The Oriental Theatre

15 Movies We Can't Wait to See at the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival

We’re so excited, and we just can’t hide it!




The Good, the Bad, the Hungry

I caught a few riveting minutes of this ESPN Films documentary about competitive eaters when it aired ahead of the July 4 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest that is this scene’s Super Bowl. If you’ve ever wondered, “How the hell do these people do that?” or, even better, “Why the hell do these people do that?” there are some answers here. One answer: Yeah, there’s puking. Director Nicole Lucas Haimes will be on hand for the Oct. 26 screening, the last of three during the run of the fest. 

– Chris Drosner, Executive Editor




Parasite (Gisaengchung)

These days, movies can lean on the predictable side, which is why I’m always on the hunt for a creative turn of events. I’m a sucker for a movie with a good twist, and while I haven’t seen Parasite yet, early reviews from critics and friends guarantee that I won’t see this one coming. IndieWire described the movie as a “magic trick” in a glowing review of director Bong Joon Ho’s latest work. There’s already Oscar buzz surrounding this “family tragicomedy,” and several critics are calling it the movie of the year. 

– Allison Garcia, Digital Editor




Kids Shorts: Size Medium

I love watching the glow of a big screen on my smiling kids’ faces. It’s made even better when they’re being introduced to new cultures, styles of film and storytelling. I am most looking forward to Saturday’s Apartment, which tells the story of a group of noisy apartment neighbors who work together to make peace and stop bugging each other. Sounds like every parents fairytale. 

– Chelsea Fischer, Senior Editorial Designer




Setting the Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Bar

My chocolate-loving self can’t resist stories about the cacao bean. And this film follows a band of chocolate makers searching for a rare type of cacao bean that’s found in the Amazon rain forest in Peru. The story is about both sustainable farming practices and how these craft chocolatiers make their delectable products. 

– Ann Christenson, Senior Dining Editor





I love live music, and as an original Taylor Swift fan and someone who binged the country music show “Nashville,” I know all about people getting their start at the Bluebird Café. But what I never bothered to look into was the story behind it. I am excited to learn about the woman who has been running this “accidental landmark” that helped shape the country music scene.

– Libby Lang, Editorial Designer




I Want My MTV

As a kid who made dozens of mixtapes by switching on MTV and shoving my boombox against the TV speaker, I’m excited to learn the backstory of the people behind the camera – and the musicians — who turned MTV into a pop cultural touchstone for a generation of ’80s teens and young adults.

– Dave Lee, Managing Editor





The subject of this documentary, making its Cream City premiere at the festival this year, is already familiar to many locals. It’s about Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond, the six-million-dollar Stradivarius he played on and the self-styled criminal mastermind who attempted to run off with it. I know how the story ends, but I can’t wait to see it play out on a big screen anyway. 

– Lindsey Anderson, Senior Culture Editor




Burning Cane

A sobering gothic tale of contemporary Black life in Southeastern Louisiana, Burning Cane is the debut feature of Phillip Youmans, a 19-year-old New Orleans native. This can’t-miss film won three top awards at Tribeca, including Best Narrative Feature.

– Calvin Lemieux, Editorial Intern





Suicide is never something to get excited about, but the story behind this movie pulled me in. Stewart Cooper’s cousin commits suicide, but when he looks into the reason behind it, it’s nothing that he expected. Milwaukee Film Festival alum, Charles Murray, delivers an complicated story on infidelity, depression, revenge, race, power, and religious devotion all wrapped up into one film, definitely one of the must sees on my list

– Adrienne Davis, Editorial Intern




You Don’t Nomi

I’m not much of a movie guy these days, let alone a film guy. (I’ve probably seen fewer than a dozen combined in the past 12 months.) But I’ve seen Showgirls. On its theatrical release in 1995, I thought this Paul Verhoeven skinfest was terrible even as a horny college student. I also saw it more recently, when it was on in the background of a gathering (all dudes, natch), and hoooo boy it has aged even worse than I thought it would. I get the idea of camp and accept that movies can be so bad they’re good, but I don’t see enough of either in Showgirls. So I’m all in on the premise of this documentary, which deconstructs the case for it becoming “something like a cultural touchstone,” as the fest’s website describes it. I’m skeptical, but willing to listen. The Oct. 19 screening is a late-night double feature, including admission to a 35mm screening of Showgirls after the documentary. 

– CD




Olympic Dreams

Described by Variety as “an artful mix of documentary-style realism and wistful romanticism,” Olympic Dreams stars Nick Kroll and Alexi Pappas as an Olympic Village doctor and a cross-country skier who fall in love at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

– CL




Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy

Diana Kennedy is the author of nine cookbooks on Mexican cuisine. She’s also 96 years old. How did Kennedy – a native of the U.K. who now calls Mexico home — come to be one of the leading experts on Mexican cookery? That’s what viewers-foodies are expected to learn in this documentary.

– AC




Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements

I can’t resist an emotionally heartwarming story and this one draws me in with a double hook. An 11-year-old deaf boy receives cochlear implants, discovers music and learns Beehthoven’s Moonlight Sonata on piano. I already have goosebumps imagining the joy of a child hearing music for the first time. 






Like most, I’m a big fan of “Stranger Things.” So when a movie came out starring one of the talented child actors from the show, I was quick to watch the trailer. Abe, played by Noah Schnapp, is a 12-year-old kid exploring his love for cooking while caught in the middle of a family conflict between his Jewish and Palestinian grandparents. The trailer promises a zinger from actor Seu Jorge who tells Abe he “mixed fusion with confusion” in an effort to create a ramen taco. 

– AG




Black Licorice 

I love action and suspenseful movies, and Black Licorice is definitely both of those genres wrapped into one.  Milwaukee Film Festival alumni Frankie Latina is back with a film reminiscent of a 1970s thriller. The film is about a fashion photographer who is thrown into a world of trouble when a roll of film produces images no one was supposed to see. A stellar cast starring Danny Trejo and the late Kumar Pallana, Black Licorice promises us a fast-paced world of drama, suspense, and of course fashion.