Calendar: November 15-21, 2019

November 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

11/16: Scott Jenkins (owner/sculptor, Evil Jinx Studios, Chicago, IL)
11/19: Carolyn Baxley (owner, Cinema Gallery, Urbana, IL)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

20 Years AgoSunday, November 8, 1999: PBS affiliates premiere the hour-long television special TRANSISTORIZED!, which dramatizes the creation of the solid-state electrical component that would replace the vacuum tube and make possible much of the consumer technology we use to this day. Archive materials, reenactments, and narration by host and cowriter Ira Flatow (NEWTON’S APPLE) recall the many months of trial and error that physicists Walter Brattain, John Bardeen, and William Shockley went through that led up to December 23, 1947, the day Brattain invented a “triangle” of plastic, germanium, and gold foil based on Bardeen’s ideas that successfully amplified currents. Shockley, a supervisor for the project at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey who was not present during the discovery, improved on their design independently from the entire team in an effort to control how this potential breakthrough would be credited in the future. Bardeen left Bell Labs in 1951 thanks to Shockley’s micromanagement streak and joined the faculty of the physics and electrical engineering departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he taught until 1975 and continued to research and publish until his death in 1991. Despite a falling out between the three primary researchers as coworkers, they celebrated together in 1956 as laureates after accepting the Nobel Prize for physics in Stockholm, Sweden, in honor of their achievements with superconductivity. Colleagues from Illinois who appear in interview segments include the physicists Frederick Seitz and Nick Holonyak, Jr., and historians Charles C. Stewart and Lillian Hoddeson. Richard O’Rourke plays Bardeen in the flashback scenes of TRANSISTORIZED!, which was directed by Gary Glassman for KTCA-TV and ScienCentral, Inc., in association with Boston Science Communications.

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* meeting, “Writing Tools,” Robeson Pavilion, Room A (11/19, 7 p.m., free)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
C-U Cinefile* meeting, Room 219 (11/15, 4 p.m.)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (11/18, 7 p.m.)

@ The Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL
“The Early C-U Television History” talk and book signing by Doug Quick (11/21, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CHARLIE’S ANGELS, FORD V FERRARI, THE GOOD LIAR, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BETTER DAYS, DOCTOR SLEEP, HARRIET, JOJO RABBIT, JOKER, LAST CHRISTMAS, MIDWAY, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (11/15 on), 21 BRIDGES, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, FROZEN II (11/21 on)

@ Armory Building, UIUC, Champaign, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Armory 101, 7 p.m., free: FLOATING WEEDS (11/15), THE WAGES OF FEAR (12/6)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
GOOD BOYS, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2, 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED, THE FAREWELL, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON, BRIAN BANKS, AFTER THE WEDDING, SUPER SIZE ME 2, COBRA KAI (s2), STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (s2), GOOD OMENS (s1), more! (11/12 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
CHARLIE’S ANGELS, FORD V FERRARI, THE GOOD LIAR, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BETTER DAYS, DOCTOR SLEEP, HARRIET, JOJO RABBIT, JOKER, LAST CHRISTMAS, MIDWAY, PARASITE, PLAYING WITH FIRE, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (11/15 on), WESTERN STARS (daily, 12:45 p.m.), THE POLAR EXPRESS (11/17, 11/20), Studio Ghibli Fest: PRINCESS MONONOKE (11/17, 12:55 p.m., dubbed), National Theatre Live: Fleabag starring Phoebe Waller-Bridges (11/18, 7 p.m., simulcast), LIONEL RICHIE IN GLASTONBURY (11/19, 7 p.m.), A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, FROZEN II (11/21 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, Pine Lounge (11/15, 7 p.m.; 11/16, 7 & 10 p.m.; free w/i-card), “Throwback Films at the Union” feat. GROWN UPS, Courtyard Café (11/21, 8:30 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Champaign Unit 4 School District presents “Family Movie Night” feat. COCO (11/15, 7 p.m., free)

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

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Options bloom for UI film students

