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|Index||34 reviews in total|
'COLD WEATHER': Four Stars (Out of Five)
Director Aaron Katz, who was born in Portland, OR, returned to his hometown to film this mystery / drama / Mumblecore film. Mumblecore is a term used to describe a genre of indie film, that began about a decade ago, that features non-professional actors (usually in their twenties) in extremely low budget productions about relationships with dialogue heavy improvised scripts. Katz's previous feature films ('DANCE PARTY USA' and 'QUIET CITY') were both critically acclaimed Mumblecore films. This one tells the story of a man who moves back to Portland, and into an apartment with his sister, and becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to his ex-girlfriend when she goes missing. It stars Cris Lankenau (who's only other acting credit is Katz's 'QUIET CITY'), Trieste Kelly Dunn, Paul Castillo and Robyn Rikoon. The film is a great example of how much you can do with very little.
Lankenau stars as Doug, a former forensic science student, who drops out of school in Chicago and moves back home to Portland, and in with his sister Gail (Dunn). He gets a job at an ice factory and befriends a co-worker named Carlos (Castillo) who's also a part time DJ. His ex-girlfriend, Rachel (Rikoon), follows him into town on a supposed visit and then goes missing. Doug is a big 'Sherlock Holmes' fan and finally gets a chance to put his fascination and education to the test. He enlists the help of both Carlos and Gail in discovering Rachel's whereabouts. This gives him more of a chance to bond with his estranged sister.
The movie is extremely and very deliberately slow-paced. It's very aimless at times and features several dialogue scenes that do very little to advance the development of the characters and absolutely nothing to propel the story line. It takes a good 37 minutes (of an hour and 37 minute movie) to get to the film's plot. This didn't bother me. While it wasn't exciting or involving it also wasn't boring. Watching this film is no less interesting or entertaining than hanging out with a group of friends, really. When something does finally happen it's worth the wait too. There's no action or sex or anything really fascinating, when you think about it, but it's entertaining all the same. That's thanks in large part to Katz's directing, an extraordinary and memorable score (by Keegan DeWitt, who also worked on Katz's other films) and some great performances. Three of the four leads were all good screen presences I thought. I didn't care much for Rikoon, she did have the smallest part but even when she was on screen she wasn't very interesting. Dunn is beautiful and should have no problem continuing to find film offers, Castillo was very natural and likable and Lankenau was especially good in my opinion. He reminded me a lot of Ryan Reynolds in the way he talked and sounded. He should have no problem finding more work as well. The film is especially impressive when you think about the emotions and interests it provokes by doing almost nothing. I couldn't find a listing of the budget to this film but Katz's previous two films both reportedly cost between 2 and 3 thousand dollars. I can't imagine this one costing much more. All in all I thought the movie was pretty interesting and entertaining. It's sure to bore some while highly amusing others.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As all the other reviews state, this movie is different. It's low-budget, slow, quirky, simple, odd, alternative... whatever. If you're open minded and in the mood then it's tolerable or maybe even enjoyable. It starts off slow and slowly picks up the pace after the mystery starts maybe half way through. Then there's more action and more interest as the characters try to figure things out. At this point you become more interested to find out what happened. But then at the most suspenseful point the movie just ends. I couldn't believe it. Artsy is one thing but no payoff at the end of sitting through 90 minutes of this movie was cruel. Maybe I didn't get it - I don't know. I just don't know how you can make a movie with absolutely no ending.
I was excited for this movie because I live in Portland, OR. While the
scenery is beautiful, this is the only thing good about this movie. I
didn't expect great acting because of the low budget, but I was hoping
for something of a coherent story. I didn't receive this. The only
tension and excitement I felt while watching this came three minutes
before the movie ended, and went nowhere. It is almost as if the writer
had the script half finished and got bored of writing, so he just went
with what he had. None of the characters or reactions are believable.
This is probably the worst movie I have seen all year, and I watch a lot of movies.
This one is being sold as a comedy/drama/mystery. Let it be known now
that it is more of a drama with some humorous dialog in it. I suppose
there is a little mystery in it -- but it lasts all of 15 minutes and
just goes back into the same slump it started in. This is one of those
movies where the middle is the best part, the beginning takes way too
long to get us to the story and then the ending makes it look like
everyone just gave up.
