Coming Soon: Nov-Dec 2008

The following special events and meetings are “coming soon” to the area between November and December. Please support this diverse film programming by attending, spreading the word, and becoming active!


Tuesday, November 11, through Saturday, November 15: The movie house that Ebertfest calls home abides by demonstrating some timely wit with their film scheduling. This week’s “Reel Deals” second-run offering is the Coen Brothers’ black comedy, BURN AFTER READING (2008, Nov. 11 & 13, 7 p.m.), followed by their most popular feature to date in certain demographics, THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998, Nov. 15, 1 & 7 p.m.). One made money and then quickly sunk out of sight; the other quickly sunk out of sight without making much money, but also introduced hipsters to White Russians and bowling while earning its cult status the proper way – in due time. @ The Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park St., Champaign. $2 Tues., $3 Thurs., $5 Sat. Click for more

Thursday, November 13, 5:30 p.m.: The IPRH Film Series concludes for the semester with a screening and discussion of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952), directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, and how it relates to the year-long theme of “Disciplinarity: Films on Film.” Sponsored by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. @ KAM Auditorium (Room 62), Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, 500 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign. Free. Click for more

Thursday, November 13, through Thursday, December 18, 6:30 p.m.: Five weeks’ worth of lesser-known Humphrey Bogart movies with a Thanksgiving break in the middle … how can you beat that? Yet another Richland Community College film class taught by Skip Huston. @ The Avon Theater, 426 N. Water St., Decatur. $50 registration. Click for more

Friday, November 14, 9 p.m.: Illini Film & Video will present the entries and award the winners in their second annual 49 Hour Film Competition concurrent with the evening’s “Illinites” event. @ Courtyard Cafe, Illini Union, UIUC, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana. Free. Click for more

We now interrupt “Coming Soon” for some backstory from which you should draw contextual ties between the past and the present:

Flashback momentAll the young whippersnappers reading C-U Blogfidential probably don’t realize that the auditorium The Canopy Club has called home for the past decade was once a first-run movie joint called the Thunderbird Theatre and housed the area’s largest indoor screen. After the Thunderbird flew the coop, new owners reopened the space in the mid-Nineties as the “Brew ‘n’ View” in hopes of attracting the University of Illinois college crowd with second-run Hollywood flicks, vintage crowd-pleasers (ANIMAL HOUSE, anyone?), and – the kicker – alcohol and pizza delivered right to your lazy ass in the theater. Alleged mismanagement and rifts with the folks behind the “BnV” at The Vic in Chicago killed this venture, after which Ian Goldberg and friends moved in for the long haul. The Canopy tried sporadically to replicate the “BnV” concept as a second-tier attraction alongside their bread-and-butter music concerts, but eventually hung the concept out to dry … End flashback moment

Flashback moment 2Several years ago, a young filmmaker named Bradley Beesley scheduled a stop at The Highdive as part of a DIY tour promoting his hour-long documentary about the “sport” of catfish catching with one’s bare hands, OKIE NOODLING. To beef up the show’s running time, Beesley also gave the audience a peek at his work-in-progress about The Flaming Lips as well as an extremely cryptic trailer for a low-budget sci-fi opus starring the Lips’ Wayne Coyne as an alien. Shout! Factory eventually released the former to DVD as THE FEARLESS FREAKS in 2005, while Echo Bridge Home Entertainment reissued the original OKIE NOODLING (yes, there are two) in 2007, yet the really weird offering, CHRISTMAS ON MARS, has been nowhere to be found. Until very recently … End flashback moment 2

We now return you to “Coming Soon” for a coda that will bring things into perspective and warrant a head scratch or two:

Sunday, November 16, 9:30 & 11:30 p.m.: Seemingly out of the blue, the twain shall meet when the completed CHRISTMAS ON MARS, which resembles in its updated trailer the scraggly love child of THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT and SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS, has its C-U big-screen debut at the Canopy as part of a new movie series called “Pizza + Pitcher and Movie.” The concept sounds familiar, no? The Goldberg clan is trusting that it will catch on, given the extensive schedule already mapped out, so we’ll see whether patrons find the experience refreshing or so, like, 1995. Incidentally, MARS will be shown again on Sunday, December 7, also at 9:30 p.m., and is the only brand-new movie on the entire “P+P&M” slate. While one may question how legal the Canopy’s other screenings are, the MARS two-fer is actually a legit public performance coordinated with Warner Bros., which is releasing a CD/DVD edition today, Tuesday, November 11, and the film’s theatrical distributor, Cinema Purgatorio. We won’t be getting one of the token 35mm prints making the rounds, by the way, so pixels it shall be. @ The Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana. Click for more

Sunday, November 16, 9 p.m.: Naturally, a good (if outdated) idea can’t go to waste, so leave it to the Nieto clan to debut a similar series … on the same day of the week … during prime time … in the fall of 2008. Coincidence? Um, sure it is. At least their “Sunday Night Cinema” will take place in downtown Champaign and within stumbling distance of the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters, so we won’t harp too long and hard about it. After a month of spies (GOLDFINGER), ghouls (HALLOWEEN, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), and a little bit of the ultra-violence (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, KILL BILL), the baristas will press “play” this weekend for THE BLUES BROTHERS, to be followed by ZOOLANDER (Nov. 23) and FIGHT CLUB (Nov. 30). Unique to this variation are drink specials inspired by the evening’s feature. If you dig, keep an eye on local publications for upcoming titles since the venue has no Web presence and, as we know, should probably be coy about promoting said titles for legal reasons. @ Seven Saints, 32 E. Chester St., Champaign. (217) 351-7775

Monday, December 1, 8 p.m.: The tickets have been on sale for a week now, so all you procrastinating B-movie masochists had better follow the link at the end of this entry right quick if you want a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing Bruce Campbell, live and in person, introduce his new flick called MY NAME IS BRUCE. (I mean, sheesh, we only told you about this several weeks ago.) Step on it! @ The Avon Theater, 426 N. Water St., Decatur. $20. Click for more


If you are involved in a film event that you would like C-U Blogfidential to list, please forward the who, what, where, when, and how much to cuconfidential [at] gmail [dot] com.

We are looking for an Events Editor who would preview and review the types of happenings listed above. If interested in getting your journalistic film fix by giving CUBlog a little boost with your efforts, write us today!

~ Jason Pankoke

Comments closed.