There will be hell toupée in D.C.

January 20th, 2017

Fellow citizens will be hanging on every moment (or steering completely clear) of today’s inauguration at 11:30 a.m. CST when Mr. Make America Great Again pledges to do what a president of the United States of America is tasked with doing. Contradicting his own words, paving inroads for corporate influence to flood Capitol Hill, and belittling women and persons of color at will are three of his many previous behaviors that cannot continue. The incoming cabinet, populated by creatures of regressive habits, also seems hell bent on divisive doctrine instead of truly encouraging American unity. We must guard against the potential ill effects of their decisions and protect neighbors who may become more vulnerable than before due to gender, skin color, religion, medical needs, or financial insecurity. While imperfect, the tenure of outgoing President Barack Obama at least left us feeling more human and vital in the fight for cultural discussion and social progress with a stabilized economy in place; we will have to work even harder at it under this new rule.

There is no better time than now to speculate cheekily as to how our thin-skinned President-Elect of Paranoia operates within that thick skull. We could only think of one video that might illustrate our misgivings and equally lend itself to C-U Blogfidential inclusion, an older parody about hero worship and consumerism and artificial weaves, oh my! Vancouver-based humorist Ken Hegan is a contributor to the Canadian Broadcasting Network, an established travel columnist, and senior copy writer at the Blast Radius firm. Hegan also makes the occasional film short such as WILLIAM SHATNER LENT ME HIS HAIRPIECE: AN UNTRUE STORY (1996), starring himself as an overzealous fan who desires the perks bestowed on Montréal’s favorite stargazing son, William Shatner, played by Gary Jones (STARGATE SG-1). They meet and agree to place atop Hegan’s cranium the catalyst of Shatner’s glory – his toupée, stored on a Hamlet prop where it makes dead-of-night calls to seal all those deals – for two weeks. Hegan realizes the piece is a decoy and steals the real (non-“Bones”) McCoy. Chaos ensues!

Atomic TV: The “Not a Repeat” Episode from Atomic TV on Vimeo.

We could not find an official stream of HAIRPIECE to embed for you, dearly distressed, so we turn to a remnant from the Nineties underground that once spread its roots across this great land! Scott Huffines and Tom Warner of the Baltimore, MD, alternative shop Atomic Books produced a micro-budget mélange titled ATOMIC TV, airing on local cable access for a decade and filled with outsider delights. Luckily, the gang has finally migrated ATOMIC TV episodes to the World Wide Web including an unnumbered show from 1999, “Not a Repeat,” in which HAIRPIECE appears; skip to the 42:20 mark where an animated Warner introduces the 13-minute-long opus. Our host also mentions its appearance in 1997 at the first annual MicroCineFest, an awesome stop on the indie film circuit of yore organized by the great Skizz Cyzyk to the delight of Charm City denizens and lo-fi moviemakers. That same fall season, HAIRPIECE played the second night of the inaugural Freaky Film Festival on Sunday, November 2, in Urbana’s Channing-Murray Foundation, hereby connecting Hegan’s farce to the home front.

Shot-on-video silliness aside, this laser blast from the past came to mind for a single reason. If we substitute in our minds the president-elect for Shatner, his misdirected voters for Hegan, and any one of his orange herring promises for the toupée, HAIRPIECE’s panic doesn’t seem all that removed from skittish public discourse a la Donald J. Trump, does it? As much as our cynical selves tend to demonize politicians for subsisting on double- and non-speak to avoid making claims or promises they can’t back up, Trump has managed to lay down next-level verbal waste during the debates with Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the professional news media, and on social platforms – a sad trend that may continue well beyond today, Friday, January 20, unless his advisors reign him in – while still being picked by the Electoral College after losing the popular vote. (In a telling press conference bit, Shatner nonchalantly blathers to reporters – “…blah blah blah, the Enterprise, blah blah blah blah” – after “[forgetting] what had made him a star” per the droll Hegan narration.) We can’t escape a feeling that policies put forth by his administration will compromise greatly our democracy, security, and international standing.