Doug (Lankenau) returns home to Portland, Oregon after dropping out of college in Chicago. He was studying forensics science. Once back in his hometown, he gets a job at an ice factory and meets one of his colleagues, Carlos (Castillo). His ex-girlfriend, Rachel (Rikoon) also comes back into town and her and Carlos start to date sort of. Doug's sister, Gail (Dunn) is also on tap and her and Doug bond more in the now than they did growing up. When Rachel goes missing, Carlos panics and calls Doug, fearing the worst has happened. Seeing as how Doug got Carlos hooked on old Sherlock Holmes novels, he figures that Carlos just has an overactive imagination. But, when something seems askew at Rachel's hotel room, the guys start to channel their inner-Sherlock Holmes and go investigate.
Let me repeat. This movie is not a mystery in any sense of the word. I don't want to ruin anything by telling you what happens from there, but if you do decide to see it, you'll find out yourselves. The movie is extremely slow-paced and we get long pandering camera shots of people eating, people waiting, people riding around in cars, people working, etc. There's not a lot of dialog and when we are treated to someone speaking, it's usually of no consequence. Not until about 40 minutes in, do we actually start to see some resemblance of a plot. That's when Carlos shows up at Doug's place all freaked out. From there, it does get better. The pacing, the dialog and yes, even some story.
The actors did the best with what they had to work with, there's not a flawed performance among the cast. I just wish they had more to do. I started to enjoy it when Doug and his sister teamed up and put their heads together to find out where Rachel disappeared to. I loved the fact that Doug needed a pipe to help him think... like Sherlock Holmes. The movie is more about a brother and a sister than it is a mystery. It all leads to them solving half the case, other characters disappearing from the movie altogether and absolutely nothing being resolved. If the writer/director would have tightened up the first act and did anything else in the third act, this movie might be bearable to some viewers, but as it stands now, it's pretty pointless.
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Final Grade: D+
This film was described by Spin Magazine (in a 3-and-a-half star review) as a mystery that takes its time. I'm all for that. But did it have to take SO MUCH time to resolve a mystery that was UNINVOLVING and BORING? Just another bunch of aimless 30-somethings in the damp upper Northwest who apparently never shave or wash their hair, mumbling their way through life and never doing anything even remotely interesting. Believe me, I've sat through plenty of quirky indie films with little complaint, but I was literally shouting at my TV screen when this DVD ended. An hour and forty minutes of my life utterly wasted. I will avoid this talentless filmmaker like the plague for the rest of my days. SKIP THIS MOVIE!!!!!
Both written and Directed by Aaron Katz (Dance Party USA, Quiet City)
Cold Weather tells the story of an underachieving forensics graduate,
Doug (Cris Lankenau), who upon moving in with his sister, Gail (Trieste
Kelly Dunn), quickly finds himself thrust into a real life who-done-it
when his ex-girlfriend suddenly vanishes. Being an admittedly big fan
of Sherlock Holmes, Doug, along with his his sister and his new bestie,
Carlos (Raul Castillo), set out to play real life detectives in a case
that just might be a little over their heads.
The film is described as a thriller, which I though I was going to see. To be honest, the film wasn't that thrilling at all, at least when compared to good thrillers. I mean, it's no Polanski. My first impression upon leaving my seat was actually that of disappointment. It wasn't until I was on the bus heading home when it suddenly hit me.
The point of the movie had little to do with the thriller aspects and everything to do with the brother and sister relationship. It's like one of those 3-D puzzles that were popular in the mid-90's. You know, the ones where in order to see the complete picture you had to let your eyes relax, otherwise all you would see would be squiggly lines and repetitive shapes.
Here the squiggly lines were clearly the missing girlfriend subplot masquerading itself as the film's main design. The full picture however, was Aaron Katz's beautiful portrait of one sibling's bond at a particular moment in time.
