Technically, Scott Beck won mtvU's "Best Film on Campus" contest earlier this month. You'd just never know it from talking to him. Beck's trailer for his feature film University Heights won the competition - he wrote and directed the movie - but he never claims the project exclusively as his.

Citing "the cost of film rentals and insurance" and "really low" attendance, Mike Reid, director of the Open Cities Film Society, announced that the organization was discontinuing its New York City Film Series at Davenport's Figge Art Museum, nine weeks and eight films ahead of schedule.

For die-hard movie fans in the Quad Cities, film festivals are always around. And therein lies the disappointment. They're around, they're just not here. In April, Cedar Rapids presented an independent film festival.

R.I.P. B&V

Everyone has movies they love, but you don't often have loving feelings toward movie houses.

Devin Hansen understands that some people might feel betrayed. He remembers what he said when he opened the Rocket cinema earlier this year, making what many saw as an implicit promise to remain loyal to the Brew & View.

When the Putnam's IMAX theatre first opened its doors in 2002, the plan was to give audiences a big-screen educational experience they wouldn't forget. Yet in the past six months, you're nearly as likely to catch Beauty & the Beast or Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban at the Putnam as you are an educational opus along the lines of Everest.

When it was announced that the Brew & View's Devin Hansen, this spring, would open a similar theater, The Rocket, in the District of Rock Island's long-defunct Capri Cinema, the reaction of Brew & View regulars was generally twofold: an emphatic "Hooray!" followed by a quick "Huh?" After all, the Capri stands not four blocks from the Brew & View, and one such venue in the District was already more than film fans should have hoped for.

After the announcement of last year's Oscar nominations, in which the Academy made almost shockingly inspired choices across the board, this year's slate of nominees was bound to be a more predictable lot; barring a few minor surprises - the director and screenplay nods for Mike Leigh's Vera Drake (still unseen by me) chief among them - voters opted for traditional, safe choices in 2004, especially among the squarer-than-usual Best Picture contenders.

2004 in Movies

Was I feeling especially sensitive in 2004, or were the year's most memorable cinematic works, coincidentally, the most unabashedly romantic ones? It could certainly be me - the only (fictional) televised event that moved me to tears was the unlikely but enormously satisfying kiss between Martin Freeman's Tim and Lucy Davis' Dawn on The Office Special.

Famous filmmaking pairs usually work together on everything or have clearly defined roles. The Wachowski brothers - the forces behind The Matrix series - both write and direct. Joel and Ethan Coen - the hip duo that made Fargo and many other cult classics - write together but split their duties otherwise, with Joel directing and Ethan producing.

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