It’s déjà CUZine all over again

February 9th, 2017

Not unlike yesterday’s article, in which we talked about picking up on an archival compilation project for C-U Blogfidential that we had wanted to launch a long while back, we profess our serious intent to follow through with additional old business in the printed form of C-U Confidential issue 9. Unlike our musty filmography concept and the several years it will take to coalesce, we want to press the next CUZine into your palms as soon as possible! This edition is beginning to suffer the throes of inconsistent progress as did issue 8; since that number turned out well enough after a two-and-a-half year slog, we hope you will not feel too inconvenienced if issue 9 hits only six months later than we had once planned. There is no excuse for us to overshoot the spring when we have several cool stories in store for you – we investigate the return of Pens to Lens, the loss of That’s Rentertainment, the film writing legacy of the late Springfield poet Vachel Lindsay, and more – on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of CUZine itself! Therefore, we will solicit advertisements for the second time beginning on Monday, February 13, and close the book by Monday, March 13. We need to fill 12 pages in our 48-page publication, including three full-color covers, and can offer a special 20% discount on the final invoice for clients that place and pay for ads in both CUZine #9 and #10 (targeted for September release) by Friday, March 17. Fans who may not have reason to promote can send donations to cuconfidential [at] gmail [dot] com via PayPal; no amount is too small but please keep in mind it is not tax deductible. Your payments go directly towards furnishing an ongoing record of the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond to our communities FOR FREE. How can you not contribute to this unique independent movement, dearest friends?

~ Jason Pankoke

[Updated 2/18/17, 3:15 p.m. CST]

This announcement will remain at the head of C-U Blogfidential until further notice.

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Art no party in drama GREENE

February 22nd, 2017

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Last week, we told you about an upcoming campus film festival that is custom built for student filmmakers at the University of Illinois and other Midwest institutions of higher learning, but not all young media practitioners will be jockeying for short film glory this spring. Current UIUC upperclassman Keenan Dailey, who showed visual promise and projected a strong voice in his New Art Film Festival ’16 entry LABYRINTH, is aiming higher and longer with his new feature-length project called GREENE. Active on multiple fronts to bring this story to fruition, Dailey launched a Kickstarter campaign to amass a little more than $3,000 for a production budget with about three weeks left for supporters to give. He also has begun casting with one leg taking place this past Monday, February 20, and another scheduled for later tonight, Wednesday, February 22, at the UI School of Art + Design; audition blocks will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and have possibly been all filled in advance, so contact Dailey immediately by writing greenemovie [at] gmail [dot] com or messaging his GREENE or personal Facebook pages to offer your performance credentials and demo reel if not secure a remaining slot. (Open roles are listed in the graphic below and include parts for post-college age performers.) Potential collaborators on all fronts are also encouraged to approach him through these same avenues if interested in other positions on the show. His Internet promotion goes on to describe GREENE as “the story of 28-year-old black gallery owner, Marcus Greene, who is struggling to find peace with the fractured remnants of his life. Despite the efforts of his brother-in-law and largely due to Marcus’ depressive state, his gallery has been failing and is now facing foreclosure. This story follows Marcus’ journey as he comes to terms with his past.” Also eyeing a larger thematic canvas, Daily paints his projected film as “a reflection of artistic exposure within the African-American experience” and “one that wishes to exist outside the stereotypical view of African-Americans in mainstream media.” GREENE could turn out to be a touchstone endeavor for the right combination of theater and fine arts candidates coming up through the UI student body ranks due to its bravely ambitious and emotional concept. Among them, Dailey hails from Peoria, IL, and is working towards a graphic design degree at the UI; peripheral activities include a piece that qualified for the 2016 Sundance Ignite “What’s Next?” challenge, DADAISM, and an acting appearance in the recent WILL-TV/Illinois Public Media offering BARNS: AN ILLINOIS STORY directed by Oliver Peng.

