Chuck Koplinski: 'Hidden Figures' fine but lacks bite

Theodore Melfi's "Hidden Figures" is the sort of sanitized history lesson that sets out to right past wrongs by presenting a story infused with good intentions and a sense of righteousness.

Chuck Koplinski: 2016's best movies

There were two dominating factors in American film this year — Disney Studios and animated features — and it should come as no surprise that the success of one went hand-in-hand with the other. Never before has one studio controlled the overall global box office as the Mouse House did in 2016.

Entertainment listings, Jan. 5-12, 2017


This weekend


What: Free carousel rides and Balloons by Pookie. Entertainment/performances near the fountain.

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 6 (first Friday of each month).

Where: Food court at Market Place Mall, Champaign.

More info: Call 356-2700.


Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Cohen Building tour

Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli from the week that was

Silly, serious collide in film

Ask 'Mimi,' Jan. 1, 2017

How many former Ebertfest guests died in 2016?

At least three: Marni Nixon, Alan Rickman and Paul Cox.

Who lives here? Dec. 31, 2016

Each week on this page, The News-Gazette will show a screen shot of a home from a movie or TV show and ask readers, "Who lives here?" Email your guess of a character who resides in the featured home to, and we'll give a winner a shout-out on next week's page. Be sure to include your full name and town of residence.

Entertainment listings, Dec. 29, 2016-Jan. 5, 2017


This weekend


What: The 53rd annual Urbana Christmas tradition of the neighbors living on Grant Place decorating their homes for Christmas as a group. Drive cautiously and turn off headlights.

When: Every evening from 5 to 10 p.m. through New Year's Day.

Chuck Koplinski: Behind the scenes

 Movies are about moments -- big moments that erase our cynicism about cinema and remind us of its capacity to dazzle as well as touch us. This happens in a way only possible with a medium that seamlessly combines so many other art forms.

Frank's Faves: Celebrity casualties of 2016

This week: We paid a heavy toll this year in terms of human talent and pop-culture icons. Way too heavy.

It seems we say this almost every New Year's, but never has it been more excruciatingly accurate than this time around: 2016 was a particularly brutal year for celebrity deaths.