Calendar: July 30-Aug. 5, 2021

July 31st, 2021

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 (director, UNLISTED OWNER, Lawford County Productions, Sumner, IL)
8/1: Cara Maurizi (actress, DEEP LEARNING, Consumer Grade Film Co., Chicago, IL)
8/2: Jeff Kacmarynski (writer/director, WITCH ON A WALKER, Sub-Basement Films, Champaign, IL)
8/2: Satina Braswell (co-owner, Dark Moon Loot, Urbana, IL)
8/3: Daniela LaFave (SEO specialist, National Instruments, Austin, TX)
8/5: Steve Scott (design manager, Dungeons & Dragons, WotC/Hasbro, Renton, WA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Right now, I feel like a rebel without a through line in the real world, so I’ll just make it easy for myself on the Field front. Here are three discoveries from recent days of locally-relevant films I found online when not expecting it. To start, BAD CHARLESTON CHARLIE is available to watch after all; Epix allows Ross Hagen and friends to run roughshod on the KKK through their streaming catalog. And next, despite what we reported a few weeks ago, Jiayan “Jenny” Shi’s FINDING YINGYING is not completely restricted to a pay service as we once believed; Pluto TV still features the acclaimed documentary, which was just nominated for an Emmy. To close, there is a kind of magic in locating familiar films while searching Tubi TV for something completely different; why, is that New Art Film Festival selection BEYOND THE BASEMENT DOOR, directed by Bloomington-Normal native Jason Huls, and GHOST GIRLS, directed in California by fellow B-N native Paul A. Brooks (BELOW DECKS, NAFF ’17), materializing out of the blue?

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, STILLWATER, BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, OLD, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY (7/30 on), THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/5 on)

@ Anniversary Plaza, Main Quad, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board Presents “Summer Quad Film Series” feat. GODZILLA VS. KONG (8/5, 9 p.m., free)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, STILLWATER, BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE FOREVER PURGE, JOE BELL, OLD, ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY (7/30 on), Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema: Sleeping Beauty (8/1, 3 p.m., recorded), MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (8/1, 3 & 7 p.m.; 8/4, 7 p.m.), The Metropolitan Opera: Tosca (8/4, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/5 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE GOD COMMITTEE, JOEY & ELLA: A KANGAROO TAIL, MIDNIGHT IN THE SWITCHGRASS, A QUIET PLACE PART II, more! (7/27 on) Online rentals

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 23-29, 2021

July 24th, 2021

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!

7/23: Randy Wheat (owner, Imagemaker Video Productions, Normal, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

I’m only laying down one story of interest instead of multiple because, as they say, it’s been a week. However, the story is a good one. Echoing both our previous Field Report about former local college students who struck it big in entertainment and today’s Almanac repeat, let’s enjoy the saga of T.J. Newman, an alumna of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. After graduation in 2006, she tried her hand at acting in New York theater before giving up and moving back home to Arizona, where she became a flight attendant like other family members. A local book store sparked her interest in writing and through perseverance, as told recently to Christopher Borrelli of the Chicago Tribune and Kayla Holliday of Vanity Fair, she arrived at the airborne thriller Falling, her first novel. Published this month by Simon & Schuster after the movie rights were sold in advance to Universal Studios, Falling made its debut at no. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 33,000 copies to date. This flight risk was worth it.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoThursday, July 25, 1996: James R. Velde, a former Hollywood executive, passes away at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA, at age 82, according to an obituary published by the Los Angeles Daily News. Velde spent his entire career in the motion picture industry apart from serving in the United States army during World War II, starting at a regional shipping office of Paramount Pictures in the mid-1930s and eventually retiring in 1977 as a senior vice president of United Artists after nearly 30 years with that studio. He is well regarded in the industry for his innovations in film distribution and marketing as well as philanthropy. A native of Bloomington, IL, Velde joined Paramount after graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University, per a 1976 Boxoffice magazine article. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online Zoom
Giertz Gallery at Parkland College presents “Around the Block III” webinar feat. multidisciplinary artists Keenan Dailey (GREENE)* and Crystal Hartman (WHITE CHOCOLATE)* (7/28, 6 p.m.) Register


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
OLD, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, CRUELLA, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE FOREVER PURGE, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, ZOLA (7/23 on), THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, STILLWATER (7/29 on)

@ Busey Bank, Urbana, IL
The Urbana Free Library and Urbana Arts and Culture Program present “Cinema & Sound” event feat. BLACK PANTHER, live performance by Ibrahim Ouedraogo (7/28, 7 p.m., parking lot)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
JOE BELL, OLD, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE FOREVER PURGE, A QUIET PLACE PART II, ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY (7/23 on), WEATHERING WITH YOU (animé; 7/25, 3 p.m.; 7/27, 7 p.m.), JURASSIC PARK (7/25, 3 & 7 p.m.; 7/28, 7 p.m.), ABOMINABLE, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD (7/27-7/29, 10 a.m.), The Metropolitan Opera: Carmen (7/28, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), JUNGLE CRUISE (7/29 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DIE IN A GUNFIGHT, HELD, INITIATION, OUT OF DEATH, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, more! (7/20 on) Online rentals

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 16-22, 2021

July 16th, 2021

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!

