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A typo changing MFF to MILF has caused an unsettling rise in attendance this year.
A typo changing MFF to MILF has caused an unsettling rise in attendance this year.

Embarrassing MFF typo spawns first-ever MILF film festival, really creepy crowds

An embarrassing typo in the Milwaukee Film Festival's press materials has transformed the usual fall movie set piece into a nightmare of creepers and people in uncomfortable trench coats. 

In all of the press materials, the festival's acronym – MFF – has unfortunately gained a few new letters, turning it into MILF. The gigantic mishap has led local weirdos to put on some clothes (or not), emerge from their basements and drive in unprecedented numbers to the Oriental, Downer, Times and Fox Bay Cinemas. The fact that the noted hashtag, #MILF2015, went viral has also drawn creepy crowds in droves. 

"Oh ... oh dear God ... this is ... horrifying," said artistic and executive director Jonathan Jackson. "That explains why we've had to schedule a full day of screenings for our 35mm print of 'National Lampoon's Vacation.' It sold out in mili-seconds!"

Jackson also noted that the festival's screenings of "The Graduate," "American Pie," "A History of Violence" and even "The Queen" have all sold out as well, with regular festival attendees noting that they've seen tents and sleeping bags set up outside theaters awaiting those particular screenings.

"I didn't think the Freudian stuff going on in 'Back to the Future' couldn't get any weirder ... but I was wrong," said long-time Milwaukee Film Festival fan Leslie Neeley with a shiver. "Last night's screening was ... unsettling, and it doesn't help the Oriental's main auditorium is so big and so dark in the corners."

Neeley added that she instantly regretted bringing her children – who had never seen "Back to the Future" before – along to the screening.

"I haven't seen that many grown men surrounded by children and uncomfortably excited for a movie since 'My Little Pony,'" Neeley remarked. "But I gotta admit, after I understood what was going on, I kinda wished I hadn't worn my mom jeans. Mr. Neely hasn't been in the mood for months."

Jackson noted that, unfortunately, the crowds of creepy dudes at the Milwaukee F…

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Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have had many recent critical and box office hits. "Serena," now playing, is not one them.
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have had many recent critical and box office hits. "Serena," now playing, is not one them.

Timber! "Serena" cuts Lawrence and Cooper's star power down to Earth

There’s a movie out in theaters starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and nobody cares. This seems impossible.

In "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle," the duo shoutingly charmed themselves into Oscar races, $100 million grosses and America’s hearts. In just the last five years, Lawrence and Cooper have seven Oscar nominations and one win. For a while, the former was the star of the highest grossing movie in back-to-back years with "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay: Part 1," until she was passed by – you guessed it – Cooper and "American Sniper" (with "Guardians of the Galaxy" also close behind). So the fact that there’s a film starring this critical and financial dream team playing right now in near anonymity seems completely baffling.

And then I actually saw "Serena," and ooooooh, it all makes so much sense now. Now I get why the film is trying to tiptoe in and out of its few theaters (plus a VOD release) like an embarrassed one night stand the morning after. No wonder people don’t know or care about the Depression-era romantic drama; even its own stars don’t seem particularly interested. They resemble balsa cut-outs in a soapy Appalachian melodrama that’s just as stiff and wooden.

Yes, lumber is the star in "Serena" and not just thanks to the performances. Rocking an in-and-out JFK aristocrat vocal inflection, Cooper plays timber baron George Pemberton, reaping as much of the North Carolina woods as possible while providing his workers with dangerous labor and low wages – but work during the Depression nonetheless. On a trip up to Boston, he falls in love with Serena (Lawrence), a cheerful but damaged young lady with a tragic, fiery past. Even so, he insists the two marry – "I think we should be married" are literally his first words to her – and after an odd series of vague, wannabe passionate fade-to-black transitions, the two return to North Carolina together as one.