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: January 20-26, 2017

January 20th, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

1/20: Thomas Polk (director, THE STAR PRINCE, Pens to Lens 2016)
1/26: Mike Watt (author, Son of the Return of Movie Outlaw)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Six more films open or go wide this weekend to fill up first-run screens; happily, the content seems varied in this field as two genre films, one light Christian yarn, one auteur epic heavy in faith and conscience, one biography of a controversial businessman, and one tenderly-observed period drama attempt to find their viewing tribes. In honor of the Women’s March on Washington (D.C.) tomorrow, we highlight three features exploring the strength of women in different decades of the 20th century. That includes the period drama, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (A24 Films/Annapurna Pictures), which opens at Goodrich Savoy 16 today, Fri., 1/21; directed by Mike Mills and starring Annette Bening, Lucas Jade Zumann, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, and Billy Crudup, the ensemble piece takes place in 1979 and depicts how a single mother and her teenage son develop a surrogate family of sorts that inhabits their turn-of-the-19th-century home in Santa Barbara, CA. Also beginning its local run today at the Art Theater Co-op is JACKIE (Fox Searchlight Pictures/LD Entertainment), a reflection of President John F. Kennedy’s death as experienced in the immediate aftermath by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman); this lushly cinematic interpretation is directed by Pablo Larraín and also features Peter Sarsgaard, Richard E. Grant, and John Hurt as well as Crudup and Gerwig. Scheduled at the AMC Parkway 8 in Springfield as part of the annual Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series is THE INNOCENTS (Music Box Films/Mandarin Cinema), a starkly photographed examination of tenacity among women in the most trying moments. Directed by Anne Fontaine with a refreshing number of lady professionals taking primary roles behind and before the camera, THE INNOCENTS retells a real-life incident that occurred in 1945 Poland at the end of World War II; a French Red Cross nurse named Mathilde (Lou de Laȃge) is convinced to leave her station and visit a countryside monastery in order to help several nuns who were forcibly impregnated by Soviet soldiers. Sponsored by Springfield Art Association, the Molly Schlich Series will present THE INNOCENTS on Sun., 1/22, 1 & 4 p.m., and Tues., 1/24, 7 p.m. If you are unable to participate publicly this weekend in our nation’s capital or closer to home, consider marching to these venues and demonstrating with your dollars and attentions the necessity and worth of quality female-centric storytelling such as this. “FOW” is hereby femme.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
JACKIE (1/20 on), THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) w/live accompaniment by Andrew Alden Ensemble (1/25)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
SILENCE, SPLIT, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE, THE BYE BYE MAN, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, LIVE BY NIGHT, MONSTER TRUCKS, PATRIOTS DAY, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, SLEEPLESS (1/20 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL, KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES, TRAIN TO BUSAN, THE HOLLOW POINT, DEATH RACE 2050, more! (1/17 on)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 205 (1/24, 6 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
THE FOUNDER, THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, SILENCE, SPLIT, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE, THE BYE BYE MAN, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, LIVE BY NIGHT, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, MONSTER TRUCKS, PASSENGERS, PATRIOTS DAY, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, SLEEPLESS (1/20 on), The Metropolitan Opera: Roméo et Juliette (1/21, simulcast; 1/25, recorded), CITIZEN KANE (1/22, 1/25), SAILOR MOON R THE MOVIE (1/23-1/24)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. HACKSAW RIDGE, Pine Lounge (1/20, 1/21, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
DRACULA (1931; 1/21), THE GODFATHER (1/24, 1/26)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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In My Backyard: Year 8

January 18th, 2017

Apart from a few deep thoughts we strung together for your consideration a year ago, dearest readers, it has been a long while since we officially addressed the residents of our Champaign-Urbana backyard, the same one in which we work a lot, play some, dream a little, and sporadically fizzle out when no one is looking. Since we last drafted “In My Backyard” back in 2012, there is probably not much use in forcing a massive MFHQ brain dump in 2017 so we can retro-write the missing annual summaries. Just the same, you are more than capable of reviewing C-U Blogfidential at any time for the names, titles, dates, and stories you need to know about our shared cinema culture. Consider this post a creative placeholder that gives us an excuse to revive old and obscure copy from various sources, flesh out past moments in the Confidential history, and lead us numerically towards a brand-new “Year 12” entry scheduled after our 11th anniversary passes on Saturday, February 25. Most of this material will appear on CUBlog for the first time, providing alternate takes on certain topics du C-U.

In this initial dosage of “Backyard,” we once again page through the former community weekly The Octopus to find our point of interest. Your humble editor served in a freelance capacity as contributor, proofreader, and illustrator for the paper at the time those frisky Brew & View film festivals took place in 1996-97, but he eventually placed higher on the masthead when its publisher hired him as a production manager in 2000. With more salary came more responsibility, including late nights on Mondays and Tuesdays to paste up the final flats for the printer in Danville, so he did not again become involved in Octopus editorial on a regular basis. Once in a great while, however, he took on desirable topics that crossed the editors’ desks or developed ideas from within his own wheelhouse. To wit, the following piece traces rumblings back to the University of Illinois about the dissolution of their cinematography courses as attentions were otherwise turned to the return of Roger Ebert on campus.

You may be surprised to read so cocksure an article by that younger version of Ye Ed, surpassing in tone much of what he wrote concurrently for MICRO-FILM, but the celebrity favoritism simply pissed him off. To this day it is unclear just how those classes were replaced with ones focusing on digital tools. Is the theoretical array offered in the present by the UI School of Art + Design all there is? The university has been far more interested recently in launching an Ebert-branded cinema appreciation and ethics center based within the UI College of Media, primary organizer of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, which would include a retrofit of Gregory Hall to accommodate modern screening facilities. Fiscal headaches facing the institution at large, thanks to the Illinois state budget strife, and multiple challenges hurting Media itself, stemming from studies that question its viability, have not helped move “Ebertschool” into being; gifts can be donated directly to it and a related student fellowship program is active, though.

All this says nothing about the absence of a proper film production track in the 150-year existence of the University of Illinois, forever a bewilderment to Mr. JaPan as a Champaign-Urbana community member and cinema proponent. (To be fair, both a Department of Radio-Television and Motion Picture Production Center did exist at UIUC between the 1950s and 1970s, stressing the technical aspects but not in the service of narrative storytelling.) “Ebertschool” or else, it’s simply time to let sleeping bureaucrats and academics lie. The potential unfolded right in front of them more than 40 years ago but they have chosen a steady snooze ever since. What a loss.

