Calendar: June 18-24, 2021

June 18th, 2021

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

6/18: Perry C. Morris (publisher, Champaign Urbana Theater History, Urbana, IL)

 

FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

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

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

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

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

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

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

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

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

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Calendar: June 11-17, 2021

June 11th, 2021

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

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

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

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

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

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

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

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

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

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

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Calendar: June 4-10, 2021

June 4th, 2021

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

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

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

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

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

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

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Calendar: May 28-June 3, 2021

May 28th, 2021

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

5/30: Cameron Counts (owner, Cam’s Comics, Fairfield, IL)
6/1: Bill Yauch (owner, RiellyBoy Productions, Urbana, IL)
6/1: William Pace (faculty associate of digital media production, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ)
6/2: DeShawn Hill (producer, HD Productions Media, Champaign, IL/Los Angeles, CA)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

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

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

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

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

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

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Early Kacmarynski creeps onto BD

May 27th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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Calendar: May 21-27, 2021

May 21st, 2021

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

5/21: Katherine Bokenkamp (actress, HUNTER, Malachi Entertainment, Urbana, IL)
5/25: David Gracon, Ph.D. (assistant professor of integrated media, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA)
5/26: Lana Hinshaw-Klann (photojournalist, WBBM Channel 2 (CBS), Chicago, IL)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

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

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

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

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

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Calendar: May 14-20, 2021

May 15th, 2021

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

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

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

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

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Cinema’ history nods to UI prof

May 12th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

~ Jason Pankoke

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

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Calendar: May 7-13, 2021

May 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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CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoFriday, May 10, 1996: Warner Bros. releases the action film TWISTER, directed by Jan de Bont and starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, which becomes the second highest grossing release of that year in the United States and Canada after INDEPENDENCE DAY. Many communities across the nation probably did not feel so enthusiastic about the movie because, less than a month before on the evening of Friday, April 19, an extremely volatile storm system produced dozens of tornadoes in the central Midwest and the South. More than 30 funnel clouds were reported in Illinois alone and two of the strongest, rated at the “F3” category, caused serious damage in southwest Urbana and nearly destroyed the small town of Ogden. Amazingly, the only person killed in those Champaign County incidents was a Missouri woman traveling on I-74 near Ogden, according to a CNN report at the time. A chronological chart of the unfolding weather disaster from that night can be found on Wikipedia, an illustrated analysis of why the storm behaved as it did can be reviewed in this report filed by the UIUC Department of Atmospheric Sciences, a compilation of police and storm chaser video that depicts the tornadoes and aftermath can be viewed at The News-Gazette, and storm-by-storm information can be studied at The Tornado History Project, an on-line database of confirmed sightings in the United States that was designed and maintained by Joshua Lietz of Urbana. In the present, dearest readers should refresh themselves on tornado safety every spring by consulting the National Weather Service and other trusted agencies; informed protocol will help save lives way more readily than quoting dialogue from TWISTER while on the run, we imagine. [R] [Rev. 5/7/21]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
FATIMA, WRATH OF MAN, CLIFF WALKERS, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MORTAL KOMBAT, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SEPARATION (5/7 on), TROLLS WORLD TOUR (5/7-5/9), SHREK FOREVER AFTER (5/7, 3:45 p.m.), JURASSIC WORLD (5/7, 4 p.m.), FINDING YOU, PROFILE, SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW (5/13 on)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
THE COURIER, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MINARI, MORTAL KOMBAT, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SEPARATION, THE UNHOLY (5/7 on), DAZN boxing: Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders (5/8, 9 p.m., simulcast), SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW (5/13 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, THE LITTLE THINGS, THE VIRTUOSO, more! (5/4 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: April 30-May 6, 2021

May 1st, 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!