November 14th, 2019

~~~~~

We’re following up our University of Illinois “students in film” article from a few weeks ago to update you on one item we already discussed and alert you to another opportunity that is now open statewide!

First is an information session and general workshop that will take place later today, Thursday, November 14, 4 p.m., in Room 1 of Lincoln Hall on the UI Main Quad. It is intended for students who might be interested in submitting work to the next Illinifest, which has been rechristened this year as the Golden Corn Student Film Festival, but need initial guidance in how to get started or join up with experienced classmates. (This is mildly confusing if you pay close attention to the rapid ebb and flow of UI film doings; Illini Film & Video and Photon Pictures sponsored a “Golden Corn Movie Festival” in 2018.) The host for the event is UI Media and Cinema Studies adjunct professor Jonathan Knipp, who currently teaches the MACS 464 film festival course for which Golden Corn serves as a final project in the spring. A flier distributed among faculty and staff – we thank Confidential agent EB for floating it our way – encourages non-MACS majors to attend this afternoon if they can; we’re certain an after-the-fact inquiry to Knipp via knipp [at] illinois [dot] edu would also be acceptable if you do not learn about the event in time. As with last year and unlike previous incarnations of this program, the call for entries will probably be open to the UI community only.

Elsewhere, the Illinois Film Office in conjunction with the Chicago International Film Festival, Full Spectrum Features, and the Illinois Department of Commerce has opened a brief window for students between 18 and 22 years old to submit work to their annual Shortcuts contest. Full instructions can be reviewed at FilmFreeway while the general deadline to enter is Tuesday, December 31, and extended deadline is Friday, January 31. The winning filmmaker(s) receive a cash prize and theatrical screening at the CineYouth Film Festival of Chicago in the spring of 2020. Good luck to all of you on both fronts!

The fliers for each can be clicked to enlarge for easy readability.

~ Jason Pankoke

~~~~~

Calendar: November 8-14, 2019

November 9th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

11/10: Andrew Nygard (director, NO PEACE FOR THE WICKED, Pens to Lens 2019)
11/10: Andrew Stengele (director, THE MULTIPLIER, Pens to Lens 2019)

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
C-U Cinefile* meeting, Room 219 (11/8, 4 p.m.)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Golden Corn Student Film Festival * information session and workshop, Room 1 (11/14, 4 p.m.)

@ Wohlers Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 70 (11/11, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
BETTER DAYS, DOCTOR SLEEP, JOJO RABBIT, LAST CHRISTMAS, MIDWAY, MY DEAR LIAR, PLAYING WITH FIRE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BLACK AND BLUE, COUNTDOWN, HARRIET, JOKER, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (11/8 on), CHARLIE’S ANGELS, FORD V FERRARI (11/14 on)

@ Armory Building, UIUC, Champaign, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Armory 101, 7 p.m., free: TOKYO STORY (11/8), FLOATING WEEDS (11/15)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
HOBBS & SHAW, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, THE KITCHEN, CORPORATE ANIMALS, UNDERCOVER BROTHER 2, BARE KNUCKLE BRAWLER, more! (11/5 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
BETTER DAYS, DOCTOR SLEEP, JOJO RABBIT, LAST CHRISTMAS, MIDWAY, PARASITE, PLAYING WITH FIRE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, ARCTIC DOGS, COUNTDOWN, HARRIET, JOKER, THE LIGHTHOUSE, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (11/8 on), The Metropolitan Opera: Madama Butterfly (11/9, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 11/13, 6:30 p.m., recorded), DIE HARD (11/10, 11/13), “John Fogerty: My 50 Year Trip” concert filmed at Red Rocks Amphitheater (11/11, 7 p.m.), KONOSUBA! LEGEND OF CRIMSON (11/12, 7 p.m.), THE TWILIGHT ZONE 60th Anniversary Celebration feat. six episodes (11/14, 7 p.m.), CHARLIE’S ANGELS, FORD V FERRARI (11/14 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. THE LION KING (2019), Pine Lounge (11/8, 7 p.m.; 11/9, 7 & 10 p.m.; free w/i-card), “Throwback Films at the Union” feat. ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD (1994), Courtyard Café (11/14, 8:30 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
ORDER OF MAGNITUDE* screening & discussion with media artist Ben Grosser, Associate Professor of New Media, School of Art + Design, UIUC (11/13, 5:30 p.m., free)

@ Spurlock Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL
AEMS presents AsiaLENS Documentary/Film Series feat. DROKPA: NOMADS OF TIBET (11/14, 7 p.m., free)