With that said, it’s time to read on, MacDuff

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: January 13-19, 2017

January 13th, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Five genre films open or go wide this weekend to fill up first-run screens, with possibly the Boston Marathon bombing reenactment PATRIOTS DAY (CBS Films/Lionsgate) most likely to resonate, as a sixth goes less wide and therefore fails to hit the immediate area – Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE. You can either roll the dice with this lot or go see the well-received Dev Patel/Rooney Mara drama LION (The Weinstein Co.), directed by Garth Davis and based on the true story of an Australian man who was orphaned as a small child in his native India and attempts to locate his lost family, at Goodrich Savoy 16 and the Art Theater Co-op. The latter also has a free showing of the potent 1971 documentary by Mike Gray and Howard Alk, THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON (Facets), on Mon., 1/16, 7 p.m., to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; an ambush by Chicago police officers on sleeping members and friends of the Illinois Black Panther Party resulted in the deaths of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in 1969, touching a very raw nerve in the city’s African-American population. This film not only captured the immediacy of the situation but also proved valuable in helping to refute how the incident had been spun in the local and national media. Finally, wiseacre actor Woody Harrelson will attempt to shoot the movie comedy LOST IN LONDON on location and in one take while the effort is concurrently broadcast in theaters; you can watch the “live cinema event” unfold at Savoy on Thurs., 1/19, 8 p.m., as “LOST IN LONDON Live” (Waypoint Entertainment/Fathom Events) and start taking bets with your pals as to how many joints Harrelson must have rolled with co-stars Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson before thinking this was such a good idea. The project is based on the star’s overnight experience from many years ago, holed up in a jail cell in old London town, and will also serve as his debut as feature film director and writer. Hollywood vanity could be less creative, we guess. “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
LION (1/13 on), ELLE (1/13-1/15, 1/18-1/19), THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON w/discussion (1/16, 7 p.m., free)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
THE BYE BYE MAN, LIVE BY NIGHT, MONSTER TRUCKS, PATRIOTS DAY, SLEEPLESS, FENCES, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, MOANA, A MONSTER CALLS, MOONLIGHT, PASSENGERS, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS, WHY HIM? (1/13 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DEEPWATER HORIZON, THE ACCOUNTANT, THE BIRTH OF A NATION, KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW?, MAX STEEL, UNDER THE SHADOW, THE MONKEY KING 2, HOMELAND (s5), more! (1/10 on)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 205 (1/17, 6 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
THE BYE BYE MAN, LIVE BY NIGHT, MONSTER TRUCKS, PATRIOTS DAY, SLEEPLESS, FENCES, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, LION, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, A MONSTER CALLS, PASSENGERS, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS, WHY HIM? (1/13 on), ALIENS (1/15, 1/18), SHERLOCK Season 4 Finale (1/16, 1/18), LOST IN LONDON Live (1/19, simulcast), SAILOR MOON R THE MOVIE (1/19)

@ SoDo Theatre, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “Champaign Screenwriters Presents” (1/17, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
APOCALYPSE NOW (1/10, 1/12), TOP GUN (1/14), LOST IN TRANSLATION (1/17, 1/19)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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All monster ‘zine fiends attack!

January 10th, 2017

Your humble editor has never quite understood the appeal of “collectible selfies,” where individuals regularly share their purchased or gifted pop culture items for all to see on social media, or “unboxing videos,” in which consumers or “reviewers” remove a collectible from its packaging on camera to show off the contents. Most novelties and ephemera that he has given a home in the past 15 years either remain private or appear in context as illustration to journalism. Considering how spotty this luxury has been for him lately due to the lack of disposable income, he often finds the willful display of costly tchotchkes as nerd-heaven braggadocio if not worse. It’s all right. He gets over it. Mostly.

That said, he’d like to present a few numbers acquired recently from eBay merchants, less to file away safely at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters than to read and digest their implications. Directly related to his pre-Confidential involvement in science fiction and horror entertainment fandom, it should be no surprise that he might connect a few dots between his selections. We will refrain from diving deep into the Big Issues he hopes to address within the print issues and instead open a rare doorway to the fantastical corner of his universe, nurtured in an accepting household well before Hollywood turned once-disdained genres and related materials into cash cows from which they could milk fan-service gold.

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Calendar: January 6-12, 2017

