Calendar: March 22-28, 2019

March 22nd, 2019

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!

3/22: Jonathan Culp (multimedia artist, Unpopular Arts)
3/24: Brian Krumm (lead singer/guitarist, The Great Crusades)
3/26: Jack Snyder (screenwriter, BAD STEPMOTHER)

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (3/25, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR (3/22-3/26), THE HEIRESS (3/22-3/24, 3/26-3/27), DESTROYER (3/22-3/24), SPEAK UP (3/23, 3/28), Member Screening: BIRDS OF PASSAGE (3/25, 7:30 p.m.), Essential Cinema: KILLER OF SHEEP (3/27, 7:30 p.m.), THE UNITED STATES OF AUTISM (3/28, 7:30 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
US, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, APOLLO 11, CAPTAIN MARVEL, CAPTIVE STATE, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, FIVE FEET APART, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL, NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE, WONDER PARK (3/22 on), CRUEL INTENTIONS 20th anniversary (3/22-3/26), DUMBO, HOTEL MUMBAI (3/28 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, THE FINAL WISH, DON’T GO, THE QUAKE, THEN CAME YOU, THE MERCY, 100 YARDS, more! (3/19 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
US, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, APOLLO 11, CAPTAIN MARVEL, CAPTIVE STATE, FIVE FEET APART, GREEN BOOK, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL, THE UPSIDE, WONDER PARK (3/22 on), CRUEL INTENTIONS 20th anniversary (3/22-3/27), THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK ON ITS WALLS (3/22-3/24, 10 a.m.), THE GODFATHER PART II (3/24, 3/27), MADE IN ABYSS: JOURNEY’S DAWN (3/25, 7 p.m., dubbed), DIANA ROSS: HER LIFE, LOVE AND LEGACY (3/26, 7 p.m.), DUMBO, UNPLANNED (3/28 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. ESCAPE ROOM, Pine Lounge (3/22-3/23, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL
“The Magic Lantern” animation demonstration by EKAH, Lewis Auditorium (3/25, 6:30 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Rewind 92.5 Film Series: XANADU (3/25, 7 p.m.), Reel Deals: WONDER WOMAN (3/26, 3/28, 7 p.m.)

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: March 15-21, 2019

March 15th, 2019

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!

3/19: Andrew Gleason (co-director, IRREPARABLE)
3/19: Brad Decker (composer/collaborator, Hallways Microcinema)

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* meeting, “Pens to Lens Pitches and Set Safety,” Robeson Pavilion Room A (3/19, 7 p.m., free)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
JIMI HENDRIX: ELECTRIC CHURCH (3/15 on), ZAMA (3/15, 3/17, 3/20-3/21), THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (3/16-3/18), HOTEL BY THE RIVER (3/16-3/17, 3/19)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
APOLLO 11, CAPTIVE STATE, FIVE FEET APART, NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE, WONDER PARK, CAPTAIN MARVEL, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, GRETA, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL (3/15 on), PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: THE MOSES CONTROVERSY (3/16, 12:55 p.m.; 3/19, 6:30 p.m.), CRUEL INTENTIONS 20th anniversary (3/21, 7 p.m.), US (3/21 on)

@ Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival, Doudna Fine Arts Center (3/20, 4-6 p.m.)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDENWALD, GREEN BOOK, MORTAL ENGINES, LONDON FIELDS, THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK, PIERCING, THE LAST MAN, WELCOME TO MERCY, A.I. RISING, ANCIENT ALIENS (s11 v2), more! (3/12 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
CAPTIVE STATE, FIVE FEET APART, WONDER PARK, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, APOLLO 11, CAPTAIN MARVEL, GREEN BOOK, GRETA, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL, THE UPSIDE (3/15 on), SMALLFOOT (3/15-3/17, 10 a.m.), THE QUIET MAN (3/17, 3/20), MADE IN ABYSS: JOURNEY’S DAWN (3/20, 7 p.m., subtitled), US (3/21 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. BUMBLEBEE, Pine Lounge (3/15-3/16, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

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: March 8-14, 2019

March 8th, 2019

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!

