25 years later, it’s ‘Ebertfest’ ‘24

April 17th, 2024

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One would like to wax philosophic about the concentrated happenings of the year 1999, in which the populace of Champaign-Urbana was treated to a key avalanche of film developments brought on by our friends and neighbors as well as those with long-standing ties to our fair Twin Cities, but we’ll have to save those “remember when” ruminations for a later article. Right now, we’d like to pay our respects to the highest-profile example of cinema culture that emerged locally before the start of the new millennium, for it returns this week with all the bells and whistles that should greet an institution when reaching its 25th anniversary.

The Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign will host the silver jubilee edition of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, presented by the College of Media at the University of Illinois and Chaz Ebert, beginning later tonight, Wednesday, April 17, with a screening of Bob Fosse’s STAR 80 and its own stars, Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts, in attendance. The entire schedule for 2024, including the newer Ebert Symposium organized in tandem with the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies at UIUC, is shared with you below. Individual show tickets and festival passes are still available through the Virginia’s box office during business hours at (217) 356-9063 as well as on their website, while detailed information about Ebertfest” events can be found here.

Celebrate the milestone with the festival community on Park Avenue between now and Saturday, April 20, and be sure to spread the word on the films that affect you the most; boutique presentations are rare these days in the C-U and your curiosity and patronage matter.

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2024 Chaz and Roger Ebert Symposium schedule

Tuesday, April 16
@ Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
7:00 p.m. “Representations and Their Critics (part 1)”

Wednesday, April 19
@ Starlight Room, Seibel Center for Design, UIUC, Champaign, IL
9:30 a.m. “Representations and Their Critics (part 2)”

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‘Ebertfest’ schedule
@ The Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, IL

Wednesday, April 17
6:30 p.m. STAR 80 (1983, 103 min., Dir. Bob Fosse)

Thursday, April 18
9:30 a.m. “Little Indian Girl Collective” panel w/Gingger Shankar, Tara Houska (free admission)
11:00 a.m. CONDUCTING LIFE (2022, 31 min., Dir. Diane Moore) and THE LIGHT OF TRUTH: RICHARD HUNT’S MONUMENT TO IDA B. WELLS (2024, 60 min., Dir. Rana Segal)
3:00 p.m. STONY ISLAND (1978, 95 min., Dir. Andrew Davis)
8:00 p.m. THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE (2023, 98 min., İlker Çatak)

Friday, April 19
9:00 a.m. COOKIE’S FORTUNE (1999, 118 min., Dir. Robert Altman)
1:30 p.m. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004, 108 min., Dir. Michel Gondry)
4:30 p.m. LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (2023, 98 min., Dir. Lisa Cortés)
9:30 p.m. THE BEST MAN (1999, 121 min., Dir. Malcolm D. Lee)

Saturday, April 20
9:30 a.m. BLACKMAIL (1929, 85 min., Dir. Alfred Hitchcock) Accompanied by the Anvil Orchestra
1:00 p.m. OMOIYARI: A SONG FILM BY KISHI BASHI (2023, 74 min., Dir. Kaoru Ishibashi)
4:00 p.m. ALBANY ROAD (2024, 120 min., Dir. Christine Swanson)
8:30 p.m. MAN ON THE MOON (1999, 119 min., Dir. Milos Forman)

The Virginia Theatre, which first opened in December 1921, is directed by Steven Bentz and operated by the Champaign Park District.

~ Jason Pankoke

Publicity still from THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE is courtesy Sony Pictures Classics. | Publicity still from OMOIYARI is courtesy IMDb.com. | Poster artwork from THE LIGHT OF TRUTH is courtesy AMonumentForIdaBFilm.com.

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Calendar: April 12-18, 2024

April 13th, 2024

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!

4/13: Damon Foster (filmmaker, OF MUMMIES AND MARTIANS, Damon A. Foster, Sacramento, CA)
4/18: Mike Trippiedi (author, Not Very Famous … but should be and When Voices Were Silent blogs, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Enjoy your “Ebertfest,” C-U. We’ll talk again shortly.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

15 Years AgoFriday, April 17, 2009: Participating in the annual Boneyard Arts Festival for the first time, C-U Confidential sponsors an event at Caffe Paradiso on the University of Illinois campus to share films by area filmmakers. “Local Cinema @ Paradiso,” or the “C-U Confidential Local Movie Show,” compiles more than 20 trailers, shorts, and Webisodes that pique the interest of a steady crowd. Luke Boyce of Shatterglass Studios provides the sound and projection, the UI student creators of ONE FINE DAY and A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW make an appearance to discuss their projects with host Jason Pankoke, and composer Todd Mazierski’s cuts from the soundtrack of the documentary HOOPESTON set the mood during intermissions. Attendee Sanford Hess would soon convince Pankoke that a similar event of larger scope made perfect programming sense for a venue he was looking to purchase, the Art Theater in Champaign. One year later, the New Art Film Festival era began. As reported on 4/16/09 at CUBlog. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ The Esquire Lounge, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* mixer (4/15, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ARCADIAN, BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN (in Hindi with English sub), CIVIL WAR, LA CHIMERA (in Italian with English sub), MAIDAAN (in Hindi with English sub), STING, DUNE: PART TWO, THE FIRST OMEN, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), MONKEY MAN, SOMEONE LIKE YOU*, SHREK 2 (animation) (re-release), WICKED LITTLE LETTERS, IRENA’S VOW (4/15-4/16, 7 p.m.), AMC “Screen Unseen” (mystery movie) (4/15, 7 p.m.), SELENA (4/16, 4 & 7 p.m.), ABIGAIL, SASQUATCH SUNSET, SPY X FAMILY – CODE: WHITE (animé) (in Japanese with English sub) (4/18 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
CIVIL WAR, ARTHUR THE KING, DUNE: PART TWO, THE FIRST OMEN, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, IMAGINARY*, IMMACULATE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), MONKEY MAN, SHREK 2 (animation) (re-release), SOMEONE LIKE YOU (4/12 on), UFC 300: Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill, more (mixed martial arts) (4/13, 9 p.m., simulcast), SUGA | Agust D Tour – “D-Day the Movie” (concert film) (4/13, 2 p.m., IMAX), THE DARK KNIGHT (4/14, 3 & 7 p.m.; 4/17, p.m.), IRENA’S VOW (4/15-4/16, 7 p.m.), THE HOPEFUL (faith film) (4/17-4/18, 7 p.m.) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (4/12-4/13, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (4/9 on) Online rentals

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
UI European Union Center presents GOOD BYE LENIN! (4/16, 3 p.m.), College of Media at Illinois and the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies present the 2024 Chaz and Roger Ebert Symposium*, “Representations and Their Critics (part 1)” (4/16, 7-9 p.m.)

@ Seibel Center for Design, UIUC, Champaign, IL
College of Media at Illinois and the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies present the 2024 Chaz and Roger Ebert Symposium*, “Representations and Their Critics (part 2)” (4/17, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series presents THE THIRD MAN (4/13, 1 & 7 p.m.), College of Media at Illinois and Chaz Ebert present the 25th anniversary Roger Ebert’s Film Festival (4/17-4/20)

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: April 5-11, 2024

April 6th, 2024

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!

4/2: Pamela Powell (cohost and reviewer, “Reel Talk with Chuck and Pam,” Champaign-Chicago, IL/Racine, WI)
4/10: Kristen Johns (videographer, “Champaign Underground” YouTube channel, Champaign-Urbana, IL

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

This Report had been shaping up to be yet another all-horror film bonanza but, given the topic of our Almanac reprint that you’ll see below, we’re going to concentrate on timely Decatur news that, tra la, all happens to be about producers taking their next steps with horror-themed projects. To start, actor Bishop Stevens has been busking about Facebook to crew up for his return to the Soy Capital later this month to finish the filming of his Derrick Todd Lee biopic, THE BATON ROUGE SERIAL KILLER. Location work is set to resume Sunday, April 21, and last for 10 days with a weekend break, per his comments, so those interested in helping should reach out to him via his personal account or the official page of the film, while those who want to learn more details and see a proof-of-concept trailer can visit this Indiegogo campaign.

