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"Cold Weather" (2010 release; 96 min.) brings the story of Doug (played by Cris Lankenau) and Gail (played by Trieste Kelly Dunn). As the movie opens, we see them having dinner with what turns out to be their parents. Indeed Doug and Gail are brother and sister, with Doug having moved in recently with her in Portland, OR. He has stopped his CSI-like forensic studies, and eventually takes a job at an ice factory. There, Doug becomes friends with a co-worker named Carlos. And Doug also runs into Rachel, an ex-girlfriend who has come for Chicago for work purposes. The four of them all get along great, and Carlos even develops a crush on Rachel. Then late one evening, a distraught Carlos comes to Doug's apartment, telling him Rachel didn't show up for a date. Doug now can use his limited experience in forensics to help his friend, and believes himself to be the next Sherlock Holmes. What has happened to Rachel? At this point we a good 30-35 min. into the movie, and to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience.
Couple of comments: first, this movie must be a labor of love from writer-director-editor and co-producer Aaron Katz. The movie is made on a shoestring basis, if that much. But it doesn't stop Katz from setting us up with a decent mystery-thriller. Second, the movie is set in Portland, and the Portland scenery plays as much a character in the movie as any of the lead stars. Third, the movie plays out nicely, that is until the very end, which came abrupt and left me scratching my head, to be honest.Read more ›
2-stars is 1 more star than everyone else in the family I watched it with gave it. So thus is generous.
I can appreciate art house (low budget movies). Special effects traded for character development, multiple locations traded for quirkiness, dialog and wit, etc. I had high hopes for Cold Weather after seeing the Rotten Tomatoes review and reading the synopsis on Wiki. Unfortunately, it fell flat on many levels
Brother comes home to Portland from Chicago taking a hiatus from school and moving in with his sister. Brother takes a job working the night shift at an Ice House. Brother meets Carlos at the Ice House who is also a part time DJ. Brother's ex-girlfriend from Chicago comes to Portland seemingly for job training since taking a job as a Paralegal in Chicago with a law firm headquartered in Portland.
In concert with the synopsis above:
Brother and sister are both seemingly without many friends and seem to be almost morose. Without giving away too much of the plot, the ex-girlfriend disappears and is apparently not a Paralegal.
What I didn't like:
1.) The humor is all deadpan and while this would not normally be a problem for me, I just didn't find it all that amusing
2.) There is no back-story re: why the ex is in fact an ex?
3.) While I found the brother's connection to Sherlock Holmes interesting, it was not developed enough
4.) There are long pauses which didn't seem to go anywhere
In summary, I thought that the outline was great, though there was simply not enough done with it. I didn't find the mystery aspect all that interesting, the dialogue was not overly witty or profound and the character relationships were not explored with enough depth. I got the sense that the brother/sister relationship was near oedipal in nature (I.E.Read more ›
The main characters are one young man, Doug, and his sister who live together in Portland. Doug has started studying forensics but works for now in an ice factory. We meet one of his co-workers who is a part-time DJ and Rachel, an old girlfriend of Doug.
The girlfriend gets into some trouble we know nothing about and disappears. It is a misdirection. One expect that she will be murdered and that Doug will use his freshly acquired forensic talents to discover the murderer, all this under the dark grey skies of Portland. But it is not the story at all. Doug has very little talent of observation and no forensic talent at all. It makes sense as he probably has learned from textbooks and has no practical experience, so he would not consider calling the police or wear gloves to protect the evidence.
The first thing he does is to buy a pipe to be like Sherlock Holmes "because it is going to help him think". That scene won me over. So 20 minutes into the film, I finally got what it was about: it is about this uncertain age...
So the mystery takes an unexpected direction; it is solved just like young people would solve it.
The movie has charm and is hard to forget. It suffers from very poor editing. I do not mind a slow movie at all, if the characters are interesting, but here the rhythms are all wrong: it starts too slow and ends too fast. I feel that the photography is not quite in tune with the intention and should be more intimate.
Maybe the next movie by the same people will be a great classic. Watch it!
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