The 2018 Milwaukee Film Festival kicked off last Thursday with a crowd-pleasing film (Science Fair), and an equally crowd-pleasing party (at Good City Brewing). Now, following a weekend stocked with even more films and events, we’re ready to hunker down and take in, well, even more films and events. Here’s what we’re seeing this week (complete with blurbs from Milwaukee Film):
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22
Borg vs. McEnroe
4:15 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Before Nadal/Federer, before Agassi/Sampras, there was Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason)—the rigorously disciplined, preternaturally focused Swede—going head-to-head with John McEnroe (a perfectly cast Shia LaBeouf)—the brash, aggressive American prone to on-court emotional outbursts. These two men, a pure contrast in both style and temperament, competed in 1980 in what many consider to be the greatest tennis match ever played. Based on the true story, Borg vs. McEnroe is an exhilarating look at an unforgettable sports rivalry between two celebrity athletes.
Milwaukee Show I
8 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Each year The Milwaukee Show is one of the hottest tickets of the festival. It’s a rare chance to see work from our local best and brightest in the gloriously opulent setting our beloved Oriental Theatre’s main house. This collection of stunning documentary and fiction shorts allow you to watch locally, think globally.
BROTHERS Sheyam Ghieth, Emmett Jack Lundberg
THE CHASE KEY Dan Boville
GRANDMA CHARLOTTE Andrew Swant
HOUNDS OF LOVE Nolan Kresnak
THREE NEIGHBORHOODS: PEOPLE, PLACE, PURPOSE Adam Carr, Wes Tank
THROUGH THE EYE ROOT Vincent Maslowski
THE WATER WILL CARRY US HOME Gabrielle Tesfaye
Cream City After-Party
9:30 p.m. @ Landmark Lanes
Immediately following our wildly popular local filmmaker showcase The Milwaukee Show I (p. 59), join us at Landmark Lanes to celebrate the fantastic work of our local filmmaking community! Bring your ticket stub to receive drink deals all night long!
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23
4 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Bisbee, AZ, 1917. Nearly 2,000 immigrant miners on strike for fair wages are violently rounded up by their own neighbors, herded into cattle cars, shipped to the middle of the desert, and left to die—a collective trauma known as the Bisbee Deportation. One hundred years later, the town of Bisbee stages a large-scale reproduction of their darkest hour (with locals portraying their ancestors) in an effort to engage with this troubled history. A stunning, epic work of documentary filmmaking from the acclaimed Robert Greene (Kate Plays Christine).
6:45 p.m. @ Jan Serr Studio Cinema
A fun and hoppy documentary that feels like it was brewed just for Milwaukeeans, Brewmaster documents the incredible rise of the brewing industry in recent years—from less than 1,500 breweries nationwide in 1998 to over 7,000 today. Follow the passion and innovation at work within the industry, from tiny small-batch home brewers to some of beer’s biggest names. Not to mention a Milwaukee-based man studying to become a Master Cicerone—beer’s equivalent to a sommelier—a test less than 20 people have ever passed.
Black Lens Shorts: A Little Help From My Friends
9:45 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Everybody needs a helping hand now and again, and that’s what the characters of these fantastic and varied short films all discover. Whether it’s a group of young girls confronted with America’s deepseated racism on the Fourth of July, or a horror spoof following the staff of a Black hair salon besieged by White women vampirically feeding on their culture, these shorts are surefire crowd pleasers.
BABY STEPS Eric Dyson
HAIR WOLF Miriama Diallo
MOTHS & BUTTERFLIES Alfonso Johnson
STILL WATER RUNS DEEP Abbesi Akhamie
WAR PAINT Katrelle Kindred
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24
Lake Michigan Monster
3:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Set sail on this unforgettable and locally made voyage with an eccentric ship captain and his group of specialists attempting to hunt down the wiliest creature of the deep: the Lake Michigan Monster. Banned in four lakes, this madcap comedy (filmed in black and-white) harkens back to creature features of yore with a briny aesthetic all its own, harkening to the absurdist fantasy stylings of Guy Maddin.
Riverwest Film & Video
6:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Long a staple of both our film-loving and filmmaking communities, Riverwest Film & Video gets the documentary treatment it so richly deserves. Offering a diverse range of films for rent, film equipment for sale, and a local radio station for anyone and everyone who wants to have a program, it has long served Milwaukee as a locus of neighborhood activity. Meet the regulars who patronize the store, programmers who run the radio station, and employees who man the shop in this winning documentary.
