Calendar: July 28-Aug. 3, 2023

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.


MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

8/1: Jed Brian (actor, FLESH EATERS, Moonlight Films, Linton, IN)
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)


FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

It’s rare we get to talk about the stuff of the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond, but today’s a day we can show as much as tell! Other than the typical and often perishable items that film producers will make to promote their work at screenings, festivals, industry events, and the like, officially licensed merchandise keyed in to a specific title du C-U is an uncommon commodity. (We’re excluding the customized and made-to-order variety of swag offered by companies like Café Press and Printify for the sake of this argument.) And yet, we’ve now seen cool pictures of relevant merch in our Facebook feed several times during the last few weeks that reference projects we’ve discussed recently on CUBlog.



“Analog” and “retro” are the relevant terms for most of the collectibles in question. First, we’ll look at the upcoming cassette tape release of the soundtrack music composed by Alex Cuervo for REVEALER, the apocalyptic thriller co-produced by local studio Shatterglass Films and released last year by Shudder and RLJE Films. An indie label based in Brooklyn, NY, called Ship to Shore PhonoCo is issuing it along with another featuring Cuervo’s work for RLJE’s SCARE PACKAGE films; you can pre-order REVEALER through this page and find SCARE PACKAGE I & II easily if you’re interested. In this interview with Aaron Vehling on the Vehlinggo website, Cuervo talks about working with the filmmakers behind both, including CUBlog friend and REVEALER director Luke Boyce, and shows a genuine enthusiasm for his craft. Given that REVEALER is set in 1987, a mere five years after CD albums were introduced, the tie-in makes sense. You’d better run a head cleaner tape on that vintage cassette deck before popping it in!



Into the Night Motion Pictures of Normal has arranged with a cassette and streaming label, littleHEADbutt Studios of Chicago, to unleash their own soundtrack tape with the score by Ryan Aldrich as heard in their forest horror, HUNTING FOR THE HAG. It will debut at the August 9 show of HAG at the Music Box Theater in the Windy City and then be made available for purchase through littleHEADbutt’s Bandcamp account. Above, you’ll see the package design with a witchy sketch that may or may not be of the Hag. As an avid physical media collector, HAG director Paul A. Brooks simply has to be thrilled about this.



While maintaining that cassette deck, you might want to freshen up the playback on your video deck as well. April 9 Entertainment, the Los Angeles-based producer of the documentary BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN, revealed two weeks ago that a limited-edition VHS cassette of their latest will be offered soon by a collector’s label, Retro Release Video of Baltimore, MD; you can visit this page to pre-order. As seen above, their slipcase design features the key art used for the general release of DRIVE-IN by Uncork’d Entertainment, while the film itself shares the stories of a dozen surviving venues including the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in of nearby Gibson City. Fans of filmmaker April Wright and her Americana brand “Going Attractions may delight in displaying this tape front and center on their bookshelves.



To wind down, your humble editor decided to take advantage of the Criterion Collection half-price promotion at the Barnes & Noble bookseller in Rockford while in the city on Thursday. He didn’t walk away with the discs he originally wanted, save for the essential independent film learning tool that is NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but he did luck upon a single copy of what may be the closest thing to a “local film” in the Criterion catalog: MINDING THE GAP, a well-received documentary made by Bing Liu that follows the struggles and maturation of two young men living in Rockford who find common ground in skate culture and parallels with the life experiences of the older filmmaker. We hope this B&N will keep it in stock, and we’re now struck further because this movie, shepherded by the social issue-minded folks at Kartemquin Films, is most likely the only one from them to inspire an analog keepsake, sold here by the slab-savvy cool cats at Lunchmeat VHS of Elmer, NJ. The minimalist cover art on both releases is quite unusual and refreshing.


LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

YOU’RE OUT!* U.S. Streaming Release: Friday, July 28, via Gravitas Ventures, Cleveland, OH/Ladie K Productions-Stay the Course Productions-Paper Star Entertainment, Chicago/Evanston, IL

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* 48 Hour Film Fest (7/28, 8:30 p.m.)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE FIRST SLAM DUNK (animé), HAUNTED MANSION, TALK TO ME, BARBIE, INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR*, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING, PART ONE, NO HARD FEELINGS*, OPPENHEIMER, SOUND OF FREEDOM (7/28 on), CIRCUS MAXIMUS (Travis Scott music documentary) (7/28-7/31, 10:15 p.m.), THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS (animation) (7/28, 8/2, 12 p.m.), TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM (animation) (8/1 on), The Hiding Room stage performance (8/3, 7:30 p.m., filmed), MEG 2: THE TRENCH (8/3 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
HAUNTED MANSION, TALK TO ME, BARBIE, ELEMENTAL (animation), INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY, INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING, PART ONE, OPPENHEIMER, SOUND OF FREEDOM (7/28 on), UFC 291: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje, more (mixed martial arts) (7/29, 9 p.m., simulcast), NO HARD FEELINGS (7/29-7/31, 9:45 p.m.), TOP GUN (7/30, 3 & 7 p.m.; 8/2, 7 p.m.), HEATHERS 35th anniversary (7/30, 4 p.m.), TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM (animation) (8/1 on)

@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad” feat. FAST X (8/3, 9 p.m., free)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL

@ Toalson Park, Champaign, IL
Champaign Park District presents “Thursday Night Flix” feat. BACK TO THE FUTURE (8/3, dusk)

@ 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!


NOW PLAYING | The Cities Beyond

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL

@ The Fischer Theatre, Danville, IL
No movies this week!

@ The Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in, Gibson City, IL
BARBIE (Screen 1), HAUNTED MANSION (Screen 2) (7/28-8/3)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL
Private parties and “Family Movie Packs”

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL
HAVE YOU GOT IT YET? THE STORY OF SYD BARRETT AND PINK FLOYD (music documentary) (7/28-7/29), Union Avenue rockabilly music concert (7/29, 8 p.m.), FROZEN (animation) (7/30), ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS: THE MOTION PICTURE (concert film) (7/30), AFIRE (8/3)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL
BARBIE (7/28-7/30)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL
THE FLASH (7/28-7/30)

@ The Route 66 Drive-in Theater, Springfield, IL
BARBIE, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING (Screen 1), OPPENHEIMER (Screen 2) (7/28-7/30, 8/2-8/3)



For detailed and curated listings of Chicago-area film presentations and related events, please visit the fine folks at Cine-File and subscribe to their definitive “Cine-List” weekly blast.


COMING SOON | Area-wide Events

@ Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL, 7 p.m.

Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series” feat. FINAL SUMMER*
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.

DESPERATE SOULS* downstate premiere
@ The Princess Theater, LeRoy, IL, time TBD

FIELDS OF GOLD* world premiere
@ Fine Arts Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA, 7 p.m. PST

NEW! 8/26
Theatrical costume and prop sale
@ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Dark History and Horror Convention
@ The Orpheum Theater, Champaign, IL, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Streaming release: FINAL SUMMER*
+ Cardinal XD, Burbank, CA

30th Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago, IL

FIELDS OF GOLD* Midwest premiere
@ Lincoln Square Theatre, Decatur, IL, 7 p.m.

41st Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, Chicago, IL

Route 66 Film Festival presents “Get Your Flicks on Route 66” showcase
@ Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield, IL, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free

DVD release: GEORGE HARRISON: A BEATLE IN BENTON, ILLINOIS* 60th anniversary edition
+ MVD Visual, Pottstown, PA

32nd Heartland International Film Festival, Indianapolis, IN

@ State Farm Center, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m.

59th Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago, IL

Small Press Fest 2023
@ Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana, IL, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

22nd Route 66 Film Festival, Springfield, IL (virtual)

32nd Whitaker St Louis International Film Festival, St. Louis, MO

Krampusnacht Freeky Film Festival*
@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL


COMMUNITY & CAMPUS SERIES | Champaign-Urbana area

“The Arthouse Experience Film Series” curated by Sanford Hess and sponsored by Illinois Public Media
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.
8/11: THE DUKE

Champaign Park District presents “Thursday Night Flix”
@ various venues, dusk, free admission
8/10: TBA @ Champaign Fire Station 3, 702 Bradley Ave.

Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series”/“Mix 94.5 Throwback Thursdays”*
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.

Illini Union Board presents “Summer Films on the Quad”
@ Main Quad, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 9 p.m. Thursdays, free

The News-Gazette Film Series
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 1 & 7 p.m.


Compiled by Jason Pankoke.


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