Calendar: September 17-23, 2021

September 17th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

9/19: Eric Pankoke (webmaster, C-U Blogfidential, Champaign/Mendota, IL)
9/19: Paul A. Brooks (director, HUNTING FOR THE HAG, Into the Night Motion Pictures, Normal, IL)
9/21: Lisa Cerezo (co-owner, ThirdSide, Champaign, IL/Portland, OR)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

‘Tis a good week to fill out the Report with follow-up observations. After our downer story last time about the dormant Majestic Theatre in Streator, we found a regional (to MFHQ Remote) headline that gives us a bit more hope for local venues; more than a decade of thwarted attempts by the owners of the Apollo Theater in Princeton to restore the neon fixtures in its marquee recently came to an end when their city and chamber of commerce came up with funding to complete the job. On Thursday, September 9, a surprise lighting ceremony delighted the townsfolk, many of whom had never seen the marquee aglow, and put a neat exclamation on the evening’s concert by, of all bands, The Boat Drunks from Champaign. Looking ahead, the winning entries of the No Malice Film Contest and their makers will receive a bow after all this Sunday, September 19, 2 p.m., at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier; tickets are required for the free show, presented by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and with this reversal of fortune we now trust they will still be featured at Roger Ebert’s Film Festival in April. Back to the University of Illinois campus, Illini Film & Video showed some life on Facebook and announced their first meeting of the school year, which took place this past Monday, September 13. And, it turns out Vinegar Syndrome wasn’t done mining the depths of the Troma Team catalog for early films involving our friends William Pace and Thomas Rondinella; mere weeks after the Blu-ray debut of GIRLS SCHOOL SCREAMERS comes BLADES, an unlikely tale of a killer lawnmower on the loose at a country club, and only you can determine if this mulching together of satire, homage, and schlock is up your fairway. Gore!

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online YouTube
CHASE AND SHEP’S SUMMER CAMP OF HORRORS web series premiere: 9/17, 7 p.m., Nationwide via YouTube/The Chase & Shep Show, Savoy, IL

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 100 (9/20, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
COPSHOP, CRY MACHO, CANDYMAN, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, MALIGNANT, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, SHOW ME THE FATHER (9/17 on), COURAGEOUS 10th anniversary (9/23, 4:30 & 7:30 p.m.), DEAR EVAN HANSON (9/23 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (9/17-9/18, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
COPSHOP, CRY MACHO, BLACK WIDOW, CANDYMAN, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, MALIGNANT, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, RESPECT, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, SHOW ME THE FATHER (9/17 on), Turner Classic Movies presents CITIZEN KANE 80th anniversary (9/19, 3 & 7 p.m.; 9/22, 7 p.m.), PROMARE (animé, subbed, 9/19, 3 p.m.), THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING extended edition (9/19, 1 & 7 p.m.; 9/22, 7 p.m.), FOREVER GOLDEN! A CELEBRATION OF THE GOLDEN GIRLS (television special, 9/21, 7 p.m.), DEAR EVAN HANSON (9/23 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BLACK WIDOW, THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS, CATCH THE BULLET, THE FURNACE, ZOLA, more! (9/14 on) Online rentals

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: September 10-16, 2021

September 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

9/14: Tim Cain (journalist, The Herald & Review, Decatur, IL)
9/14: Kimberly Conner (writer/director, Predestined Arts & Entertainment, Springfield, IL)
9/16: Jason Huls (crew, B-Movie Mania HUNTING FOR THE HAG, Into the Night Motion Pictures, Normal, IL)
9/16: Skye Lufsey (interactive producer, St. Louis Community College, St. Louis, MO)
9/16: Jay Rosenstein (producer, Jay Rosenstein Productions, Champaign-Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Death-and-rebirth throes of local theaters is the topic du jour for today’s Report. Quietly added to the online 2021-2022 season schedule of the Virginia Theatre, which will finally open back up to the public on Saturday, September 25, after being closed for a year and a half, is an “Arthouse Experience” series curated by Sanford Hess; most titles, beginning with THE ARTIST on Wednesday, September 29, and EMMA. a week later on Wednesday, October 6, may be familiar because they all have played theatrically in the C-U as part of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival at the Virginia or elsewhere in first run. With this gesture, the Champaign Park District gives us a welcome way to revisit these contemporary classics, enjoy their top-flight amenities including a brand-new sound system, and comfortably leave behind the ghost of the Art Theater at the front entrance.