January 6th, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

1/12: Damian Duffy (adapter/letterer, Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Shall we bellow in wizened tones our best bets into your ears, dearest listeners? A MONSTER CALLS (Focus Features) looks to be the kind of metaphorical fantasy not often attempted these days, let alone released nationwide as it will be today, Fri., 1/6; directed by stylist J.A. Bayona, the story follows an English preteen named Conor (Lewis MacDougall) who learns to trust a sprawling tree creature (voiced by Liam Neeson) and its stories to help him deal with the terminal illness of his single mother (Felicity Jones) and struggles in the schoolyard. It plays the Carmike 13 and Goodrich Savoy 16 as you’d expect, while the latter picks up bonus points for booking the Japanese anime classic PRINCESS MONONOKE (GKIDS/Fathom Events) for a 20th anniversary showcase on Mon., 1/9, 7 p.m.; this adventure, following the travails of a young warrior woman who must protect her forest terrain and its panoply of nature spirits and gods from the encroachment of civilized man, is possibly as good an entry point as SPIRITED AWAY for introducing your older-than-sixth-grade children to the world of Hayao Miyazaki. We also cross our fingers that HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox) is as good a movie as it is an obvious (if needed) rallying cry to give the unsung women of color in American history their due; Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Butler, and Janelle Monaé play mathematicians whose calculations help NASA launch our first astronauts into space. Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, and Kirsten Dunst also appear in the true-to-life drama, directed by Theodore Melfi and opening today at the aforementioned ‘plexes. To conclude, you must accept the fact we’d be stumping hard for this if we lived in 1997 and not 2017; the days when hip and/or gleefully questionable genre titles of old could make for highly entertaining and well-attended film festivals in Champaign-Urbana are long gone. Compare that wild line-up with any recent film series put on by the Art, Virginia, Normal, et al. The truth hurts us a little bit, anyway. “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
LION (1/6 on), MOONLIGHT (1/6-1/7, 1/11-1/12)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, A MONSTER CALLS, UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS, ASSASSIN’S CREED, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, FENCES, MOANA, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, PASSENGERS, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, WHY HIM? (1/6 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BLAIR WITCH, MIDDLE SCHOOL, DENIAL, ACE THE CASE, OPERATION AVALANCHE, THE GIRL, MISSISSIPPI MURDER, X-RATED, SLEEPY HOLLOW (s3), more! (1/3 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
FENCES, HIDDEN FIGURES, LION, A MONSTER CALLS, UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS, ASSASSIN’S CREED, COLLATERAL BEAUTY, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, PASSENGERS, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, WHY HIM? (1/6 on), The Metropolitan Opera: Nabucco (1/7, simulcast; 1/11, recorded), BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1/8, 1/11), “The Bowden Dynasty” college football event (1/8, simulcast), PRINCESS MONONOKE 20th Anniversary (1/9, dubbed)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Once Bonded, Brew & View thrice

January 4th, 2017

Moments past and local culture lost will continue to stir C-U Blogfidential this winter like the longest of overarching shadows, but we must continue to embrace their historical worth. For instance, 20 years ago today on Saturday, January 4, 1997, we might have invited friends to meet us at the “Brew & View” on campus and then decided over pizza slices and libations whether to stay for THUNDERBALL at 7:45 p.m., YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE at 10 p.m., or DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER at midnight. If otherwise not busy that evening, we could have simply camped out for the entire James Bond marathon thanks to the allure of $3 movie tickets, cheap concessions, beat-up sofa seats, drink specials at a fully-stocked bar, and the rarity of watching right here in Champaign-Urbana “new 35mm Technicolor prints” of famous films we had previously only seen on television in cropped and censored forms.

Before the Canopy Club began occupying the former Thunderbird Theater at 708 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, in 1998, prior entrepreneurs rented the property and established the Brew & View at the Thunderbird. Their agreeable concept was aimed directly at the University of Illinois student body and modeled after the long-running Brew & View at the Vic in Chicago – book double and triple features of second-run flicks that young people would know and want to see, keep prices low across the board, and reserve off nights for special events rentals. Sensing an opportunity, Paul Young of the Champaign news weekly The Octopus collaborated with this upstart venue to host a series of offbeat festivals in the hopes they would attract the community at large. Not unlike the Brew & View itself, their novel effort shone brightly and burnt out quickly between 1996 and 1997.

Certain programs cooked up by The Octopus appealed to general moviegoers while others reveled in peculiar subgenres that would be fancied mostly by the adventurous, reflecting the rise of attention paid to “cult,” “mondo,” and “psychotronic” cinema in the Eighties and Nineties. Staff writers, UIUC professors, and employees from co-sponsor That’s Rentertainment took their turns in selecting films with Young as well as contributing informative notes to the two-page schedules that appeared in the weekly. The trio of “clip and save” promotions we’ve reproduced in this post feature bylines from none other than CUBlog editor Jason Pankoke, constituting his earliest pop culture writing in C-U media. They include “The 1st Annual Octopus Sci Fi Film Festivalfrom June 1996, “Splatterfest” from February 1997, and the aforementioned “Sean Connery as James Bond 007.” Click on each thumbnail for a large-size facsimile you can read!

Eight film festivals took place during the nine-month stretch this Octopus/Brew & View partnership lasted; below we have compiled the chronology as best as possible, based on revisiting Ye Ed’s personal copies of The Octopus and leafing through a collection archived at the Champaign County Historical Archives in the Urbana Free Library. The Octopus would continue to sponsor unique and alternative film happenings that were organized by others in our community, such as a 3-D double feature of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE at the University YMCA in March 1997 (Vol. 3, No. 9, 3/7/97, p.20) and the entire four-year run of Grace Giorgio and Eric Fisher’s Freaky Film Festival starting in October 1997 (Vol. 3, No. 39, 10/24/97, p.F1-F4), but never again take the lead on something this audacious. We are slightly shaken by the reminder.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. As listed on a ballot appearing in The Octopus, Vol. 3, No. 29, 8/15/97, p.12, movie suggestions of a decidedly mainstream bent were fielded from the weekly’s readership for a “Midnight Flashback Film Festival” set to run at the Goodrich Savoy 14 between 10/3/97 and 11/8/97. A subsequent full-page schedule in Vol. 3, No. 35, 9/26/97, p.11, more or less confirmed the Champaign-Urbana and University of Illinois communities would rather see CADDYSHACK, THE LOST BOYS, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and THE SHINING (1980) on the big screen than what had come before. We can only flash back to the disappointment we originally felt with this inevitability.

