You can't come to the Oriental Theatre right now – or any theater of any kind, for that matter – but for the time being, the Oriental Theatre is coming to you.
Milwaukee Film today announced Sofa Cinema, a new virtual theater platform that brings the kind of new and exciting independent movies the Oriental would normally put on its screens in non-quarantined times to your screen at home – with a portion of the rental proceeds going to Milwaukee Film during these difficult times.
"Closing our cinema doesn’t mean closing off access to inspiring, intriguing and entertaining films," said Jonathan Jackson, CEO/artistic director for Milwaukee Film, in a release. "Sofa Cinema is a way for us all to experience film together, even while we’re apart."
In additional to the nature doc "Fantastic Fungi" – which already teamed up with Milwaukee Film to send 40% of its proceeds to the organization – Sofa Cinema's opening weekend selections include the rock doc "Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band" and the critically acclaimed indie dramedy (and 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival alum) "Saint Frances," all movies that were showing at the Oriental around the time it shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now they're back – and with more brand new releases to come to the new online theater, such as the Brazilian thriller "Bacarau" on Friday, April 10.
"It’s been incredible to see the industry come together to make innovations like Sofa Cinema possible," Jackson said, in the release. "This virtual cinema is certainly not a substitute for the experience of the Oriental Theatre, but I’m excited to see our Milwaukee Film community enjoy these amazing films."
"Fantastic Fungi" is still available for $4.99 to rent for 48 hours and $14.99 to buy – again, with 40% of all purchases going toward Milwaukee Film – while "Once Were Brothers" costs $12 to rent for 30 days (or 72 hours after it's been started) and "Saint Frances" costs $11 for a three-day rental, with both giving 50% back to Milwaukee Film. Prices and rental times will fluctuate from film to film, so be sure to check the details before renting.
And if none of these movies speak to you? Like an actual movie theater, Milwaukee Film plans to refresh its marquee of options with one or two new releases a week, added on Fridays, until we're able to go to the regular movie theater again. (Remember that? Those were the days ...)
So stay the hell inside, watch some new quality movies, help support Milwaukee Film and enjoy the show.
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.