While I usually write about TV, I've always been a fan of watching movies in a theater. Not only is the screen bigger, but there's something about an audience laughing along with you that heightens the comedy.
I'll be trying to hit a healthy number of movies at the Milwaukee Film Festival, which kicks off tonight with Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling starring in "Blue Valentine," screening at 6 p.m. at the Marcus North Shore and at 7 at the Oriental.
The festival is easier to navigate than you'd think, starting with tickets for hot movies. Even if a movie appears to be sold out, there are likely seats available. The best bet is to get your tickets in advance.
But "rush" ticket sales for available seats start 15 minutes before a movie is scheduled to start.
Here are more basics on enjoying Milwaukee's annual cinematic buffet:
The tickets: Movies cost $10 and the easiest way to buy tickets is online. You can also call (414) 727-8468, but there's a $2.50 surcharge for phone orders. Finally, you can get them from theater box offices from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 8:30 Friday through Sunday.
The stars: The headliner is Susan Sarandon, and the final details of her appearance were just set in concrete a couple days ago. She'll take audience questions after a 4:30 p.m., screening of "Thelma and Louise" at the Oriental. Gino Salomone will handle the questioning.
The other big name is Green Bay's own Tony Shalhoub, who will be at the screening of his "Feed the Fish" at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 30 at the North Shore.
Here's the trailer for Shalhoub's flick, filmed in Door County:
If you're a film fan, the directors are often more interesting than the actors. And you can find a list of scheduled appearances by the folks who made the movies on my blog.
Check the column over the next week or so for reviews of some of the movies, and Milwaukee Film Festival news.
And Time Warner Cable subscribers can catch the TV edition of OnMedia starting Friday on Wisconsin on Demand Channel 411. It features my conversation with the guy behind the film festival, executive director/creative director Jonathan Jackson.
On TV: The technically flawed Webcast that formally annointed the new judges for the next season of "American Idol" failed to offer any surprises. It's returning judge Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. The closest thing to news was word that record industry guru Jimmy Iovine will serve as a mentor to the singers.
- That Elmo-Katy Perry video was too much for "Sesame Street," which has pulled it from Monday's season premiere of the kids' show.
- The ratings for the opening night of Fox's critically acclaimed "Lone Star" were so low -- a little more than 4 million people tuned in -- that it's in danger of quick cancellation, although it's scheduled to air Monday.
- USA will air a 10th season of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and that's it for the show.
- Chicago media guru Robert Feder reports that Kenosha native and UW-Milwaukee grad Sean Lewis will anchor the weekend morning newscast launching Oct. 2 on WGN-TV. A glance at the schedule show's it's not currently scheduled to air on the cable version of WGN airing here.
Tonight's new stuff: Among the big news on Thursdays is the move of "Big Bang Theory" to 7 p.m., opposite NBC's "Community." It's time to get a DVR if you don't have one already.
The new shows are ABC's "My Generation" at 7 p.m. on Channel 12, CBS' "$#*! My Dad Says," at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 58, and NBC's "Outsourced," at 8:30 p.m. on Channel 4.
And, since there are said to be problems in recording William Shatner's "$#*! My Dad Says," because it doesn't start with conventional letters, CBS recommends going through the on-screen schedule to set up your DVR recording of the sitcom.
After seeing the pilot, I'd say this is a short-term problem.
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.