Things are not well, however, in the burly backwoo…

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The great 2014 documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune" is showing at the UWM Union Theatre tonight at 7 p.m.
The great 2014 documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune" is showing at the UWM Union Theatre tonight at 7 p.m.

"Jodorowsky's Dune" finds hope and success in a Hollywood failure

By most definitions, director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s "Dune" to the big screen in the mid-’70s was a failure.

The filmmaker’s furiously inventive and imaginative movie never made it to the big screen, partly because it was expensive and partly because its creativity was nightmare-inducingly terrifying for notoriously cautious studio heads. Even if it had though, it’s hard to say it would’ve all turned out. The epic scope and visual concepts – galaxy-spanning long takes, massively scaled action sequences – he wanted to attempt would be tough now, much less 40 years ago. Plus, some of the film was just plain insanity, featuring outlandish costumes, graphic torture sequences, pregnancy via blood insemination and a villainous Orson Welles ruling a planet scored by prog rockers Magma.

But man … what a trip it would’ve been, at least judging by Frank Pavich’s hypnotically fun and fascinating documentary "Jodorowsky’s Dune," showing tonight at 7 p.m. at the UWM Union Theatre. We may never get a chance to see Jodorowsky's movie, but at least we – and Hollywood, for that matter – wound up with a pretty awesome contact high.

Coming off a few critically acclaimed arthouse classics ("El Topo," "The Holy Mountain") in the early ’70s, the Chilean-French auteur was ready to take on his most audacious project yet: the beloved sci-fi epic "Dune." Regardless of the fact that he’d never read the book (a hilariously common theme among his team), Jodorowsky wrote up a screenplay and began finding his "spiritual warriors" that would help make his "prophet" of a film, one that he hoped would be the hallucinatory cinematic equivalent of LSD (I want to live in a world where "Dune" is my anti-drug).

On his quest, Jodorowsky assembled an actual dream team of trippy artistic visionaries. French artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud put together the vividly realized storyboards with legendary sci-fi book cover artist Chris Foss and the …

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Jack O'Connell stars in "'71," now playing.
Jack O'Connell stars in "'71," now playing.

"'71": Punishment for its star, pulse-pounding thrills for its audience

I’m starting to get concerned about Jack O’Connell, the talented breakout Brit star as well as seemingly the current valedictorian at the Mel Gibson School of On-Screen Masochism.

First there was "Starred Up," in which he played a violent prison inmate; then he starred in the two-hour beatdown-palooza that was "Unbroken." And now there’s "’71," which doesn’t even get five seconds in before it’s punching O’Connell in the face and dragging him through mud. And that’s the comparatively fun, relaxing part of his cinematic gauntlet. Somebody needs to give this dude a romantic comedy or at least a hug. He needs 50ccs of Nancy Meyers stat.

If he insists on essentially self-flagellating on screen, though, at least it’s in the service of a quite good movie with "’71," a taut, bloody-knuckled behind enemy lines thriller with Ireland’s long Catholic versus Protestant conflict as its grim, haunted backdrop.

O’Connell stars as Gary Hook, a rookie British soldier barely through with training before he and his fellow squad mates are jettisoned off to Belfast to help quell the growingly violent tensions. Under the watch of an almost equally unseasoned lieutenant (Sam Reid, "The Railway Man"), Hook and his company tenuously accompany RUC officers on a midday raid through Catholic houses, searching for guns and brutalizing those who don’t comply.  

Signaled by the locals clattering garbage lids (an ominous, eerie detail), a crowd quickly arrives and with it increasing unrest. Angry shouts escalate into spit, which escalates into rocks. During the growingly violent chaos – with at least one soldier knocked unconscious and another shot point-blank in the head – Hook winds up chased deep behind Catholic lines, where there’s seemingly a burning car on every corner and a posse of angry Nationalists stalking down every road.

With no means of communication and little friendly aid in sight, Hook’s alone in finding his way back to safety – all the while…

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