p.s.2 It is not lost on us that many vintage genre films, including a few of the Octopus selections named below, might be deemed tasteless or offensive in 2017 even if seen as merely amusements or curiosities in 1997. We wonder how many community members’ minds would spontaneously combust if, say, a gutsy impresario spoke up tomorrow morning and announced that a Russ Meyer retrospect would soon play the C-U. Does the prospect sound inconceivable, dearest prude or progressive? It actually happened on the UIUC campus in March 1971 with Meyer in attendance! (The Daily Illini, 4/2/71, p.21)

p.s.3 Yes, they screened BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. And VIXEN. And CHERRY, HARRY & RAQUEL. And FINDERS KEEPERS, LOVERS WEEPERS! Bless you, Cinemaguild. “Fly the ‘X’!”

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Be INTIMATE over film in 2017

January 1st, 2017

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Happy New Year, dearest readers and discerning enthusiasts in the downstate region of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois! We hope you plan to spend a nominal portion of your attentions in 2017 with us here at C-U Blogfidential and our shared neighbors who continue to do their part to push indigenous film culture into the limelight. Both are represented handily in the embedded episode of ALMOST INTIMATE, an interview series produced and hosted by DeShawn Hill of HD Productions Media in Champaign, so we’re going to keep today’s holiday posting short and encourage you to segue into a viewing as soon as you can! Although we’ve talked before about INTIMATE, the run of which you can sample at the HD YouTube channel, we’re singling out the most recent entry uploaded on Friday, December 23, since it features a candid one-on-one between Hill and humble CUBlog editor Jason Pankoke. We discuss the topics you might expect to be addressed, including C-U Confidential and the New Art Film Festival, but also go into Ye Ed’s personal background, experiences, and philosophy leading up to his current slate of activity du C-U, his reflections on the MICRO-FILM era, what he likes to watch as of late, which current releases he believes should be recognized in the unfolding awards season, and more! This is a side rarely broached by reporters and fellow media makers who wish to share our story, so we appreciate the invitation from Hill to have this conversation and believe it illuminates the “why” of what we have doggedly attempted for more than a decade. We also think it could be the last or almost-last ALMOST produced in town by the ambitious and steadfast Hill, who plans a move to Los Angeles this month to take a sophomore stab at entering the entertainment industry as a California resident. He has a narrative short in the works titled DAUGHTERS, a self-described “heart-stopping thriller” shot within the past few weeks on C-U soil and featuring William Rose II, Kris Wilcox, Victoria Odom, and Shauna Miller, as well as recent producer/director/editor credits on the dramatic short MY CHILD, starring Nicole Busch and Tracy Payne (who also co-produced and wrote the original screenplay) in a cautionary tale of drug abuse, murder, and an infant born addicted. In addition, Hill contributes essays on movies to the Film Inquiry on-line magazine. You can keep tabs on HD Productions Media by visiting their Web site, just relaunched at midnight according to their Facebook, and help us wish Hill the best of luck in moving forward with his career plans.

~ Jason Pankoke

Calendar: Dec. 30 ’16–Jan. 5 ’17

December 31st, 2016

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

12/30: Mike Boedicker (producer, Roselawn Productions)
12/30: Jason Pankoke (kind rewinder, The Video Throne)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Let’s think outside the glowing rectangular box for a few moments, folks. Instead of settling for some average everyday viewing this week, why not redirect that effort towards catching up with the on-line cinema journalism you trust, picking up a new book about your most admired actor or director or production or studio or era, leafing through a periodical purchase that is angled on your favorite genre or franchise or movie-making technique, or all of the above? Even better, why not go pull those back issues of C-U Confidential digest we know you secretly harbor and get refreshed on how the motion picture has positively impacted our communities? As we enter the year of our digest’s 10th anniversary and our editorial focus begins a shift from the timely to the archival, we will be impressing on the citizens and academic transients of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond to increase their CUZine interaction because right now would be a very good time for it. Elsewhere, you have probably joined fans worldwide in mourning the consecutive deaths this past Mon., 12/27, and Tues., 12/28, of actor-author-wit Carrie Fisher (1956-2016) and Hollywood entertainment icon Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016); to help settle your heartbreak, it might do you well to sample their plentiful bodies of work in film, television, albums, publications, and so forth, much of which you probably haven’t touched outside of STAR WARS or SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. Two documentary specials that mix stage performance with candid behind-the-scenes material will play on HBO in the coming weeks: WISHFUL DRINKING (2010), a taping of Fisher’s one-woman show of the same name, is set to air on Sun., Jan. 1, 8 p.m. CST, while BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS (2016), bumped up from the March schedule to premiere on Sat., Jan. 7, 7 p.m. CST, captures Reynolds’ final public performances and delves into their atypical mother-daughter relationship. If you must go to a movie house near you, the Virginia Theatre will resume their “famous filmmaker” Reel Deal series next week with features directed by one or the other from another esteemed Tinseltown family, Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola. The latter’s 2000 debut, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (American Zoetrope/Paramount Classics), launches the set on Tues., 1/3, and Thurs., 1/5, at 7 p.m., to be followed by APOCALYPSE NOW (1/10, 1/12, 7 p.m.), LOST IN TRANSLATION (1/17, 1/19, 7 p.m.), and THE GODFATHER (1/24, 1/26, 7 p.m.). “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (12/30 on), MOONLIGHT (12/30-1/1, 1/4-1/5)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
ASSASSIN’S CREED, COLLATERAL BEAUTY, DANGAL, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, FENCES, MOANA, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, PASSENGERS, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, WHY HIM? (12/30 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, SNOWDEN, AMERICAN HONEY, THE DRESSMAKER, IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE, DOG EAT DOG, RAY DONOVAN (s4), more! (12/27 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
ASSASSIN’S CREED, COLLATERAL BEAUTY, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, PASSENGERS, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, WHY HIM? (12/30 on), PRINCESS MONONOKE 20th Anniversary (1/5, subtitled)

