Excitement is at fever pitch for Friday's so-close-yet-so-far opening of the new Oriental Theatre ... or so we thought, as today Milwaukee Film somehow added even more reasons to be thrilled for its first month, including another Stanley Kubrick classic in 35mm, a Sundance Film Festival award winner and a world premiere starring the incredible Betty White.
"Betty White: The First Lady of Television," a decade-long project behind the scenes and behind the life of one of television's most enduring icons, will screen its world premiere at the Oriental on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 6:15 p.m. – complete with the filmmaker, Milwaukee resident Stephen J. Boettcher, in attendance. The documentary features interviews Valerie Bertinelli, Tina Fey, Valerie Harper, Carl Reiner, Ryan Reynolds, Alex Trebek and more, as well as peaks behind the curtain and into White's life and family.
The documentary is joined by "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," the 2018 Sundance grand jury prize winner about a teenage girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) sent to a controversial gay conversion camp; the iconic '80s war film "Full Metal Jacket," continuing the theater's Stanley Kubrick in 35mm series; the introduction of a new weekend children's films program as well as a collection of festival favorites to ring in Milwaukee Film's 10-year anniversary; "The King," a documentary about a trip through America in Elvis Presley's '63 Rolls Royce and following both the rock star and country's rise; and many, many more.
Here's the full list of new additions to the Oriental's listings. (Tickets are available at the theater's website.)
"The Miseducation of Cameron Post"
In this 2018 Sundance's grand jury prize winner, '90s teenager Cameron Post (Chloe Grace Moretz) is sent away to a religious gay conversion therapy camp called God's Promise, where she forms friendships with the fellow kids (including "American Honey" breakout star Sasha Lane) struggling through the rigid process. Opening TBA.
"Betty White: The First Lady of Television"
Join Milwaukee filmmaker Stephen J. Boettcher for the world premiere of his documentary, "Betty White: The First Lady of Television," which takes viewers on an intimate journey through the life of Betty White – on screen, behind the scenes and in the real world. The film looks at her remarkable, medium-hopping, almost century-spanning career through the words and memories of those who know the actress and her impact best – including Ryan Reynolds, Tina Fey, Carl Reiner, Alex Trebek and, of course, Betty herself. Showing on Aug. 18.
"The Secret of Kells"
A perfect start to the Oriental's family-focused selections, as well as a perfect selection for Irish Fest weekend, the Oscar-nominated (and 2015 Milwaukee Film Festival pick!) "The Secret of Kells" tells the story of a young medieval boy's journey into the lush world of Irish mythology, nature and folklore with beautiful 2D animation. Showing on Aug. 18.
In this political documentary, a Montana journalist attempts to expose the real-world impact of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision – and the aftershocks of big corporate money in America's democracy. Opening on Aug. 24.
Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki hops in Elvis Presley's 1963 Rolls Royce and takes a road trip through America, overlapping the iconic early rock star's evolution from a country boy into the king of pop culture with the nation's evolution over the decades as well. Opening on Aug. 24.
I'm a big fan of Crystal Moselle's debut documentary "The Wolfpack" (now on Netflix!) about a group of brothers living in isolation from the world in their New York City apartment, using movies as their connection to the rest of society and to each other. So obviously I'm very interested in her follow-up, "Skate Kitchen," this time taking a narrative approach to another group of teens brought together through isolation and pop culture – in this case, a female NYC skateboarding crew. Opening on Aug. 24.
"Kirikou and the Sorceress"
Guilt your kids into wondering what they're doing with their lives with this family-friendly animated feature about a newborn baby who sets out to save his village from an evil witch. What an underachiever. Best on a West African folk tale, "Kirikou" is a visual treat – even more so since the Oriental will present the film in 35mm. Showing on Aug. 25.
"Louder Than A Bomb"
A Milwaukee Film Festival favorite returning to ring in the event's first decade on the big screen, "Louder Than a Bomb" follows several Chicago teens gathering, competing, writing and working together in the world's largest youth poetry slam. Adding to the celebratory vibe of this special screening will be an appearance from a guest from the film. Showing on Aug. 25.
"The Beaches of Agnes"
Yet another Milwaukee Film Festival returning favorite – from all the way back to the 2009 edition – "The Beaches of Agnes" takes an autobiographical tour through beloved French filmmaker Agnes Varda's life, work and creative process, bouncing through all sorts of interviews, archival footage and new journeys to capture the icon's truth. Plus, it's in 35mm! Showing on Aug. 26
"Full Metal Jacket"
Continuing the Oriental's 35mm retrospective through the breathtaking films of Stanley Kubrick, "Full Metal Jacket" follows two military privates (Matthew Modine and Vincent D'Onofrio) battle through the physical and mental challenges of basic training before facing the surreal horrors of the Vietnam War. Showing on Aug. 28.
"The Painting (Le Tableau)"
In one of the more unusual premises for a movie you'll likely hear, "The Painting" enters the bizarre world of an unfinished painting, where three groups – sloppy sketches, finished characters and those in between – fight for dominance over the other until a group journeys out of the painting in order to find their creator and find peace. Tentatively showing on Sept. 1.
"Ernest and Celestine"
In this family-friendly, Oscar-nominated Milwaukee Film Festival alum, two creatures from two different ways of life (a bear and a mouse) become friends – and fellow petty criminals. Presented dubbed in English, "Ernest and Celestine" is tentatively scheduled on Sept. 8.
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.