Calendar du C-U: November 21-27

November 21st, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
11/21/14-11/27/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toFriday, November 21: Melissa Merlie (arts reporter, The News-Gazette) … Saturday, November 22: Holly Rushakoff (contributor, MICRO-FILM) … Wednesday, November 26: Peter Asaro (filmmaker, LOVE MACHINE) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: BIRDMAN (11/21-11/25), AWAKE: THE LIFE OF YOGANADA (11/24, 7:30 p.m.), THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (11/26 on), Late Night: PRINCESS MONONOKE (11/21, 11/22, 11/26, 10 p.m., subtitled; 11/23, 11:30 a.m., dubbed)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (11/21, 7 p.m., free)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (through 12/13)

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (through 11/29)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: THE WIND RISES, 22 JUMP STREET, IF I STAY, INTO THE STORM, AND SO IT GOES, SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, RAGNAROK, AUTOMATA, RECLAIM, more! (11/18 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 (11/21 on), INTERSTELLAR, ST. VINCENT (11/21-11/25), HORRIBLE BOSSES 2, PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR (11/26 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: Beyond Normal Films presents BOYHOOD (11/20-11/23, 7 p.m.), THE CROODS (11/22, 1 p.m., free)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, BIG HERO 6 (3-D & 2-D) (11/21 on), INTERSTELLAR (11/21-11/25), PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR (11/26 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 (11/21-11/26)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: GONE GIRL (11/21-11/23), FREE BIRDS (11/22, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. JERSEY BOYS (11/21-11/23)

@ various venues, St. Louis, MO: 23rd annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (through 11/23)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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IOW: The found Art-age festival

November 15th, 2014

Not a month ago, C-U Blogfidential provided you an interior pictorial of our friendly neighborhood movies-first venue, the Art Theater Co-op. Even more recently, we decided it was high time to offer you a good look at its exterior as seen exclusively through our Confidential lens! Inspired partly by this week’s event at the Art, 126 W. Church St., Champaign, featuring comedians Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett (The Onion’s The A.V. Club, WINNEBAGO MAN) hosting “Volume 7” of the touring Found Footage Festival, we’ve spent time rummaging through your humble editor’s personal photography to locate the most interesting Art appearances that we could. Some images were obviously shot with purpose, others snapped merely to finish up rolls, but all of them appearing below have never seen the light of day (or computer screen) until now. Also, they originated on 35mm film if that parameter is your bag. Scroll down to discover what pictures taken at various moments in the past 15 years or so can tell us about the little Art house that could, which celebrated its 101st anniversary this past Wednesday, November 12.

p.s. Stay tuned to the end for a special offer on a book we absolutely love to promote!

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September 1997: This is the oldest Art photo we could find in the Confidential stash. Looking east on Church Street, we see a downtown block much less packed than it is today. The Art is almost half-way through its life as the New Art Theater under Tom Angelica. On the marquee is LA PROMESSE (1996), a Belgian/French drama directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne that was distributed in America by the now-dormant New Yorker Films.


April 2010: From a similar vantage point, we see the Art Theater dwarfed by the M2 mixed-use building and a city parking garage. Just east of the Art, the First Bank & Trust building has been radically updated while the former home of The Gallery boutique – itself a bank in the early 1900s – has been physically engulfed by M2. On the marquee is “MICRO-FILM Presents,” a designation for late shows playing the first New Art Film Festival; the Art has been operated by Sanford Hess for about four months.

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Calendar du C-U: November 14-20

November 14th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
11/14/14-11/20/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toSaturday, November 15: Brian Hagy (director, The Prompting Theatre) … Sunday, November 16: Kymberly Harris (producer, USING) … Monday, November 17: Jeremiah Stanley (filmmaker, IMAGINARY PANCAKES) … Tuesday, November 18: Katie Prosise (actress, THE TIME WILL COME, Pens to Lens 2014) … Wednesday, November 19: Mindy Manolakes (actress, BUCKY McSNEAD), Carolyn Baxley (owner, Cinema Gallery) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: BIRDMAN (11/14 on), Essential Cinema 001: PATHS OF GLORY (11/17, 7:30 p.m.), Late Night: THIS IS SPINAL TAP (11/14, 11/15, 11/20, 10 p.m.), WIZARD PEOPLE, DEAR READERS (11/19, 10 p.m., free), closed for private rental (11/19, 7:30 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. THE EXPENDABLES 3 (11/14, 7 p.m., free)

@ WILL-TV, Campbell Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “Lighting Recreation” (11/18, 7 p.m., free)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (11/20, 8 p.m.)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (through 12/13)

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (through 11/29)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, JERSEY BOYS, TAMMY, LET’S BE COPS, DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, WELCOME TO THE SPACE SHOW, GETTING ON (s1), more! (11/11 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: INTERSTELLAR, BIRDMAN (11/14 on), ST. VINCENT (11/14-11/19), THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 (11/20, 8 p.m.)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: Beyond Normal Films presents CALVARY (11/13, 11/14, 7 p.m.), ELF (11/15, 11/16, 7 p.m.)

