The sun seems brighter. The birds' chirping sounds sweeter. My usual mid-afternoon lunch of Cheez-Its and Mountain Dew tastes better, like something that's not slowly rotting me from the inside. You know what that means: The Milwaukee Film Festival is coming.
Hyperbole (mostly) aside, the film festival – arguably one of the best cultural events this city does, and yes, the fact that I'm a movie junkie does bias me deeply – is barely two months away. Opening night is Sept. 25, which means that film fans should regularly expect announcements coming from Film Festival HQ. The first one came out this morning, including a significant addition to the festival: a new venue.
In addition to the successful rotation of the Oriental, the Downer and the Fox Bay movie theaters, the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival has recruited the Times Cinema to its Avengers team of old school Milwaukee movie houses.
"I am thrilled that we can partner with the Milwaukee Film Festival and bring the wonderful films that Milwaukee enjoys to the west side neighborhood of Washington Heights," said Times Cinema owner Lee Barczak in the press release issued this morning.
"It has always been my dream to be a part of this and expand the opportunities for the Festival and all of us who love movies. I hope this begins a long and prosperous relationship with Milwaukee Film Festival."
The Times originally opened in the Washington Heights part of Milwaukee back in 1935. It briefly closed, along with the Rosebud, back in 2012 but quickly reopened the same year after Barczak took over.
The added venue will give the festival one more screen to spread its selections, as well as a working relationship with the Neighborhood Theater Group – which, in addition to the Times, also operates the Rosebud and currently mid-restoration Avalon.
Over the years, the Milwaukee Film Festival has been seemingly trying to expand further out across Milwaukee, becoming more accessible to more parts of the city while still maintaining the tight festival community.
The Marcus Ridge in New Berlin and North Shore in Mequon were once a part of that mission, but those suburban cineplex locales ended up being a step too far. Film festival regulars tended to avoid the long drives out into the 'burbs, away from the event's East Side hub, and suburban audiences didn't really venture enough into the festival's offerings to make up for it. The result was long drives and sparse screenings (I vividly remember several screenings consisting of me and about three to four others).
Adding the Times Cinema, however, seems like a logical step for the Milwaukee Film Festival. It fits in well with the rest of the festival's character-rich venues, ones whose film calendars – and typical audience members – are also no stranger to eclectic, artistic and occasionally experimental fare. It also spreads the event further out into Milwaukee without becoming a distant hassle for both moviegoers and staff, bounding around between films.
Most importantly, it adds another screen for movies. More movies is never a bad thing.
This morning's release also revealed this year's campaign art, the collaborative product of Milwaukee Film, Cathy Brautigam of Lone Shoe Graphics and Milwaukee-based freelance photographer Kat Schleicher. More exciting than the artwork or even the new venue, however, is just knowing the festival is within sight, the time of year that totally makes up for having to watch stuff like "Planes: Fire and Rescue" and "Blended."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published July 5, 2015
It shouldn't have come as a surprise to see the Marcus Amphitheater a maybe generous 50 percent full - albeit an extremely enthusiastic and appreciative 50 percent - on Saturday night for The Avett Brothers. But while the bluegrass folk rock band had apparent problems filling the venue with fans, the band had no problem whatsoever completely filling the venue with strong, soulful music on the Fourth of July.
Published July 3, 2015
In fact, other than some busy confetti cannons - and I mean very busy - OK Go's 90-minute set pushed aside any sign of the viral video prop-heavy gimmickry the band is most famous for and instead relied on its power pop rock music and some charming banter to click with the Summerfest crowd. And, as it turns out, that was more than enough to deliver an awesome and entertaining evening.
Published July 2, 2015
Barely two years after his first show in 2013, WebsterX is now living his dream world he created of being a rap star. The 22-year-old rapper has risen to become one of the Milwaukee music scene's biggest stars, grabbing local and national headlines and, most recently, opening for global superstar Lupe Fiasco at the Miller Lite Oasis on Friday, July 3 at 8 p.m.
Published July 2, 2015
During his Amphitheater performance Wednesday night, Kendrick Lamar noted the last time he was here, "the energy was so motherf*ckin' loud," and if that was a 10, he wanted this show to hit a 12. Well, it certainly felt like a 12, with the packed crowd bobbing their heads, swaying their arms and just generally going crazy for every verse. And even though it barely lasted 60 minutes, Lamar's vigorous fireball of a set gave them plenty to go crazy about.
Published July 1, 2015
I'll admit it; before Tuesday night's Marcus Amphitheater show started up, one of those people was me. I wondered why a band, whose last seemingly notable moments came at the service of three-fourths of Michael Bay's "Transformers" franchise, was a Big Gig Amp headliner. Well, one large serving of crow, please, cooked medium rare.
Published June 30, 2015
Most bands desperately hope that their music videos will go viral. For pop rockers OK Go, at this point, it's almost expected. With a Summerfest headliner set scheduled for the Uline Warehouse on Thursday, July 2, I chatted with bassist/vocalist Tim Nordwind about the band's stories behind some of their viral sensations.
Published June 30, 2015
After traveling the globe in support of its star-making self-titled debut album, PHOX's tour is bringing the band right back to where its journey started in the first place: Wisconsin. Before it heads home to Baraboo, the band is dropping by its "home away from home" of Milwaukee to play Summerfest, opening for Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros on Thursday, July 2. Before then, we talked to Matt Holmen about his own fond Big Gig memories.
Published June 29, 2015
According to, well, herself, DJ Paris Hilton is one of the top paid DJs currently working. Unfortunately, much like the "Transformers" movies, her Summerfest set was one of those situations where the amount of the money involved was inversely proportionate to the amount of skill on display. Also like the "Transformers" films, it was loud, clunky, sporadically dull despite all of the noise, unnecessarily lengthy and, by the end, left me in a little bit of pain.
Published June 28, 2015
If you've seen Disney/Pixar's latest animated hit "Inside Out," there's a good chance a certain song has been rattling around in your mind ever since. No, not that TripleDent gum jingle, but the chorus to "Lava," the brief and beautifully rendered short about a volcanic island looking for love. While the short takes plenty of inspiration from Hawaii, as it turns out, Murphy's journey to get there made a stop right here in Milwaukee.
Published June 28, 2015
As clearly proved Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, "Shut Up And Dance" pop rockers Walk The Moon can now draw a packed house. The only question: Would they put on a show worthy of the face painted mob they gathered? Most certainly.