By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jul 11, 2018 at 11:36 AM

As much as I adored the Oriental Theatre, there was always something missing: one-off retrospective screenings, repertory showings, filmmaker showcases, the kind of stuff that makes cinemas like the Music Box in Chicago or Ragtag Cinemas in Columbia, Missouri key parts of their film communities.

The theater used to host such events back in the '70s and '80s, but in my time, the only scant remnants of that "calendar house" style were the monthly "Rocky Horror" screenings and the occasional showing of "The Room."

Thankfully, that's one of the changes on tap for the new Oriental Theatre when it opens in August (less than a month away!), confirmed today as Milwaukee Film announced its first pour of "Craft Cinema," offerings of limited-run mini-festivals, local picks, cult favorites and other unique movie-going experiences running the spectrum of cinema – new and old, cinematic legends and up-and-coming POVs, all on the big screen.

Here's just a few of the special screenings the Oriental's opening up:


A documentary look inside the process and partnership between the iconic Stanley Kubrick and Leon Vitali, who gave up his burgeoning career on screen to become the director's right-hand man. Opening on Aug. 17. 

"Barry Lyndon"

As a way to learn more about Vitali and Kubrick – and to just watch one of the most ravishing visions put to film – the Oriental will also host a special 35mm screening of the director's 1975 period adaptation "Barry Lyndon." And I hope you like Stanley Kubrick, because this is just the first screening in a planned Kubrick film series headed to the Oriental this fall and winter. Opening on Aug. 19. 

"Summer of '84"

A band of teen friends, fooling around in the '80s, decide to become amateur sleuths when news reports hit of a serial killer stalking their suburban town. But when they land on their next-door neighbor as their prime suspect, have they snooped too far? Find out for yourself – and hear what the screenwriter himself has to say, as the Oriental will bring in Stephen J. Smith (also a Milwaukee native!) to the opening night showing. Opening on Aug. 17

"Back to Burgundy"

A family reunites to help save their beloved vineyard in this French drama from acclaimed director Cedric Klapisch (2002's "L’Auberge Espagnole"). Hopefully the Oriental still serves wine, because I have a feeling we'll be thirsty during this one. Opening on Aug. 17.


Excited about Spike Lee's upcoming "BlacKkKlansman"? Then prepare with this 35mm special screening of the director's scathing 2000 satire "Bamboozled," about a desperate TV writer's rise and fall after successfully pitching a modern day minstrel show – complete with blackface – to his network. It's a fiery, furious work whose rage only resonates louder 18 years later. Opening on Aug. 23.

"Cowboy Bebop: The Movie - Knockin' on Heaven's Door"

Ring in the 30th anniversary of this iconic anime series – about a gang of bounty hunters off to stop a terrorist plot – with this special screening of the 2001 film, including new bonus material to add to the experience. Opening on Aug. 23 (subtitled) and Aug. 25 (dubbed). 

If you just got buzzed reading those first Craft Cinema picks – I'll admit I'm certainly no longer safe to drive – we have even more good news: Tickets are now on sale on the Oriental Theatre's sexy new website. Regular admission is $11, with matinees costing $9, seniors coming in at $8 and children 12 and under getting in for $6. And, if you're a Milwaukee Film member, you can knock $2 off tickets – plus concession discounts. 

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates about the new Oriental – and we look forward to seeing you at the movies!

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

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.