Calendar: August 5-11, 2022

August 6th, 2022

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!

8/6: Jason Cerezo (co-owner, ThirdSide, Champaign, IL)
8/6: Sam Ambler (producer, Ambler Video, Champaign, IL)
8/7: Rachel Rebecca Berry (instructor, “Make a Movie” camp, Class Act, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

One more week without a full-on Report isn’t going to hurt us, correct? I’m glad we can agree to agree.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ McCormick Place Convention Center (South Building), Chicago, IL
C2E2 presents REVEALER* screening and panel discussion (8/5, 6:45 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
BULLET TRAIN, EASTER SUNDAY, SITA RAMAM (in Telugu), DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS, ELVIS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, NOPE, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, VENGEANCE, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (8/5 on), THE BLACK PHONE (8/5-8/6), EMILY THE CRIMINAL, LAAL SINGH CHADDHA (in Hindi), RAKSHA BANDHAN (in Hindi), SUMMERING (8/11 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
BULLET TRAIN, EASTER SUNDAY, THE BLACK PHONE, DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS, ELVIS, MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, NOPE, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, VENGEANCE, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (8/5 on), Studio Ghibli Fest 2022: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (8/7, 8/10, 12:30, 3, 7 & 9:30 p.m.), The Metropolitan Opera Summer Encore: La Fille du Régiment (8/10, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (2-D IMAX) (8/11, 4 & 7 p.m.), Drum Corps International presents “Big Loud & Live 17” concert (music; 8/11, 5:30 p.m., simulcast)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. MORBIUS (8/11, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, PIL’S ADVENTURES, WHITE ELEPHANT, more! (8/2 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
New Season! Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Film Series” feat. CADDYSHACK (8/11, 7 p.m.)

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

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Read the rest of this entry »

10 days left to enter C-U film fest

August 5th, 2022

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“Oh, right.” My grassroots journalist’s inner voice is croaking back to life as I move forward on creating a fresh flow of content for C-U Blogfidential. “Where there is post planning, there also is post shuffling when new information comes to light, man.” I had our August articles lined up on the Calendar of my mind, but now I have to relocate a couple of them and allow for something else to be pondered on short notice. How does a first-time local film festival sound to you, dearest readers? Privately, I’d been wondering why it’s taken the C-U so long to start filling its own void. “Ebertfest” covers only so much ground.

Since I don’t walk the Champaign-Urbana beat on the regular anymore, it takes a host of fits, starts, tips, tricks, and intense internet click-a-thons to hunt down the news fit to post. Thanks to the good eggs like Confidential agent Game Piece, I’m often pointed in the right direction from afar. In turn, I’ll point you to FilmFreeway so you can read over the instructions for submitting work to the inaugural CU International Film Festival (CUIFF), which is scheduled for Saturday, October 22, at the auditorium of the UI Spurlock Museum of World Cultures in Urbana. Its organizer(s) is aiming to “entertain, educate, and elevate” through their selections and are looking for works to satisfy three categories, “High School Student,” “College Student,” and “Short Film,” with compelling content that doesn’t push past the equivalence of the MPA “PG-13” rating or run longer than 30 minutes. Everything is spelled out for you at FilmFreeway, such as the fact that Monday, August 15, is the late (and final) deadline to enter. Get to it, friends.

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Elsewhere, the official website for CUIFF – yes, the acronym and URL teeter a bit close to what has been used for so long by the Chicago Underground Film Festival, which wrapped for 2022 a few days ago – promises a full experience for creators and attendees that will include “panel discussions, award presentations, and a red-carpet gala.” All elements of the tried-and-true film festival archetype, it’s a description that can’t help but call to mind the ceremonial aspects of Pens to Lens (P2L), a significant allusion for a couple of reasons. While the site boasts a respectable group of advisory board members and an array of local and national partners, there is no staff listed as of yet unless I missed it. Given that show time is less than three months away, I hope it’s okay that we give some early credit to a behind-the-scenes ambassador of CUIFF, the young and prolific Max Libman, for stepping into a role here.

It’s undeniable that Libman, who will soon begin his junior year at Academy High of Champaign, is pretty taken with the possibilities. Last year, he won a second-place award in the annual “Illinois Radon Video Contest” for students, sponsored in part by the American Lung Association, for his 30-second public service announcement (PSA) on how to detect the dangerous gas at home. Previously, he participated in the P2L screenwriting competition and his entry became EIN STERN (A STAR) in 2018; produced by Jon and Alison Lecouris, it retells in stark terms how Libman’s great-grandmother, who lived in Poland as a Jewish teenager during the Nazi occupation, came to the United States. Another short that he produced on his own, ADVENTURES OF FILMMAKING, won a “Student Filmmaking Competition” award at P2L in 2017. He also hosted a community presentation on the Holocaust while in eighth grade at Countryside School in Champaign and it apparently attracted a packed house.

Sure, Libman is busy, and clearly, Libman has plenty of support and guidance from the adults and friends in his life, so it’s nice to see Libman do his part to help fashion a vehicle for quality cinema that is also aiming to affect good change. The C-U doesn’t have too much going on in the public space for specialty film other than Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, the catalog titles booked by the Virginia Theatre, and Pens to Lens if Pens to Lens is going to continue. (After premiering their program on Facebook the last two years to work around COVID-19 concerns, P2L is been all but silent this year. See their outdated website and social media for evidence.) Our community is not completely stagnant on the film culture front, but it could use a few jolts of energy and new blood right about now. Good luck to whomever is behind this endeavor.

That said, keep an eye on the CU International Film Festival by liking their Facebook page and signing up to their e-mailing list at the website. They also have Instagram and YouTube presence, although there is very little to see at the moment. If you don’t have current material to send their way for possible inclusion, making contact and offering a bit of valuable insight, resources, and volunteer action might be just as welcomed. As well, CUIFF is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization set up to accept donations, if that is the best method for you to contribute. We probably won’t have a good idea about the event itself until October – it will be interesting to see how it all plays out – and CUBlog will share the details as they emerge.

~ Jason Pankoke

The Pens to Lens poster seen below for EIN STERN is illustrated by Elaine C. Oldham.

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Calendar: July 29-Aug. 4, 2022

July 29th, 2022

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!

8/1: Jed Brian (segment director, 13 SLAYS TILL X-MAS, Scream Team Releasing, Clayville, PA)
8/2: Jeff Kacmarynski (writer/director, ESSENCE, Refractive Error Media, Champaign, IL)
8/3: Laura Richter (production manager, FIELDS OF GOLD, Spencer Films, Springfield, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

7/19: Steven R. Swords, 67 (associate professor, English, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, retired)
7/22: Aaron Davidson, 48 (actor, WEREWOLF CEMETERY, BrainSmart Productions, Champaign, IL/Portland, OR)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Since I’m attempting to renew the life of writing outside the Calendar, it’s time to reign in the Reports for a while and stress points of interest over lengthy pontification. This week, that’s that.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoJuly 1997: Location filming commences and wraps in Champaign County on the feature-length drama COYOTE’S HONOR, a project spearheaded by Urbana native Michael Wiese to experiment in micro-budget movie production. As an author and publisher at an imprint dedicated to instructing readers on various aspects of the filmmaking process, Wiese is using the opportunity to develop a screen story (with recent University of Illinois graduate Doug McCord) based on available resources and talent in the Champaign-Urbana area while also testing prosumer MiniDV video gear and post-production software that is relatively new to the marketplace. English literature major Eric Wippo plays the “coyote” of the title, a wily drifter who does his best to disrupt a nucleus of friends and frenemies in a Midwest college town; mostly drawn from the current pool of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts summer stock players, the cast also includes John Maclay, Mike Kuehl, Will Ransom, Kelly Cooper, Heather Saliny, Emily A. Parks, Heather Lamb, Dustin Wilkinson, and UI acting instructor Richard Barrows. WILL-TV producer Tim Hartin and Southern Illinois University cinema student Chris Dowell form part of the tiny crew. Although Wiese will soon chronicle the lessons learned with COYOTE in an article series for Videography magazine and as an appendix in the second edition of The Independent Film and Videomaker’s Guide (Michael Wiese Productions, Studio City, CA, 1998), COYOTE itself has remained lost in the cornfields and all but absent from the Internet wilds despite initial plans to set it free on the festival circuit. [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS, RAMARAO ON DUTY (in Telugu), VENGEANCE, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, NOPE, PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (7/29 on), BULLET TRAIN, EASTER SUNDAY (8/4 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS, VENGEANCE, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, NOPE, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (7/29 on), UFC 276: Julianna Peña vs Amanda Nunes rematch, more (mixed martial arts; 7/30, 9 p.m., simulcast), Studio Ghibli Fest 2022: KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE (animé; 7/31, 3 p.m., English dub; 8/1, 7 p.m., Japanese with English sub; 8/3, 7 p.m., English dub), SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (7/31, 3 & 7 p.m.; 8/3, 7 p.m.), PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, MINIONS (8/2-8/4, 10 a.m., free), The Metropolitan Opera Summer Encore: La Bohème (8/3, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), BULLET TRAIN, EASTER SUNDAY (8/4 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. FATHER STU (8/4, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE LOST CITY, MID-CENTURY, more! (7/26 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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 »

Virginia catches TIGER at tail end

July 27th, 2022

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Are my days of Champaign and roses over? I haven’t kept a home address there for a year and a half as of last week, and the week before marked the one-year anniversary of the last time I set foot in Champaign County. Even though it’s not an impossible task to visit the C-U, I don’t get to travel on a whim from the house on the edge of an American small town. I do continue to value the positives I once enjoyed there, such as the modest luxury of slipping on my shoes, walking out the blocky façade of “Building,” crossing through West Side Park, and ambling around a downtown that I knew like a favorite family recipe. It’s unfortunate one of the key ingredients, at least to myself and many former neighbors, was scratched out in late 2019. I’m still a bit salty over it like stale popcorn, but at least an effort has been underway at the nearby Virginia Theatre to provide a space for that sort of cinematic vibe.

As a featured series of their 2021-2022 season, the Virginia established an “Arthouse Experience” film program comprised of 10 acclaimed “art” titles from the last 25 years with input from Sanford Hess, a former owner-operator of the Art Theater. Starting with EMMA. in October and continuing through THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI a few weeks ago, the series wraps it up tonight, Wednesday, July 27, at 7 p.m. with a surprise 11th “viewers choice” selection that apparently made a solid impression as part of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival back in April. THE WHITE TIGER, a Netflix presentation written and directed by “Ebertfest” regular Ramin Bahrani (MAN PUSH CART, GOODBYE SOLO), will be introduced by Hess in the Virginia’s grand auditorium and followed in the East Lobby by a viewing of the Ebertfest panel discussion with Bahrani. TIGER received very limited play in theaters before it joined the Netflix ranks in January 2021, so this is still a rare opportunity to enjoy it in a communal setting.

I have not seen TIGER yet. Given the hard-edged official trailer and the layers of detail conveyed by Roxana Hadadi’s overview posted to the Ebertfest website, this is a production that will ask something of the viewer’s attention and intellect unlike much of what is playing at the north and south poles of town. Underdogs and rifts between lower and upper classes figure into this story, adapted by Bahrani from the prize-winning novel by his friend Aravind Adiga, about a self-described entrepreneur named Balram (played by Adarsh Gourav) who attempts to climb his way out of poverty in India by becoming a driver for a landlord’s son, Ashok (Rajkummar Rao), and his wife, Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas). The trailer hints that Balram achieves a sort of success, relieving him of the servitude and denigration he suffers at the hands of this family and their affairs, while the overall tone implies that he’ll pay a price in the end.

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A nice conversation between Hess and foodie, filmaholic, and former Octopus publisher Paul Young appeared on Smile Politely in February, wherein the former lays out the approach he and the Virginia are taking with “Arthouse Experience.” If I still maintained the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters a few blocks away from our resident movie palace, I most likely would have ventured out to see a couple of their choices in curiosity and support. The series also included THE ARTIST, COLD WAR, EIGHTH GRADE, MOONLIGHT, WILD TALES, and three examples from the height of indie and Indiewood mania in the Nineties and early Aughts, ADAPTATION, BIG NIGHT, and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS. I hope the C-U has turned out for them and management sees fit to program a second series in response. I also hope, although I won’t hold my breath over it, that some future choices will be more adventurous and offbeat.

All around, films at the Virginia are winding down ahead of their announcement of the 2022-2023 season, which is already populated by live acts and concerts that had been rescheduled due to pandemic constraints. The News-Gazette’s classic Hollywood series is on pause as is the trickle of Eighties and Nineties pop favorites and alleged “bad movies” sponsored by the Illini Radio Group. Their Mix 94.5 brand has a handful of family flicks left to present in the “Animation Vacation” series, including Disney’s THE LION KING tomorrow, Thursday, July 28, and SLEEPING BEAUTY on Saturday, August 20, as well as a cartoon compilation on Saturday, August 13. Walk on over and see something good, will you? Of course, the Virginia is located at 203 W. Park Avenue in downtown Champaign as is their box office.

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: July 22-28, 2022

July 23rd, 2022

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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FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

I don’t really want to dwell on the topic of death and its lingering effects, despite last week’s Report and what I fear next week’s Report will entail, but I feel the need to plunk down this particular aside and get it out of my head while I can justify writing about it here.

When I take my half-hour drives to and from where Ma JaPan receives her skilled nursing care, I turn on the news more often than music. Both CNN and MSNBC pipe over-the-air audio through their respective SiriusXM channels and, when the networks take commercial breaks on cable television, radio spots are inserted by XM to fill the void and pay bills. Sometimes, I have patience for them. More often, I’ll flip through my preset channels or randomly futz around the dial and then go back. When they both are blaring adverts, I usually hit the channel stuck right in between them – Headline News, which seems to feature as much headline news in 2022 as MTV does music videos. Prime time and overnight hours on HLN are filled with true crime shows, usually reruns of the basic cable standard FORENSIC FILES, and a couple of weeks ago I happened to turn on an episode that caught my attention other than by the genre’s consistent dedication to spelling out and dramatizing the lurid details.

I missed the beginning of this File. It had to do with a disturbed man that felt spurned by his ex-wife, who decided to marry someone new, and her fiancé, who decided to adopt their child as his own. In a misplaced fit of anger and entitlement, the man constructed a pipe bomb that was placed in a gift bag and set to detonate when motion sensors were triggered, leaving it in the woman’s house for her to find. She perished, and the fiancé escaped injury by being elsewhere in the house. Authorities tied the man to the crime within a month based on clues and evidence. I won’t recount the sad story any further or speak their names, other than to share what else I heard: mentions of Bloomington and the murderer’s employment at a “nearby Caterpillar plant.” I wondered if this act had taken place in Illinois and, after I returned to Momkoke Manor and sat down at MFHQ Remote, I was able to look it up.

A fan site dwelling on FORENSIC FILES – Is there such a thing as fans of murder stories? Oh, right. – details the episode and confirms what I thought I’d heard. Embedded on the page is a YouTube video of the original episode, which aired in 2006, so I watched it all the way through to grasp context from the introduction that I did not hear the first time. The last paragraph on this page notes the killer died in prison in 2010, worded in a way as to imply that it may have been under suspicious circumstances. Okay, whatever. The most jarring bit in retrospect was the date of the crime.

The poor woman was murdered in her Bloomington, Illinois home on Saturday, May 23, 1993. That is the same day I graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, and I don’t remember news or headlines about this tragedy one bit. As a friend of mine likes to quip, “The mind is a terrible thing.”

I offer a much belated “rest in peace” to her. She was only a few years older than my IWU classmates and I, tossing our caps in the air across town like we didn’t care. We do.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

15 Years AgoFriday, July 20, 2007: Brandon Clayton, a recent graduate of the cinema and photography program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, premieres his horror-comedy featurette ZOMBIE MOVIE at the Lincoln Square Theatre in downtown Decatur, IL, according to the Herald & Review. A crowd of several hundred takes in the black-and-white film, serving as both spoof and homage to vintage science fiction thrillers, which Clayton produced on a shoestring budget some 30 miles away in his hometown of Taylorville, IL. The show also samples the budding filmmaker’s previous shorts created during his high school and college years. Following a move to Los Angeles, Clayton has since established a career in reality television including a current position as manager of operations at Lighthearted Entertainment of Burbank, CA. His on-set credits include Lighthearted’s LONE STAR LEGEND, PLASTIC WIVES, and ARE YOU THE ONE? along with DEADLIEST CATCH, ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, and DANCING WITH THE STARS prior to them. [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
NOPE, SHAMSHERA (in Hindi), THANK YOU (in Telugu), THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (7/22 on), DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS, VENGEANCE (7/28 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON, NOPE, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (7/22 on), ONE PIECE FILM: GOLD (animé, 7/24, 7 p.m., English dub; 7/26, 7 p.m., Japanese with English sub), GOODFELLAS (7/24, 3 & 7 p.m.; 7/27, 7 p.m.), SING 2, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG (7/26-7/28, 10 a.m., free), The Metropolitan Opera Summer Encore: Madama Butterfly (7/27, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH 40th anniversary (7/28, 6:30 & 9:30 p.m.), DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS (7/28 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT (7/28, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BLACK SITE, THE CONTRACTOR, THE FORGIVEN, THERE ARE NO SAINTS, more! (7/19 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Mix 94.5 Animation Vacation Movie Series” feat. THE LION KING (7/26, 7/28, 6:30 p.m.), “The Arthouse Experience” w/Sanford Hess feat. THE WHITE TIGER (7/27, 7 p.m.)

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

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Read the rest of this entry »

Gettin’ set to enjoy COUNTY FAIR

July 22nd, 2022

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Many of us had or still have the ritual every summer of flocking to the nearest county fair because it’s the thing communities do during the warmer months, especially where farming and agriculture are integral to the way of life. Even if its allure has possibly waned with recent generations because of how industry has co-opted food production and distribution in the United States, the fair is a colorful and low-tech pageantry of education and rural concerns. There is something to be said and enjoyed about the hands-on nature of what they entail: filling meals and epic treats at the food trailers, addictive games and exciting rides on the midway, music concerts and sports contests in the grandstand, booths and pens filled with arts, crafts, textiles, produce, and livestock to be critiqued and awarded, and sightings in the crowd of faces you know or have seen ‘round these parts before. The fair is sun-kissed, deep-rooted Americana.

Growing up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, our family’s destination of this sort was the Sandwich Fair in DeKalb County, one town over from where we lived. Organizers are readying for its 135th year in September after Labor Day and I find it pretty astounding to see how many of them are put on annually in the state, listed in this reference compiled by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, with one of the next on deck being our very own Champaign County Fair. That will occupy the event grounds in north Urbana starting today, Friday, July 22, and lasting through Saturday, July 30. You can view the schedule at the association’s website to help you decide on which days to attend and, for a more personal look at what the fair means to its participants, you can watch the new WILL-TV documentary about them on YouTube and at the PBS online portal. Plain and simple, it’s called COUNTY FAIR.

Premiering over the air at 8 p.m. on Monday, June 13, COUNTY FAIR spends its first half hour on five vignettes that introduce six folks who most likely couldn’t imagine a year without the fair. Some live in the area such as teenage twins Mara and Meg Turner, who show heifers raised on their family’s farm, special education teacher and grandmother Alison Rappleyea, who has sewn children’s outfits for decades, and towing service entrepreneur Taylor Feldkamp, who decided to compete in a demolition derby after several years away from the track. Others travel the circuit for their livelihood including hard-working Jim Cullers, who manages a gourmet French fry stand founded by his late uncle, and entertainer Dan Luckett, whose misfortunes and strokes of luck have led to a magical career. They are neighborly as can be.

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The second half of the program follows the subjects of COUNTY FAIR as they compete, serve, and bring joy during the 2021 edition of Champaign County. Interspersed between the scenes are brief voiceovers that read vintage advertisements and newspaper coverage from the fair’s earliest years, including a few moments of on-screen mugging by the great Grant Morenz as an announcer, along with historical points offered by Bill Fugate, a former president of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, about how such events developed into a widespread institution. Roving cameras and lively cuts give the film a sense of forward momentum as director and editor Sarah Edwards dramatizes how preparation is an active process for all these individuals who strive to best demonstrate their skills and talents at the fair.

In an interview with the hosts of “ciLiving on WCIA-TV last month, Edwards talks about her own upbringing that fed into her appreciation for this country culture and ensuring the documentary did not become the typical “day at the event” fare. It is certainly a different confection than the WILL team’s last long-form piece, the music documentary ILLINOIS COUNTRY, and the scope and variety work well within their constraints. COUNTY FAIR is co-produced by D.J. Roach and Edwards, photographed by Isaac Musgrave and crew, art directed by Kurt Bielema, and executive produced by Lillie Duncanson. It is a production of Illinois Public Media, the broadcasting service of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary; the flagship branch, WILL AM 580, went live on April 6, 1922. They have been sharing milestones in their history on their news feed.

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: July 15-21, 2022

July 15th, 2022

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!

7/15: Jill Van Voorst (owner, LIX, Savoy, IL)
7/17: Derek Huey (cinematographer, TIN ROOF, Subfolders Studios, Martinsville, IN)
7/19: Don May, Jr. (president, Synapse Films, Inc., Novi, MI)
7/21: Shawnee E. Tefteller (owner, Shawnee Studios: Model & Talent Management/Casting, Mt. Olive, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Apparently, this week’s Calendar is all about “dates with death,” and I don’t mean it as a rip on what’s playing this week despite last week’s soapbox about the egregiously limited choices in the C-U. To start, the organizers of the Popcorn Frights Film Festival in Florida announced on Monday, July 11, their first wave of selections for 2022 and it includes FINAL SUMMER, the retro slasher picture filmed last year in the east central Illinois woodlands by Champaign-based writer/director John Isberg and his crew. This constitutes the film’s world premiere and it will shock audiences on Saturday, August 13, at 11 p.m. EST, making it the second feature-length film by local producers to be unveiled in the last four months after the twin debut of Shatterglass Studios’ REVEALER at showings in Brazil and Kansas City, Missouri.

Elsewhere, Jim Dey of the News-Gazette made the connections between a real-life 1993 abduction and murder case in Vermillion County and the new Apple TV+ miniseries BLACK BIRD, a six-part affair that premiered with two episodes on Friday, July 1, and centers on a law enforcement scheme to send a felon, Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton), into a maximum-security wing and elicit a murder confession from a dangerous inmate, Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), in exchange for his own early release. Greg Kinnear, Sepideh Moafi, and the late Ray Liotta also star in this offering developed by crime story veteran Dennis Lehane, author of Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone, and those with an Apple ID can visit this website to watch the first installment for free. You’ll have to decide if you’re up for reenactments of the last days in the life of Georgetown teenager Jessica Roach, played in this series by Laney Stiebing.

And then, promotion has increased lately for an upcoming gathering at which the twain shall meet – meaning, tales of fictional murderers in all media and writings and presentations based on and derived from factual killings. The sixth Dark History and Horror Convention is set to take place on Friday, August 19, and Saturday, August 20, at the I Hotel and Conference Center in south Champaign, and is a long-gestating effort by organizer and founder Brian L. Ward that finally seems to be operating at full stride. National and area personalities who create in the true crime and horror culture spaces will populate the conference, filled to the coffin brim with special events, several dozen vendors, and an indie-leaning Screaming Mad Film Festival that is included in the admission price. Partake if it’s to your taste.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoTuesday, July 15, 1997: As part of its tenth season on PBS, the nonfiction showcase POV airs a documentary produced by University of Illinois faculty member Jay Rosenstein, IN WHOSE HONOR? At its heart is Charlene Teters, a Native American belonging to the Spokane tribe who became alarmed by the presence of sports mascot “Chief Illiniwek” on the UI campus while attending for graduate studies in the late Eighties. Her subsequent efforts to alert the general public on the misuse of Indians as commercialized symbols, in particular for activities embraced largely by white audiences who otherwise ignore their racist and classist overtones, created a firestorm of opinion and emotion in Champaign-Urbana. HONOR presents the issue in a balanced and rational manner while illustrating a stubborn lack of empathy from “Chief” defenders who see the fictional warrior as a positive influence on the student body and iconic symbol embraced by alumni. More than one million viewers tune in to this episode of POV, according to Rosenstein, and HONOR has persisted as a catalyst in the discussion of cultural appropriation in America during conferences and film festivals, via community organizations, and within the classroom ever since. Following Teters’ lead and Rosenstein’s convictions, Indian activists and allies would accelerate their protests across the United States of similar imagery connected to sports teams. Original distributor New Day Films of Blooming Grove, NY, a specialist in social issue media, still offers HONOR to rent or purchase for educational use. [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (7/15 on), NOPE (7/21 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (7/15 on), Turner Classic Movies presents CABARET 50th anniversary (7/17, 7/20, 3 & 7 p.m.), POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHÉ (rock documentary; 7/17, 7/20, 3, 7 & 10:05 p.m.), ABOMINABLE, DESPICABLE ME (7/19-7/21, 10 a.m., free), National Theatre Live: Prima Facie starring Jodie Comer (7/21, 7 p.m., simulcast), NOPE (7/21 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE (7/21, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DASHCAM, MONSTROUS, SHARK BAIT, WOLF HOUND, more! (7/12 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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

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Calendar: July 8-14, 2022

July 10th, 2022

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!

7/9: Jessie Seitz (key make-up artist, THE THIRD SATURDAY IN OCTOBER PART V, Sleep Creature LLC, Moulton, AL)
7/12: Michael Wiese (president, Michael Wiese Productions, Studio City, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Ugh. No waxing obtusely from me^ this week, dearest readers! I’ve waned so badly over the last few days that I had told myself to go ahead and skip the Calendar. I rescinded that thought, obviously, yet I could have easily sat it out since everyone most likely knows what’s playing at the theaters near us due to promotion overload in the media. Our two major venues in Champaign County are both showing the exact same seven releases across 29 screens total, Danville’s AMC location is more of the same, and the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in of Hoopeston is thrilling the home folks with the top two box office earners. I guess a tip of the cap goes to the Virginia Theatre and News-Gazette for running TOP HAT on Saturday as an alternative except that, given all the classic catalog titles that are likely available to rent, they felt the need to revisit a familiar oldie last shown in this long-running series way back in … 2019. Why?

If this is the “return to normal” that paying customers have been pining for since the pandemic forced all auditoriums to go dark at the end of March 2020, then the patience of many is finally being rewarded. Support the local arts and entertainment houses, by all means, and if what they offer is appealing to you, then enjoy. If what they offer is old hat or worse in your eyes, then more engaging film can always be found elsewhere. I realize this is an ebb-and-flow issue in a pragmatic sense with the big-ticket summer items dominating screen time until the studios loosen their grip and allow for more choices per week* in the fall, but it also paints a too-familiar picture of what kinds of movies are deemed “popular” and “desirable” by the general public and elicits a deep, defeated sigh from yours truly.

Sadly, I’m having a hard time justifying a trip to see a movie for any reason. Several wide releases have tempted me and none of them lasted long enough for me to say “yes” over the stress. The last one I bought a ticket to see was GODZILLA VS. KONG, which in and of itself didn’t help matters, but at least it was an excuse to visit a theater I had never been to, the Roxy Cinemas in Ottawa. It should not be a surprise to you that my choices in the Illinois region where I currently live are as lacking as in Champaign-Urbana right now. THE BLACK PHONE? Check. THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER? Aye. MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU? Bananas! TOP GUN: MAVERICK? All systems go! ELVIS? Thankyouverymuch!

To think that I used to get so excited every year about the Big Movies coming soon … in 1985, anyway. Here in 2022, the restored over-reliance on hoped-for Hollywood hits** and the overt limitations of what the cinema du C-U can support as a result*** is a sorry situation that can simply kiss my Asgard. Ugh.

*I should make mention of the limited-run, “special event” shows appearing most weeks at the Phoenix Savoy 16 in Savoy. Their picks certainly broaden the range of what patrons can choose to see, even if quality control from suppliers is at times less than optimal, yet one needs to skim their listings on the regular if one wants a heads-up. Occasional surprises appear in the mélange of catalog favorites, documentaries, sports programs, television retrospectives, music concerts, and Christian tracts.

**I do remember the “dire state” of the industry not long ago. Corporations teetered on bankruptcy and many average citizens lost their jobs. It’s not just picky customers who want their money back. The numbers being thrown up by tracking services lately must look quite lovely to the suits in office spaces.

***I should reiterate that Savoy and the Champaign AMC earn props for featuring full runs as often as not of Asian and Indian genre films, which they both had been doing in the spring before TOP GUN: MAVERICK zoomed in to launch the summer blockbuster parade. Of course, there is a ton more fare from the world over that could play here if theaters booked them and audiences attended them and the University of Illinois fostered them outside of “Ebertfest.” Once upon a time in C-U, they all simply did.

^“Oh, who the hell am I kidding,” I think as I finally write the end of this at 5:30 in the morning…

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (7/8 on), PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (7/14 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (7/8 on), TRANSFORMERS 15th anniversary (7/10, 7/14, 3 & 7 p.m.), DIRTY DANCING (1987) (7/10, 11:55 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m.; 7/13, 3:30 & 7 p.m.), TROLLS WORLD TOUR, THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 (7/12-7/14, 10 a.m., free), The Metropolitan Opera Summer Encore: The Merry Widow starring Renée Fleming (7/13, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), THE DEER KING fan event (animé; 7/13-7/14, 7 p.m., English dub), PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (7/14 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. THE BAD GUYS (7/14, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, MEMORY, more! (7/5 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series presents TOP HAT (7/9, 1 & 7 p.m.)

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

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Calendar: July 1-7, 2022

July 3rd, 2022

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!

7/1: Michael Juvinall (editor, Horror Patch website, Channahon, IL)
7/5: Paul Riismandel (cohost, Radio Survivor podcast, San Francisco, CA)
7/7: Keenan Dailey (CEO, Visage Entertainment, Champaign-Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Directly following the thought patterns as expressed in last week’s Report, I feel like the act of compiling our Calendar is, sometimes, more about keeping myself honest on all the things in Champaign-Urbana and beyond than keeping you up to date on the same, dearest readers. If the sum result is that we record the local film culture for now and the future, any which way, then maybe it doesn’t matter as long as it happens to the best of our abilities. Of course, C-U Blogfidential can always recap to point out what’s positive and help improve our perspective on media matters, even if timeliness is a bit shite.

Unlike our previous topics, I’ll have opportunities to revisit the following in the coming months if I can swing it. First, I wasn’t able to kick out a post encouraging y’all to contribute to the Indiegogo campaign for the found footage thriller HUNTING FOR THE HAG, photographed last year by the team from Into the Night Motion Pictures of Normal, but we’ll congratulate them on raising about $3,000 to help with their post-production needs. A month-long push ended this Friday, June 30, and we’ll be hunting alongside director Paul A. Brooks and his merry hagglers if they need more assistance down the road.

Also, I couldn’t get it together to promote the call for participants in “Central Illinois Film & TV Production Training,” a new eight-week course beginning later in July and co-sponsored by Shatterglass Studios of Champaign, the Illinois Film and TV Workforce Development Program from the Illinois Film Office, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, but a staff member at Shatterglass did confirm on Facebook they had more than enough applicants to draw from and ensure the program was a go. Their deadline to apply was also on June 30. We’ll share how training is going when we hear more.

And then, I didn’t jump at the chance to attend an early-access screening of April Wright’s newest documentary on Americana, BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN, featuring stories from the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in of Hoopeston and a dozen other operational ozoners that are working hard to satisfy their customers and weather the uncertainties of their industry, although those who missed out will get a second chance in short order when the film is officially released in August. The local showing took place on Monday, June 6, deemed “National Drive-in Movie Day,” at the Harvest Moon. We’ll shine our brights on it soon.

Nothing is really lost for these camps if we don’t pull through with the journalistic goods in a way that will benefit them, for it’s clear they all have the momentum and connections needed for their efforts to pay off. I’ll enjoy watching it play out in each instance as we go. That it will take place almost exclusively from a distance is kind of a personal buzzkill, though. This is a hard truth to reconcile and an even harder one to act upon, given where I should probably go from here. Until further notice, CUBlog, it persists.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, MR. MALCOLM’S LIST, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (7/1 on), THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER (7/7 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (7/1 on), UFC 276: Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier, more (mixed martial arts; 7/2, 9 p.m., simulcast), MEN IN BLACK 25th anniversary (7/3, 3 & 7 p.m.; 7/4, 7 p.m.), INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (7/3, 12, 3, 7 & 10 p.m.; 7/6, 3, 7 & 10 p.m.), THE CROODS: A NEW AGE, SHREK (7/5-7/7, 10 a.m., free), THE THING 40th anniversary (7/6, 7 p.m.), THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER (7/7 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. INFINITE STORM (7/7, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE AVIARY, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, FAMILY CAMP, LAST SEEN ALIVE, more! (7/5 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Mix 94.5 Animation Vacation Movie Series” feat. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (7/2, 2 & 6:30 p.m.), Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Film Series” feat. STARSHIP TROOPERS (7/7, 7 p.m.)

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

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Calendar: June 24-30, 2022

June 26th, 2022

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!

6/25: Aaron Polk (blogger, Cinematic Rabbit Hole, Rantoul, IL)
6/27: Joe Sherlock (writer/director, DARK ZONE THIRTEEN PART TWO, Skullface Astronaut, Corvallis, OR)
6/27: Eric Spudic (owner, Spudic’s Movie Empire, Los Angeles, CA)
6/30: Drea Aarons (multimedia artist, Art of Drea Aarons, Champaign-Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Another week is in the books and another Calendar arrives late, dearest readers, so what else is new at MHFQ Remote? I started to get on a roll in April and then it cut it short like all my other recent efforts, but I had a legitimate need to pause this last round for the sake of spending time with my stepfather before he passed away on May 14. Now, I’m finding it that much harder to start up again than the last several attempts. Dutifully compiling the dates and deets each week for movie events that I will never go see doesn’t really count as writing or help as a personal motivation to ‘blog. You understand, right?

However, despite the struggles at my fingertips and the strife our country continues to ladle upon itself, I still have shits to give and props to hand out for keeping the local film culture solvent to a degree. I’d like to send my appreciation to two film-fan groups for pressing on, especially since I wasn’t able to cook up proper coverage for them. Zelda Tindell and her camp at the Dead in Decatur podcast had to switch gears at the last minute to host their Dead in Decatur International Film Festival online instead of in downtown Decatur due to lack of ticket sales; they pulled it off for those willing to partake via Discord or Twitch, and hopefully they can resume their genre film showcase in public next year. Conversely, the tuff guyz at the B-Movie Mania podcast took on their 10th annual 24-hour marathon of cult flicks great and small over the weekend, and I think that Paul A. Brooks, Jason Huls, Chris Hutson, and Mike Hayes will return to work in Normal and Chicagoland on Monday with a sense of bleary-eyed accomplishment.

Be sure to follow both the B-Maniacs and the Dead-ites on Facebook for prompts to listen to their newest episodes and invites to check out their upcoming events. I’m more hopeful when the film faithful in Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond are enjoying and sharing what they do. Keep curating!

p.s. I get the irony. This is essentially a ‘blog embedded in the Calendar. That’s been its point and purpose for some time now. Where have you been?

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Shudder network
REVEALER* streaming premiere (6/23 on)

@ AMC+ network
REVEALER* streaming premiere (6/24 on)

@ Discord/Twitch (virtual)
Dead in Decatur presents the 5th Dead in Decatur International Film Festival* (6/24, 6 p.m.-6/26, 1 a.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, JUGJUGG JEYOO (in Hindi), THE BAD GUYS, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE (daily, 2:15 p.m.), DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (6/24 on), MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, MR. MALCOLM’S LIST (6/30 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, LIGHTYEAR, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (6/30 on), G.I. JOE: THE MOVIE 35th anniversary (6/25, 1 p.m.), Studio Ghibli Fest: THE CAT RETURNS 20th anniversary (animé, 6/26, 3 & 7 p.m. (English dub); 6/27, 7 p.m. (in Japanese with sub)), THE FIFTH ELEMENT 25th anniversary (6/26, 6/29, 3 & 7 p.m.), INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (6/26, 6/29, 12, 3, 7 & 9:45 p.m.), Drum Corps International 2022 Summer Tour Premiere (6/28, 7:30 p.m., simulcast), POKÉMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU, GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN (6/28-6/30, 10 a.m., free), ROWDY (sports documentary, 6/29, 7 p.m.), MACROSS FRONTIER MOVIE 2: THE WINGS OF FAREWELL (animé, in Japanese with sub; 6/30, 7 p.m.), MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU (6/30 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. AMBULANCE (6/30, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE BAD GUYS, ESCAPE THE FIELD, FATHERHOOD, THE LAST VICTIM, THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT, more! (6/20 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series presents HIGH NOON (6/25, 1 & 7 p.m.), Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Film Series” feat. WAYNE’S WORLD (6/30, 7 p.m.)

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

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Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: June 17-23, 2022

June 19th, 2022

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!

6/18: Perry C. Morris (vice president, Champaign County History Museum, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Movie news du C-U keeps flying right on by as I struggle to find consistency in keeping up with it at C-U Blogfidential. I’m somewhat tired of making excuses to myself and apologizing to everyone else within my writing for not staying on top of all the developments in a cultural scene that has become one that I belong to less and less. Conversely, those who don’t regularly visit or interact with CUBlog should understand that it is not a top tier priority for yours truly as I lead a somewhat different life now in an Illinois zip code far from Champaign County. I’ll continue to look and learn for the time being, certainly out of habit and personal interest, and that will manifest in brief outpourings of new content when it all works out. One of those editorial runs begins this coming week, and today’s Report serves as a lead-in to what I plan on covering before it inevitably settles down. For now, I mainly want to share links for a few viral clips that are posted at a common source that may be of interest to you and me or possibly only to me.

Let’s start with the trailer from the Eighties-set sci-fi thriller REVEALER, which will begin streaming on Shudder this coming Thursday, June 23, and on AMC+ a day later on Friday, June 24. Produced by Champaign’s Shatterglass Films in conjunction with established genre label The Line Film Company (THE STYLIST, BLACK MOLD), this neon-drenched adventure stars Caito Aase, Shaina Schrooten, and Bishop Stevens and was filmed two years ago, primarily in an abandoned building just north of the city’s downtown area. It marks the feature directorial debut of Shatterglass co-founder Luke Boyce. Plenty of bonus fun can be found at Shudder’s YouTube channel, including this recent bit from THE LAST DRIVE-IN with host Joe Bob Briggs and Chicago’s legendary Rich Koz in his Svengoolie get-up. Also towards the top of the video upload list is a contemporary preview for Eloy de la Iglesia’s THE CANNIBAL MAN, a controversial Spanish production from 1972 debuted by Shudder on June 1 as a selection in their queer programming for the month. Long ago, a bloody frame blow-up from this film was borrowed by the UK label Xtasy to decorate their VHS packaging for SHOT, the UIUC student-made cop chase film.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

65 Years AgoThursday, June 20, 1957: Per news items in Boxoffice magazine, the science-fiction double feature of BEGINNING OF THE END and THE UNEARTHLY is scheduled to open today on more than 200 screens in the South and Midwest through Los Angeles distributor Republic Pictures Corporation. Already, the bill appears to be a hit for a brand-new production studio, AB-PT Pictures, based on the response afforded its world premiere at the Roosevelt Theater in Chicago last night with BEGINNING stars Peggie Castle and Peter Graves in attendance. Possibly more appealing to the Roosevelt audience is the film’s scenario, placing the action almost entirely in the Land of Lincoln despite the yarn being shot in California locations and sound stages by producer-director Bert I. Gordon. (Chicago Daily Tribune reviewer “Mae Tineefalls into this camp.) BEGINNING recounts a rampage from downstate Illinois to the Windy City of ravenous locusts, enlarged greatly after consuming experimental seeds and grains developed by local agriculturalists. Castle’s wire reporter character detours from covering a jet fighter unveiling at the real-life Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul to net her big bug story, while the roll call of cities and towns referenced in the first two acts also includes Champaign, Decatur, Joliet, Ludlow, Paxton, Peoria, Pontiac, Springfield, and Urbana. Flights of geographic fancy are intermixed with the regional accuracy – “the Ludlow forest,” “suburbs of Paxton” – never mind the omnipresent SoCal hills in many an exterior frame! Nearly a half-century later in February of 2003, “Mr. B.I.G.” – nicknamed so due to the plethora of oversized men, women, and monsters in his output – would attend the annual Insect Fear Film Festival at the University of Illinois; an honorary slate paired Gordon’s EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (1958) and EMPIRE OF THE ANTS (1977) with BEGINNING. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Shudder network
REVEALER* streaming premiere (6/23 on)

@ AMC+ network
REVEALER* streaming premiere (6/24 on)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
LIGHTYEAR, VIRATA PARVAM (in Telugu), THE BAD GUYS, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (6/17 on), THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS (6/23 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
LIGHTYEAR, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (6/17 on), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (6/19, 6/22, 3, 7 & 9:45 p.m.), THE THING (1982) (6/19, 3 & 7 p.m.; 6/22, 7 p.m.), THE BAD GUYS (6/20-6/23, 10:50 a.m.), A DOG’S WAY HOME, TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES (6/21-6/23, 10 a.m., free), ALIVE: WHO IS THERE? (religious documentary; 6/21, 7 p.m.), G.I. JOE: THE MOVIE 35th anniversary (6/23, 7 p.m.), THE BLACK PHONE, ELVIS (6/23 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 (6/23, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
AMBULANCE, FATHER STU, MORBIUS, more! (6/13 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Mix 94.5 Animation Vacation Movie Series” feat. CINDERELLA (6/17, 2 & 6:30 p.m.) and LADY AND THE TRAMP (6/21, 6/23, 6:30 p.m.)

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

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Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: June 10-16, 2022

June 12th, 2022

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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FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Guns. Fucking guns. Maybe at least some Republicans finally understand “societal responsibility” a little more and are choosing to not ignore it, according to CNN today (yes, I’m writing on Sunday). And, given this bluntly honest “New Rule” segment by Bill Maher that aired Friday on HBO, Hollywood needs to come to terms with the fact that “it’s only a movie” only absolves them of so much anymore. And somehow, I managed to totally overlook the occurrence of ill-timed shenanigans in late April, when the trade show CinemaCon abetted Lionsgate in premiering details and first footage of their theatrical slate including the JOHN WICK and EXPENDABLES franchises, both of which provided on-screen bluster and bullets in the Maher diatribe. Across the board, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, when will the United States of America get a grip that doesn’t involve squeezing the trigger of a firearm? Guns control and terrorize. They are not “the answer.” Better education, increased mental health services, more effective and far-reaching laws, and tempered depiction in our media and entertainment could help us all. Onward.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ANTE SUNDARANIKI (in Telugu), JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, THE BAD GUYS, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, MAJOR (in Hindi), TOP GUN: MAVERICK, VIKRAM (in Hindi), WATCHER (6/10 on), LIGHTYEAR (6/16 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, THE BAD GUYS, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, WATCHER (6/10 on), UFC 275: Glover Teixeira vs. Jiří Procházka, more (mixed martial arts; 6/11, 9 p.m., simulcast), Turner Classic Movies presents WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? 60th anniversary (6/12, 1 & 7 p.m.; 6/15, 7 p.m.), HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 (6/12, 11:30 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m.; 6/15, 7 p.m.), THE HOMESCHOOL AWAKENING (religious documentary; 6/13-6/14, 7 p.m.), THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (6/14-6/16, 10 a.m., free), MACROSS FRONTIER MOVIE 1: THE FALSE SONGSTRESS (animé, in Japanese with subtitles; 6/16, 7 p.m.), LIGHTYEAR (6/16 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. THE LOST CITY (6/16, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE CONTRACTOR, ERASER REBORN, FORTRESS: SNIPER’S EYE, THE NORTHMAN, more! (6/7 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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

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Calendar: June 3-9, 2022

June 5th, 2022

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!

6/3: Amanda Baker (videographer, Busey Bank, Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Suddenly, the film world of downstate Illinois is waking up publicly, even though we know it’s percolated all through the pandemic, and the signs of creation and innovation emerging from our communities are positive vibes that encourage the rest of us to move forward. Looking back 100 years ago this week, it’s astounding to imagine how much our past generations had to work through in order to put a flickering image up on the screen in the first place, let alone a discernible sound in our ears. Never underestimate our capabilities or play down our accomplishments then and now, dearest friends and neighbors of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond, and let’s do our damned best to keep filming, watching, dissecting, archiving, promoting, attending, supporting, and progressing in the local cinema arts. Cheers.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

100 Years AgoFriday, June 9, 1922: A pet project developed in parallel with a remarkable early career in electrical engineering, University of Illinois professor Joseph Tykocinski-Tykociner demonstrates a “sound-on-film” projector for his colleagues and university officials in Room 100 of what is now the Material Science and Engineering Building on campus. His apparatus is capable of reading and amplifying a “sound track” encoded along the side of a film strip, thanks to photoelectric cells developed by UI physics professor Jakob Kuntz. Friction between the inventor and his employer over patent rights to the device, along with a chilly reception from the movie industry, would thwart his dreams of it being put into widespread use. Extensive collections of his papers and other ephemera, including schematic drawings of the projection system and video duplicates of the surviving film tests, have been stored in the UI Archives since Tykociner’s passing in 1969. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

POSTPONED @ Champaign-Urbana, IL
Champaign Movie Makers presents CMM 48Hr Film Fest 2022* contest (6/3-6/5) and screening (TBA) Information

@ The Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in, Gibson City, IL
BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN* documentary advance screening feat. Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in (6/6, dusk)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, MAJOR (in Hindi), PRITHVIRAJ (in Hindi), VIKRAM (in Hindi), WATCHER, THE BAD GUYS, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, MEN, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (6/3 on), SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 (daily, 12:15 p.m.), MEN (6/3-6/4, 9 p.m.), JURASSIC PARK/JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION double feature (6/9, 5 p.m.), JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION (6/9 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
WATCHER, THE BAD GUYS, THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (6/3 on), MEN (daily, 9 p.m.), The Metropolitan Opera: Hamlet (6/4, 11:55 a.m. simulcast; 6/8, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), THE WIZARD OF OZ, “Judy Garland 100 Years Over the Rainbow” event (6/5-6/6, 3 & 7 p.m.), THE GOONIES (6/5, 3 & 7 p.m.; 6/8, 7 p.m.), “Forever Golden! A Celebration of THE GOLDEN GIRLS” episode marathon (6/7, 6/9, 7 p.m.), THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVE 2, THE LEGO MOVIE (6/7-6/9, 10 a.m., free), JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION (6/9 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. THE BATMAN (6/9, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, more! (5/31 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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

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Calendar: May 27-June 2, 2022

May 29th, 2022

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!

5/30: Cameron Counts (owner, Cam’s Comics, Fairfield, IL)
6/1: Bill Yauch (owner, RiellyBoy Productions, Urbana, IL)
6/1: William Pace (faculty associate of digital media production, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ)
6/2: DeShawn Hill (producer, HD Productions Media, Champaign, IL/Los Angeles, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

I feel the need … the need for a speedy recovery in all aspects of my life including the Confidential persuasion. And a big, long, faraway vacation where no one knows who or where I am. Cut.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ The Dublin Pub, Springfield, IL
Central Illinois Film Commission* meeting (6/2, 7 p.m.)

@ Champaign-Urbana, IL
Champaign Movie Makers presents CMM 48Hr Film Fest 2022* contest (6/3-6/5) Information

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, F3: FUN & FRUSTRATION (in Telegu), TOP GUN: MAVERICK, THE BAD GUYS, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, MEN, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 (5/27 on), FIRESTARTER (5/27-5/29), CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, WATCHER (6/2 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, THE BAD GUYS, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, MEN, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 (5/27 on), HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 (5/29, 11:30 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m.; 6/1, 7 p.m.), Turner Classic Movies presents SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 45th anniversary (5/29, 4 & 7 p.m.; 6/1-6/2, 7 p.m.), SMALLFOOT, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION (5/31-6/2, 10 a.m., free), FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO (animé; 6/2, 7 p.m., subtitled)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. DOG (6/2, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
AGENT GAME, THE BATMAN, INFINITE, UMMA, X, more! (5/24 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
“The Arthouse Experience” w/Sanford Hess feat. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (6/1, 7 p.m.)

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

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Calendar: May 20-26, 2022

May 21st, 2022

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!

5/21: Katherine Bokenkamp (actress, LAST DAY, Silver Compass Studios, Decatur, IL)
5/25: David Gracon, Ph.D. (assistant professor of integrated media, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA)
5/26: Lana Hinshaw-Klann (photojournalist, WBBM Channel 2 (CBS), Chicago, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

5/14: Carl W. Pellow, Jr., 74 (inspector, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington, D.C., retired)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

My stepfather died a week ago. Movies and media have completely lost their taste. Forgive my continued spottiness on all Confidential things as well. This is how it should be right now. More soon.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DHAAKAD (in Hindi), DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, MEN, THE BAD GUYS, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, FIRESTARTER, SARKARU VAARI PAATA (in Telegu), SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 (5/20 on), TWENTY ONE PILOTS CINEMA EXPERIENCE (music; 5/22, 7 p.m.), THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE, TOP GUN: MAVERICK (5/26 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, MEN, THE BAD GUYS, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, FIRESTARTER, THE LOST CITY, THE NORTHMAN, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 (5/20 on), The Metropolitan Opera: Lucia Di Lammermoor (5/21, 11:55 a.m. simulcast; 5/25, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), THE MUMMY (1999; 5/22, 12, 3, 7 & 10 p.m.; 5/25, 3 & 7 p.m.), STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE “director’s edition” (5/22, 3 & 7 p.m.; 5/23, 5/25, 7 p.m.), FACING NOLAN (sports documentary; 5/24, 7 p.m.), TOP GUN: MAVERICK (5/26 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
INFINITE, LICORICE PIZZA, PANAMA, VENDETTA, more! (5/17 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series presents SAFETY LAST w/Wurlitzer accompaniment by Steven Ball (5/21, 7 p.m.), Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Film Series” feat. MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME (5/23, 7 p.m.), “The Arthouse Experience” w/Sanford Hess feat. EIGHTH GRADE (5/25, 7 p.m.)

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

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Read the rest of this entry »