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'Movies Savannah Missed' debuts
Series hopes to fill gap left by multiplexes
Ben Stiller in Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg" (Focus Features)

It’s an old story around here: High–profile, high–quality movie gets released.

High–profile, high–quality movie gets kudos from the critics.

High–profile, high–quality movie never comes anywhere near a Savannah theatre.

Lots of cinema enthusiasts in town are beyond tired of this all–too–common scenario. Jim Reed decided to do something about it.

“I can’t be the only one who picks up a newspaper or goes online for movie listings and just scratches his head,” he says.

Beginning with an Aug. 1 screening of the new film Greenberg, Reed will bring a new, recently–released film each Sunday to Muse Arts Warehouse in a new series he calls “Movies Savannah Missed.”

Connect Savannah is a lead sponsor of the effort.

Local film aficionados will recognize Reed from his Psychotronic Film Society screenings each Wednesday night at the Sentient Bean coffeehouse. While Reed plans to continue that seven–year–old labor of love, he stresses that the new series at Muse is completely different.

“At the Bean I sometimes show films that are so bad they’re funny,” he says. “But with this series we’re not showing any turkeys. The idea is to brand this differently to let people know these are movies which are hotly anticipated.  I’m booking films that by and large the critics have all said are very good.”

They’re also mostly very new — in some cases so new that Reed himself hasn’t screened them in advance.

Also, while the Wednesday films at the Bean are chosen partially for their ability to fit into a coffeehouse environment, Reed stresses that the new series will be more conducive to serious cinematic appreciation.

“Muse has a bigger screen, very comfortable chairs, raised seating, it’s dark and quiet, and there’s plenty of free parking,” he says. “It’s much more like a theatre or theatrical experience.”

For Reed, the decision to base “Movies Savannah Missed” at the Muse Arts Warehouse (formerly Indigo Arts Center), founded and operated by local actress and arts patron JinHi Soucy Rand, was something of a no–brainer.

“I’m an ardent supporter of the Muse Warehouse. I love what they’re doing there. JinHi is a very sincere person who is really trying to make the space welcoming to a really wide variety of people who might not ordinarily go to an independent arts venue,” Reed says.

“She was eager to have my film society be a strong component of their offerings, and I  was really exciting about having a place that could compliment what I do at the Bean.”

In another departure from the Sentient Bean screenings, which in most cases only have one seating, most films in the new series at Muse will be screened twice — once at 5:30 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m., in order to give patrons more options before and after dinner.

“Movies Savannah Missed” kicks off with a screening of Greenberg, written and directed by Noah Baumbach (The Squid and The Whale) and starring Ben Stiller as a misanthropic, depressive middle–aged man returning to his hometown to house–sit for his brother.

Reed says Greenberg is something of a shift for Stiller.

“A lot of people say, ‘I hate Ben Stiller,’ but what they really mean is ‘I hate Ben Stiller movies,’” Reed laughs. “Ben Stiller is the star of the movie but he has nothing to do with it other than being cast in it.” 

Movies Savannah Missed: Greenberg

When: 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Sunday Aug. 1

Where: Muse Arts Warehouse (formerly Indigo), 703D Louisville Road

Cost: $7 cash only. Concessions available.