Go Back   HawaiiThreads.com > Na Mea Ho`ohau`oli > The Big Picture
FAQ Members List Social Groups Calendar Search Search Latest Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old May 4th, 2013, 04:51 PM
scrivener's Avatar
scrivener scrivener is offline
Ali`i
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kapalama Heights.
Posts: 5,189
Send a message via AIM to scrivener Send a message via Yahoo to scrivener
Default Cold Weather (2011)

Cold Weather (2011)
Chris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Raul Castillo, Robyn Rikoon. Directed by Aaron Katz.

There is a scene in Cold Weather where Doug and Gail (Chris Lankenau and Trieste Kelly Dunn) are sitting on the floor in Gailís apartment. Gail is drinking whiskey from a tumbler. Chris is assembling a coffee table from Ikea. In the directorís commentary on the DVD of this film, Aaron Katz mentions that there was supposed to be some exposition in this scene. I think it was supposed to be something about why Doug has moved back to Portland after leaving school in Chicago. Katz cut that stuff out. He left in a short exchange between the brother and sister about whether or not the amount left in the glass dictates her swallowing it all in one shot or if thereís enough to make it two sips.

This is what I love about this director. What we learn about the characters through these mundane-but-real conversational exchanges is deeper and more revealing, in sum, than sixteen lines that explain the backstory, and Katz has enough faith in the characters heís written and in the actors who are portraying them that he doesnít feel the need to fill in all the blanks. What we take away about these characters might not be something we can list in bullet points or even explain over a game of rummy and some cheap beers, but there is a realness to the characters that makes everything else in the movie feel like real life. There is more to be realized about someone, the director seems to be saying, in a discussion about a Sherlock Holmes book than in two people trading getting-to-know-you questions.

Characters stand on a bridge in front of a waterfall. They eat sandwiches at a picnic table while a seagull seems unable to make up its mind about where to perch. They sit in a car and eat Swedish fish while waiting for someone to show up. And sometimes nary a word is spoken, and yet the scenes seem to communicate so much, especially when the viewer steps back and takes the entire filmís worth of these scenes into awareness.

There is a story, and itís pretty well done. Dougís ex-girlfriend Rachel (Robyn Ricoon) from Chicago arrives in Portland, supposedly to attend a work-related meeting. She hangs out with Doug, Gail, and Dougís co-worker Carlos (Raul Castillo) a few times but then she never shows up at one of Carlosís DJing gigs, disappearing from her hotel room and never contacting anyone. The three other characters try to figure out what happened to her, inspired more than a little by Sherlock Holmes.

This mystery is not told like any youíve seen. When Doug discovers what he figures must be some kind of code, he asks his sister to drive him to the library so he can check out some books on codebreaking. We follow Doug and Gail into the library, to the shelves with the codebreaking books, to the circulation desk to check the books out, and to the apartment to watch them read the books, and then the books donít even seem to do teach them anything useful. So Doug figures he needs something else, and we follow him as he pursues that, and even that doesnít take him any closer to solving the mystery. And somewhere in there is a moderate-speed car chase involving only one car.

And I loved just about every minute of it, because while the mystery is pretty interesting, itís not as interesting as getting to know our characters, something horribly lacking in far too many movies. If Cold Weather goes too far in that direction (and I would argue that it does not), it seems to be making up for all the lame movies where weíre just supposed to accept truths about certain characters just because someone else in the movie says theyíre true. So they fall in love, but why? Or they hate each other, but why?

I was going to ask rhetorically if a great story with unconvincing characters is better or worse than a weak story with wonderfully realized characters, but Iím not sure the former exists, because without characters, I have a hard time accepting story. If this is a bias with no real objective support, I can live with it. As long as directors like Aaron Katz keep feeding my need.