@ The Legacy Theatre, Springfield, IL: THE WIZARD OF OZ w/The Pharmacy art show (11/14, 11/15, 7 p.m.; 11/16, 2 p.m.)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: DUMB AND DUMBER TO, BIG HERO 6 (3-D & 2-D) (11/14 on), JOHN WICK (11/14-11/19), THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 (11/20, 8 & 9 p.m.)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: BIG HERO 6 (11/14-11/16, 11/19)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: THE MAZE RUNNER (11/14-11/16)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. MALEFICENT (11/14-11/16)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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Q&A du C-U: Paul Karpenko

November 11th, 2014

“Wins and Needles”
An interview with Paul Karpenko on the Web series RE-ELECTION

by Jason Pankoke

Every now and then, a past participant in the Champaign-Urbana film culture reconnects with our fair twin cities in the present, often for the sake of sharing their work or knowledge accumulated in the world at large with our friends and neighbors. We at C-U Blogfidential get a kick out of witnessing these individuals cross paths, today’s keepers of the cinema flame interacting with relative strangers who stood in their shoes and on our soil 10, 15, 20 years prior. As an example, the Illini Film & Video student organization at the University of Illinois occasionally mingles with club alumni from whom they can learn about the various and valid directions young people can take in production, encouraging those who are serious about pursuing it outside the classroom.

Paul Karpenko, a 2005 UIUC graduate who earned his B.S. in Mathematics/Computer Science with a Minor in Cinema Studies, has been regularly updating his IFV successors about a current project called RE-ELECTION. The pilot episode, originally produced in mid-2013, concentrates on barely-awake intern Jamie (Amber Rivera) as she crunches numbers during a losing Election Day fated to repeat a la GROUNDHOG DAY. At the conclusion of one cycle, Jamie notices an incoming vote count from one district slightly different than before. It is implied she could potentially “move the needle” and break the repetition, but to what end? Can she convince her campaign team to turn their lethargy into victory for incumbent Mayor Sandy Reynolds (Shawna Pardo) or will they hit road blocks at every potential turn for the better?

Thanks to a successful crowdfunding drive engineered by co-writer Evan McNamara, co-producer Paris Tanaka, and co-everything Karpenko, five new Webisodes were filmed in summer 2014 and will appear at the RE-ELECTION YouTube channel with the second due to go live next week. Completely produced in Los Angeles, RE-ELECTION is the first SoCal movie endeavor for the series creator since he and set photographer Jennifer Wiley relocated from Chicago in 2011. Previously, the duo made a science-fiction short entitled WHITE ELEPHANT featuring Bryan Gleason as “Nate,” a man in a war-torn metropolis who reluctantly harnesses great power with the amulet around his neck; Wiley appears as his shock-haired adversary, “Zee,” and Windy City locales provide the appropriate texture.

Karpenko’s “dream has always been to make films” apart from his professional trade as a Web developer, per his portfolio Web site, and certainly this notion held true during his UIUC education. Born in Minsk, Republic of Belarus, and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area, he immersed himself in IFV activity once living in the C-U and stood out from the underclass masses due to his lanky frame, dark dress, quick staccato delivery, and ever-present drag on a cigarette. Karpenko made two dark comedies with fellow student Rory Cleveland, ONE DAY’S HELL and ANOTHER DAY’S HELL, as well as the “assassination game” action parody ASSASSINS. [See our previous post about that “H2Opus.” – ed.] He also played the semi-heroic lead “Casey” in the campus monster mash, THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS. A MUMMY, and a small but pivotal role as Daily Illini reporter “Miles” in the stylish paranormal tale, TRIAD. We’re sure there’s more out there with his imprint.

The ever-busy Karpenko agreed to chat with CUBlog about his recent life and times, specifically the process and near-pitfalls in producing the low-budget RE-ELECTION in a region relatively new to him.