3/9: Meredith Dumyahn (producer/director, WSEC-TV (PBS), Springfield-Jacksonville, IL)
3/9: Jason Lindsey (commercial photographer, Jason Lindsey Photography)

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (3/11, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
STAN & OLLIE, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (3/8-3/12, 3/14), SCIENCE FAIR (3/9, 3/13), 2019 Jewish Film Festival: THE CAKEMAKER (3/10, 7 p.m.), Member Screening: MEETING THE MAN: JAMES BALDWIN IN PARIS and ORNETTE: MADE IN AMERICA (3/13, 7:30 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CAPTAIN MARVEL, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, GRETA, GULLY BOY, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL (3/8 on), FIVE FEET APART event (3/13, 7 p.m.), PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: THE MOSES CONTROVERSY (3/14, 6:30 p.m.), CAPTIVE STATE, FIVE FEET APART, WONDER PARK (3/14 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
CREED II, INSTANT FAMILY, THE FAVOURITE, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, BEN IS BACK, VOX LUX, THE CLOVEHITCH KILLER, THE VANISHING, DON’T COME BACK FROM THE MOON, GUNPOWDER, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD (s4), more! (3/5 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
APOLLO 11, CAPTAIN MARVEL, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, ARCTIC, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, GREEN BOOK, GRETA, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL, A STAR IS BORN, THE UPSIDE (3/8 on), SHERLOCK GNOMES (3/8-3/10, 10 a.m.), THE WIZARD OF OZ (3/10, 3/13), DOCTOR WHO: LOGOPOLIS (3/13, 7 p.m.), PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: THE MOSES CONTROVERSY (3/14, 6:30 p.m.), FATE/STAY NIGHT [HEAVEN’S FEEL] II: LOST BUTTERFLY (3/14, 7 p.m.)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, Pine Lounge (3/8-3/9, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Lincoln Ave. Residence Halls, UIUC, Urbana, IL
5th Sustainability Shorts Film Festival, Ballroom (3/9, 7 p.m., free)

@ Spurlock Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL
AEMS presents AsiaLENS Documentary/Film Series feat. THE SONG COLLECTOR (3/12, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: GASLIGHT (3/9, 1 & 7 p.m.)

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: March 1-7, 2019

March 1st, 2019

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!

3/2: Anne Lukeman (“chief adventurist,” C-U Adventures in Time & Space)
3/2: Kelly White (executive director, 40 North 88 West: Champaign County Arts Council)
3/3: Tariq A. Khan (entertainment reporter, Fox News)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

20 Years AgoWednesday, March 3, 1999: Operating out of a studio-office situated near downtown Champaign, Illinois, Opteryx Press puts its spin on independent film discourse to paper for the first time with the release of MICRO-FILM: The Warning Shot. The letter-size, 12-page ‘zine is a copy shop creation with a teal cover that serves as a low-budget teaser for the upcoming MICRO-FILM, “The Magazine of Personal Cinema in Action.” Novice self-publisher Jason Pankoke draws the content from his recent interactions with participants in the American “film festival circuit” as well as science-fiction and horror fandom; interview subjects include Scary Monsters Magazine publisher Dennis Druktenis from the Chicago suburb of Highwood, Oregon-based stop-motion animator Suzanne Twining, and filmmaker and photographer Brien Burroughs of San Francisco. Short subjects created by the latter two were introduced to a Champaign-Urbana audience during the first Freaky Film Festival in 1997. “Many of the films in MICRO-FILM will be raw and unpolished,” writes Pankoke in a “Save the Mirth” editorial. “Some will be experimental and abstract. Most will be far from perfect, at least according to the standards of mainstream critics and cinema historians. However, all belong to the century-old history of motion picture making, and this history deserves to be fleshed out by recording what is going on in the grassroots, the backyards, and the underground. In this case, size doesn’t matter. Your films do.” A second “stepping stone” issue to be called MICRO-FILM 101 is promoted in The Warning Shot but never comes to fruition. As reported on 3/7/09 at CUBlog.