8/10 (IMDb rating)
88/100 (Criticker rating)
__________________
But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
GrouchyTeacher.com
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old June 17th, 2013, 07:20 PM
salmoned's Avatar
salmoned salmoned is offline
Ali`i
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Centered - sides are for suckers
Posts: 1,527
Default Re: Cold Weather (2011)

I'm on the rental list.
__________________
May I always be found beneath your contempt.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old June 17th, 2013, 08:51 PM
scrivener's Avatar
scrivener scrivener is offline
Ali`i
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kapalama Heights.
Posts: 5,189
Send a message via AIM to scrivener Send a message via Yahoo to scrivener
Default Re: Cold Weather (2011)

Cool. I look forward to hearing what you think of it. This director's work is not for everyone, but there's a realness that I think most can appreciate.
__________________
But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
GrouchyTeacher.com
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old June 17th, 2013, 08:56 PM
GregLee's Avatar
GregLee GregLee is offline
Kumu
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Waimanalo
Posts: 771
Default Re: Cold Weather (2011)

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
I was going to ask rhetorically if a great story with unconvincing characters is better or worse than a weak story with wonderfully realized characters, but Iím not sure the former exists, because without characters, I have a hard time accepting story.
Sure you can have a great story with unconvincing characters. Take, for example, science fiction.
__________________
Greg
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old June 18th, 2013, 01:37 PM
scrivener's Avatar
scrivener scrivener is offline
Ali`i
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kapalama Heights.
Posts: 5,189
Send a message via AIM to scrivener Send a message via Yahoo to scrivener
Default Re: Cold Weather (2011)

Without specific examples from you, it's not really possible to agree or disagree, or even to compare notes on what we think a good story is. The good SF I've read (and seen) has well-developed characters. Minority Report works because we have something invested in Tom Cruise's character. Without it, the concept is good but I suspect the story is weak. I'll try to think of good SF with poor character development, but it would help if you'd offer a few suggestions.
__________________
But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
GrouchyTeacher.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old June 18th, 2013, 03:19 PM
GregLee's Avatar
GregLee GregLee is offline
Kumu
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Waimanalo
Posts: 771
Default Re: Cold Weather (2011)

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
I'll try to think of good SF with poor character development, but it would help if you'd offer a few suggestions.
E.E. Smith's Lensman series -- the human heroes are adolescent dopes with special powers, and the non-human heroes, also, the Arisians and Boskonians, have no real characters, but just represent intellect versus malevolence.

van Vogt's Null-A novels -- the idea is that getting beyond the classical logic of Aristotle is therapeutic and conveys magical powers; there's a hero, lots of adventure, but no character. (Well, perhaps the master computer that conducts the Earth's Games and is tragically dismantled at the outset has some character.)

Olaf Stapledon's the Last and First Men -- a future chronicle of the series of species that will be our descendents, which doesn't even mention any individuals, much less develop their characters.

SF is typically a literature of ideas; it's not about people. Take away the ideas and add some human drama and you get what SF fans call "space opera", which is what gets made into movies.
__________________
Greg
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old July 8th, 2013, 10:54 AM
salmoned's Avatar
salmoned salmoned is offline
Ali`i
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Centered - sides are for suckers
Posts: 1,527
Default Re: Cold Weather (2011)

Well, I give this film a big 'Thumbs Down'! This is the kind of show you leave after 20 minutes, knowing full well you shouldn't waste another second on it. I did, though, so as to confirm there's nothing here to see. Sure, in the last 1/2 hour the action starts to pick up, but it never takes you anywhere. Time is better spent watching a sunset or observing people at the mall. This movie is simple thumb-twiddling - nothing more.
__________________
May I always be found beneath your contempt.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old July 8th, 2013, 05:28 PM
scrivener's Avatar
scrivener scrivener is offline
Ali`i
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kapalama Heights.
Posts: 5,189
Send a message via AIM to scrivener Send a message via Yahoo to scrivener
Default Re: Cold Weather (2011)

It's a very navel-gazing form, and it's not for everybody. Your criticisms are valid, but man: this is what I love about the movies in this so-called genre. I'm not sure it's a genre so much as a style (referred to mostly as "mumblecore"). You may want also to skip Funny Ha-Ha and Quiet City.
__________________
But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
GrouchyTeacher.com
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.

  Partner Sites: Hawaii Blog Hawaii News Hawaii Grinds Hawaii Social Media  
    Blogging the Aloha State. The Hawaii Star. Hawaii Food Blog. The story of Aloha 2.0.