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One-Room Wonders: Area Filmmakers Explore America’s Educational History in "Country School: One Room – One Nation," March 6 at the Nighswander Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 09:38

Tammy and Kelly Rundle in North English, Iowa's Gritter Creek School“The biggest problem we have, I think, is always getting people in the door,” says local filmmaker Kelly Rundle. “Because we find that most people – not everyone, of course – ... do enjoy our films. With this one, though ... . There’s just something about one-room schools that doesn’t sound very sexy, you know what I mean?”

He may have a point. The latest collaboration between director Kelly Rundle and his wife, co-writer and co-producer Tammy Rundle, is Country School: One Room – One Nation, the third documentary released by the couple’s Moline-based production company Fourth Wall Films. And as the movie is an examination of, and tribute to, the one-room schools that flourished throughout the rural United States in the first half of the 20th Century, “sexy” isn’t exactly the adjective that springs to mind.

Other descriptions, however – including “fascinating,” “insightful,” and “really, really entertaining” – are more than appropriate. Like the pair’s 2004 true-crime doc Villisca: Living with a Mystery and 2007’s Lost Nation: The Ioway, Country School takes an in-depth look at a mostly unknown, or largely forgotten, chapter of American – specifically Midwestern – history. Also like those films, the Rundles’ most recent endeavor delivers a history lesson that is anything but a dry lecture.

Rebel without a Planet: “I Am Number Four,” “Unknown,” and “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 20 February 2011 14:08

Dianna Agron and Alex Pettyfer in I Am Number FourI AM NUMBER FOUR

A handsome, troubled, rebellious transfer student dealing with alienation and the wrath of bullies at his new high school. The kid’s ineffectual father, shrugging off his child’s loneliness and conflicts with the authorities. The kid’s one new friend, a withdrawn, frequently picked-on nerd with his own parental hang-ups. The kid’s potential love interest, a pretty, popular girl who feels like an outsider herself, and appears to be the property of the kid’s chief tormentor. If you’ve seen a certain iconic drama starring Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and a red-jacket-wearing James Dean, the aforementioned character descriptions might sound a teensy bit familiar.

Oscar Snapshots: Unforgettable Moments Among the 2011 Best Picture Contenders PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 06:00
Natalie Portman in Black SwanMovies are made of moments, and after some consideration, I can’t think of a single Best Picture lineup that has provided more memorable moments than the one competing at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, airing on ABC affiliate WQAD on February 27.

"King's" for the Day: 2011 Oscar Predictions PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 05:59
Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth, and Geoffrey Rush in The King's SpeechAll right, kids, we’re on a roll. Two years ago, I correctly predicted 16 out of 24 winners at the annual Oscars ceremony. Last year, I scored 18 right. So this year, let’s go out on a limb and suggest that I’m gonna guess accurately in ... I dunno ... 11, 12 categories ... ?

Biebermania: "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," "The Eagle," "Just Go with It," and "Gnomeo & Juliet" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 13 February 2011 14:26

Justin Bieber in Justin Bieber: Never Say NeverJUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER

Leave it to that great Socratic thinker Ozzy Osbourne, in a recent TV commercial, to ask the question that’s been on many a middle-aged mind of late: “What’s a Bieber?”

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