By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Apr 25, 2024 at 10:56 AM

Welcome to the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival, the greatest movie event of the year (*cues "Hooray for Hollywood" music*) . Yep, sorry Oscars and my apologies Barbenheimer (and all of Hollywood's inevitable future attempts to duplicate Barbenheimer), but the Milwaukee Film Festival tops them all, bringing more than two weeks of cinematic bliss to town, often times showing off selections that otherwise Brew City cinephiles would never get to see where they were made to be: the big screen.

Between starry showcases, dramatic docs, intriguing international picks, head-exploding horror flicks, spectacular sports films, one-time-only special events and everything in between, there's a lot to take in at this year's edition – aka, a lot of excuses to not see sunlight for the next two weeks. To help make the most of this city-wide movie marathon, not only do we have our full day-by-day schedule and my full list of picks for this year's festival, each day I'll select three films that I've got my eyes on – the most interesting and exciting trio on the marquee. 

Unfortunately, we've reached the end of the Milwaukee Film Festival for this year – but there are still movies to see! And what better way to end this celebration of cinema ... than with more cinema!? So here are my final three to see for 2024:

Day 15 picks

"Robot Dreams"

You've probably seen some heavy, intense films during the Milwaukee Film Festival, so let's end these good times with something a little more colorful and fun: "Robot Dreams," a Best Animated Feature nominee at this past Oscars about a lonely dog who buys himself a robot to become his friend and go on adventures around 1980s NYC. It may look and sound like a kids movie, but "Robot Dreams" is a charmer for all ages that'll send the Milwaukee Film Festival out on a colorful high note. 

"Robot Dreams" screens Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Oriental.

"Swan Song"

Between this and "Black Swan," I'm starting to think going into ballet is not for me – but ballet movies certainly are! Don't think this is some delicate, precious ballet documentary; instead "Swan Song" is a remarkably intense look inside the Royal Ballet of Canada as it prepares a new production of the iconic "Swan Lake" complete with all the on and off stage dramas that come with such a intense process. There's no Natalie Portmans evolving into a bird right on stage or violent mental breakdowns – but the documentary still has its own tense sense of ferocity and physical demands that'll have you just as sweaty and exhausted as the performers. 

"Swan Song" screens Thursday, April 25 at 3 p.m. at the Oriental.

"The Arc of Oblivion"

Suddenly thinking about the passage of time and the fleeting, impermanent nature of the Milwaukee Film Festival? Well, have I got the documentary for you! "The Arc of Oblivion" is a sprawling look into the world of archiving, how we save things and why we save things ... even when we're wholly aware that they likely won't survive. From giant boats in the middle of a Maine field, to tree rings and rock formations, and even visits from documentary royalty Werner Herzog and Kirsten Johnson, "The Arc of Oblivion" asks what's the point of saving things when nothing lasts. Maybe the doc will turn you into a hoarder; maybe it'll end up curing you of your hoarding ways. No matter the case, you'll be thinking about this movie and its big questions.

"The Arc of Oblivion" screens Thursday, April 25 at 5:45 p.m. at the Downer. 

Day 14 picks

Day 13 picks

Day 12 picks

Day 11 picks

Day 10 picks

Day 9 picks

Day 8 picks

Day 7 picks

Day 6 picks

Day 5 picks

Day 4 picks

Day 3 picks

Day 2 picks

Day 1 picks

For even more remarkable recommendations, check out my 14 most-anticipated selections from the entire 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival slate – and for the whole 2024 schedule coming to the Oriental, Downer, Avalon and Times Cinema, click here or head over to Milwaukee Film's website. There, you can also purchase individual tickets and festival passes along with all sorts of extra info (and even more movies) to help make your two weeks of theater-hopping as heavenly as possible. 

And for even more help with your film feasting, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee now through April 25 for daily movie picks, videos, reviews, help on finding nearby between-showing eats and much more throughout the festival. Now, with all that, it's time to yell "Action!" on the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival! We'll see you at the movies! (So. Many. 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.