After announcement hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan wrapped up their duties by revealing this year's 10 nominees for the biggest Oscars prize of all, things no longer looked good for The Power of the Dog, especially in terms of Best Picture. They looked freaking great.

Despite the rough language, physical peril, and copious nudity, this franchise extender is a family film. Its stunts are beyond crude, but its heart is unfailingly sweet.

Presented as part of the Davenport museum's free “Thursdays the the Figge” programming, the Academy Award-nominated documentary Finding Vivian Maier will be screened on February 10 in the “Film at the Figge” series, with the critical consensus at Rotten Tomatoes reading, “"Narratively gripping, visually striking, and ultimately thought-provoking, Finding Vivian Maier shines an overdue spotlight on its subject's long-hidden brilliance.”

Following last year's “pandemic Oscars” that wound up nominating and awarding loads of titles that debuted on our TV screens, laptops, and phones, it made all the sense in the world for movie fans to be psyched about this year's return to a “traditional” Academy Awards. Finally! The chance to reward such critically acclaimed, crowd-pleasing box-office behemoths as Spielberg's West Side Story and King Richard's Rocky-esque tale of Venus and Serena Williams and the new Guillermo del Toro and … ! Wait. Where were the crowds?

This past weekend, I spent three-and-a-half hours watching movies in Iowa City. I also spent three-and-a-half hours reading movies in Iowa City.

An intimate yet sprawling work selected as an official entry in the Mountain Film Festival and the Sheffield Docfest, directors Raj Patel's and Zek Piper's The Ants & the Grasshopper serves as the latest presentation in River Action's QC Environmental Film Series, its February 6 premiere at Davenport's Figge Art Museum set to explore how, according to The Guardian, power and privilege shape climate justice and food justice from Africa to America – and how we might move forward together."

The short version is that it's a queasy morality fable about a fallen woman who, due to the love of a faultless man, ultimately discovers the grace of God and mends her wicked ways. The longer version is that this earnest, tacky, largely offensive trifle is – thanks to a handful of unexpectedly resonant performances – a lot less icky than it should have been. Damned actors. The good ones can make almost anything bearable.

While this latest, incessantly meta sequel is frequently clever and easily watchable, it also kept reminding me, unfortunately, that there's a fine line between smart and smarty-pants.

Described by CNN as “amazing,” by the San Francisco Chronicle as “wonderful,” and by the Hollywood Reporter as “a fascinating portrait,” Picture of His Life, the 2019 documentary on lauded underwater photographer Amos Nachoum, opens the 2022 season in River Action's QC Environmental Film Series, this January 23 presentation at Davenport's Figge Art Museum a multiple festival-award winner by acclaimed directors Dani Merkin and Yonatan Nir.

There's nothing much wrong with the action thriller The 355 that couldn't have been fixed with a better director and a better script.