Sunday, April 03, 2011

Cold Weather

I hate not getting a review up until the last day of something's run on general principle, especially in the case of a good movie like Cold Weather, but this one is extra-special annoying because I expected to be able to write something about it a couple months ago. One of the perks of the eFilmCritic gig is that I'm on some publicists' mailing lists, and while 99% of it is stuff I can easily ignore, the one for Cold Weather sounded interesting, because I had liked Quiet City and love Sherlock Holmes. I said I would like to do an interview, but after seeing the movie, but I couldn't make it to NYC for the screening. That's okay, the email came back, I'll send you a screener, what's your address?

I sent it, but nothing came back. And then the filmmaker came for a two-night retrospective at the Harvard Film Archive, but I couldn't go because it was the start of BUFF - the end of which bumped into the Brattle's run of it.

It's not the first screener that never showed, and I can't blame folks for not sending them - I am terrible about actually watching and reviewing the things. It just seems strange to go back and forth a couple times in email and then have nothing happen.

Anyway, the movie is on it's last night at the Brattle today. The 5:30pm show is a double feature with the 3pm Rear Window, which is reason enough to go on its own.

Cold Weather

* * * (out of four)
Seen 2 April 2011 in the Brattle Theatre (first-run)

Cold Weather looks like a detective story, but to an extent that's just camouflage. Though it's got more of a definite plot than many of the movies that rightly or wrongly are placed under the "mumblecore" umbrella, the mystery winds up serving as structure for another look at twentysomethings lacking direction. A good one, but if you go in looking for Sherlock Holmes, you may be disappointed.

Doug (Cris Lankenau) majored in criminology and forensic science in college, but never finished. Now he's back home in Portland, Oregon, moving in with his sister Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn). He finds a job at an ice factory, where he meets Carlos (Raul Castillo), who also does gigs as a DJ and hits it off with Doug's visiting ex-girlfriend Rachel (Robyn Rikoon). So when Rachel doesn't make it to one of Carlos's gigs, he gets worried and calls on Doug to figure out what's going on. Which appears to be nothing - at least, not until Doug spots someone watching them as they search Rachel's room.

Looking at the plot in retrospect, it really doesn't make a lot of sense - not in terms of being unfair (like how the Sherlock Holmes stories referenced tend to rely on information not given to the reader), but for how none of the actions of the criminal element seem to come together in a way that seems logical on their own - they all seem like set-up for Doug and company to jump through specific detective-story hoops. It's fun to watch them try and go through those hoops; the whole group is amateurs sort of imitating what they've seen in movies or read in books, having to improvise. Fortunately, it doesn't become a spoof, and even dropping references is kept to a minimum.

Full review at EFC.

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