Another central Illinois venue closed in 2020 is the Lincoln Grand in Lincoln, a situation once thought to be a done deal; now owned by VIP Cinemas, the latest from Hollywood has once again been booked to fill the Lincoln’s screens since early July. Visit their website for times and, if you happen to buy a ticket to the Lincoln, peek around for me and see if you can discern how they apparently downsized from eight to six screens in the transition.

And then, as we’re well aware, some venues will struggle to survive throughout a long lifetime for various reasons and there is no telling when they might have exhaled their last. Driving through the small town of Streator a couple of days ago to head northward for Ottawa in Starved Rock country, I caught a rising peak of vintage signage out the corner of my eye and circled around to park for a few moments by Central Park in their downtown. I got out and walked a block over to pay my respects to the boarded façade of the Majestic Theatre, telling all who cared to check in with her one simple thing placed on her marquee lips: “Hope.” You can read the similar histories of the Majestic on this fundraising plea site, posted by the current Majestic co-owner Katie Troccoli, and the requisite Cinema Treasures profile, recounting the peaks and valleys weathered by a 300-seat house that dates back to 1907. More than one closure lasting approximately a decade marks its timeline and, after a drawn-out appeal to raise financing for the installation of digital projection was finally met in mid-2014, the Majestic shut its doors that August due to a business dispute. Considering the same family has owned the also-still-shuttered Will Rogers Theater in Charleston since late 2011, who knows what we should take from the situation other than “movie exhibition is even harder than expected in the current climate.” I’m sure every setback and slight feels like a gut punch. May they find ways to definitively turn the lights back on at both sites and serve their communities well.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 100 (9/13, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
MALIGNANT, SHOW ME THE FATHER, CANDYMAN, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, THE NIGHT HOUSE, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (9/10 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. MORTAL KOMBAT, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (9/10-9/11, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
MALIGNANT, SHOW ME THE FATHER, BLACK WIDOW, CANDYMAN, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, RESPECT, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (9/10 on), FREE BURMA RANGERS (documentary, 9/13, 7 p.m.), LABYRINTH 35th anniversary (9/13, 9/15, 7 p.m.), FOREVER GOLDEN! A CELEBRATION OF THE GOLDEN GIRLS (television special, 9/14, 7 p.m.), THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS extended edition (9/15, 7 p.m.), EATING OUR WAY TO EXTINCTION (documentary, 9/16, 7 p.m.), PROMARE (animé, dubbed, 9/16, 7 p.m.)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE GATEWAY, THE GIRL WHO GOT AWAY, GREAT WHITE, more! (9/7 on) Online rentals

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: September 3-9, 2021

September 5th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

9/5: Anthony E. Cabral (second assistant director, KILLING ELEANOR, 1091 Pictures, New York, NY)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

8/29: Edward Asner (actor, SHEEBA and A FARGO CHRISTMAS STORY, Dreamscape Cinema, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

At the risk of sounding like nails on a classroom chalkboard, here is this week’s reminder that everyone needs to mask up and, if eligible, get vaccinated as soon as possible for the sake of our communities and especially our children who still can’t be given the shot. Please don’t continue to fool yourselves into thinking your body can’t potentially contribute to the spread, such as the current mess of the COVID delta variant as it charges through schools all over the state of Illinois.

Now, we’ll continue our business from last week’s Report as far as alerting you to relevant happenings in the name of film and education. Illinois Public Media announced yesterday a new AMERICAN PORTRAIT | CENTRAL ILLINOIS series, SHAVONNE’S YEAR, that will debut on Sunday, September 12, at 6 p.m. on WILL Channel 12 and be broadcast weekly for 10 episodes; the pandemic-altered 2020 academic year is illustrated with the cell phone movies taken by Shavonne Cole, now a senior in Media and Cinema Studies (MACS) in the College of Media at the University of Illinois, as she was “living and working on campus while attending classes virtually.” Also reflecting the still-not-normal state of our world is Pens to Lens, which will retain its 2020 format for the virtual gala scheduled to stream on Sunday, September 12, at 3 p.m. on Facebook as per an announcement issued earlier today; P2L once again is essentially a local student “takeover” since all 18 selections are creations of the students themselves, who range in age from 2nd to 11th grade. Separately, MACS revealed earlier this week a new campus initiative to be led by associate professor Angela Aguayo, previously on the faculty of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, to “create inclusive environments while exploring the relationship between social justice and today’s media landscape.” Given that Aguayo’s areas of expertise involve the study and production of documentaries, expect them to figure in the events still to be announced as part of this series. We trust in her choices to be illuminating.