7/16: Bobbie O’Steen (moderator, “Inside the Cutting Room with Bobbie O’Steen” series, Manhattan Edit Workshop, New York, NY)
7/21: Shawnee E. Tefteller (owner, Shawnee Studios: Model & Talent Management/Casting, Mt. Olive, IL)
7/22: Wanda Kanagy (account executive, Premier Print Group, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Two weeks ago, the Field Report fawned over temporary residents of downstate Illinois who are now famous. Today’s filing offers a sort of corrective that instead highlights artists with roots in our area whose distinct talents blossomed once they lived elsewhere. We’ll start with our friend Tristan Duke, once a young barista, budding photographer, and intricate illustrator here in the C-U who has settled in Los Angeles and become an in-demand gallery artist with science-based optical illusions. His newest creation, “Aperture Lucida,” was developed over a two-year period while an artist-in-residence at the Exploratorium of San Francisco and received its belated public unveiling at the same on Thursday, July 1, in the Osher Gallery. Then, we’ll continue with our friend Megan Johns, also a young barista, student, and singer-songwriter in her previous life du C-U, who alighted on Eugene, Oregon, where she continues to perform, acts, and teaches painting. She and husband Shannon Swords have also partnered with a local collective on a viral “Scene in Eugene” short film series; the seventh episode FEATHERS, a female-fronted drama with fantastic overtones that was written, directed, and partly scored by Johns, premiered New Year’s Day on YouTube and has won awards and citations at festivals in Phoenix and San Francisco. Finally, we’ll conclude with a friend of several friends that we first talked about many moons ago, Cody Renée Cameron, who flirted with Playboy-branded fame while still a University of Illinois undergraduate and waitress in the C-U and has gone full tilt as a model, actress, and stunt woman in the 10 years she has called L.A. home. Her screen appearances come in numerous shapes and sizes, from bit parts in BALLERS, THE NEON DEMON, and EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD STORY to featured roles in indies like VEROTIKA and GIRLS GUNS AND BLOOD; she and B-film star Robin Sydney even trended in genre circles all last year due to their trio of BARBIE & KENDRA quarantine comedies for Full Moon Features. What will all three of our engaging West Coast transplants come up with next?

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

45 Years AgoThursday, July 15, 1976: Beverly Hills, CA-based distributor Crown International Pictures opens the film DEATH RIDERS on 100 screens in the Kansas City-Omaha region of the Midwest, according to the exhibition trade magazine Boxoffice. One of the only non-fiction titles in the company’s catalog and the rare documentary to play the drive-in circuit, DEATH RIDERS is directed by James Wilson of Hallmark Entertainment and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Death Riders Motorcycle Thrill Show, a traveling stunt team founded in the early Seventies by Floyd Reed, Sr., and featuring his teenage son Danny as “Mr. T.N.T.” Two weeks prior to this roll out, the film’s world premiere took place at the North Drive-In of Terre Haute, IN, on Friday, July 2, a live Death Riders exhibition providing additional impact at the start of the show. Booking agent T.N.T. Productions is based in the Reed family’s hometown of Danville, IL, while the crew’s practice stadium is 25 miles away in Cayuga, IN; a memorable scene in DEATH RIDERS finds Danny’s grandmother Clara fainting in the Cayuga grandstand after watching him crash in front of the hometown crowd. Additional thrills performed for camera by the Death Riders would appear a year later in the fictional action-comedy DEATH DRIVER, produced and self-distributed by prolific North Carolina independent filmmaker Earl Owensby. [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE FOREVER PURGE, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, A QUIET PLACE PART II, ZOLA (7/16 on), OLD, SNAKE EYES (7/22 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, CRUELLA, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE FOREVER PURGE, A QUIET PLACE PART II (7/16 on), Turner Classic Movies presents THE AFRICAN QUEEN 70th anniversary (7/18, 3 & 7 p.m.; 7/21, 7 p.m.), PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (7/18, 3 & 7 p.m.; 7/21, 7 p.m.), FATE/STAY NIGHT [HEAVEN’S FEEL] III. SPRING SONG (animé; 7/18, 3 p.m.; 7/20, 7 p.m.), SING, KUNG FU PANDA (7/20-7/22, 10 a.m.), BO BURNHAM: INSIDE (comedy special; 7/22, 7 p.m.), OLD, SNAKE EYES (7/22 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
MORTAL KOMBAT, SEPARATION, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, WRATH OF MAN, more! (7/13 on) Online rentals

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 9-15, 2021

July 9th, 2021

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 (special make-up effects artist, JAKOB’S WIFE, RLJE Films, Woodland Hills, CA)
7/12: Michael Wiese (president, Michael Wiese Productions, Studio City, CA)
7/14: Griffin Hammond (senior video creative, The Recount, New York, NY)
7/15: Jill Van Voorst (owner, LIX, Savoy, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