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (3/4, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
ROMA (3/1-3/3), THE FAVOURITE (3/2-3/4, 3/7), COLD WAR (3/2, 3 /4), The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2019: Animation (3/2, 3/5, 3/7), Live Action (3/5-3/6), and Documentary (3/6), 2019 Jewish Film Festival: AFTER AUSCHWITZ incl. Skype w/filmmaker Jon Kean (3/3, 7 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
GRETA, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, GREEN BOOK, GULLY BOY, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, RUN THE RACE, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, WANDERING EARTH, WHAT MEN WANT (3/1 on), CAPTAIN MARVEL (3/7 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE, BORDER, BLACK ’47, BETWEEN WORLDS, THE CHALLENGER DISASTER, BERNIE THE DOLPHIN, more! (2/26 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
GRETA, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, ARCTIC, COLD PURSUIT, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, GREEN BOOK, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, THE PRODIGY, RUN THE RACE, A STAR IS BORN, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THE UPSIDE, WHAT MEN WANT (3/1 on), TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES (3/1-3/3, 10 a.m.), The Metropolitan Opera: La Fille du Régiment (3/2, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 3/6, 6:30 p.m., recorded), MOULIN ROUGE (3/3, 3/6), CAPTAIN MARVEL (3/7 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, Pine Lounge (3/1-3/2, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Reel Deals: BIG (3/5, 3/7, 7 p.m.)

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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Art Theater seeks $25K, film at 11

February 28th, 2019

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At this point, it’s almost moot to cry “help” on behalf of the Art Theater in downtown Champaign, IL, for the people have responded in kind to their surprise need for $25,000 posthaste. First pitched in an e-mail blast sent out last Thursday, February 21, by Jerry Payonk, the president of the board of directors at the Art Film Foundation, the drive has accumulated nearly $22,000 as of 5 p.m. yesterday, displayed on the home page of the Art’s Web site as an animated thermometer graphic. There is no reason to doubt it will hit the top by tomorrow and beat the “25K in 25 Days” time frame handily; we simply feel obligated to share the news since we value the Art for many things including its symbiotic role in staging the New Art Film Festival with us every year for our community and its filmmakers.

This is a great showing, yet, we don’t like seeing our friends, neighbors, and former neighbors hit up for so much on short notice. In comparison, we received plenty of time to listen and react when Sanford Hess, Ben Galewsky, and company let Champaign-Urbana know about their plans to sell shares under their cooperative model to the tune of a small mint, intended to cover operating costs and the much-debated digital conversion mandated by the exhibition industry. Payonk says obliquely in his message that, “Due to a slow end of 2018 [and] beginning of 2019, we need $25,000 immediately to keep us open.” What led to this being an issue? Low ticket sales? (Maybe.) Frigid temperatures and burst pipes? (Yes, those did happen.) A slow start to gearing up for fundraising? (Since this is the first definitive push for patrons’ money that we’ve seen since the Art transformed into a non-profit organization, more than likely.) Well, damn.

We didn’t learn much more from an appearance by Dr. Porshé Garner, the executive director of the foundation, during “The Morning Show” on WCIA-TV early Monday, February 25. Discussing the Art’s needs with co-hosts Alexandra Corradetti and Christie Battista under the pretense that “25K in 25 Days” would succeed, Dr. Garner frames the move as necessary to secure their “operational efforts” to do business and help “find their footing” as they move towards courting their patrons for regular and on-going donations. Half a week later, then, the Art suddenly is not under the threat of closure, despite all the dire headlines and teaser copy thrown up by the local media based on Payonk’s plea. Whew! Again. We guess it’s their prerogative as to whether they break down the Art’s needs for the general public in this new era. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt in these early moments and keep going.