Going to end on a bummer note, we are, but presumably all will be resolved by the spring when Roger Ebert’s Film Festival is set to return after yet another delay, thanks to pandemic concerns. Not really addressed in the statements by Chaz Ebert and the UI is if the works made by the winners of the No Malice Film Contest will also sit dormant until late April; introduced in depth by Ebert in a ‘blog post two weeks ago, the young people highlighted in the empathy-minded program were to have their films premiered at “Ebertfest” as part of the prize. (Originally, the public debut was to have been hosted in July by a co-sponsor, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, with “Ebertfest” as follow-up exposure, but there is no apparent evidence of it.) We know that waiting seven months is an eternity when you’re in a certain age bracket, so we hope the organizers and guest mentors behind this worthwhile exploration of the meaning of racial healing can find constructive ways to appease these kids and budding adults. They should be understanding of the circumstances, one hopes.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online YouTube
LAST DAY short film virtual premiere: 9/3, 8 p.m., Nationwide via YouTube/Silver Compass Studios, Decatur, IL

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, CANDYMAN, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, THE NIGHT HOUSE, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, THE PROTÉGÉ, RESPECT, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (9/3 on), SHOW ME THE FATHER (documentary, 9/9, 7 p.m.)

@ Busey Bank parking lot, Urbana, IL
The Urbana Free Library and Urbana Arts and Culture Program present “Cinema & Sound” event feat. SOUL, live performance by Ther’Up.Y (9/8, 6:30 p.m., parking lot)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. MULAN, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (9/3-9/4, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, BLACK WIDOW, CANDYMAN, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, THE PROTÉGÉ, REMINISCENCE, RESPECT, STILLWATER, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (9/3 on), BACKDRAFT 30th anniversary (9/5, 3 & 7 p.m.; 9/8, 7 p.m.), THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (9/5, 2 & 7 p.m.; 9/8, 7 p.m.), THE ALPINIST (documentary, 9/7, 7 p.m.), TIME IS UP (9/9, 7 p.m.)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
12 MIGHTY ORPHANS, IN THE HEIGHTS, SPIRIT UNTAMED, TED BUNDY: AMERICAN BOOGEYMAN, ZONE 414, more! (8/31 on) Online rentals

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

CAMP site of Chase & Shep jollity!

September 2nd, 2021

~~~~~

Horror of horrors, the indie filmmakers of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond have a lot of pent-up anxieties and on-screen conflicts they want to throw at us in the current wave of productions! Navigating what’s going down and who’s scaring whom is becoming a bit of a challenge, almost like choosing which way to turn in the cornfield mazes and haunted houses that will be up and running soon in anticipation of Halloween. However, getting lost within the woods and confronting the fears that await is currently in vogue. Down one path, we might cower as an archetypal masked killer goes up against wary heroes who need to plumb the deepest strengths to survive. Down another, we might cringe as undergraduates willingly refuse to let sleeping rural myths lie for the sake of a grade. Choose yet another, and … we’re cajoled into dancing, laughing, and swooning our way to the bloody end. Oops! Wrong turn, perhaps?

Sure enough, behind Tree Number 3 is an indescribable terror that will take on an isolated group of young people just like in the other scenarios, and it will also be the one coming after the viewing public first. While Swede Films begins their initial edit for FINAL SUMMER and Into the Night Motion Pictures wraps their location shoot on HUNTING FOR THE HAG, another crew is pushing forward to complete their own inaugural full-length creation that will possibly have the longest combined run time and certainly has the longest title, CHASE AND SHEP’S SUMMER CAMP OF HORRORS! This cheery outburst of forestry, frolicking, and frightful shenanigans is the next big step in the ambitions of collaborators and good friends Chase Todd and Aaron “Shep” Sheppard who reside in and near Champaign County, respectfully.