In recent months, I’ve seen mention of numerous people and things in the press, social media, and other weird corners of our world that call back to MICRO-FILM, so here be three of the most current sightings! News broke on Deadline this past Wednesday, July 7, that Sony Pictures Television is developing an animated show based on Faust, the adult horror-superhero comic from the Eighties created by Tim Vigil and David Quinn. The project’s screenwriter is Matteo Pizzolo, a veteran producer of punk and alternative content who started out with the anarchistic New York indie THREAT that we spotlighted in MF 3, while a prior Faust adaptation, the live-action feature FAUST: LOVE OF THE DAMNED, figured in a comics-to-screen article we published in MF 4. And then, we rewind to Friday, June 25, when the analog lovers at Lunchmeat VHS announced via Facebook they were offering a short run of collector’s items to celebrate the 35th anniversary of HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT, the seminal underground documentary short by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn that we covered in MF 6; while t-shirts remain, the snappy hand-decorated cassettes are already sold out. Not sold out are the mass-produced DVDs and Blu-ray discs sitting in the storehouses of media merchants everywhere and, at times, it pays to look at their listings a bit carefully. I received my first Oldies.com mail-order catalog the other day and, despite the company’s handle, there is a good amount of contemporary non-Hollywood material in their inventory. It includes former CUBlog contributor Tyler Tharpe’s second film, RETURN IN RED, which sports a blink-and-you’ll-miss-me cameo and appears in MF 6 and 7. Only costs $3.98 plus shipping! (Except that it’s out of stock when you look at the online product page. Ugh. Stop playing me, print!) While you’re spending freely, dearest revitalized consumers, you should consider making a run on the MF run while I still have some.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

30 Years AgoJuly 1-15, 1991: Location shooting for the big-screen biography of legendary baseball player George “Babe” Ruth, aptly titled THE BABE, takes place at Danville Stadium on the south end of Danville, IL. Led by director Arthur Hiller, the production crew redresses the home of the Danville Dans club to alternately resemble Fenway Park of Boston and the defunct Forbes Field of Pittsburgh for scenes in the film; some shots are eventually augmented with early CGI effects to extend the upper decks and fill the stands not populated with flesh-and-blood extras recruited from the immediate area. Hollywood actors who are on hand to perform include Bruce Boxleitner, Kelly McGillis, and star John Goodman. Universal Pictures would release THE BABE on Friday, April 17, 1992, to more than 1,500 screens in North America. News-Gazette article [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE FOREVER PURGE, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SUMMER OF SOUL, ZOLA (7/9 on), ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS (7/15 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, CRUELLA, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE FOREVER PURGE, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, A QUIET PLACE PART II, ZOLA (7/9 on), UFC 264: Dustin Poirier vs. Connor McGregor, more (7/10, 9 p.m., simulcast), Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema: Coppelia (7/11, 3 p.m., recorded), TOP GUN (7/11, 3 & 6 p.m.; 7/14, 7 p.m.), THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, DESPICABLE ME (7/13-7/15, 10 a.m.), The Metropolitan Opera: Porgy and Bess (7/14, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), Fathom Events and Drum Corps International present “The DCI Celebration Countdown” (7/15, 7 p.m.)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
LOCKED IN, THE NEST, more! (7/6 on) Online rentals

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 2-8, 2021

July 2nd, 2021

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!

7/3: Jorge Cazares (design specialist, Adept Content Solutions, Urbana, IL)
7/5: Paul Riismandel (cohost, Radio Survivor podcast, San Francisco, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Alumni and almost-alumni of downstate Illinois colleges have made headlines recently in the industry press, so we’ve compiled links of that coverage for you. Deadline confirmed on Wednesday, June 30, that Nick Offerman will play the coach of the Rockford (Illinois) Peaches women’s baseball team in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, the reboot series being produced by Sony Pictures Television for Amazon. Famous in his role as “Ron Swanson” on PARKS AND RECREATION, Offerman earned a BFA degree at the University of Illinois and became involved in Chicago theater as an actor, fight choreographer, and carpenter after leaving Urbana-Champaign. A day before on Tuesday, June 29, The Wrap reported that Amazon had purchased first-run rights for the popular podcast SmartLess, hosted by comic actors Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes, in a deal worth up to $80 million. Best known for playing “Jack” on WILL & GRACE, Hayes attended Illinois State University in the early 1990s and split Normal early to work as a pianist and music director in Chicago theater at roughly the same time Swanson was there. And on Thursday, June 24, the day TBS aired the finale of CONAN, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Conan O’Brien’s venerable sidekick Andy Richter about their history together and his plans. A short-lived UIUC student and a Columbia College Chicago graduate who started his career with improv training and commercial production in the Windy City, Richter has now spent a combined 19 years sitting next to O’Brien during the latter’s 28-year-long run hosting late-night television that spanned two networks, three programs, and many trips without borders. May the Midwest keep representing in popular culture!

We’ll also share a bonus item that we found recently. Adrian Pennington of RedShark discussed the future of filmmaking with Douglas Trumbull, the veteran Hollywood special effects wizard who is well known for his experimentation behind the scenes. He is a proponent of high frame rate (HFR) image capture and presentation, believing it will become viable once the distracting “unreal” sheen that is caused while projecting HFR with available technology can be solved. One of the few major directors to share enthusiasm for the format and is mentioned in the article is Ang Lee, whose last two features, BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK and GEMINI MAN, were attempts at creating HFR cinema that can fully immerse an audience in the storytelling. Lee, a 1980 BFA graduate of the UIUC theater program, has built a very distinguished film career and will hopefully conquer this perplexing challenge.

