Five Milwaukee Film Alums to Stream Now

While you’re waiting for this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival to begin, stream these films that appeared in last year’s festival. Plus: Tommy Wiseau in ‘Fantastic Four 2’?

Last week we previewed some of the titles I’m most looking forward to at this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival after the release of the program guide. And now that we’ve all planned our schedules, all that’s left is the waiting – or is it? Instead of sitting patiently in anticipation of this year’s vintage going down smooth, let’s celebrate past festivals with a selection of films from last year’s MFF streaming right now for your perusal:

  • WETLANDS (MFF 2014) (Currently streaming on Netflix)

I have a soft spot for movies that are purposefully antagonistic towards the idea of mainstream acceptance, and this coming-of-age picture about a young woman with no regard for personal hygiene very well might test the threshold of many an audience member. But if you stick through the bodily functions (the inciting incident here is a shaving accident) you’re rewarded with a deftly directed, warmly performed story, as evidenced by my review from last year.

  • AN HONEST LIAR (MFF 2014) (Currently streaming on Netflix)

One of, if not my very favorite films of last year’s festival was An Honest Liar, examining the rich and varied life of magician, escape artist and fraud exposer James “The Amazing” Randi. After a life spent debunking faith healers, psychics and other purveyors of flim-flam, the tables are turned when a secret about Randi’s personal life is revealed.  I will say no more (it’s best to let to make these discoveries alongside the film), other than to say its hilarious, moving and fascinating at every turn.

  • EXPEDITION TO THE END OF THE WORLD (MFF 2014) (Currently streaming on Netflix)

Another film that made my list of favorites from the fest last year, a travelogue that combines the philosophically inquisitive nature of the documentary work of Werner Herzog with a visual and aural flavor all its own (the soundtrack is frequently comprised of heavy metal music, paired with gorgeous nature photography in a way that feels entirely fresh). A schooner stocked with artists and scientists set out for the melting ice massifs in Greenland, allowed to set foot in unexplored territory for the first time due to this rapid melting process. Beautiful imagery and thoughts collide throughout, as the enthusiasm of this expedition can’t help but rub off on you as you watch.

  • VESSEL (MFF 2014) (Currently streaming on Netflix)

Based on concept alone, Vessel is fascinating – a Dutch physician takes to the sea with her organization Women on Waves, with the expressed intent of providing abortions to women for whom the procedure is outlawed in their respective homelands (bringing the titular vessel out into international waters is their rather clever workaround). But what really made it stick out as a documentary was how process-based it proves to be – rather than simply creating a polemical work that shouts down opposition, it instead brings us into the methods behind their organization. It becomes clear at a certain point that they hadn’t quite thought this through strategically, instead approaching it as a moral imperative, and the way they adapt to suit the situation is what makes the documentary so enthralling.

  • MYSTERY ROAD (MFF 2014) (Currently streaming on Netflix)

An aboriginal detective is stuck between a racist police force and a populace that looks at him as a traitor in this dust-caked Australian murder mystery. The setting and social commentary raise this above the level of your standard police procedural, as director/writer Jay Swan gets a performance from lead actor Aaron Pedersen that slowly builds to a boil, culminating with an action sequence unlike any I’ve seen before. Plus, the always great Hugo Weaving shows up as a grizzled fellow detective to add to the proceedings.

Quick Links

My interview with The Room director Tommy Wiseau gained a bit of traction over the past two weeks, leading to a petition being created for him to direct Fantastic Four 2. Sign it if you’re so inclined.

The MFF box office is now open, 4 – 8:30 p.m. Mon-Thurs & 12 – 8:30 p.m. Fri-Sun at the Landmark Oriental Theatre.

The Marcus Theater in Gurnee, Ill. is working on developing a 4-D auditorium!

Trailer of the Week

The absolutely nutso Roar comes to the UWM Union Cinema this weekend and it must be seen to be believed – words cannot do it justice (although Drew McWeeny’s “It’s like Walt Disney went insane and shot a snuff version of Swiss Family Robinson” certainly comes close).

On the Marquee

Tuesday, September 15: Is It Because I Am A Dog? Video work from Mounira Al Solh

7 p.m. @ UWM Union Cinema (FREE!)                                                                                                 

Tuesday, September 15 & Wednesday, September 16: Doctor Who – Dark Water/Death in Heaven 3D

7:30 p.m. @ Select local Marcus Theaters (Click here for tickets)

Wednesday, September 16: Sundance Award-Winning Shorts

7 p.m. @ UWM Union Cinema (Free for students/members, $5 general admission)

Wednesday, September 16: The Godfather Part 2

7 p.m. @ Select local Marcus Theaters (Click here for tickets)

Wednesday, September 16: Anna and the King of Siam

7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Art Museum ($7/$5/free for seniors/students/museum members)


Thursday, September 17: (T)error

7 p.m. @ UWM Union Cinema (Free for students/members, $5 general admission)


Friday, September 18 through Sunday, September 20: Breathe & Roar

9/18 & 9.19: 7 p.m. & 9 p.m., 9/20: 5 p.m. (Breathe only) @ UWM Union Cinema (Free for students/members, $5 general admission)

Friday, September 18: Black Mass, Captive, Everest, Grandma and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials all open locally

Check local listings for showtimes/pricing

Friday, September 18: Hackers

8 p.m. @ The Holton St. Swing Park (FREE!)

Sunday, September 20: Paddington

3 p.m. @ UWM Union Cinema (Free for students/members, $5 general admission)

Sunday, September 20: Psycho

2 p.m. & 7 p.m. @ Select Marcus Theaters (Click here for tickets)



Tom Fuchs is a Milwaukee-based film writer whose early love for cinema has grown into a happy obsession. He graduated with honors in Film Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has since focused on film criticism. He works closely with the Milwaukee Film Festival and has written reviews and ongoing columns for Milwaukee Magazine since 2012. In his free time, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs at home (watching movies), taking day trips to Chicago (to see movies), and reading books (about movies). You can follow him on Twitter @tjfuchs or email him at