Read on, MacDuff…

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IOW: If the Shoestring fits…

November 8th, 2014

Saturday afternoon is as good a time as any to tell a rural tale about a kid we once knew…

On one side of the country road near small town Monticello and the University of IllinoisAllerton Park, farmers kicked up fine dust as they readied the land for planting crops. On the other side, slightly cautious UI students armed with bright plastic weaponry entered the grounds of a dilapidated home, probably considered a mansion in its day, to scout for corners at which to shoot scenes for their movie. After assuring the mild-mannered groundskeeper they had permission to be there, a second line of defense galloped into sight. Our brave junior filmmakers vanquished this bleating mite with a neck scratch and belly rub, allowing the team to pass and be on their merry way.

Since barely locking horns with Shoestring the goat way back in April 2004, en route to completing photography on his (appropriately) no-budget comedy ASSASSINS, alumnus Paul Karpenko has not only battled the infamous UIUC mummy, Ted Johnson, and conquered one day’s hell – twice! – but also guided a reluctant warrior through a ravaged industrial landscape and thrown a political intern into a time loop she valiantly attempts to break. This last scenario is currently unfolding via Webisode as RE-ELECTION; the first of five new episodes premiered on Election Day and the next will register this coming Tuesday, November 11, as will our exclusive interview with Karpenko from his Los Angeles digs!

For now, please enjoy a few select shots from that crisp afternoon in the central Illinois heartland, seen here for the first time ever, and visit YouTube to cast your thumbs-up votes for RE-ELECTION. You can also flash back to past Karpenko by reading this buzz magazine article about him and ASSASSINS, a 40-minute-long “Hydro-Action H2Opus” co-starring Ryan Heindl and Coleman Balogh (seen in the photos with their director/on-screen nemesis) and parodying “campus assassin” games where participants hunt down their marks with water pistols. Is there a weird irony in pointing out that, amongst the dozens of Illini Film & Video projects created over the years, ASSASSINS is one of the few that simply will not die?

~ Jason Pankoke


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Calendar du C-U: November 7-13

November 7th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
11/7/14-11/13/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toMonday, November 10: Andrew Stengele (director, THE THINKING MOLECULES OF TITAN), Andrew Nygard (director, THE ADVENTURES OF MR. PANCAKE, Pens to Lens 2014) … Thursday, November 13: Jason Butler (mastermind, WEREWOLF CEMETERY) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: BIRDMAN (11/7 on), The Found Footage Festival 10th anniversary tour (11/12, 7:30 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (11/7, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: The News-Gazette Film Series presents A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (11/8, 1 & 7 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (11/13, 8 p.m.)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (through 12/13), “Gallery Talk: Global Groove, Video Ecology” feat. Hyan Kim (11/11, Noon)

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (through 11/29)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: MALEFICENT, HERCULES, A MOST WANTED MAN, PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE, FRONTERA, THE NEWSROOM (s2), THE EXES (s1/s2), more! (11/4 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: INTERSTELLAR, BIRDMAN, ST. VINCENT (11/7 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: THE GREAT ESCAPE (11/6, 11/7, 7 p.m.), GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM (11/8, 11/9, 7 p.m.), DUMB AND DUMBER TO (11/11, 7 p.m.)

@ Capital City Bar & Grill, Springfield, IL: 13th annual Route 66 International Film Festival (11/7-11/8)

@ Landmark Cinemas, Peoria, IL: 6th annual Drunken Zombie Film Festival* (11/7-11/8)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: BIG HERO 6 (3-D & 2-D), INTERSTELLAR, ST. VINCENT (11/7 on)

@ Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL: 10th annual Embarras Valley Film Festival* (through 11/9)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: BIG HERO 6 (11/7 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (11/7-11/9), MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN (11/8, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE (11/7-11/9), REDEEMED (11/9)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

In space, all you need is NINJA

November 6th, 2014

Have you heard the one about the skeleton, the pirate, and the Disney princess who walk up to eerily decorated houses on an inky Indiana night as their slightly freezing parental units and visiting relative wait patiently by the curb? Indeed, such was the role of those hardy adults on All Hallow’s Eve, yet the nieces and nephew should not be the only ones enjoying a sugary buzz. Starving for your fix, dearest readers? Well, then, open those minds and we’ll happily drop in some tasty info-nuggets to sweeten the deal!