Speaking of, the 39-minute (!) proof-of-concept for Acrostar ProductionsNIGHT OF THE DEAD SORORITY BABES, shot at the beginning of 2024 in a Vrbo-owned lake house in Decatur, has been posted on YouTube and their own Indiegogo fundraiser is set to close at the end of this Sunday, April 7. Producer Ann Myrna and co-director S. J. Herman will be returning to downstate Illinois in a week’s time to commence work on the real deal, to be directed by lead actress Angel Nichole Bradford as she did for the SORORITY BABES short, and are looking for female day players on Wednesday, April 17, to appear in this “campy horror” exercise; write AcrostarProductionsVP [at] gmail [dot] com for specifics on the roles or other questions regarding their production needs.

To end, even though one hopes this is finally the beginning, a cryptic picture of the pumpkin-headed co-star of the long-in-coming fantasy-horror flick TRICK AND TREATS from Heroic Age Studios in Mt. Zion appeared earlier this week on Facebook with the equally cryptic caption, “Are you ready?” Considering the meat and potatoes (and copious mayhem, we’ll presume) of the picture were filmed at the Heroic Age soundstage and in the Decatur area way back in 2018, there must be plenty of pent-up anticipation for it; written and directed by Eric Hector, TRICK was made by all these folks who’ve been patiently awaiting word on its fate. Intended to be the flagship title of a brand called Frightful 5000 Films, TREAT features appearances by Malcolm McDowell and Gary Busey.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoMonday, April 5, 1999: An invitation-only audience fills the Avon Theater in downtown Decatur, Illinois, for its first movie presentation in several years, the biographical epic ELIZABETH starring Cate Blanchett, to complete a lively week of pomp and circumstance, as reported in the Herald & Review. Gregarious businessman Skip Huston, who has been involved recently in both the “Flashback” fundraising efforts at the nearby Lincoln Square Theatre and the popular “Haunted Decatur” seasonal tours, is working with partners to develop the refurbished space into a venue that can handle live events, such as the Christian and blues-rock music concerts that led up to tonight’s show, and screenings of repertory and art films. Among Huston’s staff is his wife Susan Blake, daughter Melissa Huston, and projectionist Chris Barnett, while his allies on the programming side include Troy Taylor, a writer and publisher of crime and paranormal histories, and Gary Strong, the local puppeteer whose self-made marionette “Spunky the Squirrel” is set to star in an Avon “kids club.” Upcoming weekend shows will feature the science-fiction classic FORBIDDEN PLANET and current movies making the rounds such as A SIMPLE PLAN, GODS AND MONSTERS, and WAKING NED DEVINE. {R}

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ University YMCA, UIUC, Urbana, IL
“Friday Forum” feat. Prof. Jay Rosenstein about Native American sports mascots and IN WHOSE HONOR?* (4/5, 12 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
EPIC TALES (animation), FAMILY STAR (in Telugu with English sub), THE FIRST OMEN, MONKEY MAN, SOMEONE LIKE YOU, VIVA LA VIDA (in Mandarin with English sub), WICKED LITTLE LETTERS, DUNE: PART TWO, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), TILLU SQUARE (in Telugu with English Sub) (4/5 on), AMC “Screen Unseen” (mystery movie) (4/8, 7 p.m., sold out), BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN (in Hindi with English sub) (4/10, 1/15, 3:45, & 7:15 p.m.), MAIDAAN (in Hindi with English sub) (4/15 p.m.), CIVIL WAR, STING (4/11 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE FIRST OMEN, MONKEY MAN, SOMEONE LIKE YOU, ARTHUR THE KING, DUNE: PART TWO, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, IMAGINARY, IMMACULATE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation) (4/5 on), GONE WITH THE WIND 85th anniversary (4/7, 1 & 7 p.m.; 4/8, 4/10, 7 p.m.), THE GODFATHER (4/7, 3 & 7 p.m.; 4/10, 7 p.m.), SUGA | Agust D Tour – “D-Day the Movie” (concert film) (4/10, 7 p.m., IMAX), CIVIL WAR (4/11 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. FERRARI, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (4/5-4/6, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (4/2 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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: Mar. 29-Apr. 4, 2024

March 30th, 2024

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!

4/2: Will “the Thrill” Viharo (movie columnist, Bachelor Pad Magazine, Champaign, IL)
4/4: Kamelya Alexan (filmmaker, CHANGING THE DISCIPLE, Chicago, IL)
4/4: Sara Benson (adjunct assistant professor, School of Information Sciences, UIUC, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

For today’s Report, we’re shelving the numerous topics we had considered talking about this week so we can focus on a happening du C-U that we think will be worth your time and attentions. Ye Ed recently got back in touch with Nat Dykeman, an indie film connoisseur with whom he’d first crossed paths nearly 20 years ago, and learned in confidence of his plans to bring his brand of cinema programming to our area. We’re humbled that Dykeman is willing to offer this gesture to our community and believe the return of specialized public screenings meant to expand the depth of what “movie-going” can entail for the folks of Champaign, Urbana, and the immediate cities beyond is long overdue. Let’s discuss the plan thus far…

Having relocated from the Chicago suburbs to small-town living not far from our fair Twin Cities, Dykeman already has his hands full in film. He is the founder, organizer, and promoter of the Lake County Film Festival, held up north in suburban Grayslake since 2004, which is currently accepting entries to consider for its 14th showcase in October and November of this year. (An early-bird deadline of Friday, April 26, is approaching like a comet; don’t let it pass you by, screen storytellers!) He has also tried his hand at producing films, running a video store, and other related and creative activities over the years as detailed by UIUC professor emeritus Richard Leskosky in this nifty profile run a week ago in the News-Gazette.

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At present, Dykeman wants to test the waters in Champaign County and has pulled together a three-show run under the “Chambana Film Festival” umbrella at the Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX in Savoy. The following titles will play on the last Sunday afternoon of each of the next three months with the series kicking off this weekend: QWERTY (2012; March 31, 4 p.m.), a romance between outsiders in the Windy City, played by Dana Pupkin and Eric Hailey, which eventually involves a Scrabble competition; TRAPPED BALLOON (2022, April 28, 4 p.m.), a bittersweet drama about a former teacher (Touko Miura), her estranged father (Kaoru Kobayashi), and a solitary fisherman (Masahiro Higashide) who gradually transform from their interactions on a Japanese isle; and, BIKE VESSEL (2023, May 26, 4 p.m.), a documentary about the inadequacy of health care for Black men in America and one individual, Donnie Seals, Sr., who turned his life and wellness around after multiple significant surgeries and despite the odds. The respective directors are Bill Sebastian, Hiroyuki Miyagawa, and Eric D. Seals. Participants from all the films – Dykeman was a producer on QWERTY, FYI – will be invited to the screenings.

Depending on how “Chambana” is received by, well, Chambana, the promoter has additional concepts including an expansion to a full-on event a la Lake County in early 2025. To be fair and honest, and not to discount the great efforts made by everyone who has continued or revived the touchstones of our modern film culture like last month’s Insect Fear Film Festival, next month’s 25th anniversary Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, and a proper Pens to Lens outpouring down the road a short way, part of what has been missing in the C-U is new blood to drive good ideas. We wish Dykeman all the best in channeling his experience and knowledge in our environs while trusting our dearest viewers to take the plunge and participate.

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LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

HUNTING FOR THE HAG* streaming release: Tuesday, April 2, via Lion Heart Distribution, Santa Monica, CA/Into the Night Motion Pictures, Normal, IL

@ Golden Corral, Springfield, IL
Central Illinois Film Commission* meeting (4/4, 6 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. meeting)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
Chambana Film Festival presents QWERTY (3/31, 4 p.m., free admission)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
A CAT’S LIFE, CREW (in Hindi with English sub), GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, IN THE LAND OF SAINTS AND SINNERS, TILLU SQUARE (in Telugu with English Sub), ARTHUR THE KING, DUNE: PART TWO, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, IMAGINARY, IMMACULATE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL, LUCA* (animation) (first US release) (3/29 on), CABRINI (faith film), LOVE LIES BLEEDING (3/29-4/1), SOMEONE LIKE YOU (4/2 on), THE FIRST OMEN, MONKEY MAN, WICKED LITTLE LETTERS (4/4 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, ARTHUR THE KING, CABRINI (faith film), DUNE: PART TWO, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, IMAGINARY, IMMACULATE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), LOVE LIES BLEEDING, LUCA* (animation) (first US release), ONE LIFE (3/29 on), PRIDE & PREJUDICE (2005) (3/31, 3 & 7 p.m.; 4/3, 7 p.m.), THE ARK AND THE DARKNESS (religious documentary) (4/1, 7 p.m.), SOMEONE LIKE YOU (4/2 on), THE FIRST OMEN, MONKEY MAN (4/4 on) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. THE COLOR PURPLE (2023), Pine Lounge, 1st floor (3/29-3/30, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (3/26 on) Online rentals

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
UI Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center and Slavic Languages & Literature present 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL documentary screening and discussion (4/1, 5:30 p.m.), Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies presents PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE screening (feat. AFTER PARTY* short film) curated by Ebert Fellows (4/4, 7 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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: March 22-28, 2024

March 23rd, 2024

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!

3/22: JC Culp (multimedia artist, Unpopular Arts, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
3/26: Jack Snyder (co-producer, 57 SECONDS, The Avenue, Los Angeles, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

We’ll consider this short Report a prelude to next week’s Report, in which we’ll talk about the implications of drawing film productions and their dollars to Champaign-Urbana(-Rantoul, let’s be honest). Related to a degree, your humble editor happens to be putting together an order this week at Oldies.com that is one-half movies of the C-U and beyond. In the process of adding and subtracting items to his shopping cart and doing oodles of extra searches to really make sure he’s finding everything he wants to pick up, Ye Ed decided to click on a “Hot Deals!” button and, in the hundred or so discounted titles on the page (out of tens of thousands stocked by the merchant), what would appear but the Jay Bennett biography, WHERE ARE YOU, JAY BENNETT? If you are a fan or friend of the late studio wünderkind from Urbana who passed away 15 years ago this April, you might want to score a copy or copies of the two-disc Blu-ray release from What Were We Thinking Films and MVD Visual while they cost only $5.30 each. Yes, $5.30. Click here for the product page if you’re interested. Some of you may also be interested in the other relevant documentary found by Ye Ed on a hunch. April Wright’s well-received look at the post-pandemic health of America’s drive-in industry, BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN, was released on DVD by Uncork’d Entertainment back on February 6 with little fanfare; the film includes a trip to the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in of Gibson City, which opened back up for business this weekend with the GHOSTBUSTERS and KUNG FU PANDA sequels. You can park a copy of DRIVE-IN in your home library for a reasonable $14.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, IMMACULATE, LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL, LUCA (animation) (first US release), THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MAGICAL NEGROES, ARTHUR THE KING, CABRINI (faith film), DUNE: PART TWO, IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), LOVE LIES BLEEDING, ONE LIFE* (3/22 on), AMC “Scream Unseen” (mystery movie) (3/25, 7 p.m.), WINNIE-THE-POOH: BLOOD AND HONEY II* (2/26-2/28), GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, IN THE LAND OF SAINTS AND SINNERS, TILLU SQUARE (in Telugu with English Sub) (3/28 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, IMMACULATE, LOVE LIES BLEEDING, LUCA (animation) (first US release), THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MAGICAL NEGROES, ARTHUR THE KING, BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, CABRINI (faith film), DUNE: PART TWO, IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), ONE LIFE (3/22 on), KNOX GOES AWAY (3/22-3/23, 3/25-3/28), The Metropolitan Opera: Roméo Et Juliette (3/23, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 3/27, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), RASCAL DOES NOT DREAM double feature (animé) (3/24, 2 p.m., English dub; 3/25, 7 p.m., in Japanese with English sub), HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (3/24, 3 & 7 p.m.; 3/27, 7 p.m.), WINNIE-THE-POOH: BLOOD AND HONEY II* (2/26-2/28), THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 1-3 (faith programming) (3/28, 7 p.m.), GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE (3/28 on) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. ANYONE BUT YOU, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (3/22-3/23, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (3/19 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series” feat. THE FALL GUY pre-release screening (3/26, 7 p.m., 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: March 15-21, 2024

March 16th, 2024

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!

3/18: Joseph Muskin (co-author, The Art Theater, Champaign Urbana Theater History, Urbana, IL)
3/19: Andrew F. Gleason (associate director of video services, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

3/8: Mark Rubel, 65 (producer, MELVIN’S DISCONTENT, Pogo Studios, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

In the interest of getting something out of this breezy weekend that doesn’t involve a computer, we’re drafting the easiest and peasiest Report that we can. To that end, we share this sole topic that reveals more layers than you’d expect. A bunch has been in the news lately about the EV start-up Rivian Automotive, which has a manufacturing plant in Normal at the location where George Henry Horton’s AI indie PROJECT DOROTHY was shot. (Rivian CEO R. J. Scaringe and DOROTHY producer Ryan Scaringe are clearly related, hence the filmmakers’ unfettered access to the former Mitsubishi complex.) The operation is being positioned as an answer or competitor to Elon Musk’s Tesla brand if they can get product out on the streets; the Normal facility is eliminating its third shift operations and transferring workers to the earlier shifts with allegedly improved means to produce their R1 vehicles more efficiently, and they just announced a new R2 make of SUV that can sport a host of accessories including a rooftop tent, dubbed the “treehouse,” with a built-in movie projector among the perks. Ye Ed is yelling at us to tell you that it’s A-OK to not be anywhere near a screen or the cinema for a time. Let it go. Let it … you know.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Esquire Lounge, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* meeting re: Pens to Lens 2024 (3/18, 7 p.m.)

@ Spurlock Museum for World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
IN WHOSE HONOR?* documentary screening and panel discussion (3/18, 4 p.m., Knight Auditorium)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MAGICAL NEGROES, ARTHUR THE KING, KNOX GOES AWAY, LOVE LIES BLEEDING, ONE LIFE, YODHA (in Hindi with English sub), CABRINI (faith film), DUNE: PART TWO, IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), OPPENHEIMER, ORDINARY ANGELS, POOR THINGS*, YOLO (in Mandarin with English sub) (3/15 on), GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE (3/21 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MAGICAL NEGROES, ARTHUR THE KING, KNOX GOES AWAY, ONE LIFE, BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, CABRINI (faith film), DUNE: PART TWO, IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), MADAME WEB, MIGRATION (animation), ORDINARY ANGELS (3/15 on), LABYRINTH (3/17, 3 p.m.), JURASSIC PARK (3/17, 3 & 7 p.m.), THE ARK AND THE DARKNESS (religious documentary) (3/20-3/21, 7 p.m.), RAD (2/21, 7 p.m.), GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE (3/21 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (3/15-3/16, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (3/12 on) Online rentals

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies and Women’s Resources Center present OVARIAN PSYCOS documentary screening (3/21, 7 p.m., Knight Auditorium)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series” feat. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (3/21, 7 p.m.)

@ Women’s Resources Center, UIUC, Champaign, IL
WRC and Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies present “Women Make Movies” discussion of OVARIAN PSYCOS documentary (3/22, 3 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: March 8-14, 2024

March 9th, 2024

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!

3/9: Jason Lindsey (commercial photographer, Jason Lindsey Photography, Champaign-Urbana, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

2/29: David Bordwell, 76 (perennial guest, Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, UIUC, Champaign-Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

“I’m late,” said the White Rabbit. “So am I,” replied Ye Ed. “I am so very unmerry,” sneered the Mad Hatter. It turns out you have to actually travel through the Looking Glass to get to the wondrous world of Champaign-Urbana and, with said “trip” thwarted yet again, we at CUBlog might as well serve up some carrots-for-thought for everyone to crunch on. To that end, we’re following up last week’s student-centric Report with another set of prompts connected to young people and the academic space.

First and most pertinent is this notice from WJBC radio in Bloomington about the effort by Illinois State University students involved with the campus television station, TV-10, to have studio equipment replaced and repaired; their goal is to apply $50,000 worth of upgrades in part to mark the 50th anniversary of the hands-on training outlet, which first hit the airwaves on March 4, 1974. Second and most poignant is this Guardian article, shared by Confidential agent DTz, in which the former Chicagoland high school basketball stars Arthur Agee and William Gates reflect on their lives and friendship on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of HOOP DREAMS, the telling documentary about them (and so much more) by Steve James, Peter Gilbert, and UIUC alum Frederick Marx. Of course, Roger Ebert famously championed it.