I recommend this film to anyone who likes to laugh just as much, if not more than they liked to be thrilled, or just simply anyone who has a lot of love their sibling
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sometimes I get films from Netflix and I have no idea where I got the
inspiration (or lack of) to rent the film. My renting "Cold Weather"
(what's the title supposed to signify?) must have been inspired by the
NY Times reviewer Manohla Dargis whose opinions I've come to trust.
Well I think I have to reevaluate my Dargis trust factor. There are
several other "professional" reviewers who also liked this film but for
the life of me I cannot understand why.
I like independent films but "Cold Weather" left me cold. It was like the Hardy Boys meet Portlandia without the comedy but with unintended laughs at just how amateurish this film is. I have a great tolerance for slow moving thoughtful films and with films that leave you hanging at the end but the four main actors seemed without talent and I got tired of scene after scene of sleeping actors and telephones ringing. If this film is your cup of tea I do not mean to offend but I will stay away from Aaron Katz films in the future.
On one hand, a local guy came back to Portland and made a feature film
set in the city I live in and love; he made it on a low budget, wrote
it and directed it himself, got it made and *released*! (And Portland
looks gorgeous in the film.) This is an impressive achievement any
filmmaker should be commended for. Many aspiring filmmakers never get
their film finished let alone released.
On the other hand, the film is woefully lacking in basics like character development and an interesting story. Many plot points simply don't ring true or seem plausible; even character interactions seem forced and a bit scripted, giving the audience precious little to relate to or care about in these people; we're almost *begging* for something to latch on to as we watch the film, but there's almost nothing. The dialog is usually wooden and forgettable, and it's hard to see how it advances the story much or helps us understand the relationship between the characters (or makes us laugh). And there's rarely any tension between characters (hint: *conflict* in movies is interesting!).
I get that it wasn't supposed to be a thriller but it isn't effective as a "relationship film" either. Too much "reading between the lines" and "willing suspension of disbelief" is required. "Cold Weather" kind of plods along to an unexpected conclusion, making us wonder what kind of movie it *could* have been. Unfortunately, it compares poorly to similar films made on a low budget by young directors.
This is an interesting indie film by auteur Aaron Katz. I had not seen
any of his previous work but had heard the film was well received at
SXSW in 2010. Similarly, I had seen a review that compared it to the
film Brick (2005) that I had enjoyed immensely.
Plot wise the film introduces us to a forensic science college dropout Doug who idolizes Sherlock Holmes and his Slacker sister Gail as they move into an apartment together in Portland Oregon. Doug lays about and searches for some direction in life, eventually finding a menial night job at an ice factory. We are then introduced to one of Doug's co-workers Carlos and Doug's ex-girlfriend Rachel who is in town for business. The four start hanging out together, playing cards and board games, drinking coffee, going to clubs and enjoying each other's company. Rachel's sudden mysterious disappearance from her hotel room spurs the other friends to action and ignites Doug's inner Sherlock Holmes.
This film is considered by many critics to be part of the mumblecore movement. As such it has lots of long shots, a slowly evolving plot and realistic dialogue between lots of slackers. In some respects this film is more about the brother sister relationship between Doug and Gail than it is about the mystery of Rachel's disappearance. It has an arty independent feel to it and it was obviously shot on a low budget. Cold Weather is certainly not going to be for everyone's taste, especially the abrupt ending. However, I really liked its quirkiness and indie feel probably because I've got thing for overly educated layabouts.
Since this is available on Netflix instant streaming I would suggest you give it a viewing. That is if you enjoy small independent films with a grungy vibe. I found it inspiring that the writer/director was able to get this made, I plan on checking out some of his previous films. O and I think I would like to take a trip up to check out Portland Oregon it looks amazing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cold Weather was more hype than substance. Any kind of inciting incident happens about 45minutes into it. The character is not a graduate but a drop out. There are many scenes with a character walking or driving with nothing happening. This creates many slow points in the story. There are various tangents that go nowhere or strengthen the story. The info on this film also states the guy search for ex-girlfriend but that is only about 25mins of the film (10 if re-edited). The story needs to be stronger as the only reason I continued watching was the hope that something amazing would happen & id did not so I watched simply for the money I spent to see it. This review is just for this film.
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