My god,” you just muttered as you exhaled deeply, “this Field Report is full of stars.” Every now and then, dearest readers, it’s bound to happen. It’s also a lesson in not confining ourselves as we never know where the next steps will take us. That said, on the way out the door to your holiday weekend activities that you will observe carefully during the still-active pandemic we all live in, be sure to send a friendly wish skyward to misters Offerman and Hayes. They both turned 51 on Saturday, June 26. Hurrah!

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, THE FOREVER PURGE, SUMMER OF SOUL, ZOLA, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SPIRIT UNTAMED (7/2 on), BLACK WIDOW (7/8 on)

@ Hessel Park, Champaign Park District, Champaign, IL
“Friday Night Flix” feat. NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (7/2, dusk)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, THE FOREVER PURGE, ZOLA, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, A QUIET PLACE PART II (7/2 on), JAWS (7/4, 3 & 7 p.m.; 7/7, 7 p.m.), DOLITTLE, TROLLS WORLD TOUR (7/6-7/8, 10 a.m.), The Metropolitan Opera presents YANNICK: AN ARTIST’S JOURNEY (7/7, 1 & 6:30 p.m.), BLACK WIDOW (7/8 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DEATH IN TEXAS, MEANDER, THE PAPER TIGERS, ROCK DOG 2, more! (6/29 on) Online rentals

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 25-July 1, 2021

June 25th, 2021

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: Eric Spudic (production associate, IN MEMORY OF, Wicked Pixel Cinema, St. Louis, MO)
6/27: Joe Sherlock (writer/director, CHANNEL 99, Skullface Astronaut, Corvallis, OR)
6/30: Drea Aarons (multimedia artist, Art of Drea Aarons, Champaign-Urbana, IL)
7/1: Michael Juvinall (editor, Horror Patch website, Channahon, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Looks like we have a three-peat this week, aficionados, with three timely topics to check out for the third week straight! First up is a brand-new venture from sisters Chasadee and Shatyra Hawkins of Urbana called Chambana Backyard Movies, which provides clients with a giant inflatable screen, sound system, and more for that perfect night in – meaning, outside and in the dark while watching a favorite flick! WCIA-TV aired a brief segment on Monday about their service. Back to brick-and-mortar showbiz, we noticed that Pens to Lens is absent from the new season announced for the Virginia Theatre and presume it will be a livestreamed event like a year ago. The deadline for student-made films to be entered remains next Wednesday, June 30, so be sure to review the competition rules at their website, kids, and contact them by writing students [at] penstolens [dot] com if there are last-minute questions or a need for an extension. To end as the weekend begins, former playwright and C-U theater mainstay Aaron Polk devotes his keyboard time lately to drafting essays on the cinema, fortified with keen observation and fleshed out with honest personal asides, for his WordPress ‘blog called Cinematic Rabbit Hole. He also appears on the locally produced Mashley at the Movies podcast. We hope his birthday today is the best.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
F9: THE FAST SAGA, 12 MIGHTY ORPHANS, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, A QUIET PLACE PART II, THE SPARKS BROTHERS, SPIRIT UNTAMED, WRATH OF MAN (6/25 on), ZOLA (6/29 on), THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, THE FOREVER PURGE, SUMMER OF SOUL (7/1 on)

@ Anniversary Plaza, Main Quad, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board Presents “Summer Quad Film Series” feat. WONDER WOMAN 1984 (7/1, 9 p.m., free)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, QUEEN BEES, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SPIRIT UNTAMED (6/25 on), Turner Classic Movies presents THE BIRDCAGE 25th anniversary (6/27, 3 & 7 p.m.; 6/28, 7 p.m.), MEAN GIRLS (6/27 3 & 6 p.m.; 6/30, 7 p.m.), THE CROODS: A NEW AGE, MINIONS (6/28-7/1, 10 a.m.), ZOLA (6/30 on), THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, THE FOREVER PURGE (7/1 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN Part One, LANSKY, NIGHT OF THE SICARIO, NOBODY, THE UNHOLY, more! (6/22 on) Online rentals

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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Two days remain for UI Press sale

June 24th, 2021

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Are you in need of a literary fix, dearest readers? Then, be sure to investigate the half-off sale being held by the University of Illinois Press through the end of Friday, June 25. We’ve mentioned them a handful of times on C-U Blogfidential since they are the only local publisher with a sizeable selection of histories and cultural studies on the cinema, and now might be a golden opportunity to take a closer look! Books in our milieu can be found at the online store under the “Film & Media” category, but mention of the sale itself is cleverly hidden in plain sight on the home page. I learned of it through their mailing list, so you should join today to make sure that you receive the news first. And then, enter the secret code as shown in the banner above when you check out to save a little money or help you afford a taller stack to peruse.

Trust me, there is plenty to select from. Recent volumes, all with titles that describe succinctly what one should expect, include: Unruly Cinema: History, Politics, and Bollywood by Rini Bhattacharya Mehta (released June 2020), Film and the Anarchist Imagination, 2nd ed., by Richard Porton (rel. Oct. 2020), Laughing to Keep from Dying: African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century by Danielle Fuentes Morgan (rel. Nov. 2020), Fighting Visibility: Sports Media and Female Athletes in the UFC by Jennifer McClearen (rel. Mar. 2021), Visual Alterity: Seeing Difference in Cinema by Randall Halle (also rel. Mar 2021), and the latest entry in the “Contemporary Film Directors” series, Werner Herzog by Joshua Lund (rel. July. 2020), which centers on the esoteric output of a favorite Roger Ebert’s Film Festival guest. Many are available as a hardcover, paperback, and eBook; let’s presume the discount can be used to buy any edition and does not apply to other material in their catalog, such as journals.

