better, you need a little Bruce Campbell up there. Ooh, maybe he’ll play a munchkin!
  •  Year-end lists are going to be popping up soon—look for ours here shortly. But it’s always worth paying attention to what Roger Ebert does with his thumbs. This year, he’s selected A Separation as the year’s best. Rounding out his top 5 are Shame, The Tree of Life, Hugo and Take Shelter. Potential spoiler alert for my impending list: Roger Ebert is a very smart man.

Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@thereader.com. Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (movieha.libsyn.com/rss), catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 (cd1059.com) on Fridays at around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 (KVNO.org) at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).


entered on 12/28/11 at 01:52 PM | read comments »


<p>  Alexander Payne's <em>The Descendants</em></p>Remarkably Unremarkable

Solely because 2010 was a regrettable stinker-of-a-year, 2011 was a measured improvement, insofar as we’re more likely to forget it altogether than remember it with remorse.

Greenbacks Make Us Blue

In a year that finally saw the birth of resistance to radical wealth distribution to the greedy few, nobody will pity Hollywood for the failure of its “mo’ sequels, mo’ money” strategy. For the second consecutive year, both tickets sold and total revenues are doing the downward-facing dog pose. The last time attendance was this bad, Bill Clinton had just been elected to the white house. Not that I’m proposing a correlation. Total revenue will settle at less than $10 billion, one of the rare times collecting billions of dollars results in disappointment.

It’s no coincidence 2011 set the record for most sequels, with a whopping 27, the same year every major measure of success got flushed. With mega-flops like The Green Lantern and Happy Feet 2, one would like to imagine a message was served, but that fallacy is such stuff as dreams are made on.

Netflix In Flux

Perhaps the biggest shakeup and kerfuffle involving movies this year came from inside our homes, as Netflix tried its hardest to make everyone hate it. After making the calculated business decision to split up its DVD-by-mail and online services, resulting in a 60% price hike, CEO Reed Hastings gave us the business equivalent of “jumping the shark” when he gave us the phrase “introducing Qwikster.”

Qwikster was going to be a new company that would handle the physical DVD mailing, while Netflix would only handle the streaming content. Short of telling customers to flat-out “suck it,” creating a subsidiary company to divide a product in half and require an entirely new interface is the worst business move ever. Hastings crapped out an online mea culpa and terminated Qwikster before it was born. So where does this leave Netflix? Check next week’s 2012 predictions to find out!

Big O Lives Large

It goes without saying that when Alexander Payne, Omaha’s beloved directorial son, releases a new feature for the first time in ages, it’s a good year for our fair city. It also goes without saying how wonderful it was to see Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater roll out such a delightful premiere. But what else could we come to expect from a place that was lauded this year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and continues to deliver incredible events such as bringing local musicians to play live scores to silent films?

What’s incredible is that Aksarben Cinema has been working to deliver the same kind of quality that Film Streams brings to the art house experience to blockbuster mainstream fare. With phenomenal themed events, not to mention the occasional movie-inspired cocktail, the locally owned operation has proved in 2011 that bigger need not mean impersonal.

For the second year in a row, things were peachy in Omaha, even if 2011 was largely forgettable when taking a view from above. 


entered on 12/22/11 at 06:35 PM | read comments »


<p>  Play Time</p>Cutting Room for December 21

  • After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we all deserve some Play Time and Film Streams (filmstreams.org) is going to give it to us. They will literally be screening Play Time, the 1966 comedy by legendary French director Jacques Tati, at 7 pm on Thursday, Jan. 12. Together with daOMA (design alliance OMAha) and Omaha Creative Institute, the theater will also host a post-show discussion featuring New York architect David Leven. You may not consider yourself an architecture enthusiast, but that’s strange considering how much time you spend inside buildings…
  • Also coming to Film Streams is the winner of the 5th Annual Members Select vote: The Big Lebowski, which will screen Jan. 20-26. I’m not sure any single vote has reaffirmed my faith in the democratic process quite as much as seeing these results. If we, as a people, can collectively correctly identify the brilliance of “the Dude,” maybe this coming November won’t be as scary as I thought.
  • In perhaps the strangest news ever featured in this column: Clint Eastwood and his family are shooting an E! reality television show in the same vein as the one featuring the Kardashians. Yes, that’s right; everybody’s favorite high-waistlined yard defender is going to be doling out fatherly advice to his two teenaged daughters who apparently want to follow in celebutant footsteps. This sounds like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, not real life. Of course, I say that, but who isn’t going to at least tune in once to see the wrinkly, rankly mega-star dole out gruff fatherly advice?

Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@thereader.com. Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (movieha.libsyn.com/rss), catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 (cd1059.com) on Fridays at around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 (KVNO.org) at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).


entered on 12/21/11 at 05:09 PM | read comments »


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The Trip to Italy

Another affable outing with two British comedians.

GRADE
B+


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Still a fun place to visit, provided you're not a woman.

GRADE
C


The Giver

This adaptation of Lois Lowry's beloved award-winning classic will be none of those things.

GRADE
D


Boyhood

The only coming-of-age story anyone ever needs to make. 

GRADE
A+


Guardians of the Galaxy

A gleeful space opera that is as visually stunning as it is hilarious.

GRADE
A


Lucy

A girl ingests a drug that makes her God. For real.

GRADE
C+


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Those damned apes are back and anything but dirty.

GRADE
B+


We Are the Best

Set in Stockholm in 1982, this is punk rock female adolescence at its finest.

GRADE
A


Take It Back

Fail gloriously, if you must fail. Go down swinging for the fences, punchdrunk and confident you’re making something truly...

more »


Cinéma Very Tame

A few quick confessions: Because we now have cameras, modern photorealistic paintings have always been, at best, modestly...

more »


Grade A-Holes

The proliferation of comic book movies has reached its cultural apex, so thoroughly dominating the box office and public...

more »


Lucy Goosey

It doesn’t work this way with people, but there’s a level of confident stupidity a movie can display that makes it...

more »


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