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: February 17-23, 2017

February 17th, 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!

2/18: Phil Kim (publisher, Famous Monsters of Filmland)
2/21: Eric Benson (co-author, Design to Renourish)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

While major players and underdogs prepare to go for the gold at the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony next weekend, we suggest you go for the old this weekend instead of dropping cash on new Hollywood releases with seemingly little to offer. The Normal Theater revs up Alex Cox’s lovably ragged cult favorite, REPO MAN (Universal Pictures), for a pair of late shows tonight, Fri., 2/17, and tomorrow, Sat., 2/18, starting at 10 p.m.; this anarchic comedy from 1984 pairs Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton as losers-turned-“repossession agents” in pursuit of a (literally) hot Chevy Malibu with highly valuable junk in its trunk that might just be of extraterrestrial origin. By contrast, the Art Theater Co-op presents on Mon., 2/20, 7 p.m., a fully-restored print of writer/director Julie Dash’s DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (Cohen Media Group), the landmark drama from 1991 chronicling the lives of African-American slave descendants living off the coast of Georgia in the early 1900s; an overt dilemma is faced when an extended family on one island, led by African traditionalist and matriarch Nana (Cora Lee Day), is coerced to relocate to the Northern states as part of the Great Migration. Elsewhere, expression in a longstanding writing form plays a central role in two non-Hollywood features coming to the area for the first time. NERUDA (The Orchard/Participant Media), directed by JACKIE’s Pablo Larraín and starring Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco, and Mercedes Morán, is a partly fictionalized account of how Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda evades authorities after going into exile in 1948 due to his Communist leanings; the Normal will show this acclaimed “anti-biopic” at 7 p.m. on Sun., 2/19. PATERSON (Bleecker Street Media/Amazon Studios), written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, is a low-key charmer with Adam Driver as the title character, a bus driver and prolific closet poet living in Paterson, NJ, and Golshifteh Farahani as his stay-at-home partner who is also a beautiful dreamer. As much an affirmation of appreciating the small things via art as it is an attempt at a “poem for camera” filtered through Jarmusch’s one-of-a-kind lens, PATERSON begins its run at the Art Theater today. “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
PATERSON (2/17 on), The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2017: Animation (2/17-2/18, 2/22-2/23), DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST w/discussion (2/20)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
A CURE FOR WELLNESS, FIST FIGHT, THE GREAT WALL, LION, A DOG’S PURPOSE, FIFTY SHADES DARKER, HIDDEN FIGURES, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, LA LA LAND, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, PASSENGERS, RINGS, SPLIT (2/17 on)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “48 Hr Screening,” Robeson Pavilion Room C (2/21, 7 p.m., free)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
ARRIVAL, BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK, THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, BLEED FOR THIS, CHRISTINE, STAKE LAND II, PRICELESS, more! (2/14 on)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 205 (2/21, 6:30 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
A CURE FOR WELLNESS, FIST FIGHT, THE GREAT WALL, A DOG’S PURPOSE, FIFTY SHADES DARKER, THE FOUNDER, HIDDEN FIGURES, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, LA LA LAND, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, RINGS, SPLIT (2/17 on), Newsies: The Broadway Musical (2/18, 2/22, recorded), Allegiance: The Broadway Musical (2/19, recorded), THE GODFATHER (2/19, 2/22), IS GENESIS HISTORY? (2/23)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, Pine Lounge (2/17, 2/18, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
“Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?” photography/video installation by Zina Saro-Wiwa, East Gallery on Main Level (through 3/25)

@ Lincoln Square Village (starting point), Urbana, IL
Champaign Movie Makers 48 Hour Film Fest 2017 (2/17-2/19)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
MALCOLM X (2/17-2/18)

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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Illinifest entry window now open

February 13th, 2017

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From February 6, 2017:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THIRD ANNUAL ILLINIFEST STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

CHAMPAIGN, IL (February 6, 2017)Illinifest Student Film Festival, presented by the students of MACS 464 [Media and Cinema Studies] at the College of Media at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, announces its call for submissions of short films in the “Midwest Student” and “World Competition” [categories]. The festival will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at the Lincoln Hall Theater on the Urbana campus.

