Calendar: December 1-7, 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!

11/22: Chase Todd (writer/director, THE EXORCISM OF CHASE & SHEP, Chase & Shep, Villa Grove/Savoy, IL)
12/3: Bryan Wendorf (programmer/artistic director, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago, IL)
12/3: Greg Woods (publisher, The Eclectic Screening Room, Toronto, Canada)
12/6: Andy Due (producer/performer, Rubber Chicken Films/RL3 Productions, Charleston, IL)


FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

With an Oscar the Grouch-level hrumph, we’ll keep this Report to a minimum and get on with the rest of our week. First and foremost, the non-jolly green Muppet’s spiritual brother will be terrorizing select visitors at the Phoenix Savoy 16 in Savoy this coming Tuesday, December 5, when the Krampusnacht Freeky Film Festival presents its fifth annual round of shorts culled from rambunctious productions made around the world; organized by Champaign Movie Makers head Thomas Nicol, the program will begin at 7 p.m. sharp and you can find visual hints at what to expect via the project’s Facebook page. And then, once the end credits roll on an unexpected holiday perennial (NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION) and an even more unexpectedly endearing piece of uncanny valley animation (THE POLAR EXPRESS) at the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in of Gibson City this Saturday, December 2, the area’s drive-ins will power down for the winter as their owners bundle up; we talked about the virtues of open-air viewing experiences in an article from earlier this year recognizing the 90th anniversary of a distinctive industry throwback. And finally, various levels of passes have gone on sale today, Friday, December 1, at the Virginia Theatre of Champaign for the next Roger Ebert’s Film Festival that will be billed as a 25th anniversary event, given the first iteration of the late film critic’s repertory nirvana for aficionados took place in April 1999 at the same location; promoters are asking “Ebertfest” fans for suggestions to book in 2024, unusual for an event that is dependably tight-lipped in what is curated behind-the-scenes until the titles are announced mere weeks before show time, and your wildest screening dreams can be sent in by writing ebertfest [at] yahoo [dot] com. We wouldn’t sit idly on those thumbs-up votes if we were you.


CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

45 Years AgoDecember 2-6, 1978: A pair of boxing matches are staged for camera by the television unit of Paramount Pictures on the University of Illinois campus for the “telefilm,” FLESH AND BLOOD. According to several recent articles in the Urbana Courier, these scenes will depict fights at venues in Las Vegas and New York City while featuring several well-known actors including Suzanne Pleshette (THE BOB NEWHART SHOW), John Cassavetes (MIKEY AND NICKY), and Tom Berenger (LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR). Hundreds of extras have been hired by a local employment agency to fill portions of Assembly Hall, outfitted by the production’s art department with a newly-installed ring, and take their seats between Monday, December 4, and Wednesday, December 6, as set decorators redress the space to resemble either the Las Vegas Convention Center or Madison Square Garden. (Vol. 99 No. 340, December 5, 1978, p.1, 3) The brief stop in south Champaign follows major on-site shoots in Chicago and other suburban cities by Paramount and veteran small-screen actor/director Jud Taylor, a regional shift from the main Brooklyn locale of the source novel by prolific journalist Pete Hamill. Student writers Sue Geraci and Janine Toman would recount their visit in the UIUC Illio yearbook, painting a picture of a worn-out company who faced challenges getting themselves and their gear downstate that possibly contributed to a hectic experience. (“Movie Greats,” Vol. 86, summer 1979, p.124) FLESH AND BLOOD eventually aired in two parts as a CBS-TV “movie spectacular” on October 14 and 16, 1979, critically acclaimed for its gritty airAcademy Award nominee Vilmos Zsigmond (THE DEER HUNTER) photographed the story – and lauded for depicting a complicated triangle between wounded human beings: the nascent con-turned-boxer Bobby Fallon (Berenger), his emotionally needful mother Kate (Pleshette), and his absentee father Jack (Mitchell Ryan) who makes an ill-timed return during Fallon’s rise on the circuit. Denzel Washington (CRY FREEDOM) and Kristin Griffith (INTERIORS) appear in early roles as Bobby’s best friend and love interest, respectively. [R]


LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
Krampusnacht Freeky Film Festival* (12/5, 7 p.m.)

@ Golden Corral, Springfield, IL
Central Illinois Film Commission* meeting (12/7, 6 p.m.)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ANIMAL (in Hindi with English sub), DREAM SCENARIO, GODZILLA MINUS ONE (in Japanese with English sub), THE SHIFT (faith film), SILENT NIGHT, FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S*, THE HOLDOVERS, THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES, THE MARVELS, NAPOLEON, SALTBURN*, TROLLS BAND TOGETHER (animation), WISH (animation) (12/1 on), RENAISSANCE (Beyoncé concert film) (12/1-12/3, 12/7), THE ABYSS “special edition” (12/6, 6 p.m.), THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub) (12/7 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DREAM SCENARIO, GODZILLA MINUS ONE (in Japanese with English sub), THE SHIFT (faith film), SILENT NIGHT, THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES, THE MARVELS, NAPOLEON, SALTBURN, THANKSGIVING, TROLLS BAND TOGETHER (animation), WISH (animation) (12/1 on), RENAISSANCE (Beyoncé concert film) (12/1-12/3, 12/7), TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR (concert film) (12/1-12/3), KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON* (12/1, 12/4-12/7), The Metropolitan Opera: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) (12/2, 12:55 p.m., recorded early 2023), HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000) (12/3, 1 & 7 p.m.; 12/6, 7 p.m.), Flashback Cinema: ELF (12/3, 3 & 7 p.m.; 12/6, 7 p.m.), Max Lucado’s “Because of Bethlehem” (filmed Christmas concert performance) (12/5-12/7, 7 p.m.), Waitress (filmed stage performance) (12/7, 7 p.m.) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2023 Weekend Films” feat. THE EQUALIZER 3, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (12/1-12/2, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
FREELANCE, KEVIN HART: REALITY CHECK, more! (11/28 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illinois Public Media presents “The Arthouse Experience Film Series” feat. SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (12/1, 7 p.m.), The News-Gazette Film Series presents IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (12/2, 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!


NOW PLAYING | The Cities Beyond

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL
THE HOLDOVERS, TROLLS BAND TOGETHER (animation), WISH (animation) (11/30-12/2)

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

@ The Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in, Gibson City, IL
“Hot Chocolate & Holiday Movies” feat. THE POLAR EXPRESS (animation) (Screen 1), NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION (Screen 2) (12/1-12/2)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL
THE POLAR EXPRESS “interactive movie party” (12/2, 3 & 7 p.m.)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL
WISH (animation) (12/1-12/3)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL
THE HOLDOVERS (12/1-12/3)



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

NEW! 12/18
Champaign Movie Makers* mixer
@ Esquire Lounge, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.

CU International Film Festival*
@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL

24th Roger Ebert’s Film Festival*
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL


COMMUNITY & CAMPUS SERIES | Champaign-Urbana area

Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series”/“Mix 94.5 Throwback Thursdays”*
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.
12/21: DIE HARD

Illinois Public Media presents “The Arthouse Experience Film Series”
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.


Compiled by Jason Pankoke.


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