Calendar: October 15-21, 2021

October 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.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

10/18: Mike Everleth (publisher, Underground Film Journal, Los Angeles, CA)
10/20: Lana Wildman (staff, Route 66 Film Festival, Springfield, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Indeed, Halloween-time is here and I’m trying again. Scary, right? I almost pulled off a pair of horror film posts this week instead of just the one appearing on Tuesday, so I’ll knuckle down to finish it for the sharing this coming Tuesday. It will highlight a few projects that originate in cities well beyond Champaign-Urbana including Peoria, and today’s Report consists of several timely tidbits that point right back to that well-known locale on the Illinois River. In fact, my inspiration is the overdue debut at 7 p.m. today, Friday, October 15, of the indie show PEORIA that we covered in a feature published last October; ambitious plans are now afoot for creator Michael Mcgruder and his collective at River City Productions to follow their 44-minute-long pilot with a 10-part miniseries and a 60-minute “Season 1” episode in 2022. This is not to be confused with PRINCE OF PEORIA, a Netflix children’s program infused with a Disney Channel vibe that aired in 2018 and 2019.

Moving from the serialized to utmost seriousness, I’ve caught posts on various Facebook pages from filmmaker William Jacob, who has founded Mourning Dove Films in Peoria as an outlet to produce dramatic works aiming for high ideals and beauty. His first outing in this quest, A MOMENT IS ENOUGH, is a short filmed on Kodak 16mm stock that premiered on Thursday, September 23, in Peoria Heights and is an excerpt from a forthcoming feature-length effort, POET IN THE MODERN WORLD; those who have an affinity for European and Asian “art films” of the 1940s through 1960s will find Jacob’s philosophies and goals, present all through his website, to be both quaint and admirable here in the 21st century.

To that end, the early 20th century still haunts and amazes us through the flammable vessel that is the nitrate film print; a Michael Phillips article run by the Chicago Tribune recounts the chain of events leading to a nominal five-reel melodrama, THE FIRST DEGREE (1923) starring Frank Mayo, being restored by Chicago Film Archives. Reintroduced to the world at the Gene Siskel Film Center with a live-score performance by Quasar Wut-Wut on Wednesday, September 29, DEGREE had been considered a lost film until it was identified in 2020; Archives obtained the print more than a decade ago as part of a collection rescued from “a storage closet in Peoria.” Whew. I mean, whew.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online YouTube, etc.
PEORIA* pilot virtual premiere: 10/15, 7 p.m., Nationwide via YouTube/River City Productions, Peoria, IL

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 100 (10/18, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
HALLOWEEN KILLS, THE LAST DUEL, MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR, THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, FREE GUY, LAMB, NO TIME TO DIE, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (10/15 on), DUNE, RON’S GONE WRONG (10/21 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. MONSTER HUNTER, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (10/15-10/16, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
HALLOWEEN KILLS, HARD LUCK LOVE SONG, THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, CANDYMAN, LAMB, THE LAST DUEL, THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, NO TIME TO DIE, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (10/15 on), SHAUN OF THE DEAD (10/16, 3 & 7 p.m.; 10/20, 7 p.m.), ENDS OF THE EARTH (documentary, 10/18, 10/21, 7 p.m.), Turner Classic Movies presents THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS 30th anniversary (10/20, 7 p.m.), DUNE (10/15 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE COLONY, THE GREEN KNIGHT, JOE BELL, NO MAN OF GOD, PIG, SURVIVE THE GAME, more! (10/12 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Film Series” feat THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (10/21, 7 p.m.)

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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Rural fiends take root on Amazon

October 12th, 2021

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Ptew! Roughly a year ago, life took a nosedive here at Momkoke Manor on the edge of an American small town and it engulfed the attentions of yours truly so much that I have yet to regain my stride with C-U Blogfidential. It’s a drawn-out struggle to deliver consistently to this day, made all the more frustrating by the fertile pumpkin patch of ideas bound to inspire us this time of the season. I simply can’t act upon them all in good time, so, don’t be surprised when the ‘blog publishes an outburst of fully-baked content, such as our recent previews of locally-made horrors, and then coasts for several weeks on low-calorie Calendars before we plate our next treats. The seeds are always being sown at MFHQ Remote.

Today’s post is the CUBlog equivalent of the Hollywood studios’ recent tendency to “tease the trailer with a trailer.” While feature articles are in the works to highlight the filmmaking groups to be mentioned in a moment, we wanted to make sure you knew about their newest productions being added to Amazon Prime Video for streaming rental and purchase in case you’d like to watch them before we discuss!