Today’s C-U Blogfidential confection is one of several notices we’ll be sharing about projects that have recently premiered. Although we caught wind of it just prior to release on Friday, October 24, we’re only now unmasking the Neon Harbor Entertainment DVD for SPACE NINJA: THE ANIMATED MOVIE, a compilation-slash-expansion of their previous Web series based on the comics of Alex Mitchell. Described by producer Ed Glaser as a “crazy, [Akira] Kurosawa-meets-cyberpunk animated epic [that] tells the story of a former assassin who must protect a feudal society of spaceship dwellers from a sadistic, godlike tyrant,” SPACE NINJA is a stylistic detour from the Neon Harbor stable (PRESS START, ROBOGIRL, etc.) in several respects including Mitchell’s anime-inspired designs and limited color palette, voice work provided not by in-house talents but the St. Louis firm Anime Midstream, and a music score composed by B-movie veteran Chuck Cirino (CHOPPING MALL, NOT OF THIS EARTH, CAMEL SPIDERS). Featuring a final cut of the adventure with new scenes and a never-before-seen ending, the disc also sports a making-of featurette, a production art gallery, a proof-of-concept short film, another short animation called JADE’S OMAKE, a Space Ninja comic book, and a commentary track by Glaser and Mitchell.

As should be clear from several of our previous posts, Neon Harbor openly credits the Asian cinema that influences their titles if not just personal tastes. The latter is represented by one additional perk on the SPACE NINJA DVD, a one-reel ninja fantasia from Japan called JIRAIYA THE HERO (GŌKETSU JIRAIYA, 1921) said to be the first ever tokusatsu (special effects) film ever made in that country. As well, Glaser points out on his Web site the current animated opus takes its genre-bending cues from a more contemporary rarity, the feature CYBER NINJA (MIRAI NINJA, 1988) directed by Keita Amemiya (ZËIRAM) and available for free YouTube viewing in its mid-Nineties, English dubbed form courtesy of an outfit called The Wu-Tang Collection. May a bevy of movie ninjas nip at your heels this November!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. The word “ninja” appears in seven previous CUBlog headlines, all of them tied to Neon Harbor/Dark Maze Studios news. We had to check, no ninja lie!


Calendar du C-U: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

October 31st, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/31/14-11/6/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday to Sunday, November 2: Sam Carmichael (producer, DIVERSION) … Monday, November 3: Wes Melton (actor, FINDING VIRGINIA) … celebrate!

Today 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. We hope that Koz can hear our downstate “Hip, hip, hooray!” Why this matters

15 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. It means, among several conclusions one can draw, your humble editor has been at it for a third of his lifetime. The mind, it now boggles… Why this matters, too


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: LISTEN UP PHILIP (10/31 on), MY OLD LADY (11/1-11/5), Late Night: Shocktober feat. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (10/31, 11/1, 11:59 p.m., w/shadow cast; 11/6, 10 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/31, 7 p.m., free)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL: Champaign Screenwriters meeting (11/5, 6:30 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (11/6, 8 p.m.)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (through 12/13)

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (through 11/29)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: DELIVER US FROM EVIL, BEGIN AGAIN, CHILD OF GOD, WISH I WAS HERE, MOEBIUS, LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF, LFO, BENEATH, A LETTER TO MOMO, THE PRINCE, FEDORA (Olive), THE VANISHING (Criterion), more! (10/28 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: THE BEST OF ME, ST. VINCENT, THE JUDGE (10/31 on), “Spookapalooza: The Return of the Houdini Séance” feat. Troy Taylor & April Slaughter (10/31, 10 p.m.)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986; 10/30, 7 p.m.), THE EXORCIST (10/31, 7 p.m.), GHOSTBUSTERS (11/1, 11/2, 7 p.m.)

@ Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Fairmount, IL: 5th annual Freeky Creek Short Film Festival* (10/30-11/1)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: OUIJA, FURY, ST. VINCENT, MARY POPPINS (10/31 on), INTERSTELLAR (11/6, 8 p.m.)

@ Effingham Performance Center, Effingham, IL: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (10/31, 10 p.m.)

@ Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL: 10th annual Embarras Valley Film Festival* (11/6-11/9)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (10/31-11/2, 11/5)

@ Heroic Age Art Center, Mt. Zion, IL: Central Illinois Film Commission presents “Filmmaking 101” panels (11/1, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: DOLPHIN TALE 2 (10/31-11/2)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. DELIVER US FROM EVIL (10/31-11/2)

@ Landmark Century Centre Cinema, etc., Chicago, IL: Midwest Independent Film Festival hosts the 5th annual Advertising Community Shorts Night, presented by AICP Midwest (11/4, 6 p.m.)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

<><><><><>

Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

ZINED! of old is D.I.Y. zen today

October 29th, 2014

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the debut of MICRO-FILM, we’d like to share an excerpt from that first issue as well as related food for thought about the worth and place of independently made media, particularly of the print and self-created variety, in our world today. Themes discussed below, drawn from both the video explored in the excerpt and an event attended by your humble editor at Eastern Illinois University in the spring, will reoccur in additional material we plan to publish in the coming months. Enjoy!

Almost two years ago, esoteric renaissance artist Cory McAbee (CRAZY & THIEF, STINGRAY SAM) paid a welcome visit to Champaign-Urbana thanks to the efforts of the Champaign-Urbana Film Society. We at C-U Blogfidential happily marked the appearance by sharing L. Rob Hubbard’s interview with the cult musician about his prior filmmaking ventures, including THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, from MICRO-FILM 5 published in 2002. Flashbacks can be fun when they relate to the here and now in constructive ways.

More recently, yours truly participated in the ‘zine symposium “Cut & Paste at Eastern Illinois University in March, through which enough MF meta emerged to rival our previous sense of déjà vu as personified by McAbee. These reflections inspired a bit more pause then revelry, to be honest, innocently echoing a past when I’d regularly try out various media and technique with giddy abandon as opposed to the present, where methodical discipline and midnight oil fuel my creation. Ahh, the realities of being an adult in the publishing arts…

So, what signals did I pick up on, exactly? For starters, my contribution to the “Cut & Paste” panel partly focused on how I discovered the underground publishing surge of the Nineties, directly leading me to launch MF and then CUBlog. Liz Mason, a Chicago ‘zine maker participating in “C&P” through Skype, regularly stocked MF as a buyer at Quimby’s Bookstore in the Windy City. Dr. David Gracon, an EIU assistant professor in Communications and co-organizer of “C&P,” first made contact with me through MF as a college undergraduate in Buffalo, New York, more than a decade ago. The most overt Ghost of MICRO-FILM Past, however, came in the form of ZINED! A DOCUMENTARY, the screening of which closed the symposium.

One of the initial subjects I wrote about for MF was ZINED! Running as a sidebar to Dr. Steven Bailey’s feature article on independent film journals and Web sites in MICRO-FILM 1, the piece attempted to express the quirky character and self-empowering vibe given off by this glorious underground VHS tape I ordered through the mail from producer Marc Moscato. ZINED! introduced me to the idiosyncratic print media of Gracon and two dozen other individuals, primarily based in the upper East Coast and contiguous Canada, while touching upon base concerns of the subculture. My much younger self found veracity and vigor in those voices speaking to him from afar in a program so lovably rough around the edges as this one.

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Eek! No rest from the flickers!

October 27th, 2014

Heck yes, we’re enjoying this awesome autumn weather! You too? Great. We now advise you to not get comfortable out there. Just look at our exclusive Calendar, people of cinema, it’s loaded with plenty of ooky delights that will tempt you indoors between now and Halloween this Friday, October 31. (“Oooooh,” you squeal in mock fright.) We also remind you that chilling Champaign, unnerving Urbana, and the dreadful cities beyond offer unique viewing options at this time of year in addition to the horrific. (“Aaaaah,” you nod in pensive acknowledgment.) Oh, please. See the recent drop in gas prices? We say it’s a sign encouraging you to haunt venues not necessarily close to home. A slightly scary proposition, we know, but there is only one true way to vanquish those fears, dudes … simply try ‘em!

Posting close to the bone, we won’t claw through all the upcoming shows and mainly remind you “The Pack” is descending upon our central Illinois moors once again, four niche film festivals taking place within a two-week span and 100-mile radius of the C-U. As in 2013, the first up is Freeky Creek Short Film Festival at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Oakwood, a “dark and darkly funny” entrée served with a side of performance art lunacy, from Thursday, October 30, to Saturday, November 1; contact them immediately since seating is reserved and limited. Then, we jump a weekend to when the remainder run simultaneously. (Don’t ask. We still don’t get it.) World cinema of all genres will play the Route 66 International Film Festival at the Capital City Bar & Grill in downtown Springfield on the evening of Friday, November 7, and all day Sunday, November 8. Those still hankering for indie horror can sup on the Drunken Zombie Film Festival at Landmark Cinemas in Peoria, also November 7 and 8. Entertainment legend Dick Van Dyke will be the common denominator in the screenings and panels comprising the Embarras Valley Film Festival at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, lasting from Thursday, November 6, to Sunday, November 9. Is your head now spinning like Linda Blair?