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

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

C-U cinema tumbles hard into fall

November 7th, 2019

~~~~~

We hope you have enjoyed the sudden outburst of headline shares over at our Facebook account, dearest readers, because there is no way we could otherwise keep up with the news arising from the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond! Ach! Today, we’d like to narrow the focus and sort out a few notes about specialized movie exhibition in our immediate area.

In other corners than our own, the Dead in Decatur International Film Festival brought a menagerie of indie horror to downtown Decatur’s Madden Arts Center this past Friday and Saturday, November 12, while the next Route 66 Film Festival is ready to introduce a new program of wide-ranging cinema from around the world to the Route 66 Hotel & Conference Center of Springfield on an upcoming Friday and Saturday, November 2223. Looking to the near future, festival passes went on sale for Roger Ebert’s Film Festival last week Friday, November 1, at the box office of the Virginia Theatre in Champaign; a cool $150 gives bearers plenty of access during the 22nd iteration of “Ebertfest” that will take place April 15-18 at the Virginia. Also, the first-time Krampusnacht Freeky Film Festival will bear gifts of mayhem and mirth for the brave souls who attend their show on the evening of Saturday, December 7, at SoDo Theatre in downtown Champaign; expect a tactile screening environment that reaches well beyond the screen in the spirit of the former Freeky Creek Short Film Festival, per producer Thomas Nicol.

Thank goodness we have this and much more to look forward to in the coming months as we now address the cultural elephant (and caught-in-the-trap mouse) in the room. WCIA-TV of Champaign offered an update during yesterday’s newscast about the ongoing discontent over the sudden closure of the Art Theater last Thursday, October 31, which reveals little more than what we already know. Art building owner David Kraft has expressed that he wants possession of the space and all physical assets so he can attempt to attract a new tenant, while the Art Film Foundation refrains from commenting publicly or in detail. Practically lost in all this hubbub is the poor New Art Film Festival that your humble editor had been working on and should have hosted at the Art this Sunday, November 10. He received no advance notice from the Art board of directors about the aborted NAFF booking due to the closure and, frankly, has seen next to no outward support from the people of Champaign-Urbana about the 10th annual edition or its future. “That will be taken into account,” he says in between coffee sips.

We’ll provide you with advance notice on what will become of the NAFF before University of Illinois final exams and the holiday stretch manage to commandeer everyone’s attention span. Until then, Ye Ed may finally offer a few of his own thoughts on the current Art debacle right here if he feels up to it. He will be visiting the C-U tonight through Saturday to scout alternate locations for the NAFF and look after personal business while checking in on Ma JaPan from afar as she continues her physical rehabilitation. You might just run into him at tomorrow’s 7 p.m. screening of Yasujiro Ozu’s classic meditation on generational difference and aging, TOKYO STORY (1953), at Armory 101. Timely scheduling, this.

~ Jason Pankoke

~~~~~

Calendar: November 1-7, 2019

November 2nd, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

11/2: Wes Melton (actor, STORY OF THE YEAR)
11/2: Sam Carmichael (senior coordinator for Paramount Pictures, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE)
11/5: John Jennings (illustrator, Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

10 Years AgoFriday, September 18, 2009: Warner Bros. releases the corporate intrigue drama THE INFORMANT! in more than 2,500 theaters across the United States a year and a half after much of it was filmed in the Decatur, IL, area. Unfortunately, the studio has attempted to market the picture as a snappy comedy along the lines of director Steven Soderbergh and star Matt Damon’s OCEAN’S ELEVEN franchise, blowing out of proportion the sly touch applied to the stranger-than-fiction story of real-life whistleblower Mark Whitacre and his double-crossing of both the agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland and the Central Intelligence Agency. THE INFORMANT! would finish in second place for the weekend, well below the animated hit CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, and concluded its run with a modest $33 million earned. As reported on 9/18/09, 9/26/09, 10/9/09 at CUBlog. Box Office Mojo

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
C-U Cinefile* meeting, Room 219 (11/1, 4 p.m.)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (11/4, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
Closed.

