Aaron Katz

Land Ho 1

The thing about old men out on the open road is they don’t do a lot of eating, praying and loving in the way we’ve come to see it done in the modern sense of traveling. It’s more like they do a lot of finding the nearest roadside diner, complaining that gas prices are too damn high and pretending not to be too impressed by some national monuments. You’ve spent enough time in the back seat while Dad’s trying to navigate without a map to understand as much. But that doesn’t mean that old dudes don’t want to cut loose and take a trip that’s really about focusing on themselves every once in awhile. It’s healthy to get a little rest and relaxation here and there, especially when you’re curmudgeonly — something’s got to fuel that. So in the first trailer for Land Ho!, we’re treated to the best-laid vacation plans of octogenarian buddies Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) and Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson), an odd couple who are going to take Iceland by storm, whether one of them likes it or not. After Colin’s wife passes away, Mitch — clearly the fun friend if you measure your funometer by the wackiness of shirts — tries to cheer him up with a once in a lifetime opportunity: they’ll go on a guy’s trip to Iceland, first class, where they’ll see “the hot springs, the juicy lobsters, the gorgeous broads.” “I don’t like lobster,” Colin responds. Ahhhh I get it!


Culture Warrior

For whatever reason, Sherlock Holmes has seen something of an unexpected cultural resurgence recently. Of course, one could argue that the pipe-smoking gumshoe is ubiquitously present in some form or another as his image resonates well beyond the pages in which Arthur Conan Doyle originally encapsulated and explored his identity decade in and decade out; it seems merely a matter, instead, of how present he is in mainstream forms of popular culture at any given moment. That Sherlock Holmes is an object of the public domain only provides greater opportunities for his likeness to arise in myriad ways across media. But what’s unique about the recent incarnations of Holmes is the great variety of forms he takes within a variety of representational modes: the various Holmses we’ve seen recently are not only very different, but distinct in a way that function in conversation, and even in conflict, with each other. The only certainty that arises out of this variety of Holmes characters is that there is no one certain, dominant interpretation of the character, but rather many that audiences can choose from. That several incarnations of Holmes have arisen in popular media almost simultaneously does not point to a broad need in our culture relating to some intrinsic notion of who Holmes is “supposed to be.” Instead these examples are, to varying degrees, different niche versions of the character, each interpretation responding to some specific need.


One great thing about covering the rise of digital DIY independent filmmaking is that over time you get to see a filmmaker grow and mature into their development of a signature style. This process ultimately reveals whether or not the filmmaker really has the chops for a continued career, and if they have anything new to say after their first couple of films. Aaron Katz seems to have quite the career ahead of him as his latest, Cold Weather, signifies something of a great leap forward in his development as an artist.


Perhaps the most impressive thing about this Cold Weather trailer is the litany of quotes that claim it’s impressive. As for the trailer itself, it’s bland and ambles toward an anti-climax. It’s not that the premise isn’t good. The movie, which will hit the SXSW film festival in march, is an indie film focused on a young man who studied forensic science but now finds himself working at an ice factory. All of his collegiate training suddenly comes in handy when his ex-girlfriend goes missing. It sounds intriguing, but the trailer isn’t doing much to sell it. Check out the trailer for yourself:


As we move through the list of films premiering at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, I find myself skipping over Sundance holdovers like The Runaways in favor of lesser known, but potentially more interesting films. We’ll get to those other movies later…

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published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014
published: 12.18.2014

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