C-U Biz-en-scène: 01.20.2011

“C-U Biz-en-scène” appears every Thursday/Friday on C-U Blogfidential to give our readers a succinct snapshot of the cinema activity in and near Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA. Please support the artists and their work, attend screenings and events, and otherwise become active in our esoteric little world!


We’re In It to Post It, Too!

As much as we love love looooooove to leaf through the printed page, we’ve also grown somewhat accustomed to blathering our obsessions on the Interwebs when the mood strikes us. With today’s 26th installment of C-U Biz-en-scène, our weekly wrap on the wondrous movie world of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond, the Biz has struck for six months straight! We think the column shaped up rather nicely and we hope that you, dearest readers, have found some worth in it. The Biz has also proven to be the most time-consuming copy we’ve yet to assemble for C-U Blogfidential so we challenge you during the next six months to please become dearest collaborators as well! We hate to see the Comments fields go blank and we know you’re out there lurking in the virtual darkness, so don’t be shy! Add your thoughts every week to elaborate on our topics and keep CUBlog informed on what you want us to cover, need us to provide, and wish for us to improve! We’ve put a lot of effort into the Biz because we hope it will serve as the backbone for a more robust posting schedule that we’ll divulge in the coming months. With the 5th anniversary of CUBlog itself arriving shortly, we’d like you to contribute to our continued success whether your personal interests in our cinema madness are casual, hardcore, or floating around somewhere in the middle. Otherwise, we’re simply freestyling in our own little pop culture bubble and never really making a sound – let alone some major noise – so we need the audience to participate for the sake of enriching the local arts and maintaining your humble editor’s sanity here at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters. Are we not worthy, C-U?


Our friend Paul Holze posted to the Champaign Movie Makers message board last week all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, where he is taking in their culture and exploring ideas for his and Stephanie Stean’s investigative video project, THE STORY OF HAPPINESS. Making active use of his new Nikon DSLR, Holze has been photo-blogging about his journey and shared links picturing his first and second weeks during this initial visit, via Facebook. Future plans involve their return to the embattled post-apartheid country on the continent’s southern tip to “hear the voices of South African women who live amidst these circumstances [including extremely high rates of assault, rape, murder, and HIV/AIDS contraction per capita] and ask how they handle the challenges and even how they thrive despite their surroundings. We want to know what these women care about, what they want, and what their wishes are for the future, listening to what lies at the heart of their happiness,” according to a revamped HAPPINESS Web site. They will interview Cape Town citizens for “a series of short documentary films” that will tell their personal stories and contextually link together the bigger picture. CUBlog will keep you posted throughout the subsequent production stages.


We were caught by surprise on this one – and we should have included the details in CUBiz last week, so we apologize – as the Art Theater has assembled a robust Documentary Festival that will run from this Friday, January 21, through Thursday, January 27, excepting on Tuesday, January 25, when the Art will be closed for a private function. All titles are current releases while the group offers an eclectic sampling of subject matter. The best-known film by far is WAITING FOR SUPERMAN (1/26, 5 & 7:30 p.m.), the scathing look at public school education today, while the most Hollywood is certainly JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK (1/21, 7:30 p.m.; 1/23, 3:45 p.m.), a reportedly warts-and-all portrait of the comedienne. Also featured in the series: CLIENT 9 (1/21, 5 p.m.; 1/22, 7:30 p.m.), about former New York governor Eliot Spitzer and the dirty sexy things he facilitated while in office; THE SECRET TO A HAPPY ENDING (1/21, 10 p.m.; 1/22, 10 p.m., 1/27, 10 p.m.), about the rock band Drive-By Truckers and in essence the fest’s “Late Nite Movie;” A FILM UNFINISHED (1/22, 2 p.m.; 1/23, 2 p.m.), about reevaluating the legitimacy of Nazi footage in light of a missing reel discovered well after the fact; THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART (1/22, 3:45 p.m.; 1/23, 5:30 p.m.), about an incredible collection of Russian fine art saved from destruction; LAST TRAIN HOME (1/22, 5:30 p.m.; 1/24, 7:30 p.m.), about the massive annual pilgrimage by migrant workers in China; GENIUS WITHIN: THE INNER LIFE OF GLENN GOULD (1/23, 7:30 p.m.), about the famously reclusive pianist; WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE (1/24, 5:30 p.m.), about the life of the radical civil rights lawyer; and QUEEN OF THE SUN (1/27, 7:30 p.m.), a new film by Taggart Siegel (THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN, “Ebertfest” ’08) about honeybees and their unnervingly reduced numbers given their vital role in our ecology. Those who like non-fiction should get their money’s worth out of this package and can use this handy poster as a reminder when all films play, including the taped ballet Flames of Paris which will fill the 12 p.m. slots on 1/22 and 1/23. Good show, Art Theater!