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ARCTIC DOGS, HARRIET, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, BLACK AND BLUE, COUNTDOWN, THE CURRENT WAR, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, GEMINI MAN, IT: CHAPTER TWO, JOKER, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (11/1 on), THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (3-D; 11/7, 4 & 7 p.m.), DOCTOR SLEEP, MIDWAY, PLAYING WITH FIRE (11/7 on)

@ Armory Building, UIUC, Champaign, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Armory 101, 7 p.m., free: TOKYO STORY (11/8)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
RED JOAN, LUCE, THEM THAT FOLLOW, SATANIC PANIC, OBSESSION, 10 MINUTES GONE, A CINDERELLA STORY: CHRISTMAS WISH, TONE-DEAF, more! (10/29 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
ARCTIC DOGS, HARRIET, MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BLACK AND BLUE, COUNTDOWN, THE CURRENT WAR, DOWNTON ABBEY, JOKER, THE LIGHTHOUSE, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (11/1 on), “DanTDM Presents ‘The Contest’” (11/2, 12:55 p.m., “interactive”), Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev boxing match (11/2, 8 p.m., simulcast), PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES (11/3, 11/6), CHRISTMAS JARS (11/4, 7 p.m.), SLAYER: THE REPENTLESS KILLOGY concert film & video premiere (11/6, 7 p.m.), THE DIVINE PLAN (11/6, 7 p.m.), BETTER DAYS, DOCTOR SLEEP (11/7 on), LYNYRD SKYNYRD: LAST OF THE STREET SURVIVORS FAREWELL TOUR concert film (11/7, 7 p.m.)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, Pine Lounge (11/1, 7 p.m.; 11/2, 7 & 10 p.m.; free w/i-card), “Throwback Films at the Union” feat. BEETLEJUICE, Courtyard Café (11/7, 8:30 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL
The Unreliable Bestiary – “Tiger” performance (11/7, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (11/2, 1 & 7 p.m.), Rewind 92.5 Film Series: THIS IS SPINAL TAP (11/7, 7 p.m.)

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

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Feeling a little bit MICRO, are we?

October 29th, 2019

~~~~~

Less than a week ago, we heralded the arrival of a new book on Quentin Tarantino’s unreleased proto-feature film, MY BEST FRIEND’S BIRTHDAY, which includes an essay by your humble editor that attributes a sense of worth to all those well-intended projects in the universe that didn’t quite make it to the finish line. As an example, it revisits a student film I worked on in 1998 that remains AWOL to this day. No one may ever see it, yet it at least provided a valuable experience to its makers in the moment.

Presently, I’m thinking back to another life moment from the era. On this date in 1999, a much younger me tamed the stomach butterflies and introduced the first issue of MICRO-FILM to the rapt audience of the Freaky Film Festival at the Art Theater in Champaign. I briefly recalled that watershed moment here on C-U Blogfidential a while ago and affect it above with a more recent photograph. Sadly, I can only seem to muster a muted “how ‘bout that” in acknowledgment of the anniversary.

It becomes harder with passing time to look at the seven issues and miscellanea we scratched out at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters and still feel a sense of excitement or fulfillment. I’m proud that M-F managed to complement the rise of independent cinema and self-published alternative media during its run, even though it did not really help define the movements or their legacy in any significant way. In my fatigued heart and mind as of late, M-F is primarily a fossilizing bedrock on which both C-U Confidential and the New Art Film Festival were built. The nutrients and DNA still provide but they’re running low.

Given the news that punched community members and cinema goers of the C-U in the gut last week, the NAFF has suddenly found itself on the endangered culture list with the imminent shuttering of its forever home. Where will the NAFF go once the Art ceases to do business after this Thursday, October 31? How will CUZine continue to prop up the local film arts if its resources keep dissipating? Why should we even wax about MICRO-FILM when its successors are faltering in an increasingly jumbled and agitated world of media and entertainment caught in the squeeze between corporate behemoths and a completely glutted marketplace? Yikes. Then again, I can only afford to save my breath when I’m dead.

This is not a good moment to engage in celebration. We did begin tinkering with a small-scale M-F surprise for you, even going so far as to solicit guest writers for the cause, but it and most of the other NAFF functions are suspended until we know better what we’re doing about a date, time, and location. No combination of us will be sitting together at the Art on Sunday, November 10, to watch a new cluster of area-made cinema, that’s for damn sure. We have our work cut out for us and decisions to make.

I want to believe that better times and sunnier prospects await us in the future for everything on the Confidential docket. I have to believe that, otherwise, none of this would continue with any sense of agency or integrity. No matter how small a reach our efforts have attained over the years, especially in recent times when we’ve elected to “go local,” I can still attribute a sense of worth to our well-intended projects dedicated to the C-Universe and its motion picture arts. This message is essentially a 20th anniversary marker pumped with that old school MICRO-FILM moxie, reminding us all about where we’ve come from and what we’re still capable of doing.

We won’t promise or self-impose 20 more years of peculiar creation within the walls of MFHQ, dearest readers, but we will pledge in earnest to deliver the best indie culture we can while we’re at it.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. We know the representative cover below is not the first issue. Despite our belated distaste for the multiple appearances of guns on the covers of MICRO-FILM, we decided to illustrate our post with the “Illinois” issue 5 since we have been prone to red-and-black graphics over the past two weeks.

p.s.2 M-F will receive a much-belated “permanent” presence soon on CUBlog. Stay tuned!