8:45 p.m. @ Times Cinema
A professor whose career is devoted to debunking stories of the faux paranormal is confronted with three case studies to challenge his skepticism in this unsettling omnibus of horror. A night watchman is plagued by visions in an abandoned asylum, a young man is stalked after his car stalls in the deep woods, and a father-to-be (Martin Freeman) is visited by a malevolent spirit in this trilogy of terror. Expertly crafted and impeccably performed, this throwback anthology demands to be watched in the dark with a crowd.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25
Ali & Cavett: The Tale Of The Tapes
1:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Chronicling the storied boxing career of Muhammad Ali through the prism of his numerous appearances on The Dick Cavett Show, Ali & Cavett is equally riveting for sports and pop culture fans alike. Whether they were celebrating Ali’s numerous victories, or discussing his decision to join the Nation of Islam and refusal to serve in the military, the pair’s easy chemistry (they were friends for over five decades) was a cultural milestone in terms of on-screen representation, and they spoke candidly about issues that still challenge America to this very day.
4 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was SOUL!, a remarkable public television variety show wildly ahead of its time. Hosted by Ellis Haizlip (hip, smart, innovative, and unapologetically gay), SOUL! was a celebration of all things Black culture—with topics ranging from soul music to literature, poetry, politics, and everything in between—with a dazzling array of A-list guests (James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few). Follow this groundbreaking phenomenon from conception to its final episode in this stirring reminder of the power of representation in media.
So You Signed Up For An Axe Murderer-Themed Party At AXE MKE
6 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
What do you get when you combine the 2018 Milwaukee Film Festival, the East Side’s hottest axe-throwing bar, and the city’s foremost authority on cheesy horror movies featuring axe murderers? Axes! Zombie targets! Horror movies! More surprises! Join Milwaukee Record at AXE MKE for a night of chills, thrills, and, well, axe-throwing. Did we mention the zombie targets? Oh, and feel free to dress up as your favorite horror movie character…just as long as that character doesn’t wear open-toed shoes, because open-toed shoes aren’t allowed at AXE MKE. Tickets are $10, which gets you some axe-throwing time and some beer. Get ’em now.
Let The Corpses Tan
10 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
A brutal band of thieves attempt to lay low with their truckload of pilfered gold bars in the remote Mediterranean countryside. But uninvited guests (including a pair of cops) turn this idyllic cliffside hideaway into the mother of all shootouts—a delirious multiday bloodbath stuffed with double crosses and turns of fortune. A hallucinatory ride that plays like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly dosed with LSD, this psychedelic spaghetti western turns action cinema into an experimental fever dream that rips through your cerebral cortex like a load of buckshot.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26
Wild Nights With Emily
7:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
There is a common narrative surrounding the life of poet Emily Dickinson—her life was a tragic one, spent in seclusion as a virginal shut-in, able to communicate her feelings only through her poetry. What the wildly funny Wild Nights With Emily does is no less than detonate your preconceptions and upend this dominant narrative, instead presenting Dickinson (portrayed with great humor and warmth by Molly Shannon) as a brilliantly witty and creatively resolute woman who found love with her sister-in-law, Susan (Susan Ziegler). Also starring MFF alums Brett Gelman and Amy Seimetz, this vivacious and welcome antidote to the stuffy canon of “tortured genius” biopics is “the best lesbian comedy in years” (IndieWire), a joyous reclamation of a historical figure that proves highly stylized, yet deeply reverent. One thing is for certain after seeing this: You’ll never look at the carefully calibrated words of Emily Dickinson the same way again.
What Keeps You Alive
11 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
How well do you really know the person you love? Jules is about to find out, as what was meant to be a secluded anniversary getaway with her wife, Jackie, reveals itself to be something much more sinister in this nerve-jangling cat-and-mouse thriller. From the moment of their arrival, something is clearly off—Jackie’s normally loving nature gives way to a heretofore unseen dark side, leading to a shocking revelation that pits Jules against the woman she loves in an expectation-defying, blood-spattered battle for survival.