Third and most philanthropic, Confidential agent ESP submitted this interview segment on WGN-TV with comedian and writer Andy Richter, who was in Chicago last week to appear at an event in support of The H Foundation and cancer research; raised in Yorkville, maybe 40 miles away from MFHQ Deux, Richter subsequently left school in Urbana before he could also become a UIUC alum to try his hand in stand-up at The Second City and film production at Columbia College in the Windy City. Consistent work in the entertainment industry and late-night notoriety alongside Conan O’Brien followed, as we know, and it seems that success is also finding the younger talent Esther Povitsky, who grew up in Skokie. We caught her appearance this week on AFTER MIDNIGHT and learned through Google that, not unlike Richter, she makes podcasts, acts on screen, performs stage comedy, and has skipped out on UIUC early in her life; she’s quoted on the latter in a Wikipedia entry. DRUGSTORE JUNE is her new film.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CABRINI (faith film), IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), YOLO (in Mandarin with English sub), ARTICLE 20* (in Mandarin with English sub), BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 7-8 (faith programming), DUNE: PART TWO, MADAME WEB, ORDINARY ANGELS (3/8 on), Oscar 2024 hopefuls: ANATOMY OF A FALL* (3/8), AMERICAN FICTION* (3/8), POOR THINGS* (3/8), OPPENHEIMER (3/9, 3/11-3/13), BARBIE* (3/9), THE ZONE OF INTEREST* (3/9), THE HOLDOVERS* (3/10), KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON* (3/10), AMC “Screen Unseen” (mystery movie) (3/11, 7 p.m.), FORTY-SEVEN DAYS WITH JESUS (faith film) (3/11-3/12, 3/14, 7 p.m.), THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MAGICAL NEGROES, ARTHUR THE KING, LOVE LIES BLEEDING, ONE LIFE (3/14 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
CABRINI (faith film), IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 7-8 (faith programming), DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA – TO THE HASHIRA TRAINING (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), DUNE: PART TWO, MADAME WEB, MIGRATION (animation), ORDINARY ANGELS (3/8 on), WONKA (3/8-3/9, 3/11-3/12), The Metropolitan Opera: La Forza Del Destino (3/9, 11 a.m., simulcast; 3/13, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), UFC 299: Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera, more (mixed martial arts) (3/9, 9 p.m., simulcast), LABYRINTH (3/10, 4 & 7 p.m.), THE QUIET MAN (3/10, 3 & 7 p.m.; 3/13, 7 p.m.), FORTY-SEVEN DAYS WITH JESUS (faith film) (3/11-3/12, 3/14, 7 p.m.), ARTHUR THE KING (3/14 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. AMERICAN FICTION, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (3/8-3/9, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE BALLAD OF DAVY CROCKETT, DOUBLE DOWN SOUTH, more! (3/5 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illinois Public Media presents “The Arthouse Experience Film Series” feat. PAST LIVES (3/8, 7 p.m.), The News-Gazette Film Series presents THE SOUND OF MUSIC “sing-a-long” edition (3/9, 1 & 7 p.m.)

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

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Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: March 1-7, 2024

March 2nd, 2024

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!

3/2: Anne Lukeman (“chief adventurist,” C-U Adventures in Time & Space escape room, Urbana, IL)
3/2: Kelly White (executive director, 40 North 88 West: Champaign County Arts Council, Champaign, IL)
3/5: James Treichler (producer/audio engineer, Wave Upon Wave, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Wow, so, film culture announcements and revelations have erupted over the last week or so and we’re not prepared to dive into it all for this Report. We’ll just stick with the plan, then, which is to highlight student-centered doings. You’ll see listings and links immediately below for the second CU International Film Festival, an inspirational short film showcase from local high school senior Max Libman and company, at the UI Spurlock Museum this Saturday, March 2, starting at 7 p.m. with tickets available on-site starting at 6 p.m., as well as the animé celebration at the UI Illini Union, UI-CON, organized and hosted by University of Illinois students connected with a long-running RSO, the Japanese Animation Club, lasting all day Saturday and Sunday, March 3, and free to attend for the campus community and general public. We also finally spotted a submission deadline of Friday, April 12, for the enrolled UI populace to enter their work for possible inclusion in the next UIUC Student Film Festival, which is slated to take place two weeks later on Friday, April 26, at Knight Auditorium in Spurlock where the CUIFF is holding court tomorrow. There is also the Foxtail Film Festival, arranged by faculty and adjuncts over at Illinois State University for the second year running, which has a late deadline of next Friday, March 8, for accepting submissions from high school and college students in several categories as listed on FilmFreeway; Foxtail events are scheduled to run from Thursday, April 25, through Sunday, April 28, with the screenings at the Normal Theater in downtown Normal. We’ll all need a spring break after this. Whew!

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoWednesday, March 3, 1999: Operating out of a studio-office situated near downtown Champaign, Illinois, Opteryx Press puts its spin on independent film discourse to paper for the first time with the release of MICRO-FILM: The Warning Shot. The letter-size, 12-page ‘zine is a copy shop creation with a teal cover that serves as a low-budget teaser for the upcoming MICRO-FILM, “The Magazine of Personal Cinema in Action.” Novice self-publisher Jason Pankoke draws the content from his recent interactions with participants in the American “film festival circuit” as well as science-fiction and horror fandom; interview subjects include Scary Monsters Magazine publisher Dennis Druktenis from the Chicago suburb of Highwood, Oregon-based stop-motion animator Suzanne Twining, and filmmaker and photographer Brien Burroughs of San Francisco. Short subjects created by the latter two were introduced to a Champaign-Urbana audience during the first Freaky Film Festival in 1997. “Many of the films in MICRO-FILM will be raw and unpolished,” writes Pankoke in a “Save the Mirth” editorial. “Some will be experimental and abstract. Most will be far from perfect, at least according to the standards of mainstream critics and cinema historians. However, all belong to the century-old history of motion picture making, and this history deserves to be fleshed out by recording what is going on in the grassroots, the backyards, and the underground. In this case, size doesn’t matter. Your films do.” A second “stepping stone” issue to be called MICRO-FILM 101 is promoted in The Warning Shot but never comes to fruition. As reported on 3/7/09 at CUBlog. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Golden Corral, Springfield, IL
Central Illinois Film Commission* meeting (3/7, 6 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. meeting)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
UI Japanese Animation Club presents UI-CON* animation and comics convention (3/2-3/3) Information

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
CU International Film Festival* (3/2, 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. films, free w/ticket) Information

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 7-8 (faith programming), DUNE: PART TWO, OPERATION VALENTINE (in Telugu with English sub), ARGYLLE, ARTICLE 20 (in Mandarin with English sub), BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA – TO THE HASHIRA TRAINING (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS, MADAME WEB, ORDINARY ANGELS, PEGASUS 2 (in Mandarin with English sub) (3/1 on), Oscar 2024 hopefuls: BARBIE* (3/1, 3/7), THE HOLDOVERS* (3/1, 3/4), OPPENHEIMER* (3/1, 3/5), AMERICAN FICTION* (3/2, 3/5), POOR THINGS* (3/2, 3/7), KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON* (3/2, 3/4), ANATOMY OF A FALL* (3/3, 3/6), THE ZONE OF INTEREST* (3/3, 3/6), and PAST LIVES* (3/3), AMC “Screen Unseen” (mystery movie) (3/4, 7 p.m.), CABRINI, IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation) (3/7 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
ALL OF US STRANGERS, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 7-8 (faith programming), DUNE: PART TWO, AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, ARGYLLE, BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA – TO THE HASHIRA TRAINING (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS, MADAME WEB, MIGRATION (animation), ORDINARY ANGELS, POOR THINGS, WONKA (3/1 on), THE LAND BEFORE TIME (animation) (3/3, 3, 5 & 7 p.m.; 3/6, 5 & 7 p.m.), CABRINI, IMAGINARY, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation) (3/7 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. TROLLS BAND TOGETHER, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (3/1-3/2, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
COLD MEAT, SNOW WHITE AND THE 7 SAMURAI, more! (2/27 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series” feat. KUNG FU PANDA 4 pre-release screening (3/5, 7 p.m., 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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Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: February 23-29, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

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!