4/30: Eric Sizemore (actor, MAGNETIC FIELDS, Swede Films, Urbana, IL)
4/30: Matt Shivers (voice actor, SUPERZUZZA, WildBrain/DHX Media, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
5/1: Mark Rubel (director of education, The Blackbird Academy, Nashville, TN)
5/4: Andrew J. Rausch (co-author, The 100 Scariest Movies Ever Made, BearManor Media, Albany, GA)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

15 Years AgoMonday, May 1, 2006: Comedian and television writer Mark Roberts, a native of nearby Tolono and former resident of Urbana, begins production this week on his self-financed film WELCOME TO TOLONO. Based on the same-named play, written and directed by Roberts as an “artist-in-residence” production at the Station Theatre in Urbana the previous summer, TOLONO is filmed during a five-week schedule in its small town namesake. Much of the original stage cast appears including Brian Reedy, Mike Trippiedi, David Butler, Kay Bohannon Holley, Gary Ambler, and Barbara Evans, who are joined in this screen adaptation by Mike Harvey, Colleen Klein, Joi Hoffsommer, Anne Shapland Kearns, and Rien Rogers. A premiere of the darkly humorous drama, concerning disparate individuals who attend a weekly support group in the basement of a local church, would take place at the University of IllinoisFoellinger Auditorium in June 2007 after which it played a smattering of regional festivals. Not unlike WEREWOLF CEMETERY discussed in last week’s Calendar, TOLONO has yet to be issued on consumer formats or via streaming. As reported on 5/4/06, 5/14/06, 7/11/07, 8/19/07 at CUBlog. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online
UI College of Media and MACS 464 present the 2021 UIUC Student Film Festival live stream (5/1, 5 p.m.) Webpage

@ online Zoom/Gregory Hall room 100
Illini Film & Video virtual meeting (5/3, 8 p.m.) Join mailing list

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CLIFF WALKERS, SEPARATION, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MORTAL KOMBAT, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (4/30 on), NOMADLAND (4/30-5/2, 5/4, single daily screenings), TROLLS WORLD TOUR (4/30, 3:30 p.m.), SHREK FOREVER AFTER (4/30, 4:30 p.m.), JURASSIC WORLD (4/30, 6:45 p.m.), WRATH OF MAN (5/6 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2021 Film Series” feat. GHOSTBUSTERS (2016), The Courtyard Café, 1st floor (4/30, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
SEPARATION, THE COURIER, DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MINARI, MORTAL KOMBAT, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, THE UNHOLY (4/30 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
COSMIC SIN, NOMADLAND, more! (4/27 on) Online rentals

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

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‘Shows’ updated on anniversary

April 29th, 2021

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Apologies for the near silence, dearest readers. I haven’t had much drive to make an honest Confidential effort in several weeks, but I’ve regained some focus as of late so I can hopefully ride it into the summer and post a fair amount of fresh reading for you. Old and evergreen topics will also become new again, such as the one I have for you today.

Last week on Wednesday, April 21, we passed the 20th anniversary of “MICRO-FILM Verité,” the very first movie presentation that I organized in Champaign-Urbana, so the incentive was all mine to follow through on a promise from a year ago and complete our “Picture Shows du C-U” page. Half the events you will see listed upon scrolling or jumping past the New Art Film Festival took place in the earliest days of C-U Blogfidential while the others occurred even earlier when MICRO-FILM was front and center. This is now a complete record of all the showcases we had a direct hand in producing, branding, and promoting. While in number it pales compared to the volumes of acts and special events brought to our fair Twin Cities over the years by many a booking agent and self-made impresario, we’re proud of how we managed to share our niche with the community even if it had to be tried again and again to make it stick. Will the streak be extended? I don’t think we’ve had a clear answer to that question for some time but, as they say, wonders never cease.

Thoughts are percolating about doing the same sort of information upgrade to “Periodicals du C-U” in June since that month is the 20th anniversary of MF issue 4 and I never got around to adding a detailed account of MF on CUBlog. Soon, I’ll tell you what corners of our online C-Universe we’ll tinker with next. Requests and suggestions are welcome, as always.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Even though the event information is finally available at “Picture Shows,” you can marvel at the original illustrated “Verité” program shared on our Facebook account where Cecilia Lucas challenges you to a film duel outside the Channing-Murray Foundation on the University of Illinois campus. (Yes, I knew going in that “Verité” would be hosted by The Highdive.) Look closely at the chapel’s distinctive announcement board behind Lucas, and you might discover a vintage Freaky Film Festival flier or two.

p.s.2 Below is a display advertisement that I put together to jointly plug “Verité” and “Zineophilia,” the latter event devised by comics artists Dann Tincher and Damian Duffy in collaboration with local arts grand dame Jenny Southlynn; I’m sure it hasn’t been seen since the Daily Illini ran it two decades ago. At the head of the post is a movie still with the cast of GOOD GRIEF, the 16mm indie feature I played at “Verité.” It’s good to see that its director, Portland resident Andrew Dickson, is still quite active with his disparate endeavors such as copywriting, viral coursework on freelancing, and … auctioneering?

p.s.3 The ghost of Marlon Brando reminds us that, “It shoulda been on tha covah!” Damn right.