Don’t scroll that screen, however, for we haven’t yet exorcised all your options! Bonuses lie in wait for folks who might wish to partake in behind-the-scenes film activities. One is the new “Filmmaking 101” conference at the Heroic Age Art Center in Mt. Zion, near Decatur, on Saturday, November 1, organized by the Central Illinois Film Commission of Springfield. The other is the quarterly Champaign Screenwriters gathering at the Champaign Public Library on Wednesday, November 5, 6:30 p.m., sponsored by Champaign Movie Makers. Both groups should hold their respective monthly meetings in mid-November as well, although we can’t confirm topics as of this writing. To conclude our tour, we cast a medley spell ensuring you will enjoy whichever events you partake in! After all, you can sleep when you’re dead (tired).

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Calendar du C-U: October 24-30

October 24th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/24/14-10/30/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toSaturday, October 25: Becca Whitaker (cartoonist, Bachelor Pad Magazine) … Tuesday, October 28: Molly Fosdick (member, Central Illinois Film Commission) … Wednesday, October 29: Montgomery Joyce (cover model, C-U Confidential #5 & #7) … Thursday, October 30: Michael Murphy (actor, WEREWOLF CEMETERY) … celebrate!

20 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, currently in release.


LOCAL FILMS, ETC.

SPACE NINJA: THE ANIMATED MOVIE* U.S. DVD release: Friday, 10/24, via Neon Harbor Entertainment, Champaign, IL


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (10/24 on), KILL THE MESSENGER (10/24-10/26, 10/29, 10/30), Brilliant Corners Film Series 004: OTHELLO (1955; 10/27, 7:30 p.m.), Champaign Surplus, Fisheries Conservation Foundation, Patagonia, and Prairie Rivers Network present DAMNATION (10/28, 7:30 p.m.), Late Night: Shocktober feat. HALLOWEEN (1978; 10/24, 10/25, 10/30, 10 p.m.), TRICK ‘R TREAT (10/24, 11:59 p.m.), three mystery films (10/24, overnight after TRT), and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD w/live accompaniment by the Andrew Alden Ensemble (1968; 10/29, 10 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: “Zombie Film Festival” feat. DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004; 10/24, 7 p.m.), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968; 10/25, 1 & 7 p.m.); The News-Gazette Film Series presents the 2nd annual “5 Nights of Hitch!” Alfred Hitchcock festival feat. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (10/27, 7 & 10 p.m.), DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954; 10/28, 7 & 10 p.m.), THE 39 STEPS (1935; 10/29, 7 & 10 p.m.), REAR WINDOW (1954; 10/30, 7 & 10 p.m.), THE BIRDS (10/31, 7 & 10 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. GET ON UP (10/24, 7 p.m., free)

@ Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company offices, 608 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana, IL: “Costumes, Props & Curiosities” sale (10/26, 12-6 p.m., (217) 344-2884)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (10/30, 8 p.m.)

@ Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL: KAM presents GALLIPOLI (10/30, 7 p.m., free)

@ Gelvin Noel Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL: Sudden Sound Concert Series presents film, SANGUIVOROUS (KYUKETSU, Japan, 2011), w/live jazz accompaniment by Tatsuya Nakatani and Edward Wilkerson, Jr. (10/30, 7:30 p.m., free)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (through 12/13)

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (through 11/29)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: THE PURGE: ANARCHY, SEX TAPE, EARTH TO ECHO, SNOWPIERCER, LE CHEF, THE FLUFFY MOVIE, LIFE AFTER BETH, LA DOLCE VITA (Criterion Blu), F FOR FAKE (Criterion Blu), MAD MEN (s7 p1), more! (10/21 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: ST. VINCENT, THE BOOK OF LIFE, THE JUDGE (10/24 on), THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW w/shadow cast (10/24, 10/25, Midnight)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: ARGO (10/23, 10/26, 7 p.m.), LIFE ITSELF* (10/24, 10/25, 7 p.m.), THE NUT JOB (10/25, 1 p.m., free)

@ Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, Bloomington, IL: NOSFERATU (1922) w/live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott (10/28, 7:30 p.m.)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: GONE GIRL, THE DROP, ANNABELLE, THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/24-10/25)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: OUIJA, THE BEST OF ME, THE BOOK OF LIFE (3-D & 2-D), ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (10/24 on), THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (10/24, 10/25, 10:45 p.m., incl. prop bag!)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE BOOK OF LIFE (10/24 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: IF I STAY (10/24-10/26), HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (10/25, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. EDGE OF TOMORROW (10/24-10/26)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: “Fright Nights” feat. HALLOWEEN (1978), GHOSTBUSTERS (10/24-10/25)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the weekend!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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Will VSD save the video star?