~~~~~

~~~~~

It is pretty clear in the few viral videos posted so far for SUMMER CAMP that “fun” is the main ingredient both at “Camp Chasenshep” and under the duo’s umbrella brand, The Chase & Shep Show. They have hit their stride rather quickly, laying down more than 100 episodes of their eponymous podcast since launching it a little less than a year ago, and the thematic permutations have helped keep the endeavor fresh. For every “Mental Health Monday” show, where they banter real talk about their lives, there is a horror movie review marathon. For every “Fantastic Friday” show, centered on something catching their fancy in entertainment, there are charmingly weird remix videos and found footage edits set to their own music tracks. And now, Chase & Shep are narratively inclined. We’ll see very shortly how they fare.

Once I made it out of the virtual thicket that is the official Chase & Shep website, I invited Todd to gab about SUMMER CAMP. He generously offered an insight as to why they decided to go this route, a coincidental choice given the other projects in progress in east central Illinois, and what they aim to achieve for themselves as well as offer an audience with this particular show. Listening to a smattering of their podcasts in the meantime, it is clear they are thoughtful fellows who are realistic in their aims and unabashed in their love of music, storytelling media, and pop culture. S’mores is always better!

CHASE AND SHEP’S SUMMER CAMP OF HORRORS! will arrive on Friday, September 17, with a two-episode debut on YouTube and weekly episodes thereafter until the end of October. It stars Tony Garcia, Isabella Cooper, Dylan Heck, Jon McEwen, Katherine Bokenkamp, Natalie Wise, Sheppard, Todd, and Judah and Isaac Phelps, who played a mad scientist in the online kids’ show, SUPERZUZAA.

~ Jason Pankoke

 

Read on, MacDuff…

~~~~~

C-U Blogfidential: Chase, we thank you for hiking on over to Camp CUBlog so we can talk about activities and crafts that are worth it while huddled around computers or basking in the great outdoors! I’ve been looking through the Chase & Shep website and archives … do you ever sleep?

Chase Todd: We get plenty of sleep! Ever since we originated The Chase & Shep Show with “The 25 Slays of Christmas” [last year] we’ve just let the show grow organically. After so many failed projects banking on people to be reliable, we finally just said “screw it” and started making content ourselves.

[CHASE & SHEP’S SUMMER CAMP OF HORRORS!] is a prime example of a lot of that. What began as us just wanting to make something cool and scripted grew into our first full-blown production and, at any given time, there’s usually only one to three of us behind the camera! It’s been a fun experience though and I’ve learned a lot. It’s felt like filmmaking boot camp in a lot of ways and I’m excited to take all this knowledge and growth into our future projects.

CUBlog: So, even with the multiplicity of videos that fans can find at ChaseAndShep.com and the YouTube channel, you consider SUMMER CAMP your “first full-blown production”…

CT: I do. Technically, my short film A DISTINCT LACK OF HOLIDAY CHEER is officially my first production I did. And, EASTER SUNDAY was conceived, shot, and released in the span of a week, but this is the first time we’ve had a fully scripted series, shooting on location at Camp Drake, holding auditions, all that jazz. This is definitely the first time I’ve had something I’ve written truly come to life on screen, which has been an incredible experience.

The series itself will be eight episodes long, but the trailer [released on August 13] only contains footage from the first four [episodes] so there are plenty of surprises in store!

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2021

August 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

8/30: John Oak Dalton (director/writer, SCARECROW COUNTY, ITN Distribution, Las Vegas, NV)
9/1: Matt Wiley (senior design specialist, University of Illinois Extension, Champaign, IL)
9/2: Megan Johns (director/writer, FEATHERS, Tendrile Productions, Eugene, OR)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Tempered by Thursday’s announcement of blanket protective measures for Illinois residents by governor J.B. Pritzker, this “back to school” edition of the Report is for encouraging the young talents around us to not be shy in teaming up and making stuff with, once again, pandemic safety in mind. Let’s begin our lesson by flashing back to May when the student-run UIUC Film Festival livestreamed their 2021 program of campus-made shorts; you can still view the entire show, along with videos and details from previous years, on the website also maintained by the classmates of Media and Cinema Studies (MACS) 464. The closing film of that event, RED BALL, is a collaboration between several University of Illinois departments and can be watched individually on YouTube; several BFA acting candidates who appear in it will also appear in the local indie feature FINAL SUMMER, which wraps production this week. Presumably, Illini Film & Video set up shop amongst the hundreds of other UI student organizations at the 50th annual Quad Day last Sunday, August 22, but it’s hard to tell if the 20-year-old club is still active; Facebook postings have been understandably sparse for the last year and their YouTube account and dedicated website have apparently not been updated since 2019. We suggest you write illinifilmandvideo [at] gmail [dot] com to find out more and be added to their mailing list. As far as watching movies, the Illini Union second-run series for enrolled students kicks off tonight, August 27, with CRUELLA at 7 p.m., while the eighth annual Flatlands Dance Film Festival plays at the Spurlock Center of World Cultures starting at 7 p.m. tomorrow, August 28. We’ll have additional notes on film and learning in the next Report for our future adults and, hopefully, no additional mitigations or warnings to worry the adults of today.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
University of Illinois Department of Dance presents 8th annual Flatlands Dance Film Festival, feat. CAN YOU BRING IT: BILL T. JONES AND D-MAN IN THE WATERS, short subjects (8/28, 7 p.m., free) Information