There is an additional title I’ll mention, should fate allow, for it might as well have been designed with CUBlog in mind. “In the 1950s, the gangster movie and film noir crisscrossed to create gangster noir,” begins the dust jacket description for I Died a Million Times: Gangster Noir in Midcentury America (rel. Jan. 2021), “[and author] Robert Miklitsch takes readers into this fascinating subgenre of films focused on crime syndicates, crooked cops, and capers.” You can click the “Google Preview” button, tucked next to the hard-boiled cover art on the product page, to sample its content if you’d like. A professor of English at Ohio University, Miklitsch has published two previous forays in noir studies with UI Press, The Red and the Black: American Film Noir in the 1950s (2017) and Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: On Classic Film Noir (2014), along with numerous other books and articles.

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While researching for this piece the last couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed the supplemental outreach done by UI Press that I’ve spent time with. Subscribers to the e-mails will receive a link to one complementary eBook every month that can be opened with the Adobe Digital Editions application. A “Contemporary Film Directors” monograph on Todd Haynes, the provocative talent behind SAFE, FAR FROM HEAVEN, I’M NOT THERE, and DARK WATERS, happened to be the first title I was given access to. They also post audio and video interviews. An example of the former is this episode of “The UPside” podcast, moderated by Elizabeth Hess and featuring Dr. Ronald H. Sadoff and Gillian B. Anderson, co-founders of the journal Music and the Moving Image and its namesake conference held in New York City every May.

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Calendar: June 18-24, 2021

June 18th, 2021

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 (publisher, Champaign Urbana Theater History, Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Since I had no reasonable time in the past week to write Confidentially, we’ll have to make due with three more things in brief that I hope you’ll investigate further. To start, the Champaign Park District finally announced a schedule for the Virginia Theatre, which will reopen to the public with a Gordon Lightfoot concert on Monday, August 16, and it includes retro film fare for both the mostly-pre-1960 crowd (The News-Gazette Film Series) and mostly post-1980 pack (The Rewind 92.5 Movie Series) along with Roger Ebert’s Film Festival in September. Also, on deck for the weekend beginning today, Friday, June 18, is the first in-public Boneyard Arts Festival since 2019; organizer Kelly White and 40 North 88 West have provided a visual guide at their website that, just like their days of yore, has no local cinema attractions in store. We’ll conclude with this recent article in the N-G about producer Robin Christian of Dreamscape Cinema, who began filming something called C.O.R.N. 3 in the area earlier this month; once it wraps, they’ll have launched a whopping five features in the last five years: the three sci-fi (f)ears of C.O.R.N., the shark thriller BELOW, and the holiday dramedy A FARGO CHRISTMAS STORY. What pandemic?

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoJune 14-27, 1996: After celebrating a grand opening in March and establishing a business model of serving alcohol and pizza with second-run Hollywood fare, the operators of the Brew & View at the Thunderbird team with The Octopus alternative weekly to develop signature events. Their inaugural show, “The 1st Annual Octopus Sci Fi Film Festival,” presents several science fiction classics and favorites across a two-week summer stretch at Urbana’s Thunderbird Theater, touted in its previous first-run era as having the largest movie screen in Champaign-Urbana. Selected by Octopus publisher Paul Young with assistance from his staff, including future New Art Film Festival program director Jason Pankoke, the marathon pairs episodes from the 1940 serial incarnation of pulp hero “The Shadow” with a choice roster: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951), DR. STRANGELOVE, INVADERS FROM MARS (1953), THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, THE ROAD WARRIOR, THE TERMINATOR, and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953). All films are projected from 35 and 16 mm prints rented through various agencies from all over the United States. Similar shows of a more esoteric bent would follow the well-received “Sci Fi” experience over the next year, ceasing in mid-1997 after the Brew & View’s closure. [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
12 MIGHTY ORPHANS, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, THE SPARKS BROTHERS, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SPIRIT UNTAMED, WRATH OF MAN (6/18 on), MINIONS (6/18, 3:45 p.m.), SHREK FOREVER AFTER (6/18, 6:45 p.m.), JURASSIC WORLD (6/20, 4 p.m.), A QUIET PLACE double feature (6/23, 5 p.m.), F9: THE FAST SAGA (6/24 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, DREAM HORSE, IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, QUEEN BEES, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SPIRIT UNTAMED (6/18 on), INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (6/20, 3 & 7 p.m.; 6/23, 7 p.m.), JERRY MAGUIRE 25th anniversary (6/20, 3 & 7 p.m.; 6/24, 7 p.m.), GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN, POKÉMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU (6/22-6/24, 10 a.m.), OF ANIMALS AND MEN (6/22, 7 p.m.), F9: THE FAST SAGA (6/24 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
FRENCH EXIT, GODZILLA VS. KONG, H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE DEEP ONES, TIMECRAFTERS: THE TREASURE OF PIRATE’S COVE, VOYAGERS, more! (6/15 on) Online rentals