October 18th, 2014

Due to timely topics and sweet editorial moves, this has been a prime week on C-U Blogfidential to drench our writings with buckets of love for the traditional movie culture outlets remaining in Champaign-Urbana, such as the Orpheum and Art theaters. It turns out we’re not quite finished gushing those sentiments, dearest readers! All day today, Saturday, October 18, is the fourth annual International Independent Video Store Day, or VSD, founded by the owners of Eyesore Cinema in Toronto as a would-be movement to rally around brick-and-mortar rental shops the world over. Let’s tune out the mainstream rhetoric of a physical media industry on the brink and give our favorite Internet and video-on-demand services a rest, opting instead to engage in some neighborly conversation, meditative browsing, and unabashed localism with a trip to That’s Rentertainment, 516 E. John St., in Campustown. Owner and resident cycling fanatic Geoff Merritt will have the TR staff ready to join in VSD solidarity for the first time by offering the following specials to customers, per their Web site:

Special Deal #6: Rent any two films, get a third rental free!

Special Deal #5: Two-for-one used DVDs … no limit! Used discs are usually $5 each or $20 for five; Saturday, they’ll be $5 for two or $20 for 10.

Special Deal #4: 20% off all bicycle stuff! Locks, lights, tubes … all of it.

Special Deal #3: Late fee amnesty! Got a late fee? Pay half of it today and we’ll delete the rest.

Special Deal #2: 20% off any gift certificate worth $25 or more; the certificate cannot be used on Video Store Day, but would make an awesome gift for a loved one in the future.

Special Deal #1: 20% off any Renters-Block! Already have one? Why not get another, or, one for a friend!

We trust those venturing to TR will spend a few quality moments taking in the deepness of their library as well as contemplating how valuable it is on numerous levels. Let’s be humbled such a resource has been available to this community for nearly 30 years, particularly if one has read any of the horror stories linked on the official VSD site, Facebook, or Twitter about mom-and-pop shops continuing to vanish, even in a Blockbuster Video-free era, thanks to indifferent consumers and big city gentrification. It will be interesting to see if VSD participants can collectively engineer any sort of qualitative revival as its obvious inspiration, the springtime Record Store Day, has helped do for independent music stores and labels. We also wonder how merchandising could eventually play a part outside of VSD-specific swag, considering no consumer video product that is still easy to play – Blu-ray, DVD, laserdisc, and VHS in particular – has the long-standing reputation, collectability, and hipster approval of the almighty vinyl LP, whether new or used.

Sure, we understand things change – or, as a wise Buggle once sang, “We can’t rewind / We’ve gone too far” – yet we’re honestly mystified over how instant touch-screen access to limited film collections is increasingly preferred by the modern consumer over the satisfying, tactile discovery of a title in the most unlikely reaches of the neighborhood home video emporium. Video Store Day is a good day to grow back that cinematic backbone, people of C-U, by checking out a selection or two from That’s Rentertainment.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Your humble editor is itching to throw down some Confidential magic during next year’s VSD. Pay close attention to our upcoming interviews and features for hints on what he has in mind!

p.s.2 We may have to eventually eat crow on that VHS comment, given topics to be covered in some of that very same content. Yum, yum!

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IOW: A very merry un-NAFF-day!

