The most wonderful time of the year for me isn't Christmas or my birthday or any of the other typical options- for me it's the 2 weeks that the Milwaukee Film Fest takes place! Film Fest brings all kinds of wonderful movies and documentaries to our beautiful independent movie theaters and I've found that sitting in a smallish theater with friends, drinking a tall boy and watching a possibly weird movie makes me so so happy. (What is less happy is when we do 9:30pm showings and then I get back home to the burbs and am in bed by 12:10am and then get up at 6:15am for work....I will never complain about it because I did it to myself and because I'm doing something fun but this body can only handle so much of that)
So, like we do every year: myself, friend Maggie and friend Garrett get a program book, 3 different color highlighters, circled what we felt strongly about and if all three of us circled a movie we try to make it fit into the itinerary. There is color coding, there is spreadsheets, there are Outlook invites. This is not amateur hour.
One thing that Maggie and I are particularly proud of is that all of the movies on this list were either directed or co-directed by women. Did we do it intentionally? No. But it seems like there are just a lot of badass women making awesome films and we are so proud to support them. And we are proud that Milwaukee Film supports them too.
Sound design is one of those things that you probably don't consciously notice when you're watching a movie unless it's really really good or really really bad. Sound can make or break a movie - what's Inception without it's Hans Zimmer "booooooooonnnnnnng" noise, or the quiet domestic sounds in Roma or the crashing bombs and the whirring helicopter blades of Apocalypse Now? It's art half finished.
This educational, 20 minutes too long but still interesting and fun, documentary takes you through the pioneers of sound design and the tools that they used to make movies what they are. I will never take surround sound for granted in a movie ever again. The time and patience that it takes to get the sound so that you can hear the actor speaking, and the score, and whatever ambient noise AND whatever special effects might be needed is a balancing act that would drive me to insanity. So God bless 'em.
I've had a borderline weird (admittedly) interest in snake handling churches since like, high school. When I saw this beauty in the MFF program I knew this I was going to be interested and THEN I saw that Walton Goggins was one of the lead actors and I was sooooooooooooold.
It tells the story of a young girl, whose father is the pastor of a snake handling church, who finds herself at a crucial juncture in her life. There is love and loss and community and crisis of faith for many people. Beautiful scenery and impeccably acted. If you don't like snakes...this might not be for you!
At the conclusion of this movie I turned to G who attended with me and said "So, did we just watch people either actually starve to death or almost starve to death for two hours?" and he goes "yeah, I think so".
We were joking, kind of. It's about a group of scientists who are protecting a one-of-a-kind seed bank in a Siege of Leningrad-esque situation. Black and white with Russian voiceovers that were taken from diaries of survivors of the actual Siege of Leningrad. Was it the most uplifting movie to see at 3:00pm on a beautiful fall afternoon in a beautiful historic theater? No. But it's shots were artistically composed and the lighting was phenomenal and I really enjoyed it.
For real, just the poster for this movie made me want to gobble it up.
The thing that makes me laugh about this movie was that it had something for each person of our group - a very outdoorsy person who hunts but has a lot of strong feelings about conservation and 2 of us who just love art and museums and general weirdness. This doc had something for all of us.
Turns out there is a lot of different styles/types of taxidermy - it can be the really realistic stuff that you put in a museum as part of a diorama, there's really like, high art and high fashion taxidermy that might be a little less realistic but is still very true to the subject matter, there's the taxidermy where you take the front of one animal and the back of another animal and make like, a literal cat-fish hybrid. (That shit was weird, but whatever.) The history of taxidermy as a practice is really intriguing, it started with zoologists being like "well, eventually we aren't going to have elephants any more so let's make sure one of them get's stuffed so out great grandkids will know what this majestic animal was before we killed everything off." This one was fun and quirky with a beautiful amount of animals and some strange but awesome human beings.
Honestly, this was not a movie that I was interested in seeing but G feels very passionately on this subject so I agreed to go see it with him. FRIEND OF THE YEAR. It was at 10:00 on a Sunday morning and we had a delicious breakfast at a restaurant I hadn't been to yet before the movie so I guess it evened out.
The movie is basically all about how terrible school provided lunches are in schools. They are mass produced, not super nutritious, usually covered in plastic and frankly just look like hot dog food most of the time. What made this particularly sad/outragey is that a lot of these kids (they focus on Boston) live below the poverty line and this might be the only meal they get all day. And some of them still won't eat all of it because it's just so awful. So, it's not all doom and gloom just because there are steps being taken for improvements. What made this one fun was that the director was there for a (reallll quick) Q&A afterward.
I'm still deciding on my favorite, to be honest. However if I would have skipped one it would have been Eat Up. It wasn't bad it just didn't really resonate with me as much as the others - and one of the main people that they profiled said some real, like, self indulgent/entitled things that made me cringe a little. But it was very pro-broccoli, so points?