Cutting Room for January 4

  • My excitement for Thor 2 has declined from “Odin’s beard” to “Loki’s muttonchops,” as Patty Jenkins has been taken from the director’s seat. Thus, instead of getting to see what a talented female filmmaker may do with a big budget sequel, we get to see what Alan Taylor, director of some episodes of “Game of Thrones,” can predictably do. Word has it that Natalie Portman, or Natpo as I call her from a governmentally enforced distance of at least 100 feet, is pretty upset because she hand-picked Jenkins. Nobody makes Natpo mad on my watch! I feel a strongly worded letter coming on…
  • One of the most anticipated films on my radar for the last three years has been Ari Folman’s The Congress. While it may feel wrong to look forward to something involving congress of any kind, if you’ve seen Folman’s animated look into the horrors of war, Waltz with Bashir, you know why I’m giddy. The good news is that things are progressing, as the script based on speculative fiction author Stanislaw Lem is supposedly great and the part live-action, part animation is rolling along. The bad news is that it’s taking awhile, as 2012 isn’t likely to see the movie get finished. Oh well, looks like I have my first 2013 prediction queued up!
  • Speaking of 2013… It’s rare to get excited about animation that isn’t from Pixar these days. Actually, given Cars 2, it may be hard to get excited about any animated movie ever again. Still, the buzz is that Disney’s 2013 holiday release will be Frozen, which is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” Most excitingly, rumors are that it’s going to be hand-drawn. The prospect of an old-school, pen-and-ink animated fairy tale may just be enough to melt this grumpy old heart of mine!

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 01/04/12 at 11:18 AM | read comments »


<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 »


Page 92 of 142 pages ‹ First  < 90 91 92 93 94 >  Last ›

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The epic conclusion to the most epic of epics.

GRADE
A-


The Babadook

A terrifying tale of an ooky pop-up book and motherly love.

GRADE
A


The Tale of Princess Kaguya

A water-colored take on a Japanese folktale that is prettier than it is interesting.

GRADE
B-


The Theory of Everything

"Out of this world" performances buoy a sub-par script.

GRADE
B+


Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Half of what promises to be an epic conclusion to a fabulous series.

GRADE
B+


Birdman

A delirously fun satirical send up of artistic pretension. 

GRADE
B+


The Overnighters

"The Grapes of Wrath" in documentary form set in North Dakota.

GRADE
A-


Interstellar

If this was humanity's last hope, give up.

GRADE
D


Happy, Little Clouded

Actual human beings made The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and you can tell. A water-colored rebuke of the robots who...

more »


No Big Bang

In 1965, Stephen Hawking wrote his first ground-breaking thesis and wed Jane Wilde. His paper argued that if a star can...

more »


Leni Riefen-stalling

On the one hand, any film subtitled “Part 1” is a naked cash grab. On the other hand, shut up and take my money, Hunger...

more »


Oopsie Genius

I know two things for sure: (1) Birdman aims to relentlessly drive home one singular point, one thoroughly expressed thesis...

more »


>