@ online Zoom
Central Illinois Film Commission virtual meeting (9/2, 7 p.m., members only) Facebook

@ online Amazon Prime, etc.
C.O.R.N.: A FIELD OF SCREAMS virtual release: 8/2021, Nationwide via Total Digital Content, Los Angeles, CA/Dreamscape Cinema, Champaign, IL

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CANDYMAN, BLACK WIDOW, DON’T BREATHE 2, F9: THE FAST SAGA, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, THE NIGHT HOUSE, OLD, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, THE PROTÉGÉ, REMINISCENCE, RESPECT, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/27 on), SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (9/2 on)

NEW! @ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. CRUELLA, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (8/27-8/28, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
CANDYMAN, BLACK WIDOW, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, THE NIGHT HOUSE, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, THE PROTÉGÉ, REMINISCENCE, RESPECT, STILLWATER, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/27 on), LUPIN III: THE FIRST (animé, 8/29, 3 p.m.; 8/31, 7 p.m.), STRIPES 40th anniversary (8/29, 3 & 7 p.m.; 9/2, 7 p.m.), PRETTY IN PINK (8/29, 3 & 7 p.m.; 9/1, 7 p.m.), SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (9/2 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
A CINDERELLA STORY: STARSTRUCK, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, HABIT, JURASSIC HUNT, PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, more! (8/24 on) Online rentals

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: August 20-26, 2021

August 20th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

8/23: Shannon Beranek (copy editor, Bachelor Pad Magazine, Champaign, IL)
8/23: Luke Boyce (director, REVEALER, Shatterglass Films, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

If the world is allegedly falling apart right before our eyes, and that includes everything bludgeoning our senses through the mass media, then any little band-aid you can afford to apply will help. You don’t need me to find opportunities all around to pitch in, but here are suggestions. Articles at NPR and USA Today discuss the avenues through which, respectively, we can provide aid to those in Haiti suffering the aftermath of yet another earthquake as well as those attempting to flee the Taliban-held Afghanistan. Much closer to home, downstate Gibson City was engulfed by flooding last week and their townsfolk are struggling to clean up. The owners of the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In are turning their own fundraiser into a donation site for their neighbors, given how their customer base managed to meet their original $5,000 goal in just over a day. And then, close to the heart, we feel for our friend Gerry Kissell, the Missouri-based science-fiction and wartime artist and podcaster who lost nearly all his possessions in a house fire; here is a campaign to help Kissell and family get back on their feet. Step up. Do good.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE NIGHT HOUSE, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, THE PROTÉGÉ, REMINISCENCE, BLACK WIDOW, DON’T BREATHE 2, F9: THE FAST SAGA, FREE GUY, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, OLD, RESPECT, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/20 on), CANDYMAN (8/26 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE NIGHT HOUSE, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, THE PROTÉGÉ, REMINISCENCE, BLACK WIDOW, DON’T BREATHE 2, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, FREE GUY, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, RESPECT, STILLWATER, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/20 on), WWE Summerslam 2021 (wrestling, 8/21, 7 p.m., simulcast), STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME 35th anniversary (8/22, 3 & 7 p.m.), BACK TO THE FUTURE (8/22, 3 & 7 p.m.; 8/25, 7 p.m.), CORALINE (8/24, 3 & 7 p.m.),

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DREAM HORSE, FINDING YOU, THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, more! (8/17 on) Online rentals

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Coeds, film crew aim to bag HAG

