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80’s Weekend at McHenry Outdoor Theater

Posted on September 18th 2010 by Arthur in Chicago, Life in America, Movies

It’s 80’s Weekend at the “C” You At The Movies outdoor theater in McHenry IL this weekend and last night we saw The Goonies and Back to the Future, a double feature! We arrived at 6:30pm when the gates opened and found a nice place next to a speaker pole. In the next hour the place filled up with cars. Many people took out chairs and sat outside their vehicle while others pulled in backwards and sat in the back of their car, or on top in case of trucks. It had been at least ten years since we went to a drive-in theater and it was a lot of fun.

Top view from Google Maps, with the screen in the upper-left

McHenry Outdoor Theater
Back of the screen

McHenry Outdoor Theater

McHenry Outdoor Theater

McHenry Outdoor Theater

McHenry Outdoor Theater

McHenry Outdoor Theater

More photos of Transformers 3 filming in Chicago

Posted on August 1st 2010 by Arthur in Chicago, Movies

Today we went down to Chicago again to see more of the filming of Transformers 3. This time we saw a huge action scene with explosions, lots of gunfire and a bus and cars flying in the air. We also got good looks at Shia LaBeouf, Michael Bay, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson. Today’s action took place on E Wacker Drive between State and Wabash. We had a great place to stand across the river from the action, where hundreds of people had lined up to see some of the movie magic.

Transformers 3 set
Some impressive set pieces as if they had fallen off the building

Transformers 3 set

Transformers 3 set

Transformers 3 set

Transformers 3 set
Note the damaged awning and the destroyed news stand

Transformers 3 set

Transformers 3 set

Transformers 3 set

Tyrese Gibson
Tyrese Gibson

Josh Duhamel
Josh Duhamel, who was limping around the set today after injuring himself yesterday

Transformers 3 cars

Transformers 3 set

Here’s a video (from someone else) of the action scene we saw:

Transformers 3 fire
After the explosions there was a huge fire and a fire truck came immediately to put it out.

Transformers 3 chair

Transformers 3 set

Transformers 3 set

Transformers 3 set


You can see director Michael Bay in the background here directing the soldiers.


We saw Shia LaBeouf from pretty close this time, but only got pictures from the back

Optimus Prime
Optimus Prime was parked in an alley

Optimus Prime
Under protest from the crowd workers cover up Optimus Prime to keep him shiny

Transformers 3 filming in downtown Chicago

Posted on July 17th 2010 by Arthur in Chicago, Illinois, Movies

Through August 23rd, Paramount Pictures is filming Transformers 3 in Chicago. It’s been all over the local news here these last couple of weeks as the road blocks and detours cause a bit of extra chaos downtown, especially on the weekends when most of the action takes place.

This weekend the production crew took over Michigan Avenue Bridge and part of Michigan Avenue and turned it into a war zone. We drove down to Chicago today to witness some of the movie magic. Here are movies and pictures from our visit.

This video starts with the sky divers gliding around Trump Tower. They were actually gliding for a while before the video starts, it was very neat. We later found a great place across the river to see some shots of Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel and the other soldiers running up and down stairs. We watched them for several hours as they were being directed by Michael Bay

Movie helicopter
This helicopter with camera in front was flying around most of the afternoon, presumably taking shots of the skyline and buildings to later add CGI robots

Shortly after we arrived we saw five stuntmen jump out of a helicopter, glide around Trump Tower with their winged suits (very cool!) and then open their parachutes and land on a barge in the Chicago River. We saw this twice but it was done at least once more before we arrived. The skydivers jumped out of a black helicopter while the above white helicopter circled around filming them

Some of the tall buildings had camera men on top to film the skydivers

Scuba divers
Scuba divers of the Chicago Police were ready to jump in the water in case a skydiver ended up in the river. All went well what we saw, except once one of the gliders missed the barge and ended up on Wacker Drive

There were a lot of Paramount trucks and trailers everywhere around the set

These actors just picked up their machine guns and other weapons at a wardrobe trailer and are walking to the set. The second guy from the left is Josh Duhamel, who also played Major Lennox in the first two Transformers films

The bridge was partially opened all day with several wrecked cars attached to the north side of the bridge. The cars were hanging from steel cables.

Car wrecks
Pile of cars in front of the bridge

Movie set
Area in front of the bridge, with wrecked taxis, parts of buildings and lots of smoke and fire. One of the taxis had a 555 telephone number on it 🙂

Transformers HOPE posters
Transformers “Hope” posters based on the Obama poster by Shepard Fairey

Car wreck
In an alley off E Wacker Drive we saw people positioning an upside-down MTA bus (a fake Chicago CTA bus) with some other debris

Car wreck
This wrecked truck was right in front of the Corner Bakery where we had lunch

Car wreck
Same car from the side

Car wreck

The Transformers cars were parked on Michigan Avenue and covered up to keep them clean

More Transformers

More Transformers

Terminator 3 Public Assistance T-Shirt
All around the area were people in these yellow t-shirts telling people to keep moving and not block sidewalks or get too close to the set


Lots of other people have posted videos on YouTube. Here are some nice ones:

Video by billyripkin, from YouTube

Video by spudart, from YouTube

Video by mjleshock, from YouTube

Video by zztopeurope, from YouTube

LOL at Rifftrax Live

Posted on December 16th 2009 by Arthur in Movies, Pop culture

Tonight we had a lot of fun at a live show of RiffTrax at our local cinema. The stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 made fun at some hilarious Christmas shorts. Fathom Events organizes these special broadcasts that are streamed live to cinemas across the country. It’s a pretty cool thing.