Arriving on Amazon at the end of August, the first entry in the C.O.R.N. series is a bid by Dreamscape Cinema of Champaign to take a slice out of the lucrative horror genre market. Directed, written, and produced by company founder Robin Christian and originally filmed in and near Champaign County in mid-summer 2019, C.O.R.N.: A FIELD OF SCREAMS is about a pair of siblings (Kennedy Tucker and Mateus Ward) and their friend (Roger Cross) who become stranded in Midwest farm country during Halloween and must contend with the locals as well as a shadowy cult, influenced by the sinister Mr. Dr. (Robert Donovan), that practices bizarre rituals on unwitting victims. Harvest moon mayhem leads to a conclusion that sets up C.O.R.N. 2, shot in 2020 and starring Jessica Morris, and C.O.R.N. 3, wrapped in June of this year; both will stalk Amazon and other platforms in the coming months once the leg work is done by Total Content Digital, the Los Angeles-based firm that is a sales rep for A FIELD OF SCREAMS.

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Also staking its claim on Amazon bandwidth as of today, Tuesday, October 12, is the “directors cut” [sic] edition of UNLISTED OWNER. Filmed several years ago in the southern town of Sumner, Illinois, by first-time director Jed Brian for his fledgling label, Lawford County Productions, the thriller involves a group of teens and families who run afoul of an unbalanced young man, prone to squatting his childhood home and moving quickly to kill anyone else on the premises. Brian self-released a DVD of UNLISTED OWNER in 2017 and teamed up with Summer Hill Entertainment and J.R. Bookwalter’s Makeflix to offer Blu-rays and DVDs on demand in 2019 before agreeing to the current pact with POV Horror, a specialist in “found footage” horror fare. As told to CUBlog by Brian, DIRECTORS CUT adds briefly to the original “recorded live” scenes and incorporates brand-new material that introduces a handful of viral commentators who report on the slaughter several years after the fact. What more can they discern from the tapes?

Following the jump is a statement from Lawford County Productions on the UNLISTED OWNER re-release as well as a striking piece of promotional artwork. Watch for our exclusive conversations with Brian and Christian to appear in this space after we visit with another downstate Illinois storyteller who favors tales on the darker side, Ben Harl of Silver Compass Studios in Decatur.

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: October 8-14, 2021

October 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!

10/12: Debra Domal (arts editor, Smile Politely, Champaign-Urbana, IL)
10/12: Chris Folkens (author, Directing Your Debut, Christopher Folkens Enterprises, Los Angeles, CA)
10/12: Phil Hall (author, “The Bootleg Files,” Cinema-Crazed.com, New York, NY)
10/13: Alaric Rocha (instructor, The Los Angeles Film School, Los Angeles, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Halloween-time is here and I’m already checked out. Too much to pay in bills, too many hours needed to work, and tomorrow I start packing Momkoke’s things for her move to an assisted living place located in the American small town where I live on the edge. So, I have no well-researched Report for you this week but, if catharsis is in order, then a Moment of Sven (or multiple) might be what you need. Breathe in…

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 223 (10/11, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
LAMB, NO TIME TO DIE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, CANDYMAN, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, FREE GUY, THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, TITANE, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (10/8 on), PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE (10/8-10/9), HALLOWEEN KILLS, THE LAST DUEL (10/14 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. THE FOREVER PURGE, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (10/8-10/9, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
LAMB, NO TIME TO DIE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, CANDYMAN, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, FREE GUY, THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (10/8 on), The Metropolitan Opera: Boris Godunov (10/9, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 10/13, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), WBC presents Tyson Wilder vs. Deontay Wilder (boxing, 10/9, 8 p.m., simulcast), CLUE (10/10, 3 & 7 p.m.; 10/13, 7 p.m.), THE 7 CHURCHES OF REVELATION: TIMES OF FIRE (documentary, 10/11-10/12, 7 p.m.), RAD 35th anniversary (10/14, 7 p.m.), HALLOWEEN KILLS (10/14 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
AILEEN WUORNOS: AMERICAN BOOGEYWOMAN, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, NAKED SINGULARITY, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, more! (10/5 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
“Stage and Screen: The Virginia and Champaign County’s Historic Theaters” presentation by T.J. Blakeman and Perry C. Morris, Wurlitzer Organ performance by David Schroeder (10/9, 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. presentation, free)

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: October 1-7, 2021

October 3rd, 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!

10/1: Jason Croft (publisher, Bachelor Pad Magazine, Champaign, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

9/20: Samuel B. Davis, 68 (cohost, The Flyover Zone, WQNA-FM, and volunteer, The Route 66 Film Festival, Springfield, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