@ Quality Beer, Champaign, IL
Champaign Screenwriters mixer (1/5, 8 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (1/3, 1/5)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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When RIDERS stormed the Earth

December 29th, 2016

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Shoot. Where has 2016 gone, dearest readers? (Some of you would no doubt reply, “To hell.” We feel you but respectfully disagree. Continue…) C-U Blogfidential plans to close out December with a mad posting dash to cover a few topics we allowed to slide; after all, the semi-dreaded 2017 arrives on Sunday! Per a Confidential Almanac entry from earlier this year, the B-movie studio Crown International Pictures issued the documentary DEATH RIDERS in regional release 40 years ago, beginning the Independence Day weekend of 1976. This James Wilson-directed picture follows the entrepreneur Floyd Reed, Sr., and his Death Riders Motorcycle Thrill Show as they travel and perform during a 1974 summer tour. Photographed by Wilson and the late Vilmos Zsigmond in the vein of Bruce Brown’s famous sports films, THE ENDLESS SUMMER (1966) and ON ANY SUNDAY (1971), a dusty palette and copious slow-motion emphasize the terrible Midwestern beauty of motor vehicles being hurtled into the air or through walls of fire by mostly teenage young men. Certainly a product of its era, DEATH RIDERS hit easy obscurity once America’s bicentennial “car culture” phase, defined by everything from CONVOY and SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT to GRAND THEFT AUTO and THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, had burnt out. VidAmerica released a prerequisite VHS way back in 1985, after which the film’s sole digital home video release has been a spot on the out-of-print 2010 collection by Mill Creek Entertainment, “Savage Cinema,” packed with 11 other drive-in and exploitation flicks that hail mostly from the Crown catalog. Rights have apparently moved to Lionsgate as one can now watch a clean transfer of DEATH RIDERS at membership-based Amazon Prime as well as the studio’s free-to-view YouTube channel “Lionsgate Unlocked;” we embedded the latter stream right here for your convenient retro enjoyment! CUBlog looks fondly at this curiosity given that Reed, a Danville native, based his stunt team operation in his home town while booking a decade’s worth of public and television appearances; a fairground track in nearby Cayuga, Indiana, played host to their practices and local performances. It is unclear how much of the footage in DEATH RIDERS was captured in either location, although a stunt gone wrong is placed at Cayuga via voiceover and the city of Danville is thanked in the end credits, or whether the finished film even played theatrically in the area. (Your humble editor sat for several hours total at the Champaign County Historical Archives and combed through six months of Urbana Courier and Daily Illini editions, ending at Christmas ’76, without finding a single ad mat or press piece for it.) We hope to someday revisit the Death Riders and the Reed family in order to detail this wild footnote in east central Illinois cultural history. Be sure to come calling when we honk our death-defying horn!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. As we’ll discuss in the coming weeks, ephemera outside of local media coverage is not so easy to come by regarding the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond. Yet, we have been slowly collecting marketing materials for both the live Death Riders and movie DEATH RIDERS by casually searching eBay every now and then. When we have a good excuse to share our bounty, we shall!

p.s.2 Below is a piece we have yet to land – the Crown one-sheet poster for DEATH RIDERS – and we can’t wait to hang this bad boy in the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters when we do. Ye Ed considers it the most striking artwork he’s seen to date that was created to advertise a movie du C-U. He also advises us to advise you that, for once, his opinion on the current subject matter is not humble.

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Calendar: December 23-29, 2016

December 23rd, 2016

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

12/26: Laura Anne Welle (voice actor, HORRORS, Pens to Lens 2016)
12/29: Patricia Pankoke Pellow (matron saint to our arts, C-U Confidential)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Two more acclaimed small-scale films with big heart and hefty ideas begin play in wide release this weekend. FENCES (Paramount Pictures), a Fifties-set drama about a Pittsburgh sanitation worker who attempts to relive his dream of playing professional baseball to dire effect, stars Viola Davis and Denzel Washington and is directed by the latter from a screenplay by famed playwright August Wilson; Carmike 13 opens it on Sat., 12/24, while Goodrich Savoy 16 starts its run on Sun., 12/25. Also making its debut at Savoy today, Fri., 12/23, is LA LA LAND (Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate), a modern-day Los Angeles story staged like an old-fashioned musical that is directed by Damien Chazelle and headlined by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as aspiring performing artists. Otherwise, you can either take in a reprise of MOONLIGHT (A24 Films) at the Art Theater Co-op (see the dates below) or have forgiven your sins of excess Thanksgiving television and ROGUE ONE outings by turning it all off and spending time with family and friends, as you should. “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (12/23 on), Secret Screening 013 (12/23, 10 p.m., free), MOONLIGHT (12/24-12/25, 12/28-12/29)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
ASSASSIN’S CREED, DANGAL, PASSENGERS, SING, WHY HIM?, COLLATERAL BEAUTY, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, MOANA, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (12/23 on), FENCES (12/24 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
SULLY, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, STORKS, THE DISSAPOINTMENTS ROOM, DAD’S ARMY, 31, GOAT, more! (12/20 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
ASSASSIN’S CREED, LA LA LAND, PASSENGERS, SING, WHY HIM?, COLLATERAL BEAUTY, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (12/23 on), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (12/24), FENCES (12/25 on), DOCTOR WHO: THE RETURN OF DOCTOR MYSTERIO (12/27, 12/29)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Calendar: December 16-22, 2016