~~~~~

Calendar: October 25-31, 2019

October 26th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

10/25: Becca Whitaker (contributor, Bachelor Pad Magazine, Champaign, IL)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

5 Years Ago Friday, October 31, 2014: Thanks to a resolution sponsored by representative Kay Hatcher, the Illinois General Assembly has decreed today Svengoolie/Rich Koz Day” in the state of Illinois. The veteran entertainer will make several media and personal appearances in celebration, while his (presumably prerecorded) alter ego appears all day long on national cable network MeTV. Also, props and ephemera from his long-running B-movie program (1979-1986 on WFLD-TV 32, 1995-present on WCIU-TV 26/MeTV) recently went on display in Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications. [R]

20 Years AgoFriday, October 29, 1999: After more than a year of development, networking, and production, the first print issue of MICRO-FILM magazine is introduced on opening night of the third annual Freaky Film Festival at the New Art Theater in downtown Champaign, Illinois. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
C-U Cinefile* meeting, Room 219 (10/25, 4 p.m.)

@ Armory Building, UIUC, Champaign, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting + “48 Hour Challenge” screening, Armory 101 (10/28, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
Closed for the week.

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
BLACK AND BLUE, COUNTDOWN, THE CURRENT WAR, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (re-release), SAAND KI ANNKH, ABOMINABLE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, GEMINI MAN, IT: CHAPTER TWO, JOKER, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (10/25 on), ONE PIECE: STAMPEDE (10/26, 2 p.m.; 10/29-10/30, 7 p.m.), HARRIET, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (10/31 on)

@ Armory Building, UIUC, Champaign, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Armory 101, 7 p.m., free: IN THE HEAT OF THE SUN (10/25), TOKYO STORY (11/8)

@ The City Center, Champaign, IL
Dark History & Horror Con’s Screaming Mad Film Festival (10/26, 12:30 p.m.-8 p.m.; 10/27, 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE LION KING, BLOODLINE, ANGEL OF MINE, HAUNT, COYOTE LAKE, DAUNTLESS: THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY, RUIN ME, more! (10/22 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
BLACK AND BLUE, COUNTDOWN, THE CURRENT WAR, THE GREAT ALASKAN RACE, JESUS IS KING (IMAX), THE LIGHTHOUSE, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (re-release), ABOMINABLE, AD ASTRA, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, DOWNTON ABBEY, GEMINI MAN, JOKER, JUDY, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (10/25 on), GOOSEBUMPS 2 (10/25-10/27, 10 a.m.), The Metropolitan Opera: Manon (10/26, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 10/30, 6:30 p.m., recorded), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984; 10/26, 10/30), Studio Ghibli Fest: SPIRITED AWAY (10/26, 12:55 p.m., dubbed; 10/28, 7 p.m., subtitled), LOVE AND MERCY: FAUSTINA (10/28, 7 p.m.), Cirque do Soleil: Luzia (10/29, 7 p.m.), S&M2 – Metallica & San Francisco Symphony concert film (10/30, 7 p.m.), HARRIET, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (10/31 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. PET SEMATARY (2019), Pine Lounge (10/25, 7 p.m.; 10/26, 7 & 10 p.m.; free w/i-card), “Throwback Films at the Union” feat. HALLOWEEN (2018?), Courtyard Café (10/31, 8:30 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL
“Urbanalove Movie Screening” feat. HOCUS POCUS (10/30, 6 p.m., free, outdoors)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: DRACULA (1931; 10/25, 7 p.m.)