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[Aaugh. This is post #1500 + 3 on CUBlog. Good grief!]

Calendar: April 23-29, 2021

April 24th, 2021

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

4/24: Ron Bonk (producer/distributor, SRS Cinema, Syracuse, NY)
4/25: Marty McKee (writer, Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot, Chicago, IL)
4/28: John Isberg (producer/owner, Swede Films, Urbana, IL)
4/29: Sophie McMahan Berkley (artist, Sophie McMahan, Urbana, IL)
4/29: Shannon Swords (composer, FEATHERS, Moonwish Productions, Eugene, OR)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

15 Years AgoSaturday, April 22, 2006: The University of Illinois students of Illini Film & Video premiere their feature length horror-comedy, THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS. A MUMMY. Involving dozens of undergraduates and taking the better part of two academic years to finish, MUMMY plays at 7 and 9 p.m. in the lecture auditorium of Noyes Laboratory on the UI Main Quad, with an encore set for the following afternoon at the UI Spurlock Museum a few blocks away. The prerequisite DVD of this project, envisioned by IFV president Chris Lukeman as a way to encourage club members to work together as a team and try out multiple roles on a single production, would debut the next month and become a long-standing ice breaker for incoming freshmen unfamiliar with the group. In recent years, MUMMY has been in permanent late-night rotation on UI-7, the broadcasting service of the university. As reported on 4/15/06, 4/21/06, 5/14/06 at CUBlog. [R]

15 Years AgoSunday, April 23, 2006: BrainSmart Productions, a townie collective led by lo-fi filmmakers Jason Butler and Mark Peaslee, unleashes “Episode 2” of their action-filled B-movie WEREWOLF CEMETERY. The program introducing this newest creation also features “Episode 1” of the “gravediggers vs. lycanthropes vs. normal folk from the big city” epic, the first installment of smaller-scale series THE ADVENTURES OF THE SCREAMING APE, and a music video for “Serrated Edge” by The Living Blue, playing both this night and the next at the stroke of midnight in the beer garden of Mike ‘n Molly’s in downtown Champaign. Four segments total of WEREWOLF would eventually be made by Butler and company, although one must be tight with participants to access the full episodes as they have never been formally released on home video or uploaded for on-line streaming. This is about as underground as it gets with the films of Champaign-Urbana! As reported on 4/15/06, 4/22/16 at CUBlog. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online Zoom/Gregory Hall room 100
Illini Film & Video virtual meeting (4/26, 8 p.m.) Join mailing list

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, MORTAL KOMBAT, GODZILLA VS. KONG, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, VOYAGERS (4/23 on), BACK TO THE FUTURE (4/24, 3 p.m.), SEPARATION (4/29 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2021 Film Series” feat. INCREDIBLES 2, The Courtyard Café, 1st floor (4/23, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN, MORTAL KOMBAT, THE COURIER, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MINARI, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, THE UNHOLY (4/23 on), UFC 260: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal, more (4/24, 9 p.m., simulcast)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
VANQUISH, more! (4/20 on) Online rentals

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

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Calendar: April 16-22, 2021

April 17th, 2021

JAKOB'S WIFE (Shudder/RLJE Films)

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!

4/16: Sarah Christensen (visual resources and outreach specialist, University Library, UIUC, Urbana, IL)
4/16: Joe Taylor (producer/fabricator, Studio Extraño, Sturgeon Bay, WI)
4/18: Mike Trippiedi (author, Once Upon an Ending, Shut Up & Do It Productions, Champaign, IL)
4/21: William Kephart (scene shop chief clerk, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, UIUC, Urbana, IL)
4/21: Brian Paris (multimedia producer, City of Champaign administration department, Champaign, IL)
4/22: Chelsea Norton (director of marketing and communications, Champaign Park District, Champaign, IL)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

20 Years AgoFriday, April 20, 2001: Downtown Champaign establishments are adorned with the work of local artists for The Octopus Gallery Walk, a precursor to the Boneyard Arts Festival. Hosted by Southlynn Studios in the Octopus office space is a unique exhibit called “Zineophilia,” featuring paintings and mixed media pieces from the pages of The Ides of March as well as a table adorned with dozens of ‘zines for visitors to browse. Homegrown efforts include low hug by A.j. Michel, Silly Little Trouser Monkees by Brad Bugos, the aforementioned Ides by Dann Tincher and Damian Duffy, and our own flagship mag, MICRO-FILM. [R]