Although, encores of this presentation need to be few and far between if you can swing it, dearest Art Theater. We want you to reach a satisfying crescendo that consists of less drama and more performance.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Also playing as part of “Things are Tough All Over Week” in the Bubbly City – Screen 1: A man with a duffel bag and strange demeanor triggers the evacuation of the AMC Champaign 13 on Sunday afternoon in MULTIPLEX PANIC; Screen 2: A brewpub and a night club plan to leave a vibrant downtown that has already witnessed the vacating of storefronts by longtime business owners in EXODUS ON MAIN STREET; Screen 3: A locally-published digest on local film culture is stopped short of achieving its own modest fundraising goal after three months and counting in 100 BUCK HUSTLE.

Calendar: February 22-28, 2019

February 23rd, 2019

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!

2/26: Troy Michael (author, Music: The Common Healer)
2/28: Julia Megan Sullivan (actress, THE DISCOVERY OF THE JACKABOW, Pens to Lens 2018)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

2/13: James Andrews Dahl, 40 (producer, THE END OF THE TOUR)
2/15: Russell Beyer, 47; Vicente Juarez, 54; Clayton Parks, 32, Josh Pinkard, 37; Trevor Wehner, 21 (employees, Henry Pratt Co., Aurora, IL)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

35 Years AgoSeptember-October 1983: Extensive filming takes place in the Illinois farming community of Pontiac and other nearby sites for the CBS Theatrical Films production of GRANDVIEW, U.S.A., lasting the better part of two months. As recounted in an article published on October 1 by the Bloomington Pantagraph, the Illinois Film Office encouraged representatives from CBS to consider locations in the state after they failed to find what they needed in Indiana; a drive south of the Chicago suburbs led the scouts inadvertently to Pontiac, which had never been on their list of possibilities. The Livingston County seat now plays host to numerous craftspeople and performers involved in GRANDVIEW, a comedy with musical interludes that is being directed by Randal Kleiser from a screenplay by Ken Hixon. The story centers on a teenager portrayed by C. Thomas Howell who plans to leave his hometown to study oceanography, but not before he makes summertime waves with the town’s demolition derby promoter (Jamie Lee Curtis) much to the chagrin of her star driver (Patrick Swayze). Jennifer Jason Leigh and Troy Donahue also appear in featured roles while hundreds of locals have been hired to play bit parts, walk through backgrounds, and fill out crowds. Exciting scenes depict the destruction of a mobile home, the burning down of the “Cody’s Speedrome” arena, and the pageantry of an agricultural celebration that is captured on the first day of shooting, Sunday, September 4, during the real-life Threshermen’s Reunion Parade. Actors also take some time during the final days of production to participate in a fundraiser to help pay for a local teenager’s mounting medical bills, according to a news item in the October 22 Pantagraph. A follow-up piece eventually ran in the newspaper on August 4, 1985, a year and a day after GRANDVIEW, U.S.A., was released to theaters across the United States by Warner Bros., picturing a citizenry that ultimately viewed its Hollywood encounter as a pleasant experience and not much more; very little would remain of the financial gains and positive upswing felt by Pontiac almost two years prior as its people had turned back to their everyday concerns like crop yields and the correctional center.

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (2/25, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
COLD WAR (2/22 on), Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) fundraiser feat. R.A.* w/discussion (2/24, 7 p.m.), Late Night: CANDYMAN (2/22-2/23, 2/28, 9:30 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, GULLY BOY, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, RUN THE RACE, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, COLD PURSUIT, GLASS, GREEN BOOK, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, THE PRODIGY, THE UPSIDE, WANDERING EARTH, WHAT MEN WANT (2/22 on), Best Picture Showcase 2019 marathon (2/23) featuring VICE (11 a.m.), BLACK PANTHER (1:30 p.m.), A STAR IS BORN (4:15 p.m.), and GREEN BOOK (7:30 p.m.), GRETA, A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL (2/28 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
A STAR IS BORN, OVERLORD, ROBIN HOOD, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, GOSNELL: THE TRIAL OF AMERICA’S BIGGEST SERIAL KILLER, ICEMAN: THE TIME TRAVELER, BACKTRACE, A BOY NAMED SAILBOAT, SUMMER ’03, THE BRAWLER, more! (2/19 on)