October 17th, 2014

Oh, the time, how it flies … away in a big hurry, especially at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters! We’ve been editing and writing so constantly these past few months – including a good handful of articles and columns we have in store for you by year’s end – the halfway point on the calendar between the last and next New Art Film Festival managed to sneak up on us this week. To mark the occasion, we’re sharing a partial photo set the awesome and talented Dora Valkanova shot for us during the fifth annual NAFF at the Art Theater Co-op way back on April 13. Feel free to hover your cursor over these images to learn who is who, even though it spoils nothing to flat-out tell Luke Boyce, Andrew Gleason, Griffin Hammond, Brett Hays, Chris and Anne Lukeman, Tim Meyers, Thomas Nicol, Oliver Peng, Matt Shivers, Christopher Sotelo, Andrew Stengele, Jonathan Ward, and the indomitable Z they are present and accounted for! Also, this might be the first time C-U Blogfidential has revealed what the interior of our beloved Art looks like; the group portrait above uses that all-important silver screen as a backdrop while the lobby picture below clearly shows the celebrity mural commissioned by previous owner Greg Boardman. (His successor, Sanford Hess, is standing outside.) In the remainder you can spot various related artifacts: a streetscape featuring the Art’s unmistakable marquee, the corner of a promotional poster for The Art Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years, and the NAFF ’14 one-sheet drawn up by the ThirdSide agency. Did we ever mention we absolutely dig having the Art within walking distance of MFHQ? No? Shame on us, then.

Look for these and other good-to-great snaps to finally reach our Facebook page next week. We’ll also gift you a second dose of the Art on CUBlog in November, depicting its exterior at various stops on the Champaign-Urbana timeline of the past two decades. Finally, as far as our next go-round tripping the light NAFFtastic … guess we only have six months left to get on that one, don’t we?

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Nothing should be stopping you from visiting the Art during the absence of NAFF. Go see KILL THE MESSENGER and/or THE EXORCIST, beginning at 5 p.m. tonight!

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Calendar du C-U: October 17-23

October 17th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/17/14-10/23/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toFriday, October 17: Maggie Gottlieb (actress, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE 1970s) … Saturday, October 18: Sasan Shabrou (publicist, Buttered Corn on the Cob Film Festival) … Wednesday, October 22: Bob Dignan (cover model, C-U Confidential #5), John May (filmmaker, CASTLE ASSHOLE ‘99) … Thursday, October 23: Jennifer Bechtel (director, SCARY NORMAL), Blake Stubbs (actor, THE TRANSIENT) … celebrate!

100 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.


LOCAL FILMS, ETC.

SPACE NINJA: THE ANIMATED MOVIE* U.S. DVD release: Friday, 10/24, via Neon Harbor Entertainment, Champaign, IL


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: KILL THE MESSENGER (10/17 on), Late Night: Shocktober feat. THE EXORCIST (10/17, 10/18, 10/23, 10 p.m.) and CANDYMAN (10/22, 10 p.m.)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: Opening of “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (10/17, 8:30 a.m.; runs through 12/13) Information

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: Opening of “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (10/17, 5-8 p.m.; runs through 11/29) Interview

@ The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, Champaign, IL: The Orpheum Theatre Centennial Celebration w/performances by Katie Flynn, Illini Contraband, Crash Events (10/18, 6-10 p.m.) Tickets

@ WILL-TV, Campbell Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “Post Sound” (10/21, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: “Zombie Film Festival” feat. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (10/21, 10/22, 7 p.m.), DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004; 10/23, 10/24, 7 p.m.), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968; 10/25, 1 & 7 p.m.)

@ Jean Evans Archives Room (2nd floor), Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL: “Local History & Genealogy Authors Panel” feat. The Art Theater coauthors (10/23, 7 p.m., free)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (10/23, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN, CHINESE PUZZLE, HIMIZU, BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY, WHITEY, EUROCRIME!, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (Criterion), FARGO (s1), PENNY DREADFUL (s1), more! (10/14 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: THE BOOK OF LIFE (3-D & 2-D), THE JUDGE, GONE GIRL (10/17 on), BEETLEJUICE (10/17, 10:30 p.m., free), TRICK ‘R TREAT (10/18, 10:30 p.m., free)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: Your Normal LGBT Film Festival 2014 presents THE NEW BLACK (10/15, 7 p.m.), LILTING (10/16, 7 p.m.), TO BE TAKEI (10/17, 7 p.m.), APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (10/18, 7 p.m.), THE WAY HE LOOKS (10/19, 7 p.m.)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: GONE GIRL, THE DROP, ANNABELLE, THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/17-10/18)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: THE BEST OF ME, THE BOOK OF LIFE (3-D & 2-D), GONE GIRL, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (10/17 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE BOOK OF LIFE (10/17 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (10/17-10/19)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (10/17-10/19)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: GONE GIRL, THE EQUALIZER (10/17-10/18)

@ AMC River East 21, etc., Chicago, IL: 50th annual Chicago International Film Festival (through 10/23)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the weekend!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »