Coming Soon: Nov 2006 pt.2

Every now and then, C-U Blogfidential will highlight limited-run screenings in the area which often receive little to no press in traditional news outlets. The following events are “coming soon” in November; please support this diverse film programming in our community by attending and spreading the word. Multiplexes and television sets are no substitute for a true cinema experience!

Just before the annual herd of Oscar-contenders and holiday blockbusters stampedes through the nation’s cinemas, the Movie Gods have smiled upon us with a few bookings of interest, so let’s get to it!

First, we take a look southwest-ward to the Avon Theatre, 426 N. Water St., Decatur, IL, where last night at 6:30 p.m., Head Honcho Skip Huston lauched the latest in his Richland Community College-sponsored film classes. This time out, Alfred Hitchcock thrillers fit the bill and, as usual, the selections are top-secret – unless you take the class! We’re not sure if Richland will accept beyond-last-minute sign-ups for this eight-week course, but certainly the Head Honcho will have more to explore in the near future.

Next, we turn northward to the Beverly Cinemas, 910 Meijer Dr., Champaign, IL. Yes, true believers, you have every right to give pause at the name-checking of a Hollywood-friendly multiplex on this blog. That’s not stopping us from discussing the After Dark Horrorfest, a brand-new independent horror film festival founded by director Courtney Solomon (AN AMERICAN HAUNTING) that begins at 2 p.m. later today, Friday, November 17, and lasts through Tuesday, November 21, at the Beverly. With support from indie titan Lionsgate, After Dark will present a revolving schedule of eight brand-new fright flicks that probably will not receive big-screen playdates otherwise. An exception is the “bonus” ninth feature, SNOOP DOGG’S HOOD OF HORROR, which plays at 10 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, and receives a modest roll-out from Xenon Pictures early next year. Originally slated to debut in 35 cities, After Dark Horrorfest now will terrorize more than 100 locations according to a list on its Web site, although the Beverly will be the only theater to have goodies provided by C-U’s own Jill Van Voorst of LIX. Estudious readers might also check out the Solomon interview posted yesterday by Fangoria magazine.

And then we face due east, looking just a few blocks over from the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters, where Boardman’s Art Theatre, 126 W. Church Street, Champaign, IL, will present another example of contemporary Indian cinema. UMRAO JAAN (2006) is a remake of a 1981 feature about an abducted child who grows up to be an admired singer and dancer that loses her lover and eventually reconnects with her family. Showtimes are 12 p.m. this Saturday, November 18, and Sunday, November 19; admission will be $9.

We now direct your attention 45 miles due west, where the Normal Theater, 209 North St., Normal, IL, will be playing a documentary called THE HEART OF THE GAME through Sunday, November 19, at 7 p.m. each night. Depsite receiving good notices, this portrait of a Seattle high-school girls’ basketball team apparently didn’t quite catch on. Fans of sports movies and real-life underdog stories might do well to check out HEART, directed by Ward Serrill and narrated by Champaign-native-turned-big-league-rapper Ludacris.

And finally, the Princess Theatre in LeRoy, IL, will re-open for business on Wednesday, November 22, with the Danny DeVitoMatthew Broderick comedy DECK THE HALLS, according to Ben Slotky of the Castle Theatre in nearby Bloomington. We at C-U Blogfidential had no clue that local real-estate developer David Kraft, who recently purchased and restored the Princess to its former small-town glory, put the property up for sale earlier this year. Let’s hope that the new owners can make a successful run at keeping the Princess alive!

– Jason Pankoke

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