December 16th, 2016

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

12/22: AJ Christensen (director, BANANAS AND MR. SNAKE’S BIG ADVENTURE, Pens to Lens 2016)
12/22: Erin Barkley (acquisitions, Go Retro)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Even if ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY truly earns every last cent it will otherwise vacuum out of our pockets and bank accounts this winter, we would rather bet our bottom dollar on a few alternate attractions in this week’s Calendar that are quite capable of besting that CGI wizardry with old-fashioned movie magic. The Normal Theater returns to Tim Burton territory with the maligned stylist’s 1990 masterpiece, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (20th Century Fox), later tonight, Fri., 12/16, 10:30 p.m.; Johnny Depp sweetly portrays the creation of a scientist (Vincent Price) who is all buckles, leather, blade hands, and Robert Smith rat’s nest, an inspired screen protagonist partly brought to gothic-romantic life by Ve Neill and Stan Winston’s make-up artistry and Colleen Atwood’s costume design. The Normal and the Art Theater Co-op also revisit what seems to be the preferred Muppet movie from the immediate area following Jim Henson’s passing, THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (Walt Disney Pictures), a wry and heartfelt 1992 rendition of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption. Brian Henson ably stepped in for his father to direct the great Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge alongside the well-loved menagerie of felt-and-plastic-and-mechanical creatures (and their invisible human puppeteers) in amazing soundstage sets depicting 19th century London; it plays on Sat., 12/17, and Sun., 12/18, at both venues, 11:30 a.m. at the Art and 1 p.m. at the Normal. On a more adults-only plane, the Art brings back George Miller’s triumphant post-apocalyptic encore, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (Warner Bros.), in his fabled monochrome print that should do nothing to diminish its incredible physical effects and stunt work created on location in Nambia, Africa; you can relive the adventures of Max (Tom Hardy), Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), and their road-weary allies and adversaries at 10 p.m. on Weds., 12/21, and Thurs., 12/22, as well as during tonight’s allegedly cathartic 10 p.m. event “Fuck You 2016!” when “30 minutes of specially-selected clips” will be shown prior to the feature. Finally, that most elusive and sublime cinematic technique of all – great performance – will be on display in the new family drama, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios), directed by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, and Lucas Hedges; the awards frontrunner starts today at the Art and the Goodrich Savoy 16 in open runs. “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (12/16 on), MAD MAX: FURY ROAD “Black & Chrome Edition” (12/16, 12/21-12/22), THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (12/17-12/18)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
COLLATERAL BEAUTY, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, ALLIED, ARRIVAL, DOCTOR STRANGE, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, MISS SLOANE, MOANA, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, TROLLS (12/16 on),

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “Secret Santa Critiques,” Robeson Pavilion Room C (12/20, 7 p.m., free)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
SUICIDE SQUAD, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, BEN-HUR, MORGAN, BRIDGET JONES’S BABY, SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD (s2), more! (12/13 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
COLLATERAL BEAUTY, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, ALLIED, ARRIVAL, DOCTOR STRANGE, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, HACKSAW RIDGE, MISS SLOANE, MOANA, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, TROLLS (12/16 on), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (12/18, 12/21), SING (12/20 on), Metropolitan Opera performs L’Amour de Loin (12/21, recorded),

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Reel Deals presents “Best Christmas Movies Ever” feat. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947; 12/16), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (12/17)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Selections play to NAFF strength