The submission period begins Monday, February 6. Film entry is available through http://illinifest.illinois.edu/submit or Film Freeway. Submission to the “Midwest Student” category is open to students and recent graduates of colleges and universities throughout the Midwest. Short films of one to 20 minutes can be submitted into the “Midwest Student” category free of charge before the March 10 entry deadline. Late submissions received by March 20 will be charged a $3 fee. Submission into the “World Competition” is open to everyone for a $5 fee. “Midwest Student” and “World Competition” filmmakers working in all aesthetic disciplines and genres including narrative, documentary, animation, horror, and experimental are welcome. All films must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 20.

About Illinifest Student Film Festival

Illinifest Student Film Festival is dedicated to supporting student filmmakers by bringing their work to a campus and community audience for a shared cinema experience. Our mission is to make Illinifest an arena for diverse voices in short filmmaking. The 2016 festival spotlighted short films by student filmmakers in colleges throughout the Midwest while also exposing our audience to the work of filmmakers form around the world. We received 123 submissions from more than 20 countries. Of those, 33 films were selected for inclusion into the 2016 festival program. Films accepted at Illinifest are screened at the festival and nominated for awards in a number of categories including “Grand Jury Prize,” “Best Picture,” “Best Cinematography,” and “Social Impact,” as well as $100 in cash prizes.

For more information, visit http://illinifest.illinois.edu/ as well as our social media at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!


CONTACT

Rahmah Elmassry
relmas2 [at] illinois [dot] edu


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Calendar: February 10-16, 2017

February 10th, 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!

2/16: Michael J. Jones (pop artist, epyon5)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Quality international cinema comes to town in abbreviated lengths this week as compilations of the 2017 Oscar-Nominated Short Films (ShortsHD/Magnolia Pictures) arrive at the Art Theater Co-op and Normal Theater. Eighteen pieces total will be presented between the showcases – one each for “Live Action,” “Animation,” and “Documentary” at the Normal, four at the Art with the “Documentary” set split in two – including the five in contention for each category and three runners-up added to “Animation.” Plenty of hard information and high-resolution images can be found at this Web page if you would like to take in some background before a viewing. We’ve labeled the distinct groupings for your convenience in the Calendar, but note the Art is rotating them every day from Fri., 2/10, to Thurs., 2/16, while the Normal is offering “Live Action” (Fri., 2/10) and “Documentary” (Sun., 2/12) only once and “Animation” (Sat., 2/11; Thurs., 2/16) twice, all at 7 p.m. Also conjuring interest in our corner is the belated local appearance of THE LOVE WITCH (Oscilloscope Laboratories) at the Normal tonight, Fri., 2/10, and tomorrow, Sat, 2/11, at 10 p.m.; cut from the same lovingly-crafted cloth as Anna Biller’s previous short subjects and debut feature, VIVA, this WITCH echoes with precision a past Hollywood trope – the mid-century Technicolor melodrama – while twisting genre expectations and gender politics to meet its ends. Shot in 35mm, the tale involves practicing witch Elaine (Samantha Robinson) and her attempts to lure with “sex magic” a male companion who might handle her highly particular (and occasionally fatal) wiles. It may be a love letter of sorts to vintage thrillers and potboilers, but outsider stylist Biller seems to understand how to enlist the power and pleasures of techniques past to color her present-day concerns. “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2017: Animation (2/10-2/12, 2/15-2/16), Live Action (2/10-2/12, 2/14-2/16), Documentary “A” & “B” (2/12-2/13), PUNCH DRUNK LOVE (2/10-2/11, 2/16), CASABLANCA (2/14)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
FIFTY SHADES DARKER, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, A DOG’S PURPOSE, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, RINGS, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, THE SPACE BETWEEN US, SPLIT (2/10 on)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Pens to Lens Screenwriting Workshop, Robeson Pavilion Rooms A & B (2/11, 11 a.m., free)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
TROLLS, ALMOST CHRISTMAS, LOVING, DESIERTO, AMERICAN PASTORAL, THE TAKE, ODDBALL, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, DESIREE, VICE PRINCIPALS (s1), more! (2/7 on)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 205 (2/14, 6:30 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
FIFTY SHADES DARKER, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, THE COMEDIAN, A DOG’S PURPOSE, THE FOUNDER, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MONSTER TRUCKS, RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, RINGS, SING, THE SPACE BETWEEN US, SPLIT, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (2/10 on), IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (2/12, 2/15), Newsies: The Broadway Musical (2/16, recorded)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, Pine Lounge (2/10, 2/11, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
“Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?” photography/video installation by Zina Saro-Wiwa, East Gallery on Main Level (through 3/25)