20 Years AgoSaturday, April 21, 2001: Less than 24 hours later at The Highdive, located across Main Street from the Lincoln Building where “Zineophilia” reigned, Mr. JaPan emcees his first-ever film show. Dubbed “MICRO-FILM Vérité,” the “official programme” is comprised of eclectic low-budget cinema from near and far. Local selections include student shorts from the University of Illinois and Illinois State University, the early Mike Trippiedi “slasher in rhyme” BUCKY McSNEAD, and a trailer for Hart D. Fisher’s THE GARBAGE MAN. Filmmakers from across the nation, such as Cory McAbee (THE MAN ON THE MOON), Jim Sikora (STAGEFRIGHT CHAMELEON), Rusty Nails (SANTIAGO VS. WIGFACE), and Mike White (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE FOOLING?), also represent. [R]

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online Zoom/Gregory Hall room 100
Illini Film & Video virtual meeting (4/19, 8 p.m.) Join mailing list

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CHAOS WALKING, THE COURIER, GODZILLA VS. KONG, NOBODY, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, TOM & JERRY, THE UNHOLY, VOYAGERS (4/16 on), THE FATHER, NOMADLAND (4/16-4/18), CADDYSHACK, FIELD OF DREAMS, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) (4/16)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2021 Film Series” feat. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, The Courtyard Café, 1st floor (4/16, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
COME PLAY, THE COURIER, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MINARI, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, TOM & JERRY, THE UNHOLY, VOYAGERS, WONDER WOMAN 1984 (4/16 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE PENTHOUSE, PHOBIAS, WILLY’S WONDERLAND, more! (4/13 on) Online rentals

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

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Calendar: April 9-15, 2021

April 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!

4/9: Nick Alonzo (director/writer, DA BIG ZIP, Cluck Films, Chicago, IL)
4/14: Jeff Machota (host, “Wednesday Morning Prayer Meeting” show, WEFT-FM, Champaign, IL)

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online Zoom/Gregory Hall room 100
Illini Film & Video virtual meeting (4/12, 8 p.m.) Join mailing list

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
VOYAGERS, CHAOS WALKING, THE COURIER, GODZILLA VS. KONG, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, TOM & JERRY, THE UNHOLY (4/9 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2021 Film Series” feat. PARASITE, The Courtyard Café, 1st floor (4/9, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Music Barn, Allerton Park & Retreat Center, UIUC, Monticello, IL
“Sunset Drive-In Movie Series” feat. WONDER WOMAN 1984 (4/9-4/10, 8 p.m.) Registration required

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
VOYAGERS, COME PLAY, THE COURIER, GODZILLA VS. KONG, MINARI, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, TOM & JERRY, THE UNHOLY, WONDER WOMAN 1984 (4/9 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BARB & STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR, OVERRIDE, SKYFIRE, SPACE DOGS: TROPICAL ADVENTURE, more! (4/6 on) Online rentals

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

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Calendar: April 2-8, 2021 

April 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!

4/2: Will “the Thrill” Viharo (movie columnist, Bachelor Pad Magazine, Champaign, IL)
4/4: Kamelyan Alexa (business development, Periscope Post & Audio, Chicago, IL)
4/4: Sara Benson (adjunct assistant professor, School of Information Sciences, UIUC, Champaign, IL)

 

LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ online Zoom/Gregory Hall room 100
Illini Film & Video virtual meeting (4/5, 8 p.m.) Join mailing list

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
GODZILLA VS. KONG, THE UNHOLY, CHAOS WALKING, THE COURIER, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, SOUND OF METAL, TOM & JERRY (4/2 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2021 Film Series” feat. MEAN GIRLS, The Courtyard Café, 1st floor (4/2, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
GODZILLA VS. KONG, THE UNHOLY, CHAOS WALKING, COME PLAY, THE COURIER, MINARI, NOMADLAND, NOBODY, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, WONDER WOMAN 1984 (4/2 on), TOM & JERRY (4/3 on)

@ Redbox, Champaign-Urbana, IL
OUR WORLD, THE TOLL, WONDER WOMAN 1984, more! (3/30 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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Read the rest of this entry »