We also went to the first Rifftrax in August, when they riffed Plan 9 From Outer Space. The Christmas shorts they picked for tonight’s show were SO funny … weird stuff! It was fun that special guest “Weird Al” Yankovic was there too, but I expected him to sing a song or two at least. We had a blast and I hope they’re going to do more of these.

Rifftrax Christmas

Indy 5 in 2011 and new Monkey Island games, wow!

Posted on July 6th 2009 by Arthur in Movies, Pop culture

Harrison Ford as Indiana JonesFor some weeks there have been rumours about a fifth Indiana Jones movie and today The Insider is reporting that Harrison Ford will indeed play the famous archaeologist one more time. Shooting will not begin until next year for a release in 2011.

This is great news. Despite all the negative criticism that Crystal Skull received I still liked that film a lot. Here’s hoping that the last one with Ford will be even better and that he’ll pass on the fedora to Shia to continue the Indiana Jones franchise.

I also just found out at that LucasArts is reviving their classic adventure games by making them available for the first time ever as digital downloads. The first round of releases will take place on July 8th (on Steam) and will include Indiana Jones the the Last Crusade (1989), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992), Loom (1990) and The Dig (1995). I have fond memories of playing all four of these games and it’s great that they’re finally re-releasing them.

Also, there’s a brand-new Monkey Island game on the way! Tales of Monkey Island (PC and WiiWare) is the latest adventure of Guybrush Threepwood which will be released in five monthly episodes starting tomorrow! I did not know about this until just now .. how exciting! Here’s a trailer:

And that’s not all … There’s also an enhanced re-make of the first Monkey Island from 1990 on the way: The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition (PC and XBox Live) will be released on July 15th and will feature completely new art in the style of the original game presented in 1080i widescreen, a re-mastered score and a new streamlined interface. And what’s cool is that at any time during the game you can switch between the old 256 color version and the enhanced version. Wow!

Indiana Jones Exhibit at Harley-Davidson Museum

Posted on April 17th 2009 by Arthur in Movies, Museums

Yesterday we visited the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee to see the Indiana Jones exhibit. On display until April 30th are two motorcycles ridden by Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Harley Davidson Museum (Milwaukee) 097 (16-Apr)

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Netflix is Great

Posted on April 14th 2009 by Arthur in Life in America, Movies

We’ve been subscribed to Netflix since November last year and we still like it a lot. We have the cheapest plan, called “1 at-a-time”, which allows us to have one DVD at a time, but we are able to watch about two movies per week this way, which is a pretty good deal for $8.99 per month. And the best thing is that we don’t even have to leave the house for it. Each DVD we receive in the mail comes in its own return envelope, which we can put back in the mailbox so the next day the mailman will take it back. It’s pretty neat. More »

DeLoreans in Chicago St Patrick’s Day Parade

Posted on March 17th 2009 by Arthur in Chicago, Illinois, Movies, Pop culture

At the end of the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago last Saturday, they had three DeLorean cars! As a fan of the Back to the Future movies and someone who had never seen an actual DeLorean before, I thought this was very cool. Only approximately 9,000 of these gull-winged cars were made in 1981 and 1982 by the Delorean Motor Company in a factory in Northern Ireland, hence these Irish cars were in the parade. Only about 6,500 DeLorean DMC-12s are believed to still exist today.

Chicago St Pat Day 2009 148 (14-Mar)

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Groundhog Days in Woodstock Part 2

Posted on February 1st 2009 by Arthur in Illinois, Movies

(continued from part 1) So we were waiting outside the Opera House for the tour of the filming sites in Woodstock and at 1:25pm we were still the only ones there. A police officer of the WPD confirmed that we were in the right place for the tour, but where was everybody? Then all of a sudden people poured out of the Opera House, where they had been for a Chili Cookoff, as they do in Punxutawney. There were about 50 people in the tour, which was led by Bob Hutchins, the location manager of Groundhog Day. He gave us a great insight in the filming of the movie and all the different filming locations in Woodstock. First off he explained how they chose the town of Woodstock.

Woodstock 055 (31-Jan)

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Groundhog Days in Woodstock Part 1

Posted on February 1st 2009 by Arthur in Illinois, Movies

Today we went to Woodstock for Groundhog Days. Since the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray was filmed in Woodstock, the town has been celebrating the days leading up to the February 2nd holiday with events inspired by the movie. We participated in an awesome walking tour of the filming sites with Bob Hutchins, who was location manager for the movie, and at 10:00 this morning we saw a free show of the movie Groundhog Day at Woodstock Theater.

Woodstock 027 (31-Jan)

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