The A.V. Club's date-friendly guide to the Milwaukee Film Festival
At no point during the year are local theaters as packed with as many different movies as during the Milwaukee Film Festival, which returns from Sept. 23 to Oct. 3 with a slate of 78 features and 95 short films. We will be posting reviews of MFF movies here at milwaukee.avclub.com every day during the run, but we've also highlighted six films that we think would be perfect for your next date-night. Yes, at least one of these movies involves a foul-mouthed RV salesman, and another pick features that modern-day pirate known as Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. But we promise these movies will offer plenty of stimulation, artistic or otherwise. (See the complete schedule here.)
Hey, it’s kind of romantic: A favorite at Cannes and Sundance, this intimate look at the rise and fall of a marriage features knockout performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, who so perfectly inhabit their roles that they appear to be really falling in love on screen.
Potential mood killer: Did we mention this movie also includes the fall of the marriage? That part is just as well-observed as the infatuation stuff at the beginning of the relationship, and umpteen times as painful. Still, since you’ll both be crying by the end, you’ll probably end up holding each other. (6 p.m. Sept. 23 at North Shore Cinema, 7 p.m. at Oriental Theatre)
It’s Kind Of A Funny Story
Hey, it’s kind of romantic: A sort-of teen-friendly version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is about a seemingly successful 16-year-old boy who checks himself into a psychiatric hospital and begins a romance with a fetching female patient. The film also stars Zach Galifianakis, who most people know from The Hangover, and lots of couples went to that movie, right?
Potential mood killer: Crazy people in movies tend to be scary, funny, or depressing—this movie looks like it’s equal parts two and three, which is fine, so long as you’re not too bummed to get a little crazy later on. (7:15 p.m. Sept. 26 at Oriental Theatre)
Hey, it’s kind of romantic: The subject of this intriguing documentary is a man best known for spewing the angriest litany of profanity ever witnessed on YouTube. But Jack Rebney proves to be a far more—yes, we said it—romantic figure than his infamous video suggested, living a solitary existence in the mountains in northern California.
Potential mood killer: As good as Winnebago Man is, the preponderance of “motherfuckers” coming out of Rebney’s mouth might chill the blood of more sensitive souls. (9:45 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Oriental Theatre, 9:45 p.m. Sept. 30 at the North Shore Cinema)
Hey, it’s kind of romantic: Filmed at Devil’s Lake and Cambridge by frequent David Lynch cohort Mary Sweeney, Baraboo concerns a group of six people living in a broken-down hotel resort, including a fishing guide and military veteran with romantic feelings for the resort’s plucky owner.
Potential mood killer: Sweeney’s film isn’t as weird or disturbing as Lynch’s typical fare, but it still promises to be at least a little strange; on the scale of “love in motel” movies, it’s somewhere between Psycho and It Happened One Night. (7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Oriental Theatre, 2 p.m. Sept. 26 at the North Shore Cinema, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Ridge Cinema)
Hey, it’s kind of romantic: This unbearably tense thriller from Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés about a man who wakes up in a coffin six feet underground will provide ample opportunity for cozy consolation during and (hopefully) after the movie.
Potential mood killer: It stars Ryan Reynolds, whose undistinguished date-movie oeuvre includes The Proposal, Just Friends, and Definitely, Maybe. (7 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Oriental Theatre, North Shore Cinema, and the Ridge Cinema)
Hey, it’s kind of romantic: Doesn’t a documentary about the generously mustatchioed and prominently face-warted frontman of hard-rock legends Motörhead sell itself as a date movie? If sexual chemistry had a human face, it would look just like Lemmy Kilmister.
Potential mood killer: Relying on an honor roll of grizzled rockers like Slash, Alice Cooper, and Steve Vai to sing the titular subject’s praises, Lemmy boasts one of the most impressive casts of ugly middle-aged men ever assembled for one film. Hubba hubba? (7:15 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Ridge Cinema, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Oriental Theatre)