Don’t forget that tonight, Thursday, January 20, 7 p.m., the Central Illinois Film Commission will meet at Lake Pointe Grill, 1386 Toronto Rd., Springfield, to discuss member activities and area opportunities. CIFC head Cameron Counts tells CUBlog that this month’s highlights are TBA; you can contact Counts at nmdcone [at] yahoo [dot] com or visit their Web site for more information.


We love ourselves a little variety here at MFHQ and we trust that you do, too, so we aim to please with a healthy scattering of linkages to explore! Let’s begin with this early review by Home Media Magazine’s Angelique Flores of the DVD for Dreamscape Cinema’s SHEEBA, released by Questar Home Video this week, which is relatively positive regarding the movie but fails to mention if the disc includes extras. While checking up on the southern Illinois indie FARM, which CUBiz first brought to your attention a few months ago, we unearthed this complementary review posted December 16 by Michael Haffner to the horror Web site, Destroy the Brain! The Daily Illini culture magazine buzz featured an article by Craig Messner in their January 13 edition highlighting the new direction taken by the Art Theater in Champaign to showcase high-definition theater, dance, and opera – such as George Bizet’s Carmen – as an alternative to their regular film fare. For all the 2-D purists out there, Jim Vorel of the Herald & Review reports that the Avon Theater in Decatur has discontinued booking 3-D movies due to losing money on studio mandated surcharges and indifference from the “Avon crowd.” A wire story also run in the Herald & Review over the weekend describes the end of Kodachrome color processing, under the care of Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, KS, and will cause heartache in film format purists everywhere. Yet from an archival standpoint, we are constantly reminded how surviving physical elements can bring back the ghosts of the past as do the mysterious pre-World War II Polish film loops from which University of Illinois librarians culled a haunting still-image exhibit on display in the Illini Union Art Gallery until tomorrow, Friday, January 21; thanks to Mark Laughlin and SmilePolitely for calling attention to it. SP also offered on January 12 a belated “Best of 2010” movie overview written by P. Gregory Springer, complementing those issued by other local movie writers; consider Springer’s picks – WILD GRASS, I AM LOVE, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, INCEPTION, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE GHOST WRITER, A PROPHET, WINTER’S BONE, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, MOTHER, and EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – and then tell us what releases you think rated highest in twenty-ten at the current Clean Slate, right here on CUBlog!


EBERT PRESENTS AT THE MOVIES Premiere Broadcast: Friday, 1/21, 8:30 p.m., WILL-TV 12, Urbana, IL

EBERT PRESENTS AT THE MOVIES Repeat Broadcast: Sunday, 1/23, 9:30 p.m., WILL-TV 12, Urbana, IL

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL: Documentary Festival (1/21-1/24, 1/26-1/27), Flames of Paris (1/22, 1/23, 12 p.m., ballet), closed to public (1/25)

@ Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL : THE EDGE OF DREAMING documentary (1/22, 7 p.m., Free)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: FAIR GAME, THE FIGHTER, TRUE GRIT (1/21 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: AIRPLANE! (1/20-1/21, 7 p.m.), RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (1/22-1/23, 7 p.m.), AMREEKA (1/25, 7 p.m.)

@ Doudna Fine Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL: Hot Club of San Francisco, “Silent Surrealism” – silent films w/live ”gypsy jazz” accompaniment (1/21, 7:30 p.m.)

@ The Lorraine Theatre, Hoopeston, IL: THE GREEN HORNET, TRUE GRIT (1/21 on)

ADDED! @ Gemini Cinemas, Villa Grove, IL: TRON: LEGACY, TRUE GRIT (1/21 on)

ADDED! @ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: TRON: LEGACY (1/21-1/23, 1/26, 7 p.m.)



Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Go see ‘em!


NEW! 1/28-1/29: B-Fest 24 hour marathon, Evanston, IL

NEW! 2/3: THE COVE screening & academic discussion
@ Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, 7 p.m.

