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Dan Stevens as "The Guest": Check it out.

Ursula Coyote

Just some kibbles and bits for this week, so snack accordingly:

Sundancing: As a reminder, tonight's the night (i.e., Thursday, Jan. 18) that the Sundance Film Festival out in Robert Redford-land (Park City, Utah) opens with "Blindspotting." 

Why do we care?

Because, as noted in a recent Pantagraph story, it was co-produced by B-N native Chris Harding, son of Ann and C.P. Harding of Normal.

The film landed the coveted opening slot because it was deemed worthy of them.

Mom and Dad will be there cheering their son on.

Good luck, Chris: we're rootin' for you, too. (Yes, "Blindspotting" is in competition; stay tuned for the results and a first-hand account of the Sundance experience from Chris.)

Check it out: While none of Chris Harding's pre-"Blindspotting" films have been mainstream blockbusters (not a bad thing, actually), most have gained critical plaudits.

We recommend, above all, 2014's "The Guest," which was sold as a horror film but is refreshingly zombie- and paranormal-free.

Instead, it offers up a really taut, whip-smart round of mind games tied to the titular character, a house guest who turns up claiming friendship with a son who soldiered with him in Afghanistan and was killed in action.

But it's not that simple.

"The Guest" currently boasts an 89 percent "Fresh" rating over at the Rotten Tomatoes website.

In fact, "The Guest," too, has a Sundance Film Fest pedigree, having premiered there, too, almost to this very day, just four Sundances ago (Jan. 17, 2014) ... but not in the plummy opening slot being enjoyed by "Blindspotting."

Fertililty rights: In the story on Chris Harding that ran last week in The Pantagraph, it was noted that he "hails from U High's famously fertile class of ’01," referencing such fellow travelers from that year as musicians Pokey LaFarge, Dan Hubbard and Nick Africano. 

"I enjoyed reading the article," emailed reader Katherine Watson.

But: "I cracked up on the phrase 'hails from U High's FAMOUSLY FERTILE Class of ’01 ....'  My son Thomas Watson was in that U High ’01 class. Those were great years, lots of talent in that class.

"Thomas did well, he is in engineering management with a Fortune 500 company and has traveled the world on business. It was the word FERTILE that got my attention. Tom and wife are expecting their fifth son, due in March!"

Happy to hear that he's harvesting on all fronts!

Place your bets: Gambling isn't allowed here at GO!, we're frustrated to say.

But we'll suggest that you place your bets — figuratively, speaking, officer! — for the chances of last week's GO! cover story subject on Tuesday.

Tuesday is, of course, Oscar nominations day.

We're rooting for Richard Jenkins, as you knew we would be ... and know you should be, too.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

No, make that it should happen to this nicer guy. 

Yeah, yeah, we know: The honor of being nominated is what it's really all about, if you believe the 768 Oscar acceptance speeches that have made note of that fact, ad nauseam.

At the end of the day, though, "Oscar-winning" reads better than "Oscar-nominated" in the obit headline.

Not to jump the gun here, but we'd like to see the former phrase available for all future Jenkins references.

So far, his role as Giles in "The Shape of Water" (which was promised to open in B-N this weekend and at the last minute was rescheduled to Jan. 26 to cash in on that expected Oscar glory) has garnered supporting actor nominations, but no wins yet, from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice Awards, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and San Francisco Film Critics Circle.

Fingers, fins, flippers, whatever, crossed.

Dan Craft is Pantagraph entertainment editor. He can be reached at 309-829-9000, Ext. 259 or via email at



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