August 19th, 2021

~~~~~

So, dearest readers, it seems that our previous report about Swede Films’ FINAL SUMMER (and our upcoming preview of CHASE & SHEP’S SUMMER CAMP OF HORRORS!) will not be the final word on throwback horror-and-humor film creation this summer in Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond! As SUMMER director John Isberg and his group wind down their location work this week in an undisclosed woodland location of east central Illinois, Normal native and C-U Blogfidential friend Paul A. Brooks is gearing up with cast and crew for the start of production next Wednesday, August 25, on their own feature that aims for creepy found-footage thrills. HUNTING FOR THE HAG will be shot in the Pontiac area for seven days and, lucky you, we have the first information and images to share today!

Announced as a surprise on social media this past Monday, August 18, HUNTING FOR THE HAG follows a college student named Tara as she explores a local legend for a documentary that does not go well in the slightest. Brooks and Into the Night Motion Pictures, both of whom moved back to Illinois recently after half a decade spent in California, is teaming on HAG with executive producer Seth Chromick as well as Into the Void Films of Chicago, a genre-focused label run by Nathan Waters and K.R. Brooks. Also contributing are Jason Huls and Paul G. Lyzun of Ten Wing Media, a firm based in the Chicago suburbs; Brooks’ history and friendship with Ten Wing goes back more than 15 years and solidified with the infamous BloNo zombie opus, LATE AFTERNOON OF THE LIVING DEAD. Scott Murphy is the sound recordist and Los Angeles makeup artist Aleah Kraft will visit Pontiac to deliver the gory effects goods.

“I’m directing the movie and this is my first feature, so I’m pretty excited,” the filmmaker tells CUBlog as the start date rolls near. He is relying on a “pretty tight crew” and downstate resources to bring the HAG home on schedule and within an equally tight budget. “It’s easier here in Illinois [to set up a shoot],” offers Brooks when asked about producing in the Land of Lincoln compared to the Sunshine State. “I lived in Los Angeles for six years and, obviously, that’s where the industry is, so there’s always permits involved and more red tape to cut through. In the Midwest, folks are usually excited to hear you’re making a movie and are eager to provide a location or help out in some way.” For Brooks, this includes family relations who are lending a “nice piece of property” gratis for a setting, an agreeable tourism board in the Pontiac region, and the Humiston Woods Nature Preserve where the company also plans to set up camp.

~~~~~

~~~~~

While the aforementioned team handles the bulk of logistics and technical needs, the on-screen talent needs to convince audiences that the Hag should be rightfully feared. Joining Brooks before the camera are Steve Christopher, Nathan Brandon Gaik, Thomas A. Jackson, Alexa Maris, Nora McKirdie, Sierra Renfro, and Jasmine Williams. Boasting dozens of credits between them, Christopher and Jackson are go-to casting for character parts in shorts and features made in the Midwest. Gaik is a playwright and stage actor in Bloomington, while McKirdie is underway with her theater studies at Illinois State University in Normal. Maris appeared in the 2018 telekinesis drama REBORN alongside Barbara Crampton and Michael Paré. Renfro and Williams, who like Maris will fly in from California to participate, are quickly building resumés that include previous excursions with Into the Night Motion Pictures.

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: August 13-19, 2021

August 14th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

8/18: Jeff Brandt (owner, Exile on Main Street, Champaign, IL)
8/19: Ken Lee (vice president, Michael Wiese Productions, Studio City, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Since you folks most likely are not in the market for hearing my grievances over the crappy week I’ve had at MFHQ Remote, I thought you would instead be interested in listening to recent podcasts about people and projects related to the local zeitgeist! Let’s begin with The Paignful Experience from Ryan Leskis and Paign Productions, which pored over the nuts and bolts of filmmaking with guest John Isberg as well as recounted the long road leading up to Isberg’s FINAL SUMMER feature that began principal photography earlier in the week. A similar conversation of a more underground bent occurred between Zach Butcher and Blade Brown, co-hosts of Butcher Bordello of Blood, and the extreme cinema ambassador Jessie Seitz, who with husband and fellow make-up effects artist Marcus Koch have forged a frightful path via such uncompromising ventures as BEYOND HORROR, JAKOB’S WIFE, and the domestic GUINEA PIG series. Popular with industry workers and freelancers is Indie Film Hustle hosted by Alex Ferrari, who belatedly discussed the “lost” Quentin Tarantino comedy MY BEST FRIEND’S BIRTHDAY last month with Andrew J. Rausch, author of the same-named 2019 book in which my short essay appears. Elsewhere, the Missouri-based Pop Culture Minefield show co-created by our former C-U neighbor Gerry Kissell took a deep dive into BLADE RUNNER lore by interviewing Paul M. Sammon, the respected genre journalist whose articles have elevated many a movie magazine and publication. I’ll close by pointing you in the direction of the comedy empire being mounted by Savoy residents Chase Todd and Aaron “Shep” Sheppard that includes original ‘casts, videos, and music tracks; dare to witness the brand-new CHASE & SHEP’S SUMMER CAMP OF HORRORS! trailer right now on Facebookif you dare! Nooo! Run! Hide!

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, RESPECT, BLACK WIDOW, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, OLD, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, STILLWATER, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/13 on), THE NIGHT HOUSE, THE PROTÉGÉ (8/19 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, RESPECT, BLACK WIDOW, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, OLD, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, STILLWATER, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (8/13 on), Turner Classic Movies presents WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY 50th anniversary (8/15, 3 & 7 p.m.; 8/18, 7 p.m.), BATMAN (8/15, 3 & 7 p.m.; 8/18, 7 p.m.), TED BUNDY: AMERICAN BOOGEYMAN (8/16, 7 p.m.), Rifftrax Live! presents HOBGOBLINS (8/17, 7 p.m., simulcast), STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME 35th anniversary (8/19, 3 & 7 p.m.), THE PROTÉGÉ (8/19 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN Part Two, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR: MEET THE BLACKS 2, THE MISFITS, OCCUPATION RAINFALL, PROFILE, TILL DEATH, more! (8/10 on) Online rentals

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: August 6-12, 2021

August 7th, 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.