@ The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL, Midnight

2/18-2/27: Big Muddy Film Festival
@ Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

2/27: PROBABILITY OF POSSIBILTIES* dance film (Premiere)
@ Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL, 3 p.m.

2/27: Central Illinois Film Commission “Red Carpet Party”
@ TBD, 5:30 p.m.

NEW! 3/10: THE LINGUISTS w/filmmakers
@ Doudna Fine Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, 7 p.m.

3/11: DVD release: PRESS START 2 CONTINUE*
+ Dark Maze Studios, Champaign, IL

3/22-3/27: Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, MI

3/30-4/1: Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI

NEW! 4/8: The New Art Film Festival at Boneyard Arts Festival
@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL

4/27-5/1: Roger Ebert’s Film Festival
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL

9/16-9/18: Route 66 International Film Festival
@ Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield, IL


“Real Vs. Reel” Movie Series
@ Danville Public Library, Danville, IL, 6:30 p.m.


Springfield Art Association 20th Annual Film Festival
@ AMC Parkway 8, Springfield, IL, 1 & 4 p.m. (Sun.), 7 p.m. (Tues.)

1/30, 2/2: LAST TRAIN HOME; 2/13, 2/15: MADEMOISELLE CHAMBON; 2/27, 3/1: UNDERTOW; 3/13, 3/15: MOTHER AND CHILD; 3/27, 3/29: MADE IN DAGENHAM; 4/10, 4/12: MY DOG TULIP

UPDATE! The News-Gazette Film Series 2011
@ The Virginia Theater, Champaign, IL, 1 & 7 p.m.


WILL-TV/Independent Lens “Community Cinema” series
@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL, 6:30 p.m.



Sometimes as we leaf through the printed page, we find the unexpected and the extraordinary when we’re not really looking for anything in particular. And other times we experience little moments while flipping the pulp that simply rate as inexplicable, such as with last Sunday’s Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times. We’re not talking the nice catch-up article on Nineties indie film veteran Gregg Araki (KABOOM, THE DOOM GENERATION) or the front-page rumination on the appeal of SyFy original movies starring Eighties pop princesses. We are braving the wordy A.O. Scott response to the editorial by Neal Gabler in The Boston Globe about how the public favor has apparently disconnected completely from elite “tastemakers” whose collective opinion traditionally set the tone for what is considered worthy in American culture. In fact, we aren’t necessarily concerned with Scott’s tongue-in-cheek tirade in which he refocuses Gabler’s garbled claims from the intelligentsia, who spend their time dissecting and championing that which is quality with hearts on sleeves, to the marketing machines feeding the public highly concentrated puree manufactured by the true modern “tastemakers,” the conglomerates. What stumps us are the images run with the rant. Familiar publicity head shots of Roger Ebert and protégé Ignatiy Vishnevetsky for the new AT THE MOVIES make sense, given the “meta” topic concerning place and worth of learned critical voices – more specifically, veteran movie reviewers like Ebert and Scott himself – in today’s deafening Internet world, as do file photos showing Times Square ballyhoo circa 1944 and 1998 demonstrating that the brazen selling of popular culture has always been in force. However, the scaly devil is in the details here as the modern theater façade promotes none other than the first Hollywood remake of GODZILLA. We found it subtly sarcastic that the NYT would illustrate a piece about how the general public apparently values “tastemaker” opinions very little by picturing Ebert, arguably the most populist contemporary film critic of all time whom many people like whether in regards to or regardless of his opinions, and the marquee offering GODZILLA, infamous (on top of numerous other reasons) for casting stout character actor Michael Lerner as the highly opinionated “Mayor Ebert” with skinny, balding aide “Gene” (as in Siskel, played by Lorry Goldman) always at his side – a built-in jab at the best-known of those very same “tastemakers” by the movie’s creative team. We obviously don’t know whether or not this was intentional juxtaposition, but in some weird way it made our day.


That’s it for the “business of our scene” this week!

If you have relevant news, opportunities, dates, or promotions that you would like included in CUBiz, please forward the who, what, where, when, and how much to cuconfidential [at] gmail [dot] com.

Compiled by Jason Pankoke



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“C-U Biz-en-scène” no. 26 © 2011 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential.

One Response to C-U Biz-en-scène: 01.20.2011

  1. Paul :

    It was great staying in touch throughout the trip and I look forward to sharing updates, particularly about plans for the return trip, on down the road. Thanks again for the support