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 11-17, 2021

June 11th, 2021

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

Here are three timely items that you might want to look up today, if it’s no trouble. First, the acclaimed MTV Documentary Films release FINDING YINGYING, which reflects on the abbreviated life of former University of Illinois research student Yingying Zhang, will stop being streamed after this Sunday, June 13, at Pluto TV, MTV.com, and several cable providers that carry MTV VOD content, although it will remain in the Paramount+ catalog. Elsewhere, Champaign residents Matthew Gladney and Ashley Rodman, who team up regularly to record the podcast Mashley at the Movies, just released an IN THE HEIGHTS episode in which they review the musical with special guest Rosa of the Latinx Lens website. Finally, passes went on sale this past Monday, June 7, for the 22nd Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, and surely the event will be a hot ticket in September at the Virginia Theater of Champaign since we’re apparently free to congregate in Illinois again. Do the public things smartly, dearest citizens. Please.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

15 Years AgoSaturday, June 17, 2006: Champaign movie studio Dreamscape Cinema follows up the successful local debut of their flagship title SHEEBA in March with the world premiere of sophomore release DISCONNECT. The time travel drama starring Steffany Huckaby, Michael Muhney, Amanda Troop, Holmes Osbourne, Eddie Jones, and Tami Erin makes its 7 p.m. debut at Foellinger Auditorium on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana. DISCONNECT would closely follow its predecessor into the United States entertainment marketplace by a few weeks in early 2011 as a DVD edition issued by Osiris Entertainment. Dreamscape founder Robin Christian served as writer and director for this offering. As reported on 6/6/06, 2/19/11 at CUBlog. [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, SPIRIT UNTAMED, WRATH OF MAN (6/11 on), JURASSIC WORLD (6/11, 7:15 p.m.), THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD (6/11-6/12, 7: 30 p.m.; 6/15 on), THE SPARKS BROTHERS (6/17 on)

@ Music Barn, Allerton Park & Retreat Center, UIUC, Monticello, IL
“Sunset Drive-In Movie Series” feat. MOANA (6/11-6/12, 8 p.m.) Sold out.

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, QUEEN BEES, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, CRUELLA, DREAM HORSE, A QUIET PLACE PART II, SPIRIT UNTAMED (6/11 on), THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD previews (6/11-6/12, 6:10 & 8:45 p.m.), UFC 263: Israel Adesanya vs. Martin Vettori, Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno, more (6/12, 9 p.m., simulcast), MY FAIR LADY (6/13, 6/16, 1 & 6 p.m.), CHILDREN OF THE SEA (6/13, 3 p.m.; 6/15, 7 p.m.), MAMMA MIA! (6/13, 3 & 6 p.m.; 6/16, 7 p.m.), THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD (6/15 on), A DOG’S WAY HOME, TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES (6/15-6/17, 10 a.m.), A FATHER’S LEGACY (6/17, 7 p.m.)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
ASSAULT ON VA-33, CITY OF LIES, FLASHBACK, ROUGE HOSTAGE, more! (6/8 on) Online rentals

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 4-10, 2021

June 4th, 2021

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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NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, SPIRIT UNTAMED, CRUELLA, GODZILLA VS. KONG, A QUIET PLACE PART II, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, WRATH OF MAN (6/4 on), JURASSIC WORLD (6/4, 1 p.m.), SCOOB! (6/4, 4:15 p.m.)

@ Hessel Park, Champaign Park District, Champaign, IL
“Friday Night Flix” feat. THE SANDLOT (6/4, dusk)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, SPIRIT UNTAMED, CRUELLA, DREAM HORSE, A QUIET PLACE PART II, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW (6/4 on), BRIDESMAIDS 10th anniversary (6/6, 3 p.m.; 6/9, 7 p.m.), THE GOONIES (6/6, 3 p.m., 6/10, 6 p.m.), Joe Hand Promotions presents Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul exhibition boxing match (6/6, 7 p.m., simulcast), SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (both 6/8-6/10, 10 a.m.), IN THE HEIGHTS, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY (6/10 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
AMERICAN TRAITOR, BOOGIE, ENDANGERED SPECIES, TRIGGER POINT, more! (6/1 on) Online rentals

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 28-June 3, 2021

May 28th, 2021

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)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CRUELLA, A QUIET PLACE PART II, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MORTAL KOMBAT, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, WRATH OF MAN (5/28 on), BACK TO THE FUTURE (5/28, 3:30 p.m.), THE CONJURING, THE CONJURING 2 (5/31-6/3, single daily shows), SPIRIT UNTAMED (6/3 on)

@ Anniversary Plaza, Main Quad, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board Presents “Summer Quad Film Series” feat. RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (6/3, 9 p.m., free)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
CRUELLA, A QUIET PLACE PART II, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, DREAM HORSE, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MORTAL KOMBAT, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD (5/28 on), GREASE (5/30, 3 p.m.; 6/3, 6 p.m.), THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2, THE LEGO MOVIE (6/1-6/3, 10 a.m.), SPIRIT UNTAMED (6/3 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
AMERICAN FIGHTER, CHAOS WALKING, HUNTED, THE ROOKIES, more! (5/25 on) Online rentals