2/25: Josh Schafer (publisher, Lunchmeat VHS fanzine and label, Elmer, NJ)
2/26: Troy Michael (editor & publisher, Innocent Words website, Oakwood, IL)
2/29: Julia Megan Sullivan (actor, MONTH TO MONTH, Owko Films, Los Angeles, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Is anyone down for even more C-U film news and pertinent dates? Well, then, we shall provide! To start, our buds Chase & Shep at Earth-217 Studios have shared over on the Champaign Movie Makers group that a new joint is heating up, the anthology program CAMPFIRE STORIES, and they are looking for filmmakers who might fill out episodes with their own segments including of the found footage variety; this will most likely debut in October, when the fellas love to unleash seasonal horror in legion, at their YouTube channel. Best bet is to contact them through Facebook since the C&S website is AWOL for the moment. Speaking of found footage, Joshua Brucker and Horror Dadz Productions are casting a handful of roles for a new project called UNTITLED FOOTAGE and looking for “local talent only” from “central Illinois” according to a notice on the director’s personal Facebook account, so presumably the action will be staged in a town or rural area near us. Actors can send in materials or questions to grayskypictures [at] gmail [dot] com if interested; FOOTAGE apparently serves as a sequel to “The Illinois Valley Murder Tapes” half of SPLIT SCREEN, one of several urban legend and Fortean titles the Horror Dadz have fathered in the last few years. Others include THE WOODMEN, released last month, and TAHOE JOE.

A few steps up on the budget scale, the renamed visitor’s bureau of Champaign County, Experience Champaign-Urbana, is taking renewed steps to endear their newly-dubbed film office, Film Champaign-Urbana, to the community at large and encourage its participation with visiting and C-U-based producers. This includes lending one’s property as a set, to be discussed next Tuesday, February 28, starting at 5 p.m. in the “A” room of the Robeson Pavilion in the Champaign Public Library. Members of Shatterglass Films and Chicago’s The Line Film Company will help present “So You Want to Be a Film Location?” with the office’s director, Mark Brown, and attendees are asked to visit the Experience C-U site and reserve their seats due to limited space; the News-Gazette reports this is the first of a series of informational events. And, even though next week’s Report is shaping up to be a “kids and education” outing, we need to plug Pens to Lens this week since their deadline for accepting child- and teen-written screenplays in their competition is next Thursday, February 29. Visit the revived program’s website for documentation and encourage the budding creatives in your life to write now like there’s no tomorrow!

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

18 Years Ago … Saturday, February 25, 2006: After the seventh issue of the Champaign film journal MICRO-FILM is published, Opteryx Press adapts its “C-U Confidential” local-zine section into a new internet variation, C-U Blogfidential. The first entry written by editor and publisher Jason Pankoke, dated 8:57 p.m., describes an intention of “[making] a minor splash creating a community history through cinema, one that we can definitely call our own,” with CUBlog as its potential epicenter. Topics to be covered in the following months include the Danville fantasy-comedy SHOW; Dreamscape Cinema’s first features, CRAB ORCHARD and DISCONNECTED; the fan- and convention-favorite spoof of video game tropes, PRESS START, from Dark Maze Studios of Champaign; the second episodes of BrainSmart ProductionsWEREWOLF CEMETERY and THE ADVENTURES OF THE SCREAMING APE, directed by Jason Butler; the infamous UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS. A MUMMY and lesser-known ROBOTMAN, made by the UIUC students of Illini Film & Video and directed by Chris Lukeman; a video adaptation of Antigone by the Creative Dramatics Workshop and its director, Robert Picklesimer; an empowering documentary called AN UPHILL CLIMB from Callan Films of Effingham; Blue Bassoon Pictures’ darkly funny crime spoof MERRY CHRISTMAS!; visits from UI alumni working in professional media like Fred Rubin and Michael Wiese; and numerous community and campus screenings such as a run of MICRO-FILM Movie Shows at the beloved bar Mike ‘n Molly’s in downtown Champaign. As of January 2024, CUBlog has published content keyed in to the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond in every single month since its launch over more than 1,600 postings. [REV]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Arlee Theater, Mason City, IL
2024 Short Film Fest* w/awards presentation (2/23, 7 p.m., admission w/ donation)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign County Film Office*, Shatterglass Films*, and The Line Film Co. present “So You Want to Be a Film Location?” w/discussion (2/28, 5-6 p.m., Robeson Room A)

@ Foellinger Auditorium, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 5:30 p.m.
EGSA presents the 41st annual Insect Fear Film Festival* feat. THE ANT BULLY, ANT-MAN (2/24, 5:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. films)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ARTICLE 20 (in Mandarin with English sub), DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA – TO THE HASHIRA TRAINING (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS, ORDINARY ANGELS, STOPMOTION, ARGYLLE, THE BEEKEEPER, BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 4-6 (faith programming), LAND OF BAD, LISA FRANKENSTEIN, MADAME WEB, PEGASUS 2 (in Mandarin with English sub), SOUL (animation) (first US release) (2/23 on), ORIGIN with Ava DuVernay interview (2/28, 7 p.m.), DUNE: PART TWO (2/29 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA – TO THE HASHIRA TRAINING (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS, ORDINARY ANGELS, AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, ARGYLLE, BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 4-6 (faith programming), LAND OF BAD*, MADAME WEB, MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), POOR THINGS, WONKA (2/23 on), DUNE: PART TWO preview screening (2/25, 7 p.m., IMAX), TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (2/28, 7 p.m.), THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 7-8 (faith programming), DUNE: PART TWO (2/29 on) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. THE MARVELS, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (2/23-2/24, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (2/20 on) Online rentals

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies, College of Media, presents TRAIN TO BUSAN (2/29, 7 p.m., Knight Auditorium)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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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Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: February 16-22, 2024

February 16th, 2024

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!

2/21: Eric Benson (co-host, Damian Duffy Hates Everything podcast, DD Media Empire, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Is anyone down for some local film news and pertinent dates? If so, we sure do have local film news and pertinent dates! First, let’s go over when projects are scheduled to make their streaming debut. You will be able to watch the Silver Compass Studios documentary AFTERLIFE, which we talked about here, starting on Tuesday, February 27, at IndiePix Unlimited and other services that carry titles from BayView Entertainment; you can join in on HUNTING FOR THE HAG with Into the Night Motion Pictures, which we talked about here, starting on Tuesday, April 2, on services to be announced; and, you shall make nice with Acrostar ProductionsSORORITY BABES, which we talked about here, in a short film that is a prelude to their upcoming feature to be unveiled on Thursday, March 7. And then, as we suspected, the concept teaser trailer and corresponding fundraising campaign for Front 76 FilmsFINAL SUMMER PART II arrives on Sunday, March 24; take a peek at the feedback-laden clip posted to Facebook by the filmmakers for their fans this past Valentine’s Day. Finally, for those who want to get involved on the set, we have casting prompts and submission deadlines for two indie productions. UIUC graduate Keenan Dailey, whose provocative film efforts we’ve discussed before, is hiring for the second entry in a three-part series that dramatizes “racial tension surrounding the 1994 crime bill;” visit their Facebook page and find the February 14 post with character breakdowns and contact information for HEAR NO EVIL if you’re interested. And, Peoria-based actor Steve Christopher shared on the socials that extras are being sought to populate scenes for the Warr Brothers’ period film AMERICAN CRIMINALS, both this coming Thursday and Friday, February 22-23, in Peoria as well as on Saturday and Sunday, February 24-25, in Joliet according to the official Facebook page; your best bet is to write them for details on all their upcoming talent needs. We thereby end scene on the film scene du C-U and beyond for another week!



LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* 48 hr film contest (2/16, 7 p.m., through 2/18, 7 p.m.)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* presents 48 hr film festival (2/19, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 4-6 (faith programming), LAND OF BAD, MADAME WEB, THE TASTE OF THINGS, ANYONE BUT YOU, ARGYLLE, THE BEEKEEPER, THE COLOR PURPLE, LISA FRANKENSTEIN, OUT OF DARKNESS (with English sub)*, PEGASUS 2 (in Mandarin with English sub), TURNING RED (animation) (first US release), WONKA, THE ZONE OF INTEREST (in German with English sub) (2/16 on), DUNE (1984) 40th anniversary (2/18, 4 & 8 p.m.; 2/19, 7:30 p.m.), ORIGIN (2/18, 2 p.m.), AMC “Screen Unseen” (mystery movie) (2/19, 7 p.m.), AMERICAN FICTION (2/20, 2 & 8 p.m.), DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA – TO THE HASHIRA TRAINING (animé), DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS, ORDINARY ANGELS (2/22 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 4-6 (faith programming), LAND OF BAD, MADAME WEB, AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, ARGYLLE, THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, LISA FRANKENSTEIN, MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), NIGHT SWIM*, POOR THINGS, WONKA (2/16 on), UFC 298: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topurvia, more (mixed martial arts) (2/17, 9 p.m., simulcast), DUNE (1984) 40th anniversary (2/18, 4 & 7 p.m.; 2/19, 7 p.m.), HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2/18, 3 & 7 p.m.; 2/21, 7 p.m.), FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE (CGI animé) (2/21, 7 p.m., English dub; 2/22, in Japanese with English sub), DEMON SLAYER: KIMETSU NO YAIBA – TO THE HASHIRA TRAINING (animé), ORDINARY ANGELS (2/22 on) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (2/16-2/17, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE WEDDING CONTRACT, more! (2/13 on) Online rentals

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies, College of Media, presents POOR THINGS (2/22, 7 p.m., Knight Auditorium)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illinois Public Media and Illinois Soul 101.0 FM present “The Arthouse Experience Film Series” GOSPEL: WHERE SONG AND SERMON MEET excerpt w/discussion (2/16, 7 p.m., free), The News-Gazette Film Series presents SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (2/17, 1 & 7 p.m.)

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

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Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: February 9-15, 2024

February 11th, 2024

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!

2/12: Gela Rediger (producer, Camp Nostalgic Studios, Champaign-Urbana, IL)
2/13: Steven Bentz (director, The Virginia Theatre, Champaign Park District, Champaign, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Since PROJECT DOROTHY arrived at MFHQ Deux in the mail today, it is logical that our newest Report will buck the recent trend of horror film coverage and instead focus on science fiction arcana. Oddity number one: we didn’t realize until following a few algorithm-driven links appearing in our feeds due to the fictional January “birthday” of the HAL-9000 computer from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY that Urbana was once home to a company named HAL Communications Corp., founded in 1966 by University of Illinois graduate students as HAL Devices for the purpose of making amateur radio gear. Now owned by the Australian company Barrett Communications and headquartered in New York state, HAL develops modem technology along with related software and, yes, has relied on legal means to untangle confusion due to the coincidental acronym as told by co-founder Bill Henry in this article; the last-known local address for HAL, according to Google, is 1201 W. Kenyon Road in north Urbana, currently the location of Campus Ink Printing, and the “almost the same” street number is not lost on us. Hmmmmmmm.

Our second oddity is a postscript we didn’t have room to share in our previous Report where we told you about relevant movies available to watch on Tubi. Web searches have simply confirmed what we suspected – Bert I. Gordon’s giant locust thriller BEGINNING OF THE END, the one filmed in California that fakes Illinois to endearingly funny effect, is not officially available “as is” on streaming or physical media at all. You can either chortle through the infamous END-isode of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, search for bootlegs on YouTube and Daily Motion, or buy (sometimes pricey) copies on eBay. Considering that Olive Films and Kino Lorber have licensed Republic Pictures titles by the bucketload from Paramount in recent times, how did END fall through the cracks? The answer is on the back sleeves of old VHS and DVD copies – Republic only distributed the flick, so its chain of ownership leads elsewhere. As we detailed in our Almanac entry, an independent outfit named AB-PT Pictures made END and its double-bill partner, THE UNEARTHLY, and the rights for both have rested for decades with the Peter Rodgers Organization, a distributor of vintage films and programs to syndication and home video. If you need more magnified big bug in your high-definition viewing diet, encourage your favorite labels to contact PRO. If acridid clarity is not a concern, then feel free to dig on this Groovie Movie right here.

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The final oddity in this Report concerns a more plausible end-of-the-world scenario. Wishful-thinking headlines have been appearing on numerous entertainment sites for the last year-and-a-half that are bent on speculating if or when a Kathryn Bigelow film called AURORA will go into production for Netflix. Thinking it might be a gun violence drama due to Bigelow’s last effort, DETROIT, and that “Aurora” is possibly Aurora, Illinois, location of a senseless killing spree at a manufacturing plant in 2019, we looked into it. (Coincidental to the timing of this post, the five-year anniversary of that tragedy is on this coming Thursday, February 15. Please think of them.) AURORA is written by the Hollywood veteran David Koepp, who has scripted, produced, and/or directed dozens of features, and based on his second novel that was published in 2022 by HarperCollins; it instead depicts the aftermath of a solar storm that knocks out electricity worldwide. A single mother and her son living in Aurora, which seems to have been chosen by Koepp as an archetypal Midwestern city and little else, venture out west to confront her estranged brother, a billionaire recluse who could make a difference for many in the chaos. We’ll believe AURORA is burning brightly when we read the casting and production launch reports in the legitimate trades.

Want a few bonus talking points to impress your friends and neighbors with? In the background, Ye Ed has been selectively building his physical media collection for future viewing and reviewing, including titles that are now part of our archives du C-U. This will soon include a pair of Blu-rays coming from the Australia-based label Imprint Films, a division of Via Vision Entertainment. One is STRANGE INVADERS, the Michael Laughlin/Bill Condon sci-fi homage from 1983 that is set in Illinois but filmed in Canada, which stars Paul Le Mat and Nancy Allen as a college professor and tabloid reporter who investigate a forgotten rural town that is inhabited by extraterrestrials in human disguise; this disc of the Orion Pictures cult favorite is different from the movie-only Blu issued in the US only last month by Sandpiper Pictures. The other is LET’S GET HARRY, a “let’s rescue our friend from a drug cartel in South America” yarn that was partly filmed in Aurora at a manufacturing plant (hrm) while yours truly was in his freshman year of high school on the other side of town, which stars Mark Harmon, Gary Busey, Glenn Frey, Robert Duvall, and Rick Rossovich. Barely released in 1986 by TriStar Pictures and directed by the immortal “Alan Smithee” (in this case, Stuart Rosenberg), it has been equally barely available in the US since the VHS and LaserDisc era. Improbably, Imprint will make both of these films available in their home country on the same day, Wednesday, March 27, but if one knows exactly where to look on this side of the globe…

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DUNE (re-release), LISA FRANKENSTEIN, OUT OF DARKNESS (with English sub), PEGASUS 2 (in Mandarin with English sub), TURNING RED (animation) (first US release), ANYONE BUT YOU, ARGYLLE, THE BEEKEEPER, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 1-3 (faith programming), MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE (animation), WONKA, THE ZONE OF INTEREST (in German with English sub) (2/9 on), THE MOVIE EMPEROR (with English and Chinese subtitles) (2/10 on), AX Cinema Nights: PAPRIKA (animé) (2/11, 2:30 p.m., English dub), BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, MADAME WEB, THE TASTE OF THINGS (2/14 on), THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 4-6 (faith programming), LAND OF BAD (2/15 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DUNE (re-release, IMAX), LISA FRANKENSTEIN, AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, ARGYLLE, THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 1-3 (faith programming), MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), NIGHT SWIM, POOR THINGS, WONKA (2/9 on), AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM, THE IRON CLAW*, OPPENHEIMER* (2/9-2/13), CASABLANCA (2/11, 12, 3 & 7 p.m.; 2/17, 7 p.m.), GLORIA GAYNOR: I WILL SURVIVE (music documentary) (2/13, 4 & 7 p.m.), BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, MADAME WEB, (2/14 on) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (2/9-2/10, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
HERE FOR BLOOD, more! (2/6 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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: February 2-8, 2024

February 3rd, 2024

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!