~~~~~

MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

8/6: Jason Cerezo (co-owner, ThirdSide, Champaign, IL)
8/6: Sam Ambler (producer, Ambler Video, Champaign, IL)
8/7: Rachel Rebecca Berry (instructor, “Make a Movie” camp, Class Act, Champaign, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

8/12/17: Julius Rascheff, 81 (cinematography professor, School of Art & Design, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, retired)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

In this Report, we’re placing all our eggs (and shiny plastic discs) in one basket as we talk about home video releases from Vinegar Syndrome, the boutique Connecticut-based label with an eclectic catalog that has a knack for surprising even the finicky connoisseur of the offbeat. August titles from VinSyn were announced earlier this week and two of the five sport contributions from people we know!

TERMINAL ISLAND, the 1973 survivalist action film directed by genre feminist Stephanie Rothman, will be released on UHD and Blu-ray with a featurette in which Heidi Honeycutt and Dr. Alicia Kozma discuss the resurgent interest in her work; Kozma has taught at Washington College in Maryland for the last few years following a residence in Champaign-Urbana, where she earned a Ph.D. in communication and media studies from the University of Illinois and programmed shows at the Art Theater such as a TERMINAL ISLAND retrospect in 2017. GIRLS SCHOOL SCREAMERS, a 1986 Troma Films opus directed by John P. Finegan, will debut on Blu-ray alongside video interviews with and a commentary track by William Pace and Thomas Rondinella, crew members on SCREAMERS back then as well as award-winning filmmakers and fellow professors at Seton Hall University in New Jersey today. Pace is a native of Havana in west-central Illinois where the duo shot on location for their first solo feature, CHARMING BILLY, which was originally put out by Phaedra Cinema and Fox Lorber Home Video in 2000-2001 before appearing as our cover story in MICRO-FILM 5. VinSyn previously welcomed to the club Mitch Brown and Roger Ebert’s Film Festival producer Nate Kohn, who provided onscreen anecdotes about SHOT, their UIUC cop movie satire made primarily by students in 1972, for that film’s 2018 reissue.

We’ll also award a “good egg” honorable mention to the company’s Home Grown Horrors, Volume 1 release from April that packages together a few examples of Eighties backyard cinema: BEYOND DREAM’S DOOR made in Ohio, WINTERBEAST made in Massachusetts, and FATAL EXAM made in Missouri. Other than the great concept and creative selections, I’m happy to see the highly imperfect FATAL EXAM brought back for a second life and allotted a spiffy Tom Hodge cover that’s much better than the one I painted for the movie’s only prior berth, a clamshell VHS offered by Salt City Home Video (presently SRS Cinema) in 1998. That particular cassette is so scarce, neither I or the distributor have one! Hrumph.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE SUICIDE SQUAD, BLACK WIDOW, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, F9: THE FAST SAGA, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JUNGLE CRUISE, OLD, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, STILLWATER (8/6 on), SHREK FOREVER AFTER (8/6, 3:30 p.m.), TROLLS WORLD TOUR (8/6, 6:50 p.m.), FREE GUY, RESPECT (8/12 on)

@ Boneyard Creek Crossing, Urbana, IL
The Urbana Free Library and Urbana Arts and Culture Program present “Cinema & Sound” event feat. THE DRAGON PAINTER, live performance by Kuroshio (8/11, 7 p.m., parking lot)

