Date published: March 9, 2011
Journal code: STRR
Cold Weather is actually two movies, both meh. This meh quality is supposed to be charming in an antithetical sort of way; this particular brand of meh is known as "mumblecore" (and this director, Portland's Aaron Katz, is known for it). But trying not to try is not endearing when the end result is failure. Cold Weather's first half is a family drama involving improvised conversations that feel, as the director intends, extra-natural-but they are also dull. It's nice that a brother and sister love each other tenderly yet distantly, but it does not matter, just as it does not remotely matter why the brother dropped out of college. I had so little curiosity about the answers to the movie's open questions that I forgot that I didn't know them. This half is also marked by two-minute long shots of, say, the brother and sister eating sandwiches in silence near the Oregon coast. Meh. And suddenly, in a seedy motel, another film begins: A mystery! The brother wants to be Sherlock Holmes, so he gets a pipe, and there is irony, but then they set about solving the world's most boring crime. A couple of scenes achieve perfect emotional pitch and subtlety, and there is one good chase. It is not enough. Northwest Film Forum, Fri-Tues 7, 9:15 pm.