2/8: Robin Christian (producer/director, A FARGO CHRISTMAS STORY, Dreamscape Cinema, Champaign, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

1/13: Larry Williams, forever “Lonesome Larry” (co-founder, “The Whip” (WWHP 98.3 FM), Farmer City, IL)
1/20: Sean Michael “Mike” Unland, 50 (owner, Mike Unland Photography and Videography, Springfield, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Our Report is flush with screening news for you! First comes a press release for the annual Insect Fear Film Festival, which will be put on for its 41st year by the Entomology Graduate Student Association at the University of Illinois on the last Saturday of the month, February 24, at the UI Foellinger Auditorium. With a theme of “Ant-Men” this year, the presentation will couple the animated film, THE ANT BULLY, and the partly-animated-by-CGI hit, Marvel’s ANT-MAN, with the traditional science displays and kids’ activities in the foyer; doors open at 5:30 p.m., the movies will be introduced at 7:30 p.m., and entry is free for all. Then, we’re reminded by implicit hints via Facebook that the Arlee Theater of Mason City, located halfway between Peoria and Springfield and just off of Route 10, is sponsoring the Short Film Fest and accepting entries until February 10 that run 15 minutes or less and are family friendly; visit their website for more details on the event, which is scheduled for Friday, February 23. To close, Confidential agent C-Day let us know there is a film series, curated by the prolific pop culture author Marc Eliot, which is playing every Friday and Sunday between this weekend and March 10 at the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Giant Screen Theater; starring some of Hollywood’s giants and informed by Eliot’s biographies on them, the showings began today, Friday, February 2, with Dennis Hopper in EASY RIDER and will continue weekly with CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (Jack Nicholson), THE CHINA SYNDROME (Michael Douglas), ROMANCING THE STONE (also Douglas), A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (Clint Eastwood), and UNFORGIVEN (also Eastwood). Billed as the “largest film society screen in the country,” the Giant Screen Theater recently received a $350,000 grant for upgrades to the screen, sound system, and projection capabilities.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ANATOMY OF A FALL, ARGYLLE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 1-3 (faith programming), THE ZONE OF INTEREST (in German with English sub), AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, THE BEEKEEPER, THE EQUALIZER 3, FIGHTER (in Hindi with English sub), MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), POOR THINGS, WONKA (2/2 on), AMC “Scream Unseen” (mystery horror movie) (2/5, 7 p.m.), AX Cinema Nights: PAPRIKA (animé) (2/7, 7:30 p.m., in Japanese with English sub; 2/8, 7:30 p.m., English dub), LISA FRANKENSTEIN, OUT OF DARKNESS (2/8 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
ARGYLLE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 1-3 (faith programming), AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM, THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, THE IRON CLAW, MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), NIGHT SWIM, OPPENHEIMER, POOR THINGS, WONKA (2/2 on), MY FAIR LADY 60th anniversary (2/4, 1 & 7 p.m.; 2/5, 7 p.m.), ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (2/4, 3 & 7 p.m.; 2/7, 7 p.m.), LISA FRANKENSTEIN (2/8 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. WISH, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (2/2-2/3, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
DARK PARASITE, A PICTURE OF HER, THEY CALL HER HEADHUNTER, TROLLS WORLD TOUR, WELCOME TO VALENTINE, more! (1/30 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series” feat. THE BLUES BROTHERS (2/8, 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: Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2024

January 27th, 2024

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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PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

1/10: Peter Crombie, a.k.a. “‘Crazy’ Joe Davola,” 71 (camera operator, SHOT, Cinemaguild, UIUC, Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Teasing to please is the game in this week’s Report. All we’re going to do is direct your dearest peepers to the socials of local film producers who have revealed peeks at their upcoming endeavors over the last week. First, C-U filmmaker John Isberg posted an enigmatic image on Facebook tonight, just as we were compiling the Calendar, of the skull-masked creeper from FINAL SUMMER in a setting that clearly is not the campground from the first film, so it must be taken from the teaser that his team filmed recently for FINAL SUMMER 2; the March 22 date alongside the screen grab is presumably when the preview will be unleashed and a new fundraising campaign launched. And then, producer Ann Myrna and her cast and crew lovelies have been sharing nonstop from the set of SORORITY BABES, the none-too-shy horror short coming soon from Acrostar Films; a condensation of the full-length version to be made by creator S. J. Hermann and friends in the spring, BABES was brought to fruition in an undisclosed Decatur location by first-time solo director Angel Nichole Bradford and a nearly all-women staff. Third in this terror triptych is the teaser for a larger production filmed in Decatur as well, THE BATON ROUGE SERIAL KILLER: DERRICK TODD LEE, which premiered on the official Facebook page earlier today. Retired professional wrestler and in-demand character actor Bishop Stevens is directing and starring in this dramatization of the real-life murder spree perpetuated by Lee, who died from heart failure in 2016 after being sentenced and placed on death row, in the fall of last year with a pick-up shoot planned for this spring; the Soy Capital stands in for Louisiana to depict the crime story and familiar names can be seen in the credits list found on the Internet Movie Database. Watch their respective spaces to know when the films can be seen!

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Golden Corral, Springfield, IL
Central Illinois Film Commission* meeting (2/1, 6 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
FIGHTER (in Hindi with English sub), GODZILLA MINUS ONE/MINUS COLOR (in Japanese with English sub), ROB N ROLL (in Cantonese with English sub), THE STORM (animé) (in Mandarin with English sub), ALL OF US STRANGERS, AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, THE BEEKEEPER, THE HOLDOVERS*, I.S.S., KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), PAST LIVES, POOR THINGS, WONKA (1/26 on), AMC “Screen Unseen” (mystery movie) (1/29, 7 p.m.), ARGYLLE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 1-3 (faith programming), THE ZONE OF INTEREST (in German with English sub) (2/1 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
AMERICAN FICTION, GODZILLA MINUS ONE/MINUS COLOR (in Japanese with English sub), ANYONE BUT YOU, AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM, THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOOK OF CLARENCE*, THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, THE IRON CLAW, I.S.S., MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), NIGHT SWIM, OPPENHEIMER* (2-D IMAX), POOR THINGS, QUEEN ROCK MONTREAL (concert film, IMAX), WONKA (1/26 on), The Metropolitan Opera: Carmen (1/27, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 1/31, 1 & 6:30 p.m., recorded), THE WIZARD OF OZ 85th anniversary (1/28, 1 & 7 p.m.; 1/29, 1/31, 7 p.m.), TITANIC (1/28, 3 & 7 p.m.; 1/31, 7 p.m.), ARGYLLE, THE CHOSEN: S4, Ep. 1-3 (faith programming) (2/1 on) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. DUMB MONEY, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (1/26-1/27, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
BAD HOMBRES, PLANETQUAKE, THE SEEDING, more! (1/23 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
No movies this week!

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: January 19-25, 2024

January 20th, 2024

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!

1/16: Zoe Southlynn-Savage (special events manager, Champaign Park District, Champaign, IL)
1/18: Michelle Kaffko Ebner (owner, Organic Headshots, Chicago, IL)

 

PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

1/11: Dave King, the “Duke of Uke,” 58 (actor, WEREWOLF CEMETERY, Brainsmart Productions, Champaign, IL/Portland, OR)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Ye Ed will be writing this Report with his Captain Obvious hat on, cocked at a weird angle that allows enough oxygen to come and go, and finishing it up after a run of days spent almost completely at MFHQ Deux where he’s been badgered by weird and sad dreams. We won’t attempt to analyze the root causes.

That said, we’ll happily spell out for you a mini-splurge of local film activity that will enliven our cities over the next several days. You can find it all listed in the Calendar below, but the convenient confluence provides an introduction to our scene in brief strokes for those not familiar with the C-U and beyond. We have a locally-produced event in the Flatlands Dance Film Festival, the newer second-semester leg that is devoted to short films, playing tonight, Friday, January 19, 7 p.m., at Knight Auditorium inside of the UIUC Spurlock Museum of Urbana. We have a locally-filmed sci-fi spoof, THEY CAME BACK FROM SOMEWHERE from the Chicago suburban crew at Acrostar Films, premiering on Sunday, January 21, 7 p.m., at the Clinton location of Eagle Theaters, a mom-and-pop chain that operates three venues in downstate Illinois. We have local networking during the monthly mixer of Champaign Movie Makers at the Esquire Lounge in downtown Champaign on Monday, January 22, 7 p.m. And, we have the physical media premiere of PROJECT DOROTHY, the third and final of the newer “visiting film crew” projects that we told you about over the summer, seeing commercial release in North America on Tuesday, January 23, one week after it debuted on streaming platforms like Apple+, Vudu, and Amazon Prime on Tuesday, January 16. The super low-budget AI techno-thriller was photographed a few years ago on the grounds of what is now the Rivian electric vehicle manufacturing plant on the far west end of Normal.