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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Early Kacmarynski creeps onto BD

May 27th, 2021

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“Not everything goes as planned” is a truism that applies to all aspects of our lives and forever looms over the filmmaking process. Production snags and project shutdowns have famously hobbled more than a few Hollywood endeavors, yet they can derail no matter what the scope or budget may be. To wit, a couple of years ago I did my part in embellishing the tale of MY BEST FRIEND’S BIRTHDAY, Quentin Tarantino and Craig Hamann’s “lost first film” attempted prior to RESERVOIR DOGS. In my contribution for Andrew J. Rausch’s book on the same, I drew a parallel between their learning experience and the evidence left behind by many of us dabblers and hard-working dreamers. We all want to flourish and succeed, and we all can falter for reasons both operatic and mundane. It often means being honest at a critical juncture and asking the loaded question, “To shelve or not to shelve?”

The right answer is not always attractive and a decision made is not absolutely permanent. For one area resident, the present day is the correct time to reverse the call on an older project he had stowed away after its completion, and discerning viewers can now add it to their own video shelves. Released on Blu-ray and DVD the week of Monday, May 3, by Burning Bulb Media Group of Bridgeport, West Virginia, the black-and-white feature DISSOLUTION is a meditation on loss and grief where the supernatural lingers in nearly every frame. It is the first full-length effort by Jeff Kacmarynski of Sub-Basement Films in Champaign, originally lensed 20 years ago in the stark and snowy Utah wilderness, and relies on a dreamlike structure for its lo-fi effectiveness.

“At the time I made [DISSOLUTION], most film festivals wanted movies on film,” explains Kacmarynski to C-U Blogfidential in a recent conversation, “and this was shot on digital video cassettes and edited on [a personal computer]. Affording a film transfer was out of the question.” Family and friends were able to take in the fruits of his team’s efforts on VHS, at the least, and found a haunting parable of “be careful what you wish for.” A divorced music agent named Paul Anderson (Mike Brown) moves back to the mountainous region near a forest where his son Joey (Scotty Fidel) allegedly died four years earlier. After Paul sees a television report about the vanishing of another child, teenage Candace (Daniel Rasmussen), his anguish and irrational visions intensify. A skeptical detective, Sharon Stowley (Carol M. Rice), will soon share with Paul the horrible truth about recurring cult activity in the region that may be related.

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“Working in Utah was an adventure,” remembers Kacmarynski about his undertaking, done not long after graduating from film school. “I was good friends with one of our producers and make-up artists [living in the state], so, they rounded up the cast, which was all local actors from the Salt Lake City area.” Lodging doubled as comfortable interior locations in contrast with the cold and remote locations chosen for the forest scenes. “Being in the mountain woods at 1 a.m. was cold. We had to use lighting equipment to heat us,” he details. “[It] was pretty scary sometimes as there were confirmed mountain lion sightings in our area!” Complicating both photography and post-production was his decision to rely not on 16mm or large-format tape, which he had been trained to use, but lower-cost consumer digital video.

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Calendar: May 21-27, 2021

May 21st, 2021

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, HUNTER, Malachi Entertainment, Urbana, 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)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, FINDING YOU, GODZILLA VS. KONG, PROFILE, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, WRATH OF MAN (5/21 on), MORTAL KOMBAT (5/21-5/24, 5/26), SCOOB! (5/21-5/22, 3:30 p.m.; 5/23, 4 p.m.; 5/25, 7 p.m.), SHREK FOREVER AFTER (5/21, 3:45 p.m.), TROLLS WORLD TOUR (5/21, 3:45 p.m.; 5/22, 1:15 p.m.), TOM & JERRY (5/21, 6 p.m.), BACK TO THE FUTURE (5/21, 6:30 p.m.; 5/22, 1:15 p.m.), JURASSIC WORLD (5/21, 7 p.m.), CRUELLA, A QUIET PLACE PART II (5/27 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DREAM HORSE, THE COURIER, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, FINDING YOU, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MINARI, MORTAL KOMBAT, NOBODY, PROFILE, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SEPARATION, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, THE UNHOLY (5/21 on), STAND BY ME 35th Anniversary (5/23, 3 & 7 p.m.; 5/26, 7 p.m.), TRADING PLACES (5/23, 3 p.m.; 5/27, 6 p.m.), CRUELLA, A QUIET PLACE PART II (5/27 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
ABOVE SUSPICION, THE FATHER, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, TOM & JERRY, more! (5/18 on) Online rentals

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 14-20, 2021

May 15th, 2021

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!