@ School of Information Sciences, UIUC, Champaign, IL
13th (dir. Ava DuVernay) screening and discussion, Room 126 and East Lobby (2/16, 5 p.m.)

@ Spurlock Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL
AEMS presents AsiaLENS Documentary/Film Series feat. PUNCH (2/14, 7 p.m., free), Illinois Public Media presents STEPHEN HAWKING’S FAVORITE PLACES* (2/16, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
SCHOOL DAZE (2/13-2/14), CLOCKERS (2/15-2/16)

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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Read the rest of this entry »

In My Backyard: Year 9

February 8th, 2017

Apart from a few deep thoughts we strung together for your consideration three weeks 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. Although we last drafted a full “In My Backyard” from scratch 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. Much of this material will appear on CUBlog for the first time, providing alternate takes on certain topics du C-U.

In this second trip to the “Backyard,” we revisit a noble proposition shared on this forum some time ago that we believe is relevant still. CUBlog once hosted a much larger array of Pages than can be seen here today; we intended for these spaces to serve as a backbone to our geographically distinct coverage, similar to what is found on the New Art Film Festival Web site, by offering context for the uninitiated and resources for those with vested interest. Review the surviving Pages and you will find that we clearly have fallen short of keeping them up to speed, but we’d love to whip the worthwhile content back into shape and revamp, delete, or add what is necessary to better serve our collective purposes in the present. Looking at the words that have resided under the “Photoplays du C-U” heading since 2008 with fresh eyes, we wonder if they might be useful to preserve “as is” on CUBlog as well as correlate how it foreshadows a bit more of the sweeping editorial upgrades we plan to adopt by the end of 2018.

Since that essay went live, it can be easily argued that the C-U has warmed to the ongoing film activity fostered by its own people and not explicitly tied to the University of Illinois. Yet, the more things change in a college town environment, the more do they really stay the same? Our observations as noted back then do not feel so out of date when applied to the present, if you take the position that increased frequency in cinema-loving fun is not the same as cohesive growth in content, quality, or commerce. To wit, the C-U still flocks to movies in area theaters with regularity, yes; the C-U rallies around “see and be seen” premiere events and “community building” social actions using movies as catalysts, of course; the C-U media incorporates promotion of timely movie happenings, naturally; the C-U serves as home to creators who regularly come and then go to Los Angeles, et cetera, so, what else is new? Walk these towns on an average day, however, and the impact of all this is hardly palpable.

C-U Confidential and the NAFF still attempt to do their part by informing the public and connecting the players, but as of late the badge of honor and participation points don’t quite beam with the same luster. This brings us back to the original function of our underdeveloped Page and how it inspires what will soon appear on CUBlog. If we skim those words and replace the old movie titles with examples current in 2017, we are reminded of the ever-simmering potential for that fabled “filmography of a small town” to develop a critical mass of energy and achievement. One does not need to read the text too carefully to pick up on how it might have introduced an actual filmography – encyclopedic entries describing all the major projects, events, locations, and personalities we could verify in well-researched detail and candor – that never materialized. To our knowledge, no one else in our community then or now has attempted to flesh out its micro-film history in this way, either. Is such a qualitative record even worth the effort?