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Not very far from Rivian is the non-AMC multiplex of the nearby Twin Cities, Marcus Theatres, and it brings us to our postscript. For years, we’ve compiled the weekly itinerary of the Beverly (now AMC) in north Champaign and Goodrich (now Phoenix) in Savoy, considering their fare a good snapshot of what plays at all multiplexes in our immediate region. For those who are not averse to putting a few extra miles on their vehicles to go see a film they really want to see, don’t be shy about skimming the listings not incorporated here. For instance, at the aforementioned Marcus Bloomington Galaxy 14, they’ve booked Indian cinema that we haven’t seen yet in C-U cinemas – MISSION: CHAPTER 1, MAIN ATAL HOUN – as well as the Anthony Hopkins period film FREUD’S LAST SESSION, although the Avon Theater in Decatur has us covered on the latter. FREUD is also playing at the AMC Classic 14 on the north end of Normal along with yet another modern slasher with a holiday hook, FOUNDER’S DAY, which has yet to take a stab at the C-U following the likes of THANKSGIVING and IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE.

You can also enjoy the fruits of local labor at a ‘plex if you look carefully. The AMC Classic 12 of Springfield is home to the annual Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series, the only true “art house film” program of its kind in the area, which will present the Sony Pictures Classics release TURN EVERY PAGE, about an aging history author and his equally aging editor as they attempt to finish one last major collaboration, this Sunday, January 21, at 1 and 4 p.m., and Tuesday, January 23, at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Springfield Art Association and several other Capital City businesses and donors, the weekly screening series continues through March 5 and was launched by its namesake, a chef and world traveler who wanted to watch movies like these theatrically in her adopted home of Springfield but had to create her own avenue to do so. You can learn more about Schlich, who passed at age 93 in 2021, from this State Journal-Register article and read about the upcoming 2024 picks, the ticket sales from which will be donated to help fund the SAA’s Michael Victor II Art Library, by visiting this webpage.

Local friends in film have also taken up the ‘plexes to do special events, primarily the Savoy 16 + IMAX, including Thomas Nicol’s recent Krampusnacht Freeky Film Festival and showings of FINAL SUMMER from Front 76 Films and REVEALER from Shatterglass Films. They’re a possible resource to use if the timing and price point jive with everyone’s goals. Watch CUBlog to see what comes next in this realm.

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

PROJECT DOROTHY* U.S. Blu-ray/DVD Release: Tuesday, January 23, via Gravitas Ventures, Cleveland, OH/Taylor & Dodge-Liberty Atlantic Studios-Kinogo Pictures, Los Angeles/N. Hollywood, CA-Normal, IL

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Department of Dance, FAA, presents Flatlands Dance Film Festival 2024 shorts competition program (1/19, 7 p.m.)

@ Clintonia Eagle Theaters, Clinton, IL
Acrostar Films presents THEY CAME BACK FROM SOMEWHERE* world premiere (1/21, 7 p.m.)

@ Esquire Lounge, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers* mixer (1/22, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ALL OF US STRANGERS, I.S.S., MERRY CHRISTMAS (in Telugu with English sub), AMERICAN FICTION, ANYONE BUT YOU, THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOOK OF CLARENCE, GUNTAR KAARAM (in Telugu with English sub) HANU-MAN (in Telugu with English sub), THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES*, MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), NIGHT SWIM, SOUL* (animation) (first US theatrical release), SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE* (animation), WONKA (1/19 on), AX Cinema Nights: COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE (animé) (1/21, 2:30 p.m., 1/22, 7:30 p.m., English dub; 1/21, 7:30 p.m., 1/23, 8 p.m., in Japanese with English sub), GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE: THE LIGHTS IN THE SKY ARE STARS (animé) (1/23, 7 p.m., in Japanese with English sub; 1/24, 7 p.m., English dub), FIGHTER (in Hindi with English sub), GODZILLA MINUS ONE/MINUS COLOR (in Japanese with English sub) (1/25 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
I.S.S., QUEEN ROCK MONTREAL (concert film, IMAX), ANYONE BUT YOU, AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM, THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOOK OF CLARENCE, THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, THE IRON CLAW, MEAN GIRLS, MIGRATION (animation), NIGHT SWIM, OPPENHEIMER* (2-D IMAX), POOR THINGS, SOUL* (animation) (first US theatrical release), SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE* (animation), TROLLS BAND TOGETHER (animation), WONKA (1/19 on), UFC 297: Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis, more (mixed martial arts) (1/20, 9 p.m., simulcast), INTERSTELLAR (1/21, 1/24, 3 & 7 p.m.), GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE: THE LIGHTS IN THE SKY ARE STARS (animé) (1/23, 7 p.m., in Japanese with English sub; 1/24, 7 p.m., English dub), A CASE FOR LOVE (religious documentary) (1/23, 4 & 7 p.m.), BEAUTIFUL WEDDING (1/24-1/25, 7 p.m.) *single screenings daily

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. DICKS: THE MUSICAL, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (1/19-1/20, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (1/16 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illinois Public Media presents “The Arthouse Experience Film Series” feat. PASSING (1/19, 7 p.m.), The News-Gazette Film Series presents THE WIZARD OF OZ (1/20, 1 & 7 p.m.)

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

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Calendar: January 12-18, 2024

January 13th, 2024

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!

1/12: Damian Duffy (co-host, Damian Duffy Hates Everything podcast, DD Media Empire, Champaign, IL)
1/12: HAL-9000 (onboard computer, USS Discovery One, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, MGM/Warner Bros., Burbank, CA)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond may be wet and rainy today, but the terrain of MFHQ Deux up north is enveloped by snow and slickness. Exercising caution while this front moves through the Midwest is a given, and we suppose a Report encouraging you, you, and you to support their neighborhood theaters is not unreasonable for when you can safely get thee to a location of thy choice.

In this region, the stylish Egyptian Theatre of DeKalb has announced they are hosting sessions to train volunteers, which is as good a prompt as any for our dearest readers to consider doing the same at places like the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, the Fischer Theater in Danville, and the Normal Theater in Normal where they could always use a hand with ushers, ticket sellers, concession servers, and the like. That said, be sure to subscribe to their newsletters or follow their socials to find out what is playing soon; none of these facilities are broadcasting their schedules far in advance and, unlike in past years, the Champaign Park District hasn’t released a big PR ballyhoo about their spring events, which have simply materialized on the Virginia’s event calendar with little notice. We can also give the Harroun families props for keeping their fans engaged on Facebook even though the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In of Gibson City is closed for the season; hardtops should wake up from their hibernation in March and April.

And then, we enjoyed a series of articles about the early years of movie exhibition in the state capital at a website, SangamonLink, dedicated to the history of Springfield and Sangamon County. The most recent piece, which was published on December 10, goes through a list of early houses in the city while this piece talks about a seminal venue, the Lyric, and another post identifies the first venues to show films.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
AMERICAN FICTION, THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOOK OF CLARENCE, HANU-MAN (in Telugu with English sub), IF YOU ARE THE ONE III (in Mandarin with English sub), MEAN GIRLS, SOUL (animation) (first US theatrical release), ANYONE BUT YOU, AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM, THE COLOR PURPLE, MIGRATION, NIGHT SWIM, RENAISSANCE* (Beyoncé concert film), WONKA (1/12 on), GUNTAR KAARAM* (in Telugu with English sub) (1/12-1/13), GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE: CHILDHOOD’S END (animé) (in Japanese with English sub) (1/16-1/17, 7 p.m.) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE BEEKEEPER, THE BOOK OF CLARENCE, MEAN GIRLS, SOUL (animation) (first US theatrical release), ANYONE BUT YOU, AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM, THE BOY AND THE HERON (animé) (in Japanese with English sub or English dub), THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, THE COLOR PURPLE, GODZILLA MINUS ONE (in Japanese with English sub), MIGRATION, NIGHT SWIM, POOR THINGS, TROLLS BAND TOGETHER (animation), WONKA (1/12 on), THE IRON CLAW (1/12-1/15, 1/18), HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE (1/14, 3 & 7 p.m.; 1/17, 7 p.m.), GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE: CHILDHOOD’S END (animé) (in Japanese with English sub) (1/16-1/17, 7 p.m.)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
UNDERGROUND, WINDIGO, more! (1/9 on) Online rentals

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series” feat. RETURN OF THE JEDI (1/18, 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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