5/19: Gerry Kissell (co-host, Pop Culture Minefield vidcast, Dangerous Nerds Media, Springfield, MO)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

20 Years AgoTuesday, January 23, 2001: A prolific distributor of micro-budget films and related collectibles, Sub Rosa Studios of Syracuse, New York, announces a trio of new tiles releasing to the home video market. One is the debut feature-length project from Shut Up and Do It Productions of Champaign, DOGS IN QUICKSAND, which was filmed by writer/director Mike Trippiedi and cinematographer/editor Bill Yauch with cast and crew in numerous Champaign County locations during the summer of 1997. Although several of their recent video shorts have played in regional film festivals, earned awards in competition, and received coverage in periodicals friendly to the emerging “backyard cinema” movement in America such as Film Threat and Shock Cinema, DOGS is the first effort to be made widely available to the general public in any format. Local audiences received an initial look at the movie, a dark and quirky comedy about an estranged small-town couple played by Anne Shapland Kearns and Trippiedi whose lives are turned upside down after a murder occurs, in November 1999 as a selection of the third Freaky Film Festival at the New Art Theater. PSYCHO SCARECROW and THE MURDER MEN are the other two indies being premiered on VHS by Sub Rosa, which would reissue DOGS in various DVD sets over the next several years after rebranding as SRS Cinema.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
FINDING YOU, PROFILE, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, FATIMA, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MORTAL KOMBAT, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, WRATH OF MAN (5/14 on), JURASSIC WORLD (5/14, 4 p.m.), MINIONS (5/14, 4:30 p.m.), NOBODY, SHREK FOREVER AFTER (5/14, 7 p.m.), SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (5/14, 9:45 p.m.)

@ Music Barn, Allerton Park & Retreat Center, UIUC, Monticello, IL
“Sunset Drive-In Movie Series” feat. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (5/14-5/15, 8 p.m.) Registration required

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
FINDING YOU, PROFILE, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, THE COURIER, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MINARI, MORTAL KOMBAT, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SEPARATION, THE UNHOLY (5/14 on), UFC 262: Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler, more (5/15, 9 p.m., simulcast)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
EQUAL STANDARD, LAND, THE MARKSMAN, THE MAURITANIAN, THE VAULT, more! (5/11 on) Online rentals

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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‘Cinema’ history nods to UI prof

May 12th, 2021

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One of these eons, I might share a few anecdotes about the strangest ways I’ve obtained a remnant or product related to the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond. I take it seriously enough because of how little I’ve found over the two decades we have produced MICRO-FILM and C-U Blogfidential that is not in the form of newspaper articles or event fliers. Each and every piece can help to augment our posts whether it is predictable or one of a kind. Yet, the stories of how I arrive at the stories are often the exact opposite of astonishing. It’s a bit hard in 2021 to get stoked over a relevant listing on eBay I wasn’t expecting, but now at least I can tell you about a new book that notes a local milestone.

The international educational publisher Springer Nature, through its Springer imprint based in Heidelberg, Germany, released in April an impressive volume called The Cinema in Flux: The Evolution of Motion Picture Technology from the Magic Lantern to the Digital Era. Available at Amazon as of yesterday, Tuesday, May 11, the 817-page behemoth is written by the venerated author, filmmaker, and innovator Lenny Lipton, whose research and development led to advancements in stereoscopic imagery such as the RealD three-dimensional projection used in thousands of movie theaters worldwide. Eighty-three chapters trace the development of cinema from its primitive forms of the 1600s to digital adaptions in the present, as stated in a Springer press release from last week, with an effort made to elucidate on the numerous individuals whose work paved the way and their impact on society the world over.

How does it point to the C-U? One of the two men highlighted in Chapter 29, “One Man Bands,” is the late University of Illinois electrical engineering professor Joseph Tykociński-Tykociner (1877-1969). We’ve talked about his sound-on-film development in the past and highlighted it at the New Art Film Festival. The other, an inventor from France named Eugène Augustin Lauste (1857-1935), made various attempts to develop a viable sound-on-film system by working both independently with colleagues in England and Europe and at American companies such as Thomas A. Edison and Bell Laboratories, according to Lipton. It’s nice to see them singled out with recognition instead of a mere mention or two.

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Clearly, a very grateful audience will pay $40 per eBook and $55 per hardcover to pour through Lipton’s grasp on technological advancements in the motion picture. Apart from the contextual wealth it is bound to provide researchers, historians, and gear aficionados, The Cinema in Flux is illustrated with nearly 600 pictures – note the Tykociner portrait at the head of our post, cropped from a collage appearing at the author’s website and flanked by Edison and the Lumière brothers – and begins with an introduction from another Hollywood pioneer, Douglas Trumbull, whose influential visual effects are found in the likes of BLADE RUNNER, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, SILENT RUNNING, THE TREE OF LIFE, BRAINSTORM, and – you know I’m obliged to go here – 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.

It could easily be argued that Tykociner managed a sort of visual effect with his experiments, presenting subjects on his screen who could actually make noise in real time as they spoke and played instruments. A few years after the NAFF gave its audience a chance to watch an admittedly low-grade copy of the demonstration reel left behind by Tykociner, the National Film Preservation Foundation provided the means to create a much better transfer of the footage and its soundtrack. You can watch the startling results at the UIUC Media Space portal and, if not springing for The Cinema in Flux, view the video short embedded here and read this evergreen article by Bethany Anderson at the University of Illinois Archives website for more on Tykociner’s achievement and legacy.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. A different Springer Nature imprint that specializes in the humanities and social sciences, Palgrave Macmillan, is the home of Media Audiences and Identity: Self-Construction in the Fan Experience by Dr. Steven Bailey. It’s the one that dissects the dynamics of localized do-it-yourself culture using, as its case study, the long-gone C-U Freaky Film Festival. Yours truly earned a few mentions in the chapter as well.

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