Between its new springtime setting and its virtual set-up, it's been a Milwaukee Film Festival like no other – but there's one commonality between this year and the many festivals before: They provided two weeks of outstanding movies to watch and conversations to be had. Oh, and those two weeks sure as hell went too dang fast.
Thankfully you still have a little bit of time left to binge some of the year's best and brightest thanks to Milwaukee Film – including the extremely buzzy closing night film, "Summer of Soul." So with no further delay – because we don't have that much time to waste anymore – here are my final three to see for the last day of 2021 Milwaukee Film Festival.
"Summer of Soul"
The 2021 Milwaukee Film Festival arguably saved its best for last with Questlove's directorial debut, "Summer of Soul," the perfect re-introduction to movies, live music and a hot carefree summer season. Vibrantly capturing the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival and its many incredible performers – Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone and so many more – using vivid lost archival footage and modern day interviews with art icons, "Summer of Soul" shines a spotlight on a joyous Black celebration and a cultural explosion whose ripples are still felt more than a half century later. Come for the music, stay for the history ... and the reminder of what it's like to see glorious live music again.
A vibrant conversation piece on the past, present and future of Black liberation in America, as well as the intersection of art, activism and protest, writer-director Ephraim Asili combines a little bit of everything – a little documentary, a little fictional drama, a little tribute to Godard, a little agitprop and a little of his own background developing and evolving in a similar community – into "The Inheritance." Watch this critically-acclaimed movie and then prepare for fascinating conversations – cinematic and political – afterwards, always the evidence of an excellent film.
"Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time"
(*takes deep breath) "Preparations to Be Together For an Unknown Period of Time" (*catches breath again*) is quite the title for a movie – but then again, it's also quite the movie, a psychodrama about a promising neurosurgeon who connects with a fellow doctor and plans to be with him in Budapest in a year. When they finally reconnect, however, the man says he has no idea who she is. A vaguely eerie psychological melodrama about the stories we tell ourselves, the only thing longer than the movie's title is how long it'll stick with you after the credits roll.
Day 14 picks
Day 13 picks (plus an interview with Justin Monroe and Tim Carey of "Holy Frit")
Day 12 picks
Day 11 picks
Day 10 picks
Day 9 picks
Day 8 picks
Day 7 picks
Day 6 picks (plus an interview with "Operation Wolf Patrol" director Joe Brown)
Day 5 picks
Day 4 picks
Day 3 picks
Day 2 picks
Day 1 picks
For more outstanding options, check out my 12 must-see Milwaukee Film Festival movies. For the entire lineup, click here or visit Milwaukee Film's website, where you can also buy individual tickets and full-festival passes as well as find tips and tricks to streaming this year's festival.
Stay tuned for more movie picks (and more special guests!) throughout the two-week festival on Facebook Live. And with no further ado, it's officially time to pop some popcorn, dim the lights, silence your cell phone – yes, even at home – and enjoy the show!
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.