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Surviving the awards season for the rural moviegoer

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The last month or so has seen a lot of prestige pictures being released. But some releases have yet to even touch Cedar Rapids or the neighboring Iowa City. Some films will wait for awareness and award praise to justify getting the films wider, whereas others will never hit our local multiplexes. It's a problem avid moviegoers in the Hawkeye State must overcome. How can you still all the highly regarded films without driving to Chicago/Minneapolis?

Some rabid filmlovers have to struggle with this constantly, myself included. When a movie is heaped with a lot of accolades, the need to see the film rises above catching the latest studio puff piece. The craving for effective cinema becomes insatiable. The options to stay ahead, or at least caught up, with the critics can be expensive. Sometimes, it's anticipating a movie's pedigree months out. These people caught "Captain Phillips" and "12 Years a Slave" the first opportunity they got. Though it might be easier to see find these playing nearby, foreign films like "The Hunt" and "Blue is the Warmest Color" have practically disappeared.

Anticipating a potential movie for awards season is also exhausting. Seeing multiple films a week at the multiplex in hopes it lightens your load come Oscar movie-binge time is difficult. It's no different than trying to answer questions before they are asked. Some come with practice; others have no answer due to any number of variables.

Since high school, I've aimed to see each film nominated in a major category each year at the Academy Awards (Best Actor, Actress, Picture, Supporting Actor, Actress, and usually Director and both Original and Adapted Screenplay). Having never lived in a market ripe for cinephiles, ingenuity was key. See the movie as soon as possible (legally) in hopes another view is ideal. In Iowa, there have been a collection of theaters that feed that need. In Des Moines, theaters like Fleur Cinema and Cafe and the Varsity theater focus almost exclusively on foreign and independent cinema. In Cedar Rapids, the advantage of having Iowa City and locations like FilmScene keep cinephiles satiated.

At this moment, some of the films nominated for Golden Globes aren't even in theaters yet. So as the award season nears its apex, I anticipate our Eastern Iowa locations providing increasing opportunities to see these imminent Oscar winners. Vigilance and checking those local listings constantly will help you keep ahead of the game, because some will come and go without much fanfare. Have you seen the well-crafted "Philomena" or the one-man show of Robert Redford in "All is Lost"? Did you know they are playing now in our area? So dust off those winter boots and grab your bucket of popcorn. There are great films waiting for you right now, with more on the horizon.


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