Seven Films to See at the 7th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival

Seven Films to See at the 7th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival

The big local film news coming out of this weekend was the release of the 2015 Milwaukee Film Festival program guide. Here are seven films to put on your MFF2015 screening list.

The big local film news coming out of this weekend was the release of the 2015 Milwaukee Film Festival program guide. With more than 300 films screening during the festival, making the tough decision to whittle down your viewing schedule can be daunting. In honor of the 7th annual Milwaukee Film Festival, I present to you the seven movies I anticipate the most from this year’s schedule:

7. A Hard Day

Whereas movies in America that attempt to fuse comedy, drama and action together into one package often get tagged as “tonally inconsistent,” it’s something of the house style in South Korea. Movies about serial killer investigations can prove funny, and the most horrific violence can be showcased in sequences with razor-sharp timing (their set pieces take all genres and throw them in a Brundlepod), and A Hard Day looks to be another example of this eclectic tonal balance. A movie about a cop who attends his mother’s funeral only to find his day getting worse by the moment (an internal affairs investigation, as well as a hit-and-run), it will be an absolute blast to take in with an audience.

6. Finders Keepers

Only in America – a smoker won at auction happens to contain the severed leg of its previous owner. The new owner gains some level of local notoriety for his legmeat grill, and a court custody battle is waged to see who ends up with definitive ownership of the appendage in question. A story so insane it beggars belief, but whose reviews suggest it handles such an extraordinary topic with dignity and no small bit of humor.

5. Imperial Dreams

John Boyega is about to blow up and attending this screening will give you the moral superiority to those who see him for the first time in this winter’s megaton blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Boyega is an electric screen presence (if you have yet to see the amazing British alien-invasion-in-a-housing-projects film Attack the Block, rectify that immediately), and this story of a young man released from prison who attempts to go straight and provide for his young child has been getting rave reviews, singling out his work in particular.

4. Nina Forever

The midnight movie programming is where you get the chance to see storylines and concepts that are a little more daring that your average festival fare, and I’d say a movie where a young man’s deceased ex-girlfriend bloodily erupts from his bed sheets anytime his new girlfriend and he attempt coitus would certainly fit the bill. While not for everyone, a premise that metaphorically sound (we all have baggage, it just rarely takes corporeal form) should prove plenty intriguing (a little bit of blood and sex is always good for flagging adrenaline midway through a festival).

3. The Seventh Seal

The classic movie screenings at each year’s festival are destination viewing for any cinephile – the opportunity to see movies like Jaws and The Shining (also playing at this year’s festival) the way they were intended to be experienced is one you simply can’t pass up. But most exciting of all for me this year is the 35mm screening of Ingmar Bergman’s most iconic film, The Seventh Seal. I have never seen it (there are some movies you put off with the hope of a screening like this taking place) and can’t wait to see Max von Sydow’s medieval knight go toe to toe with Death over a chessboard.

2. Hotell 

Alicia Vikander has been everywhere this year – Ex Machina (great), Testament of Youth (great) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (she’s great); with The Danish Girl, Tulip Fever and The Light Between Oceans still scheduled to come – so it stands to reason she would somehow find her way into this year’s MFF lineup. Reteaming with the director she got her feature film start with (Lisa Langseth), Hotell’s premise could be maudlin or saccharine in other hands (a therapy group takes to a hotel under assumed identities to spend a bit of time away from their neuroses), but this combination of actor/director have already proven their bonafides, so this is a sure bet.

1) My Love, Don’t Cross that River 

This is exactly the kind of movie you attend film festivals for, hoping for a momentous discovery that will overshadow all the glitzier and more star-studded affairs scheduled throughout. A massive hit in South Korea (it beat out Interstellar and The Theory of Everything in its opening weekend), this documentary charts the final days of a 76-year old marriage, capturing their day-to-day life as it becomes clear their time together is in fact running out. I may run out of the theatre sobbing, but it will have been worth it if this is as meaningful a documentary as it appears to be.


Quick Links

The festival guide is live online, too. Start planning accordingly.

Festival panels were announced today, including the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips delivering the yearly “State of Cinema” address.

On the Marquee

Tuesday, September 8: Color My World: Media from the Students of the UWM Department of Film, Animation, Video & New Genres

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

Wednesday, September 9: Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

7 p.m. @ UWM Union Cinema ($5/free for students)

Wednesday, September 9: The Godfather

7 p.m. @ Select local Marcus Theaters (Purchase Tickets Here)

Thursday, September 10: Little Hope Was Arson

7 p.m. @ UWM Union Cinema ($5/free for students)

Friday, September 11: Learning to Drive, Listen to Me Marlon, 90 Minutes in Heaven, The Perfect Guy & The Visit all open in local release

Check local listings for showtimes/pricing

Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf & A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

@ UWM Union Cinema ($5/free for students) (Click here for varied weekend showtimes)

Saturday, September 12: Passport to Pimlico

7:30 p.m. @ The Church in the City, 2648 N. Hackett Ave. ($3)

Saturday, September 12: The Italian Job ‘03

8 p.m. @ Downtown Oconomowoc Village Green (FREE)

Monday, September 14: The Godfather Part 2

7 p.m.  @ Select local Marcus Theaters (Purchase Tickets Here)

Monday, September 14: The Hive

7:30 p.m. @ Select Marcus Theaters (Purchase Tickets Here)



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