You've got the program book. You've got all of the trailers memorized and your schedule of movies covered in enough color-coded highlighter and intertwining arrows to look like a cinema-inspired conspiracy theorist. You've got September 28 through October 12 off from work, and your body prepared for two weeks of a solely Milk Dud diet.
There's just one thing missing in your Milwaukee Film Festival masterplan: some actual tickets to the damn thing.
Wait no longer, fellow film fanatics: Today, Milwaukee Film officially cracked open its box office to the public, located both online at the festival's website and in the Oriental Theatre's lobby.
Before the festival begins, the in-person box office will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, as well as noon until 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. After the Milwaukee Film Festival officially begins in full on Sept. 29, the box office will then expand out to each of its participating theater locations: the Avalon Theater, Times Cinema, Downer Theatre and Fox Bay Cinema Grill. Tickets will also be available by phone seven days a week, by calling (414) 755-1965 between noon and 6 p.m. However, phone orders do include a $3 surcharge.
No matter which method you choose, you'd better start snagging your tickets soon. The Milwaukee Film Festival hosted a record 87 sold-out screenings last year – and the film festival has by no means decreased in popularity or quality since then. If you're stuck on what to see, I previously listed just a scant few of my recommendations here – and here are a few more to keep your eye on:
- "The Ornithologist": The program book describes it as "a gay, Catholic, Portuguese variation on 'The Blair Witch Project.'" Oh great, another one?! Hollywood, no new ideas! But really, I have no idea how all of that will come together, but I can't wait to see how the movie pulls it off.
- "Lipstick Under My Burkha": This drama about four generations of women fighting against traditional gender roles was banned in its native country of India. But that couldn't stop Alankrita Shrivastava's film from sharing its celebration of women with the rest of the world – to glowing write-ups.
- "Score: A Film Music Documentary": It's a movie about movie music, featuring the likes of John Williams and Hans "BWWWAAAMMM" Zimmer talking about their craft – aka sonic nirvana for film geeks. So yes, I will be there.
- "The Dark Crystal": I first saw Jim Henson and Frank Oz's dark yet charming puppet fantasy adventure by accident. As a kid, I rented "E.T." from the now departed Blockbuster down the street and came home only to find a VHS of "The Dark Crystal" in the case instead of the adorable alien movie I was expecting. Classic Blockbuster – though it ended up a happy mistake, as I saw and loved this '80s gem. And now I can't wait to see it on the big screen – and, better yet, on purpose!
- "Lucky": Need more David Lynch in your life now that "Twin Peaks" is over? Well, he may not be behind the camera in "Lucky" – that title belongs to character actor extraordinaire John Carroll Lynch, best known as the Zodiac Killer(?) in "Zodiac," making his directorial debut – but is in front of the lens with the beloved Harry Dean Stanton in this quiet, thoughtful character drama and tribute to a great screen performer.
And, in case all of those bonus recommendations weren't enough to send you diving back into your Milwaukee Film Festival program books and rearranging your previously airtight schedules, here are a few little Easter eggs tucked away inside your cinematic bibles.
- The second-to-last page of the book features an index of many of the festival's selections, organized country by country – from Australia to Syria to ... Agrabah?
- When you're done finding all the fun countries listed in the index on that page, tilt your head to the bottom of the page where you'll find an awesome collection of all of the feature-length films directed by women at this year's festival. Then get tickets to a bunch of them.
- While perusing the index by film title on page 107, you may stumble across an intriguing little indie movie called "Bikini Carwash Shark Attack XII: The Sharkening." To answer your first question: Yes, I recommend seeing the first eleven "Bikini Carwash Shark Attack" movies before this one (it's a really plot-driven series). As for the rest of your questions, follow the index's instructions, hop over to page 11 and learn more about how you can support the greatest thing to happen to film in Milwaukee – really!
- Head to page 101 and read the names of all of the Milwaukee Film Festival staff members that bring this glorious event to life – mainly Dottie, the "Kisses Coordinator and Office Pup."
- No, that's not a typo on page 21. I, along with Dr. Susan Kerns, will be talking about the state of cinema in Milwaukee on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Kenilworth Square East Gallery, 2155 N. Prospect Ave. Come hear what we think about the Milwaukee movie scene, what the next step is and why I actually kind of hate Netflix!
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.