With our focus to be retrained in large part on archival matters, the revival of this ambitious and useful compilation simply makes sense as we will be digging through the dusty evidence of our film past out of necessity. We might as well be the ones to put it all together, then. Despite our Confidential heart feeling a bit deflated over what we see outside the walls of MFHQ, let’s cross our fingers that it will again stoke our fires and transcend our expectations more sooner than later. All we can do is make the concerted effort to climb new heights in our own pursuits that just happen to chronicle the pursuits of others.

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

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: February 3-9, 2017

February 4th, 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!

2/8: Robin Christian (president, Dreamscape Cinema)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

Our gut feeling tells us this week’s “FOW” should be rechristened “Film-fun of the Week” as various activities inherent to the process of making movies will take place in town. We therefore imagine you lovely peoples and young ones would investigate of such opportunities when presented, yes? The first instance is set for tomorrow, Sat., 2/4, 4 to 5:45 p.m., at the Urbana Free Library in an undisclosed location – best guess is the lower level meeting room – where the recently formed Protagonist Pizza Productions will welcome acting talent to try out for their upcoming projects; founders Nic Morse and Janjay Knowlden have begun contributing to Smile Politely via video, so this offering will give you an idea of their personality if not script needs. A week later on Sat., 2/11, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., the folks at Champaign-Urbana Film Society will offer area grade school students a public workshop, geared towards writing Pens to Lens screenplays, in the Robeson Pavilion rooms of the Champaign Public Library; submission deadline is at the end of Tues, 2/28, for entries from both K-8 and 9-12 students to be reviewed and possibly turned into film shorts this summer. Almost a week after that, our gang at Champaign Movie Makers launches their second annual “CMM 48 Hr Film Fest;” preregistered teams will receive their prompts at 7 p.m. on Fri., 2/17, and have exactly two days to create and turn in their pieces, which will be screened the following week. Visit this Facebook event page for further information on how to participate, whether you are already with a posse or flying solo. “FOW” is hereby film.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
JACKIE (2/3 on), ARRIVAL (2/3-2/5, 2/8-2/9), GET OUT w/discussion (2/6, 7:30 p.m., free)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
JOURNEY TO THE WEST: THE DEMONS STRIKE BACK, RINGS, THE SPACE BETWEEN US, A DOG’S PURPOSE, GOLD, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MONSTER TRUCKS, PASSENGERS, RAEES, RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, SPLIT, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (2/3 on), WAYNE’S WORLD 25th Birthday Bash!! (2/7), FIFTY SHADES DARKER (2/9)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
“Lincoln at the Library” feat. LINCOLN, Robeson Pavilion Rooms A & B (2012; 2/5, 2 p.m., free)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN, QUEEN OF KATWE, MASTERMINDS, 2 LAVA 2 LANTULA, HONOR STUDENT, A MONTH OF SUNDAYS, BALLERS (s2), more! (1/31 on)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 205 (2/7, 6 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
THE COMEDIAN, RINGS, THE SPACE BETWEEN US, ARRIVAL, A DOG’S PURPOSE, THE FOUNDER, GOLD, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MONSTER TRUCKS, MOONLIGHT, PASSENGERS, RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, SPLIT, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (2/3 on), THE KING AND I (1956; 2/5, 2/8), FIFTY SHADES DARKER, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2/9)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. DOCTOR STRANGE, Pine Lounge (2/3, 2/4, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL
Protagonist Pizza Productions* acting auditions (2/4, 4 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
SWING TIME (2/4)

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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MFHQ #1: Our “Xanadu” and you