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

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Birthday’ offers fresh QT dialogue

October 24th, 2019

~~~~~

While summertime audiences the world over took in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, the latest Quentin Tarantino effort to assign past aesthetics and thematic tropes to a storytelling mode all his own, a new book revisiting the past of the filmmaker himself inched closer to completion. This oral history and script analysis of MY BEST FRIEND’S BIRTHDAY, a project that might have been “the first film by” the director had fortunes gone another way, is now available from the prolific Georgia publishing house BearManor Media that issued Conversations on Quentin Tarantino three years ago.

My Best Friend’s Birthday: The Making of a Quentin Tarantino Film, a long-in-the-works passion project by the author of Conversations, Andrew J. Rausch, emerged in paperback and hardcover editions as of Sunday, October 6. It dives deep where few QT scholars and acolytes have bothered to look closely; three sections cover the lifetime of BIRTHDAY, an unfinished indie comedy that exists in ephemeral shambles but is still considered a significant turning point in the careers of its three behind-the-scenes principals: co-writer/producer/director/editor Tarantino, producer Roger Avary (THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, KILLING ZOE), and co-writer/producer Craig Hamann. The latter is invariably the heart of the show even if his not-yet-famous collaborator’s thumbprint is all over the remaining evidence.

~~~~~

~~~~~

Those of you fascinated by the interviews in Conversations dealing with Tarantino’s earliest friendships and activities in Hollywoodland can find plenty more in that vein to enjoy here. The micro-focus on BIRTHDAY, aided greatly by the participation of Hamann and set photographer Todd Henschell along with exclusive quotes from Tarantino himself, will endear the book to completists as well as enthusiasts who appreciate what no-budget creators have to go through to pull it all together. And when it falters? Well. True stores are often more edifying than the (pulp) fiction we weave! Kieran Fisher, a contributor to Film School Rejects and Diabolique, Stephen Spignesi, a co-author of Elton John: Fifty Years On that was released last week by Simon & Schuster, and yours truly provided introductions to the sections. Like my segment in Conversations, I combine insight with first-person anecdote and a sprinkling of the C-U.

The curious fates of MY BEST FRIEND’S BIRTHDAY and its unrelated precursor, the equally AWOL indie WARZONE, did not spell the end of the core team’s ambitions or the brewing QT legend once they exited the Eighties, of course. This past Monday, October 21, Fathom Events and Wood Entertainment collaborated on a one-shot presentation of QT8: THE FIRST EIGHT, a slightly dated documentary traveling the QT oeuvre from RESERVOIR DOGS to THE HATEFUL EIGHT that survived previous ownership by the Weinstein Company. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD has invigorated Tarantino’s profile since its North American bow on July 26 through Sony/Columbia Pictures and is returning to theaters tomorrow, Friday, October 25, with bonus scenes added. Lionsgate launched a limited release this month of Avery’s latest directorial effort, LUCKY DAY, while Hamann’s first directorial effort BOOGIE BOY returned in May on Blu-ray courtesy of MVD’s “Rewind Collection” line. As for the rest of the former BIRTHDAY boys and girls, it’s time to read Rausch’s book to get all caught up.

~ Jason Pankoke

~~~~~

Calendar: October 18-24, 2019

October 18th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

10/18: Mike Everleth (publisher, Underground Film Journal, Los Angeles, CA)
10/20: Lana Wildman (staff, Route 66 Film Festival, Springfield, IL)
10/24: John May (filmmaker, Tabletop Studios, Madison, WI)
10/23: Blake Stubbs (movie commentator, WGN Radio, Chicago, IL)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoFriday, October 21, 1994: Following early-bird reviews by The New York Times‘ Caryn James and The Los Angeles Times‘ Kenneth Turan, The Chicago Sun-Times would print Roger Ebert’s ecstatic vote of confidence in the documentary HOOP DREAMS, a Chicago-based production about two inner-city high school students banking on college basketball careers as a step towards the proverbial “way out.” His persistent support of this film famously hit a crescendo when the movie critic cried foul over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences overlooking it in both the “best picture” and “best documentary” Oscar categories. HOOP DREAMS director Steve James would ultimately return the favor with his work on the Ebert documentary LIFE ITSELF. [R]

105 Years AgoMonday, October 19, 1914: Owners of the brand-new New Orpheum Theatre in downtown Champaign open for business according to the Urbana Courier-Herald; entertainment scheduled for 7:30 and 9 p.m. shows includes “five high-class vaudeville acts,” an “enlarged orchestra,” and “special exclusive photo plays” per a news item and advertisement in that day’s edition. Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp after the Royal Opera theater within the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France, the building now houses the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
C-U Cinefile* meeting, Room 219 (10/18, 4 p.m.)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (10/21, 7 p.m.)