@ Hessel Park, Champaign Park District, Champaign, IL
“Friday Night Flix” feat. JURASSIC PARK (8/6, dusk)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE SUICIDE SQUAD, BLACK WIDOW, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JOE BELL, JUNGLE CRUISE, OLD, SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, STILLWATER (8/6 on), UFC 265: Derrick Lewis vs. Cyril Gane, more (8/7, 9 p.m., simulcast), THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER 40th anniversary (8/8, 3 p.m.; 8/11, 7 p.m.), THE IRON GIANT (8/8, 3 & 7 p.m.; 8/11, 7 p.m.), SHIROBAKO THE MOVIE (animé, 8/10, 7 p.m.), THE STAIRS (8/12, 7 p.m.)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
HERE TODAY, LUCA, SHE BALL, TAKE BACK, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, more! (8/3 on) Online rentals

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

SUMMER of Swede seeks final $4K

August 4th, 2021

~~~~~

With due respect given to the waning pandemic, creatives and artists are pushing forward with projects all over Champaign County and filmmaking is no exception. We’ll be pointing out what’s good in the coming months but for the moment, dearest readers, let’s address a most immediate need for a production that is less than a week away from launching in our neck of the woods … and we do mean “the woods.”

Location filming is set to begin next Monday, August 9, on a stylish “retro” slasher movie called FINAL SUMMER, hailing from writer/director John Isberg’s Swede Films of Urbana and partly crewed by folks who have participated in his Workshop Films Collective group. According to social media postings and an interview with Danielle Million at Ghoulish about his feature debut, Isberg sees FINAL SUMMER as a love letter to horror thrillers of a certain bent as well as an opportunity to modernize traits of the genre, such as how female characters inform the story, and explore the ways in which past trauma can affect the behavior of survivors as brand-new chaos erupts around them. What little exists online for FINAL SUMMER so far, such as the proof-of-concept trailer filmed a year ago at the same campground where principal photography will take place, is purposely vague about the menace that lies in wait.

Similar to how shoots have gone in the area for Shatterglass Studios and Dreamscape Cinema in recent years, Swede Films will rely on a team of veterans, professionals, and dedicated newcomers from both near and far to bring the project to fruition. Isberg and Chicago-based freelancer and podcaster Kevin Lau are producing FINAL SUMMER, while executive producer Adam Moyer is branching back into theatrical cinema with this film – his career began on the set of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – after nearly two decades of working in television. The core cast, which includes Anastasia Kasimos, Charlee Amacher, Cole Carter, Fabian Guererro, Jenna Kohn, Myles Valentine, Rico Whitehead, and Seth Boyer, will portray camp counselors and the like. Adult roles are to be played by Chicago stage actress Jessica Kadish, University of Illinois associate professor of acting Robert Gerard Anderson, and former Parkland College Theater artistic director Joi Hoffsommer, who echoes the late Betsy Palmer in the teaser.

~~~~~

~~~~~

Isberg has also cast a few recognizable talents in FINAL SUMMER, although the scope of their respective involvement has yet to be confirmed. Thom Mathews, known for Eighties horror movies like FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI and THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, will appear along with Tom Atkins, a familiar face in several John Carpenter adventures and memorable as the detective in NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. Also signed are respected actor Bishop Stevens from GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR and SLICE as well as busy B-movie personality John Stokes who, believe it or not, is suiting up as “Jason” himself in the fan film VOORHEES: NIGHT OF THE BEAST later this fall. Additional cast and crew members will fill out the Internet Movie Database profile as things progress with FINAL SUMMER.

At present, Swede Films is looking to raise at least $15,000 of additional budget to cover costs for “rentals, food, COVID supplies, [and] lodging for crew.” Despite the stretch goals mentioned at the beginning of the current Kickstarter campaign, which is set to expire after 8:55 a.m. on Saturday, August 7, only about $11,000 of the minimum has been pledged as of this writing. We sincerely hope you will consider pitching in to help afford these basics to make life on the grounds of “Camp Silverlake” for the FINAL SUMMER personnel as pleasant as can be. Every instance when there is an effort to make a quality film in Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond is a good opportunity for us, the friends and neighbors, to contribute in any way, shape, or form. We can afford to provide the well-timed nudges that will encourage our media storytellers to keep pushing for excellence and success in what they do.

You can read more about FINAL SUMMER in the filmmaker’s own words via the press release shared after the jump. Isberg talks about his love for movies and the continued potential for the C-U as a production destination with both Swede Films and the Workshop as major catalysts.

~ Jason Pankoke

~~~~~

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

~~~~~

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!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

~~~~~

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!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

~~~~~

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!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

~~~~~

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!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

~~~~~

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!

~~~~~

Read the rest of this entry »