January 28th, 2017

Right around 15 years ago, C-U Blogfidential friend and former Champaign resident A.j. Michel invited contributors to write about how they internalized the airplane terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, for the seventh issue of her ‘zine, Low Hug. A piece submitted by your soon-to-be humble editor contrasted the seeming calmness of the Sesquicentennial Neighborhood, through which he walked from home to work that day, and the ripple of disbelief he encountered once reaching the downtown offices of The Octopus. It had to sink into his system twice, that horrible news, once through discussion with his fellow staff members and again upon recognizing how its possible ramifications had already polarized an entire planet for several hours before he even learned of it. Retracing those steps on the way back to his apartment building, lovingly nicknamed “Building” due to hanging letters spelling out the obvious on an outer brick wall, he could not recall a single clue or anomaly that earlier might have tipped him off.

Mr. JaPan drew a reference to CITIZEN KANE in the piece by loosely aligning his domicile with “Xanadu,” the infamous hideaway of impresario Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) that kept the world at arm’s length and personal demons caged within. Better known today as the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters, our location is hardly akin to the dire metaphor expressed by Welles but it does harbor a few cinema skeletons du C-U! Followers can attest to how we’ve used objects, graphics, and ephemera from our collection to illustrate MICRO-FILM and everything Confidential. This evidence is easy to see on CUBlog; we did not work overtime in the last few weeks to locate the vintage visuals added to recent posts – this “Atomic Movie Orgy” advert, that DEATH RIDERS poster, those Octopus festival tear sheets – because we already had them handy in one form or another at MFHQ, the leg work long accomplished. To verify local film history, material like this is necessary.

Soon, we will reach checkpoints on the Confidential timeline when we begin to implement changes in our editorial, some of which will be broached in a brand-new “In My Backyard” column this spring. One idea is a recurring feature that pictures artifacts we store at MFHQ and relays the stories behind their origin and acquisition. Such a series would be guaranteed to liven up the ol’ Weblog in an aesthetic sense, don’t you agree? As we get to work in the background, sorting through and selecting historic goodies to exhibit, we will front you a few “prequel” posts that share our recent experiences in amassing the kinds of curiosities we have filed away, boxed up, or hanging in plain sight. They will provide you with a rounded perspective on how knowledge and circumstance play their parts in locating items and determining what to do with them. Our inventory is hardly vast in volume but it is quite potent in juxtaposition. To sustain local film history, records like these are also necessary.

We now arrive at a slightly awkward confession, dearest readers, which is partly the impetus for launching this series earlier than we had intended. Despite our best efforts to publish content on the regular from the dawn of MICRO-FILM to the present day, we have fallen behind in the upkeep of MFHQ itself. Simply put, the long-standing center of our independent culture bliss is in shambles. We’re daring to crack open our door – click on the “anonymous identity” shot above if you can stomach it – and admit this is what can occur after a few years’ worth of neglect. Fortunately, a fresh influx of organization should bring it back up to snuff, but it will require plenty of sweat equity for us to restore order to a space we once inhabited and utilized almost every single day. Expect us to sacrifice upcoming CUBlog time to push this process along even though we’d rather be spending it with you in the real, reel, and virtual realms. To preserve local film history, a controlled environment is necessary as well.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. You can also expect us to commence the parceling out of MFHQ holdings later in 2017. Our pop culture purge will include hundreds of unopened and slightly used MICRO-FILM screeners along with numerous items from your humble editor’s personal collection that may or may not include DVDs, VHS, LaserDiscs, books, comics, magazines, toys, posters, memorabilia, and amateur film equipment at any given moment. We will be looking to recycle, donate, and sell at reasonable prices. Please do not contact us for itemized price lists or photographs at this time; just be aware a one-of-a-kind clearance is coming soon to the C-U. Thanks!

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Calendar: Jan. 27 ’17–Feb. 2 ’17

January 27th, 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!