Shorts: The Best Damn F*#@ing Midnight Program Ever. Sh*t
Midnight @ Oriental Theatre
Each year we present the most disgusting, depraved, terrifying, and hilarious collection of shorts for all you weirdos. This year is no different (honestly, we may have outdone ourselves with this calamitous collection), so gird your loins, bring a barf bag, and buckle up. Some say this program is an abomination that spits in the face of all things wholesome. To us, it’s just a good f*#@ing time.
COYOTE Lorenz Wunderle
CRYING BITCH Reiki Tsuno
DEATH VAN Michael Enzbrunner
THE MANGINA EXIT Byron Brown
MILK Santiago Menghini
OOZE Kilian Vilim
PAINTING WITH JOAN Jack Robbins
PAN Anna Roller
ULTRAVIOLET Marc Johnson
WE SUMMONED A DEMON Chris McInroy
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
Kids Shorts: Size Small
10:30 a.m. @ Oriental Theatre
If you’re looking to foster a lifelong cinematic obsession for your youngest, our Size Small program is just the ticket. A collection of brightly colored short films perfect for your cinephiles-in-waiting, packed with music, animation, and merriment. Make your little one’s first cinematic experience a memorable one!
12:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Retired engineer Duszejko lives a quiet, eccentric life in her secluded mountain village—pursuing her passions for astrology, dogs, and vegetarianism—until the moment she discovers the dead body of her neighbor surrounded by deer tracks. As the bodies and animal tracks begin to stack up, it becomes clear that someone or something is seeking revenge on these men. Agnieska Holland returns to the big screen with this genre-bending murder-mystery that plays like a Polish Twin Peaks where the Log Lady is our main character.
Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable
3:45 p.m. @ Fox-Bay Cinema Grill
Though a legend in photography circles, Garry Winogrand quickly faded into obscurity after his passing, even as his “snapshot aesthetic” went on to inform the way we all take photos in the modern era. “One of the rare art-world bio-docs that delivers the sensation of seeing a story unfold dramatically onscreen” (Hollywood Reporter), All Things Are Photographable delves deep into this art icon, combing through his three decades of work (over a million photographs) that helped define our country, including the promise of over 10,000 rolls of undeveloped film.
6:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Multi-MFF alum and local filmmaker extraordinaire Carol Brandt returns with her latest, shot entirely in and around Wisconsin, an appealingly off-center road move that has drawn comparison to Kelly Reichardt. Taking a brief sojourn from tending to her terminally ill mother, grad school dropout Leigh plans for a weekend in the woods, with her high school ex-boyfriend (and his adorable pug) tagging along for the ride. Filmed with the faded warmth of old Polaroids, their introspective getaway causes them to relitigate the past while looking toward their potential futures.
Stop Making Sense
9 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Listen, you know the drill by this point: Jonathan Demme’s concert film (generally regarded as the best in cinema history) covering Talking Heads at the height of their performative powers is a Milwaukee Film Festival tradition—a raucous party whose energy spills from the screen into the aisles, inevitably becoming a massive annual dance party. If you have yet to treat yourself to this joyous experience, this must be the place…where you immediately set down your program book and pick up your tickets.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
Shorts: Let’s Get Animated
2 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Whether you’re hand-drawn ’til the day you die or a member of the computer-generated posse, these shorts give reason for all fans of animated splendor to rejoice! Featuring an astonishing variety of eye-popping styles while covering the entire emotional spectrum (you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll ponder the vagaries of existence), these heartfelt, hilarious, beautiful shorts are a feast for the eyes and a buffet for the soul.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
4:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’ landmark achievement in special effects wizardry, marrying the worlds of live action and animation in perfect harmony in this story of a hardboiled detective and the cartoon rabbit who’s been framed for murder. With plenty of slapstick comedy for kids (and a boatload of film references and film noir flavor for the adults), Who Framed Roger Rabbit has aged like a fine wine. Bring the kids and come see for yourself!
7 p.m. @ Jann Serr Studio Cinema
Demoted to desk work as an emergency phone operator, police officer Asger quietly seethes in his interactions with those who call for assistance. That is, until he receives a call from the distraught Iben, kidnapped by her violent ex-husband and trapped in the back of a moving vehicle. A masterclass in suspense filmmaking, The Guilty never leaves this single location, ratcheting up the tension to unbearable levels with incredible filmmaking precision as Asger frantically tries to save a life with only his wits and a headset to help him.