@ Foellinger Auditorium, UIUC, Urbana, IL
36th Insect Fear Film Festival: “Termites” feat. ALIEN APOCALPYSE (2/23, 6 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. show, free), BORDERLINE silent film w/live score by Chicago Modern Orchestra Project (2/24, 3 p.m., free)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
ARCTIC, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, RUN THE RACE, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, COLD PURSUIT, GLASS, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, THE PRODIGY, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD, THE UPSIDE, WHAT MEN WANT (2/22 on), FORREST GUMP (2/24, 2/27)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. CREED II, Pine Lounge (2/22-2/23, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Rewind 92.5 Film Series: FLASH GORDON (1980; 2/25, 7 p.m.), Reel Deals: BLACK PANTHER (2/26-2/27, 7 p.m.)

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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Promo film find is on sketchy side

February 22nd, 2019

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After our marathon look at local television critics that we published yesterday, we decided to push back our weekly Calendar until tomorrow to give us a breather. However, we also don’t want to leave our dearest readers floating on a Friday without something new to enjoy on C-U Blogfidential, so we’re sharing this vibrant artifact for your amusement. The sketches turned up during a fruitful mining of our digital archives at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters and, while the activity doesn’t rate as a worthy Almanac entry in the Confidential timeline, it might provide a bit of interest to the artists, designers, and other visual minds in our audience.

According to the hand-printed date, your humble editor put the finishing touches on this preliminary storyboard 20 years ago today, one of a few he created during that era and the only one to ever be translated into a movie. He filmed it the following week with the help of then-University of Illinois senior Cecilia Cissell Lucas along with photographer and then-Champaign resident Jason Brown at the Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana. The intent was to use it as a creative promotion for the launch of MICRO-FILM magazine; the actuality is that it sat for two years until a future coworker, Ted Veatch, offered to piece it together for Mr. JaPan on a home desktop system. It has never been properly formatted for streaming even though a DVD transfer of the Hi-8 master exists, so, this facsimile will have to do. Since he knew that frugality was key in nailing the necessary shots as he chose to shoot the promo in retro-fashionable Super 8, the final edit follows this storyboard pretty closely. Click on the sample sketch below to access the entire sequence in thumbnail form, accented in colored pencils despite the black-and-white cinematography to make the pictures easy to see on location. The soundtrack of the existing version is the songs “Opening/One Fly’s Wing” from the Mud Records/Parasol album Piloted by Ghosts by The Suede Chain.

Will we ever do such activities again in the C-U? Mr. Brown now lives near Madison, WI, with his wife Ellen and a barnyard menagerie, while Ms. Lucas has ingrained herself in the University of California, Berkeley, community as faculty and a progressive dynamo, but we’re still trying our hardest to keep it real in these here Twin Cities. If we can ever break away from our self-publishing kick that has been our ongoing party since 1999, it is a tempting notion. We’ll let you know about the latter at some point and talk to you more about the former next week!

~ Jason Pankoke

Critics voice their ideas in videos

February 21st, 2019

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A few months back we shared news about the former Champaign-Urbana/Savoy resident Gerry Kissell, who is reviving his critical voice as both a reviewer and, evidenced by this GoFundMe campaign to help afford new recording gear, a vlogger. The piece inspired us to look around for the folks in our neck of the prairie who might be presenting their filmic findings on screen via the Internet or television, and … there are very few. It is a bit stupefying in context, yes? These same Twin Cities, serving as a defining influence on the best known, Roger Ebert, and a college stop for one of the more distinctive, Gene Shalit, have presumably produced a solid number of writers and talent who ply their trade in the professional mass media. Even then, in a virtual space cluttered with commentators and so-called influencers who upload slicker-than-the-next videos and podcasts of their viewpoints, analyses, and gossip, we don’t see that kind of material on the cinema coming out of the C-U on the regular that we could easily locate.