@ WILL-TV studio, Campbell School for Public Telecommunication, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* meeting, “Lighting Exercise, sound stage (10/21, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
LUCY IN THE SKY (10/18 on), Shocktober 2019: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) w/Illini Student Musicals shadow cast (10/18-10/19, 9:30 p.m.), DAWN OF THE LIGHT (10/22, 7:30 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
JUDY, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP, ABOMINABLE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, GEMINI MAN, HUSTLERS, IT: CHAPTER TWO, JEXI, JOKER (10/18 on), BLACK AND BLUE, COUNTDOWN, THE CURRENT WAR (10/24 on), ONE PIECE: STAMPEDE (10/24, 7 p.m.)

@ Armory Building, UIUC, Champaign, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Armory 101, 7 p.m., free: FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE (10/18), IN THE HEAT OF THE SUN (10/25)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
CRAWL, STUBER, THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE, 3 FROM HELL, ALREADY GONE, CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?, NIGHT HUNTER, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (cs), more! (10/15 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
LUCY IN THE SKY, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP, ABOMINABLE, AD ASTRA, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, DOWNTON ABBEY, GEMINI MAN, HUSTLERS, IT: CHAPTER TWO, JEXI, JOKER, JUDY (10/18 on), BEETLEJUICE (10/20, 10/23), QT8: THE FIRST EIGHT (10/21, 7 p.m.), THE RELIANT (10/24, 7 p.m.)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. ANNABELLE COMES HOME, Pine Lounge (10/18, 7 p.m.; 10/19, 7 & 10 p.m.; free w/i-card), “Throwback Films at the Union” feat. PET SEMATARY (1989), Courtyard Café (10/24, 8:30 p.m, free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1931; 10/21, 7 p.m.), THE MUMMY (1932; 10/22, 7 p.m.), FRANKENSTEIN (1931; 10/23, 7 p.m.), THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (10/24, 7 p.m.), DRACULA (1931; 10/25, 7 p.m.)

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

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Students bring life to film at UIUC

October 17th, 2019

~~~~~

Two months ago, while compiling our post on area programs and projects that are designed for young people, we realized a follow-up for a slightly older crowd might be in order. Since they’re now at the Urbana campus en masse and settled into their routines as students at the University of Illinois (UIUC), we can proceed with suggestions! However, a lot has already transpired that would have made for good examples of the happenings they should look forward to while enrolled here – Deke Weaver’s Unreliable Bestiary performance “Tiger,” the Roger and Chaz Ebert Symposium on diversifying the work force in media, Illinois Public Media’s sneak preview of their television special ILLINOIS COUNTRY, and on – so we’ll instead point out the weekly constants on campus, serving as anchor points for getting involved in film from the production, appreciation, and critical perspectives.

Every Monday night at 7 p.m., the durable Illini Film & Video meets in Room 1022 of Lincoln Hall on the Main Quad. Formed roughly 20 years ago by engineering undergraduates Michael Stone and Andrew McAllister, IFV brings together students from all backgrounds and capabilities to try out the filmmaking process on both club and personal projects. The IFV boards of the past few years have reinstated a fast tempo and process-oriented approach to their weekly meetings, ensuring that members get their feet wet with tutorials, challenges, and fundraising when not pitching ideas or recruiting for shoots. Professionals may drop by or Skype in to talk with the club about their specialties, while some IFV alumni will apply their developing media skills in various fields after graduation. You can view their details on the IFV website, skim Facebook announcements for opportunities, and watch the resulting videos on YouTube.

~~~~~

~~~~~

Two other groups meet on Friday evenings. The second-year RSO called C-U Cinefile gathers at 4 p.m. in Room 219 of Gregory Hall to plan activities that will explore film through screenings, discussions, and the making of video essays and narrative shorts. You can see examples of their efforts on YouTube, including a timely round of slasher film reviews, and camaraderie on Facebook. For those students who want to make a night out of it after a long week of classes, the third-year RSO named For Art’s Sake has booked an international film classic almost every Friday this semester at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall of the Armory Building, Room 101, which satisfy thematic groupings as decided by graduate student Carson Wang and friends. Tomorrow’s feature is a well-known example of “fifth generation” Chinese filmmaking, the Peking-set period epic FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE (1993) directed by Chen Kaige and starring Gong Li, to be followed next Friday, October 25, by IN THE HEAT OF THE SUN (1994). You can click the graphic below to enlarge and read their remaining schedule.

Read the rest of this entry »