1/30: Eric Watkins (composer, HELLO FEAR, Pens to Lens 2016)
2/1: MMAFT (logo designer, The Art Theater Co-op)


FLICKER OF THE WEEK | Suggestions in Full-Motion Arts

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their 2017 awards nominations earlier this week, encouraging studios to push Oscar hopefuls back into theaters and not only crowd all those first-run January classics in release right now but also three additional newbies that begin nationwide play today. Yikes! Most certainly, take the opportunity to catch at least one critics’ darling you may have missed before or sit tight for three more minutes and read our alternative suggestions to the alternatives! We start with our good friend “Professor” Skip Huston, who is once again introducing cinema history’s finest to inquiring minds during his current Avon Theater class, “Hitchcock and Other Masters of Suspense,” for eight consecutive weeks on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.; the series technically began yesterday evening, Thurs., 1/26, but the Avon might still be willing to sign you up at a prorated cost if you visit the box office in bustling downtown Decatur! We continue with the simultaneous scheduling of three brand-new Indian films and a bonus set-in-India romp on area big screens. They include KAABIL (FilmKRAFT Productions, Carmike 13, 1/27 on, Hindi language), a romance-revenge tale from director Sanjay Gupta that stars Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam as visually impaired performers who fall in love; RAEES (Zee Studios, Carmike 13, 1/27 on, Hindi Language), director Rahul Dholakia’s crime story set in the Eighties about a bootlegger played by Bollywood superstar Shah Runk Khan; PUSHPAKA VIMANA (Katsuri Media, Normal Theater, Sun., 1/29, 11 a.m. & 2:30 p.m., Kannada language), a sentimental drama in which a mentally impaired man (Ramesh Aravind) is wrongly imprisoned and kept away from his daughter (Yuvina Parthavi as a child, Rachita Ram as an adult) that is also the feature debut of director S. Ravindranath, and BUDDIES IN INDIA (China Lion Film Distribution, Goodrich Savoy 16, 1/27 on, Mandarin language), a comedy-adventure directed by and starring Wang Baoqiang as a man who travels with a friend (Bai Ke) to the Rajasthan state in northern India to recover his late father’s will. We end with a pair of limited-release thrillers that generated buzz in various quarters and can be watched via home formats as of Tues., 1/24: THE HANDMAIDEN (Amazon Studios/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), Park Chan-Wook’s lush and unpredictable con artist yarn set in 1930s Korea, and THE MONSTER (A24 Films/Lionsgate), Bryan Bertino’s exercise in suspense that pits a damaged mother (Zoe Kazan) and her daughter against a hideous and symbolic creature in the woods. “FOW” is hereby fin.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
JACKIE (1/27 on), BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (1/27-1/29, 2/1-2/2), CAMERAPERSON w/discussion (1/31, 7 p.m., free)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL
A DOG’S PURPOSE, GOLD, KAABIL, RAEES, RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, ARRIVAL, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, MONSTER TRUCKS, MOONLIGHT, PATRIOTS DAY, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, SLEEPLESS, SPLIT, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (1/27 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
INFERNO, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, THE HANDMAIDEN, THE MONSTER, USS INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE, SUGAR MOUNTAIN, GUARDIANS OF OZ, I’M NOT ASHAMED, TRUTH OR DARE, SHERLOCK (s4), more! (1/24 on)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 205 (1/31, 6 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
BUDDIES IN INDIA, A DOG’S PURPOSE, GOLD, RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, ARRIVAL, THE FOUNDER, HIDDEN FIGURES, LA LA LAND, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, MONSTER TRUCKS, MOONLIGHT, PATRIOTS DAY, THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, SING, SPLIT, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (1/27 on), GONE WITH THE WIND, DIRTY DANCING 30th Anniversary (1/29, 2/1)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. MOANA, Pine Lounge (1/27, 1/28, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Quality Beer, Champaign, IL
Champaign Screenwriters mixer (2/2, 8 p.m., free)

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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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. Although 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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