Calendar: February 9-15, 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.


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.



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!


NOW PLAYING | The Cities Beyond

@ AMC Classic 12, Springfield, IL
Springfield Art Association presents Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series feat. THE BLUE CAFTAN (2/11, 1 & 4 p.m.; 2/13, 7 p.m.)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL
LISA FRANKENSTEIN, TURNING RED (animation) (first US release), ARGYLLE (2/9-2/11)

@ The Fischer Theatre, Danville, IL
“Valentine’s Day at the Fischer” dinner + movie feat. MANNEQUIN (2/14)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL
CASABLANCA (2/9, 2/11-2/12), THE PRINCESS BRIDE (2/10-2/11, 2/14), THE ROOM/MIRACLE VALLEY double feature w/Greg Sestero in person (2/10, 7 p.m.), THE NOTEBOOK (2/13), Illinois State University presents “Can You Dig It? Exploring Race, Representation, and Culture in Blaxploitation Films” feat. COFFY, discussion (2/15, 7 p.m.)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL
THE BEEKEEPER (2/9-2/11)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL
POOR THINGS (2/9-2/11)



For detailed and curated listings of Chicago-area film presentations and related events, please visit the fine folks at Cine-File and subscribe to their definitive “Cine-List” weekly blast.


COMING SOON | Area-wide Events

Champaign Movie Makers* 48 hr film contest
@ Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m. (start time)

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

EGSA presents the 41st annual Insect Fear Film Festival* feat. “Ant-Men” theme
@ Foellinger Auditorium, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 5:30 p.m.

Champaign County Film Office, Shatterglass Films, and The Line Film Co. present “So You Want to Be a Film Location?”
@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL, 5-6 p.m.

CU International Film Festival*
@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL

Central Illinois Film Commission* meeting
@ Golden Corral, Springfield, IL, 7 p.m.

26th annual Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI

34th Onion City Experimental Film Festival, Chicago, IL

24th Roger Ebert’s Film Festival* (25th anniversary edition)
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL


COMMUNITY & CAMPUS SERIES | Champaign-Urbana area

Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series”/“Mix 94.5 Throwback Thursdays”*
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.
3/21: E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL; 4/25: PITCH PERFECT*; 5/23: FAME (1980); 6/27: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE*; 7/11: GREASE “sing-a-long” edition

Illinois Public Media presents “The Arthouse Experience Film Series”
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.
2/16: GOSPEL: WHERE SONG AND SERMON MEET excerpt w/discussion; 3/8: PAST LIVES; 5/24: FREE SOLO; 7/19: STOP MAKING SENSE

Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films”
@ Pine Lounge, 1st floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m. Fri. & Sat, free w/i-card

UPDATE! The News-Gazette Film Series
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 1 & 7 p.m.

Springfield Art Association presents the 30th annual Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series
@ AMC Classic Springfield 12, Springfield, IL, 1 & 4 p.m. Sunday + 7 p.m. Tuesday
2/18, 2/20: PAST LIVES; 2/25, 2/27: THE INNOCENT; 3/3, 3/5: REVOIR PARIS


Compiled by Jason Pankoke.


“Calendar du C-U”
© 2024 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential

Comments closed.