It’s hard to pin down a single highlight of the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, but for our money, there’s nothing better than the Cinema Hooligante program. For the past three years, the late-night series has featured cult classics (Enter The Dragon), B-movies (The Giant Spider Invasion), and enough blood ’n’ boobs to make Lars von Trier and/or the creeps at Troma blush. For 2014, however, MFF is expanding (and slightly maturing) Hooligante to include more sci-fi, fantasy, and comedy. That move is evident in the program’s inclusion of two beloved classic films: Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb, and Marty DiBergi’s Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap. Needless to say, Milwaukee Record is thrilled to sponsor this year’s lineup.
What’s better than Strangelove and Spinal Tap on the big screen? 35mm prints of Strangelove and Spinal Tap on the big screen, that’s what. Kubrick’s apocalyptic satire is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, while Spinal Tap is celebrating 30 years of exploding drummers, ill-advised glove smelling, and scathing two-word reviews. (“Shit sandwich.”) Let’s boogie!
But wait, there’s more: The 2014 Cinema Hooligante program will also include the latest film from Michel Gondry (Mood Indigo), a feature-length anime (Patema Inverted), a cinematic exploration of masturbation via vegetables (Wetlands), and The Raid 2. Oh, and don’t forget “Bloody Sunday,” a special hangover program featuring Bloody Marys, free cold pizza, and bat-shit horror movies Sunday, September 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Hotel Foster—presented by Milwaukee Record. (More info on “Bloody Sunday” to come.)
The complete Cinema Hooligante lineup can be found below, with film descriptions courtesy of Milwaukee Film. The 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival runs September 25 through October 9, and will be turn-it-up-to-11 awesome.
Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
(USA, United Kingdom / 1964 / Director: Stanley Kubrick)
Not just a great black comedy, but one of the greatest films of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is vicious and hilarious, a political satire that feels no less fresh and relevant now than it did upon its release 50 years ago. With the Soviet Union and U.S. on the verge of nuclear war, it only takes one loony general (Sterling Hayden) who believes that the Commies seek to destroy our “precious bodily fluids,” a Pentagon war room populated by maniacs (including an unhinged George C. Scott, with Peter Sellers playing both the president and a Nazi scientist), and a patriotic B-52 bomber pilot carrying an atomic payload (the iconic Slim Pickens) to assure our mutual destruction.
Mood Indigo (L’ecume des Jours)
(France / 2013 / Director: Michel Gondry)
Visionary director Michel Gondry returns to the visually spectacular surrealistic love story setting wherein he’s found his greatest success (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, The Science Of Sleep) with Mood Indigo. Colin (Romain Duris) engages in a whirlwind love affair with the beautiful Chloe (Audrey Tautou) only to find Chloe afflicted with a strange malady—a water lily growing in her lungs—that challenges both her health and their relationship. No director is capable of marrying the visually poetic with melancholy as effectively as Gondry, who captures the ecstatic highs and manic lows of love through a series of boundlessly creative sequences.
Patema Inverted (Sakasama No Patema)
(Japan / 2013 / Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura)
This stunning anime revolves around a botched scientific experiment that has led to two dramatically different societies: the inverts who have lost their gravity and must live deep underground so as not to fall into the sky, and those who live above and are forbidden to look up for fear of these inverts. Underground princess Patema and rebellious surface-dweller Age refuse to believe in the totalitarian government’s status quo and find one another in this dynamic and intelligent sci-fi allegory. Intelligently exploring ideas about fear of the unknown and prejudice, the film follows Patema and Age as they look to bridge these upside-down worlds and discover the beautiful equilibrium that can come from coexistence.
The Raid 2
(Indonesia / 2013 / Director: Gareth Evans)
An unrelenting exercise in bone-crunching action, The Raid 2 is manna from action-lovers heaven. Undercover cop Rama infiltrates a burgeoning gang war between Arab and Japanese crime syndicates by befriending the son of crime boss Bangun while in prison, insinuating himself into an increasingly dangerous game of cat and mouse. The perfect antidote for anyone who thought The Departed could’ve done with more face-kicking, director Gareth Evans’ crime epic is packed with action sequences of exquisite intensity. The symphony of mayhem culminates with a nearly 30-minute finale that is among the best ever filmed—it practically demands to be seen on the big screen.
This Is Spinal Tap
(USA / 1984 / Director: Rob Reiner)
Turn it up to 11 at this year’s MFF with Rob Reiner’s all-time great rockumentary following the exploits of David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer), and an endless succession of deceased percussionists that form Spinal Tap. With the assistance of eerily accurate details supplied by real-life metal bands, we watch the hilarious exploits of this group on the wane as their misfortune begets smaller and smaller venues (including Milwaukee’s then-fictitious Shank Hall) and larger and funnier insults. An inspiration to every comedic mockumentary that has followed in its footsteps, This Is Spinal Tap hasn’t lost an iota of its verve and energy in the 30 years since its release.
(USA / 2014 / Director: Bradley King)
Three friends (including MFF 2011 alum Matt O’Leary, Natural Selection) discover a remarkable machine that photographs events exactly 24 hours into the future in this twisting science-fiction action thriller. Found inside an abandoned neighboring apartment, this machine opens up a world of possibilities for the trio to cash in on, but their friendship is tested by an unstable criminal looking to exploit the machine for his own gains. In the proud tradition of past (or is it future?) time-traveling indies such as Timecrimes and Primer, Time Lapse is a film as much about ideas as thrills, combining action, humor, and philosophy with aplomb.
(Germany / 2013 / Director: David Wnendt)
A film as unapologetic as the main character it portrays, Wetlands is the adaptation of a novel once thought unfilmable. We follow the explicit exploits of Helen, our skateboarding 18-year-old protagonist whose brazen interest in bodily fluids and female sexuality finds her sharing used tampons, masturbating with vegetables, and exploring all other manner of debauchery. An unfortunate shaving mishap lands her in the hospital with an anal fissure, so she whiles away the hours by scheming to reunite her divorced parents and engaging in ribald flirtation with her handsome male nurse. Unashamed and uncompromising, but filled with infectious energy and a showstopping lead performance, Wetlands is an unforgettable film experience.
Witching And Bitching (Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi)
(Spain, France / 2013 / Director: Álex de la Iglesia)
Alex de la Iglesia (The Last Circus, MFF 2011) is back with his latest go-for-broke genre mash-up, following a group of robbers who hide out in the Basque countryside in the aftermath of an audacious daytime robbery. Little do they know they’ve happened upon the infamous village of Zugarramurdi, home to a coven of vengeful witches—and the robbers happen to be just in time for an ancient ceremony that requires the ultimate sacrifice from its unwilling male participants. Iglesia fills his madcap supernatural spectacle with copious amounts of sex, gore, and comedy, living up to his reputation as Spain’s preeminent master of gonzo filmmaking.