Smile Politely

What to Watch: September 3-5

We are blessed, in this fine town, to have fine establishments at which to partake in the wonder of cinema. For every lover of bombast, Hollywood romantic comedy, and big-budget drama, there is the Savoy 16 IMAX; for lovers of foreign films, documentaries, and locally-made movies, there is the Art Theater Co-op; and, as of this month, there is once again the venerable Virginia Theatre, replaying some recent films and much-loved classics. More on the Virginia later as their September season gets underway. For now, enjoy the offerings of our sparkly Gigantor-sized IMAX house and our beloved Art Theater Co-op, the latter of which is continuing its impressive showcase of local talent by screening a brand-new film about the last several decades of our very own local music scene. That is what we like to call a twofer: local music and local filmmaking in one delicious, popcorn-scented package.

Go to the movies, people. It’s good for you.

Out of Nowhere (The Art Theater Co-op): One night only! The perfect blend of local music, local film, and local…locals! Documentary filmmaker Bob Zimmerman chronicles the rich musical culture of C-U. One. Night. Only!

Why to Watch: From the Art Theater website synopsis: “A documentary film about the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois music scene, from the sixties through the oughts. Features exclusive, on-camera interviews with REO Speedwagon, Head East’s John Schlitt, Adrian Belew (with a great Robert Fripp story), Slink Rand, Mark Rubel, Elsinore’s Ryan Groff, Cody Sokolski, Finchley Boys’ George Faber and Garrett Oostdyk, Seth Fein, Keith Harden, Terry Hawkins, Champaign Mayor Don Gerard, Larry Fredrickson, Phil Strang, Roger Francisco, Michael Husler, Ralph Senn, The Rave’s Brian Cook, Bob Simpson, Larry Wigand, Jay Rosenstein, Mark Lundquist, Rocky Maffit and more. Includes exclusive and rare performance video. Director & musicians will be at the Art during the screening and will do a talk-back afterward!”

Showing one night only (have I stressed that enough?), Wednesday @ 7:30 p.m.

Closed Circuit (Savoy 16 IMAX): Closed circuit cameras are used to find the culpritin the investigation of a bombing of a busy market.

Why to Watch: Closed Circuit is the cherry on top of this year’s summer movie sundae. It’s a thriller starring Eric Bana (of Star Trek remake fame) and Rebecca Hall (from Iron Man 3) as a pair of lawyers attempting to determine the guilt or innocence of a bombing suspect. A timely thriller, to say the least, and I think this is just what audiences need to see as summer ends and September rolls in.

Now showing @ 12:10 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 7:10 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.

One Direction—This is Us (Savoy 16 IMAX): This is a documentary focused on the members of the UK boyband One Direction. It is directed by Morgan Spurlock. Take a minute with that.

Why to Watch: I am not the target audience for this film, but I am incredibly familiar with their journey to fame having watched them on The X Factor UK. The boys in the band (soon to be men…any minute now) are presented as normal people thankful for being adored for their musical talent. For the younger viewers, this is a no-brainer; for adults…perhaps a reason not to judge all pop phemons the same…?

Showing in 3D @ 5:30 p.m. and 9:50 p.m.; showing in 2D @ 11:00 a.m., 1:10 p.m., 3:20 p.m., and 7:40 p.m.


Blue Jasmine (The Art Theater Co-op): In this riff on Blanche Dubois, Jasmine (CateBlanchett) is a wealthy woman married to an Enron-type named Hal (Alec Baldwin). When Hal loses all of his money in an investment and becomes poor, Jasmine is then forced to reexamine her life and lower herself to live with her “ordinary” sister (Sally Hawkins) and her unkemp cohorts (including Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, and Louis CK).

Why to Watch: This film subtly answers the question of how would you be affected if you went from having everything to living with nothing. Cate Blanchett has an excellent amount of range on display in this film, owing to the wonderfully witty yet frank dialogue written by Woody Allen. This film will be remembered come Oscar season. Go see it for the wonderful performances and honest storytelling.

Showing daily at 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 matinee on Wednesday. No 7:30 show Wednesday, as that slot is devoted to Out of Nowhere.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Savoy 16 IMAX): After her mother disappears, Clary (Lily Collins) learns she is descended from a long line of warriors who protect the world from demons.

Why to Watch: If Twilight had a child with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, that child might be The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. This movie is an adaption of yet another series of fantasy novels where a girl discovers she is meant to do great things. Of course she has a love interest, but, unlike in Twilight, that romance doesn’t seem to be the center of the plot. For that reason alone I think this movie could be something audiences will enjoy. Added to which, there will be lots of kicking and swinging of swords (or sword-like implements), as well as the presence of the always dashing Johathan Rhys Meyers.

Showing in 3D @ 11:00 a.m., 1:50 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 7:30, and 10:15 p.m.; in 2D @ 12:45 p.m., 3:35 p.m., 6:25 p.m., and 9:15 p.m.


The Spectacular Now (The Art Theater Co-op): The story of popular high school student Sutter Kiely (Miles Teller) who has no idea where he wants to go in life and has no plans to change that. Sutter’s attitude shifts when he meets local geek Amy(Shailene Woodley), and the two teens, who lead completely different lives, learn how much they have in common.

Why to Watch: I saw this film (from the writers of 500 Days of Summer) at Ebertfest, and I was blown away. Woodley and Teller put in honest, vulnerable performances as two teenagers figuring out life in different ways. The supporting cast is exceptional, and there are moments that feel so organic that the audience may feel like voyeurs. This film is everything a coming of age film should be. See it!

Showtimes TBA.

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