As of late, I can’t post the weekly Calendar on time to save my soul. “So what,” I hear the Black Lectroid say in my head from the end of BUCKAROO BANZAI, “big deal.” All I can do right now is the best I can do, and to achieve it here on a late Sunday afternoon I’ll play a quick three-and-out. First, be sure to skim the schedule of the Normal Theater in downtown Normal; they’re basically taking over “Shocktober” from the late Art Theater without the branding, but Halloween movies are Halloween movies and therefore welcome en masse, right? The presence of a Rankin-Bass puppet animation (MAD MONSTER PARTY), a Godzilla all-star romp (DESTROY ALL MONSTERS), vintage frighteners from Joe Dante and David Cronenberg (THE HOWLING, THE BROOD), one of my favorite Eighties movies (BEETLEJUICE), and possibly the best pre-1970 horror anthology ever (DEAD OF NIGHT) shows the programmers are happily thinking outside the coffin. And then, check out yours truly discussing another Eighties favorite, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, on the Chase & Shep Show with hosts Chase Todd and Aaron Sheppard; I may appear one or two more times in this run of “31 Slays” episodes with 31 daily reviews of horror film standards through the end of October, so watch Facebook for announcements. Ending with a perk – er, make it two perks – I wish CUBlog supporter Jason Croft the best of birthday weekends and point you towards his twin fall releases, Bachelor Pad Magazine issue 57 and the even naughtier Tattoo Nightcap #3, for which I had the pleasure of moonlighting as proofreader. Yes, there are words, too.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 223 (10/4, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, TITANE, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE, COURAGEOUS 10th anniversary, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, LOVE STORY, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (10/1 on), CANDYMAN (10/1-10/3, 10/5-10/6), RESPECT (10/1-10/3), AFTER WE FELL (10/4, 7 p.m.), NO TIME TO DIE (10/7 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. A QUIET PLACE PART II, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (10/1-10/2, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE, CANDYMAN, COURAGEOUS 10th anniversary, CRY MACHO, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, FREE GUY, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (10/1 on), THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (10/1-10/2, 10/4-10/5), DRACULA (1931) (10/2, 1 p.m.), Studio Ghibli Fest: SPIRITED AWAY 20th anniversary (animé, 10/3, 3 p.m.; 10/4, 10/6, 7 p.m.), GALAXY QUEST (10/3, 3 & 7 p.m.; 10/6, 7 p.m.), THE EVIL DEAD 40th anniversary (10/7, 7:30 p.m.), NO TIME TO DIE (10/7 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE FOREVER PURGE, SMALL ENGINE REPAIR, THE SURVIVALIST, TWIST, more! (9/28 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
“The Arthouse Experience” w/Sanford Hess feat. EMMA. (10/6, 7 p.m.)

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: September 24-30, 2021

September 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!

9/26: Zelda Tindell (event director, Dead in Decatur presents “The Art of Fear,” Decatur, IL)
9/27: Robert Hubbard (script supervisor, THE DREAMS OF RENE SENDAM, Blue Barn Productions, Hutchinson, KS)
9/29: Clint Andrae (producer, Looming Castle Productions, Champaign-Urbana, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

8/31: Rodney Woodworth, 67 (actor, SCARY NORMAL and LATTÉ FEELINGS, Hot Diggity Productions, Champaign-Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

You do know the old saying, yes? “If one can’t pull themselves together with ease by the stroke of midnight, then at least one can make things interesting in the eleventh hour.” Oh, no? News to you? We might have made that one up on the spot, then. Either way, it’s the best explanation we have for not issuing a complete Field Report for the first time in … [scrolls quickly and awkwardly] … 16 weeks. We won’t be leaving you off the hook for doing your indigenous film homework, however, for one of our planned Calendar blurbs will instead appear on CUBlog next week as a full-blooded article in the Halloween vein. Watch for it and always send us your tips: cuconfidential [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks!

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 100 (9/27, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
COURAGEOUS 10th anniversary, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, LOVE STORY, CANDYMAN, COPSHOP, CRY MACHO, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, MALIGNANT, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, SHOW ME THE FATHER (9/24 on), AFTER WE FELL (9/30, 7 p.m.), THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (9/30 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Fall 2021 Weekend Films” feat. IN THE HEIGHTS, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (9/24-9/25, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
COURAGEOUS 10th anniversary, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE, BLACK WIDOW, CANDYMAN, COPSHOP, CRY MACHO, DON’T BREATHE 2, FREE GUY, JUNGLE CRUISE, MALIGNANT, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (9/24 on), UFC 266: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega, more (9/25, 9 p.m., simulcast), THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE 35th anniversary (9/26, 12 p.m.; 9/28, 7 p.m.), CARRIE 45th anniversary (9/26, 3 & 7 p.m.; 9/29, 7 p.m.), THE OUTSIDERS (9/26, 3 & 7 p.m.; 9/29, 7 p.m.), AFTER WE FELL (9/30, 7 p.m.), THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (9/30 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
CRUELLA, F9: THE FAST SAGA, LADY OF THE MANOR, THE POWER, more! (9/21 on) Online rentals

BACK OPEN! @ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
“Opening Night Community Event” feat. STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. w/Wurlitzer Pipe Organ accompaniment by Jay Warren (9/25, 5 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. film, free), “The Arthouse Experience” w/Sanford Hess feat. THE ARTIST (9/29, 7 p.m.), “Rewind 92.5 Film Series” feat. THE BREAKFAST CLUB (9/30, 7 p.m.)

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: 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.

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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 HANSEN (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 HANSEN (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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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CAMP site of Chase & Shep jollity!

September 2nd, 2021

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Coeds, film crew aim to bag HAG

August 19th, 2021

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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SUMMER of Swede seeks final $4K

August 4th, 2021

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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.

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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

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