We’re arguably moving away from the days when traditional newspaper critics doubled up with a radio or television station to broadcast their viewpoints. For immediate examples, Ebert had presence on WLS-TV Channel 7 (ABC) in Chicago for many years as did Gene Siskel on rival WBBM-TV Channel 2 (CBS), while Shalit enjoyed nearly 40 years on NBC’s THE TODAY SHOW. One hardy individual has managed well enough to keep the cross-platform tradition alive in east central Illinois. Chuck Koplinski, a language arts instructor at Urbana Middle School, leads quite the second life as a film aficionado. Long a mainstay in print downstate with the Illinois Times in Springfield and The Screening Room” weekly feature in the News-Gazette, he covers new releases on the Morning MIX” show airing on Mix 94.5 FM as well as both the Morning Show” and “ciLiving” on WCIA-TV Channel 3 (CBS). His output is prolific and the breadth of it enhanced greatly by memberships in groups like the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), which allow access to industry events, celebrity interviews, and pre-release screenings.

Lately, Koplinski has paired with suburban critic Pamela K. Powell for many of the WCIA and Mix 94.5 segments. Herself a member of CFCA and co-founder of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle, Powell writes for the Kankakee Valley Daily Journal, reports for FF2 Media and Fete Lifestyle Magazine with a stress on women in film, and guests on WGN AM 720. The team-up has been branded “‘Reel Talk’ with Chuck and Pam for their social media accounts and public appearances, the latter of which have recently included a visit to New York City and a table at the Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica, CA, for both, plus a snowy sojourn to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, for Powell. It seems the handle first appeared in a pilot episode for a movie debate program that was taped in 2017 and is present among the videos on the pair’s YouTube channel. Opening with an upbeat montage filmed in downtown Champaign that echoes the credits sequences from Siskel and Ebert’s tenures with PBS and Disney, the cohosts converge at the Art Theater and settle into front row seats for a familiar back-and-forth session on then-current releases such as BABY DRIVER, THE BEGUILED, and SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.

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Calendar: February 15-21, 2019

February 16th, 2019

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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CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

10 Years AgoThursday, October 30, 2008: HOOPESTON, a documentary created by Thomas Bender and Jacob Bakkila of the New York “art collective” Synydyne, receives its Midwest debut during the 15th annual Chicago Underground Film Festival at the Viaduct Theater in Chicago. Central to its story is the opening of a brick-and-mortar “Witch School in Hoopeston, IL, due to lower costs of living, and how the relatively Christian citizens accommodate their new Wiccan neighbors. Various individuals from the town as well as Witch School co-founders Ed Hubbard and Don Lewis talk about misunderstandings and controversies, underscored by a melancholy that is emblematic to American small towns past their economic prime. Distinctive in its maize-and-sky blue location photography as well as an evocative “retro” score by Todd Mazierski, HOOPESTON played a handful of public dates before receiving a brief on-line release and fading from sight. The Witch School would be relocated to nearby Rossville, back to Chicago, and finally to Salem, MA, before reverting to a Web-only presence; several branches practice the “Correllian Nativist Tradition” worldwide, including a central “mother temple” in Danville. Synydyne’s interests took a right turn into transmedia territory and alternate reality games (ARGs) with the tourism campaign, “This is My Milwaukee,” the automated poetry generator “@Horse_ebooks,” the comically dry “Pronunciation Book” videos, and the corporate adventure scenario “Bear Stearns Bravo” in quick succession, attracting many thousands of avid followers and inspiring numerous theories about their veracity and meaning. As reported on 4/5/08, 10/29/08, 3/08/10 at CUBlog.

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* meeting, “48 Hr Screening,” Robeson Pavilion Room A (2/19, 7 p.m., free)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (2/18, 7 p.m.)

@ Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana, IL (start only)
Champaign Movie Makers 48 Hour Film Competition (2/15, 7 p.m.-2/17, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
CAPERNAUM (2/16 on), The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2019: Documentary (2/15-2/16, 2/20-2/21), Animation (2/16-2/18), and Live Action (2/16-2/17), “Oscar Trivia Night” (2/17, 7 p.m.), THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US (2/19, 7 p.m., free), Late Night: AUDITION (2/15-2/16, 9:30 p.m.; 2/21, 10 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, FALL IN LOVE AT FIRST KISS, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, COLD PURSUIT, GLASS, GREEN BOOK, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, MISS BALA, PEGASUS, THE PRODIGY, THE UPSIDE, WANDERING EARTH, WHAT MEN WANT (2/15 on), Best Picture Showcase 2019 marathon (2/16) featuring THE FAVOURITE (11 a.m.), BLACKkKLANSMAN (1:20 p.m.), and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (4 p.m.), FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, RUN THE RACE (2/21 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, NOBODY’S FOOL, THE FRONT RUNNER, AT ETERNITY’S GATE, POSSUM, WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, MERMAID: LAKE OF THE DEAD, PIMPED, NIGHTFLYERS (s1), more! (2/12 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, COLD PURSUIT, GLASS, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, THE PRODIGY, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, A STAR IS BORN, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD, THE UPSIDE, WHAT MEN WANT (2/15 on), TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (2/17, 2/20), GUNDAM NT (2/19, 7 p.m.), MISS BALA (2/17-2/10, single shows), HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD (2/21 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. GREEN BOOK, Pine Lounge (2/15-2/16, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

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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Ebertfest ‘19 starts on QUIET note

February 15th, 2019

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‘Tis the pre-spring season when the Champaign-Urbana citizenry, ranging from friendly neighbors to at-large cineastes, perks up every single time the College of Media at the University of Illinois makes public mention of an upcoming Roger Ebert’s Film Festival. We all want to know what films fill out the program, which will be presented from Wednesday, April 10, to Saturday, April 13, at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, as well as the guests, panels, and such that will be unique to the newest edition. Per the usual protocol for “Ebertfest” organizers, nuggets of information trickle out in February and March until the full wealth of details drops right before April 1, when individual tickets go on sale. The lead-up to this twenty-first year is no exception as the tease has finally begun!

Various local media have confirmed that Chicago Sun-Times columnist and movie critic Richard Roeper will appear informally after multiple screenings to talk shop and fete his former television co-host. Also revealed is the first feature from the 2019 schedule, a period drama called A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN (ROK SPOKOJNEGO SŁOŃCA, 1984) that is written and directed by the prolific filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi and stars Maja Komorowska as a wartime widow and Scott Wilson as an Army private who meet by chance in Poland and begin a courtship that is deep and possibly doomed. This award-winning feature has seldom been seen in America since its regional release in 1985-86 by a tiny Utah-based outfit, Sandstar Releasing Company, and is otherwise available on an early 2000s DVD issued by Kino on Video and streaming via the library-based service Kanopy.

This year’s festival will be dedicated to Wilson, as detailed in the press release below, while his wife Heavenly Wilson and veteran actress Komorowska (DEKALOG, FROM A FAR COUNTRY) plan to appear in support of QUIET SUN. The durable character actor passed away last October at age 76 after a lengthy career marked by popular Hollywood and better-than-average genre productions including IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, IN COLD BLOOD (both 1967), THE GREAT GATSBY (1974), THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980), THE RIGHT STUFF (1983), THE GRASS HARP (1995), SHILOH (1996), MONSTER (2003), THE HOST (2006), and HOSTILES (2017). As well, a memorable run as “Herschel” on THE WALKING DEAD marked a high point of his recent television work. The Wilsons were loyal to Roger and Chaz Ebert, attending Ebertfest several times previously

We presume the “digital print” of QUIET SUN will be derived from a recent restoration done by the film’s original studio, TOR Film Production (Studio Filmowe TOR), which has apparently been reviving key titles from their 50-year history with the help of cultural agencies and the Polish government. A region-free Blu-ray was issued in that country as well as a legitimate YouTube streaming copy with optional English subtitles, should you wish to preview the beautifully photographed and hauntingly scored love story. A viral video posted by TOR and shared here gives a brief before-and-after sample of the necessary image upgrade. There is no crime in getting familiar with the program in advance! Of course, these suggestions are not to distract you from the Ebertfest experience of A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN or any other selection, which are bound to impress greatly on the Virginia’s giant screen.

~ Jason Pankoke

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