December 13th, 2016

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Although we’re tardy with post-event tidings, dearest readers, C-U Blogfidential would still like to offer a few words about the New Art Film Festival a few weeks removed from the wide-ranging viewing had by our audiences and filmmaker guests at the Art Theater Co-op on Sunday, October 30, in Champaign, Illinois. Each film block attracted a solid-sized crowd, despite the seasonal distractions taking place elsewhere and that historic Chicago Cubs postseason run airing on television, making us happy to learn our calendar shift to the fall has not been a deterrent for fans. Let’s give thanks to everyone who stuck with our program of 21 shorts and the feature BEFORE ‘I DO’ as well as our friendly neighborhood sponsors at ThirdSide, Shatterglass Studios, and the Art Theater for effortlessly reprising their respective duties from prior years. We also raise a glass to Radio Maria for accommodating our filmmaker meet-and-greet prior to show time and University of Illinois student Di Ye for capturing the occasion in photographs. So, with the NAFF slowly fading in our collective rear-view mirror, feel free to refresh yourselves on the diverse and sometimes challenging 2016 line-up by referring to the schedule and video pages at the official Web site. In addition, we wish to share two of the film shorts from the first half of “Film Block 03″ that do not appear on the NAFF Web. Originally made to satisfy a class assignment under the tutelage of Eric Benson at UIUC, LABYRINTH mates together monologue and stock news footage to address a rift within David Stykes, the screen persona of creator and graphic design major Keenan Dailey, who considers himself an African-American activist enraged by current events yet unclear as to how he can put that conviction to good and honest use. Also devised at school but produced independently for the ALT-TV student club at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, RISE is simultaneously blunt (using voiceover and tactful staging) and metaphoric (using clever editing and a “forest of the mind” mise-en-scène) in recounting the sexual assault and then self-empowerment of its female protagonist, essayed by director Kris M. Wilcox. Both films project the concerns of their makers in interesting and passionate ways, even if production values are understandably rough on both counts, and pose uneasy questions with no certain answers. They suggest a much wider swath to be explored through the New Art Film Festival and, by proxy, the Champaign-Urbana cinema than we have been typically propositioned to program in years past. Now is a vital time to not just watch the creative media of our fellow citizens du C-U but also listen to what it has to tell us.

Until we NAFF again…

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: December 9-15, 2016

December 10th, 2016

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Yes, yes, we know. You’re reserving as much disposable income as you can to indulge yourselves with one or more screenings of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (Lucasfilm/Bad Robot/Walt Disney Co.) after it opens next Thurs., 12/15, and possibly splurge on related merchandise after that. Between placating that preordained Disneyfied Lucasfix of yours as well as covering holiday shopping, costs of living, end-of-year taxes, and so on, you’re otherwise strapped for dollars and time as 2016 nears its conclusion. We’re not imploring you to partake in cinema-going this week since the galactic extravaganza you desire is not very far, far away. However, do pay mind to the many other people who simply can’t or won’t expend the cash flow or enthusiasm on this (or any) Mouse House brand. For those discerning individuals, “FOW” exists. Smart(er) science fiction is already playing a theater near you such as ARRIVAL (Paramount Pictures), directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker in the story of a linguist’s attempts to communicate with an alien life form landed on Earth, and CHILDREN OF MEN (Universal Pictures), the acclaimed 2006 dystopian tale directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine, wherein the planet is war-torn, our species infertile, and Great Britain bent on repelling immigrants as it has been transformed into a police state. Cheap(er) fare is now available on streaming and home video as of Tues., 12/6, including smash hits like THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS and JASON BOURNE (both Universal Pictures Home Entertainment), acclaimed dramas like DON’T THINK TWICE (Universal) and THE HOLLARS (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), cult sequels like ATTACK ON TITAN: PART 2 (Funimation) and PHANTASM: RAVAGER (Well Go USA Entertainment), Ron Howard’s well-liked documentary THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK – THE TOURING YEARS (PolyGram/Universal), and Steven Spielberg’s underappreciated THE BFG (Walt Disney), muting the need to brave December’s sudden flirtation with subfreezing weather. Christmas(ier) chestnuts have also emerged like clockwork for families and elders wishing for warm glows instead of big booms; if one can resist putting them on the living room television as background noise, one can see these perennials with an audience in the next seven days: THE BISHOP’S WIFE, A CHRISTMAS STORY, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947), NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, THE POLAR EXPRESS, REMEMBER THE NIGHT, and WHITE CHRISTMAS. We’ll let you unwrap date and location information for everything in the Calendar below! “FOW” is hereby fin with a flash of tinsel on top.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
LOVING (12/9 on), CHILDREN OF MEN (12/9-12/10, 12/15), AQUARIUS (12/12, 6:30 p.m.), THE HANDMAIDEN (12/14-12/15)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
BEFIKRE, THE BOUNCE BACK, MISS SLOANE, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, ALMOST CHRISTMAS, ALLIED, ARRIVAL, DOCTOR STRANGE, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, HACKSAW RIDGE, INCARNATE, MOANA, TROLLS (12/9 on), COLLATERAL BEAUTY, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (12/15)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, JASON BOURNE, THE BFG, DON’T THINK TWICE, THE HOLLARS, PHANTASM: RAVAGER, ORDINARY WORLD, THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK – THE TOURING YEARS, ATTACK ON TITAN: PART 2, THE LATE BLOOMER, THE PERFECT WEAPON, more! (12/6 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
MISS SLOANE, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, THE POLAR EXPRESS (IMAX 3-D), INCARNATE, ALLIED, ALMOST CHRISTMAS, ARRIVAL, BAD SANTA 2, DOCTOR STRANGE, THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, HACKSAW RIDGE, MOANA, TROLLS (12/9 on), Metropolitan Opera performs L’Amour de Loin (12/10, live), NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (12/11, 12/14), Allegiance: The Broadway Musical on the Big Screen (12/13), ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (12/15)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. QUEEN OF KATWE, Pine Lounge (12/9, 12/10, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
“Holiday in Whoville” feat. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000; 12/10), Reel Deals presents “Best Christmas Movies Ever” feat. THE BISHOP’S WIFE (12/12-12/13), THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (12/14-12/15), MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947; 12/16)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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