Tag: Mystery

Netflix Pick: ‘Cold Weather’

Cold Weather (2010)
Written, Edited, & Directed by Aaron Katz
96 mins.

By Tim Lucia

In interesting film, Cold Weather is sort-of a Mumblecore movie, but more like if Gus Van Sant or Kelly Reichardt directed an elongated episode of Bored to Death.  Doug (Cris Lankenau) returns home to Portland, OR (hence the Van Sant and Reichardt influence — the film is shot similarly to Paranoid Park) after dropping out of school for Forensic Science in Chicago.  He moves in with his somewhat sympathetic sister Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn) and gets a job at an ice factory where he meets Carlos (Raul Castillo).  Doug’s ex-girlfriend from Chicago (Robyn Rikoon) shows up in Portland, and then subsequently disappears.  Doug eventually puts his schooling for Forensics and his love of old Sherlock Holmes books to use as he begins to play amateur detective along with his two cohorts.  Cold Weather is not a film for everyone, but fans of Van Sant, Reichardt, and Mumblecore should enjoy it.  The pacing is quite slow, but the cinematography is excellent.  Cold Weather was shot on location in Portland, The Dalles, and Cannon Beach.

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Netflix Pick: ‘Winter’s Bone’

Winter’s Bone (2010)
Directed by Debra Granik
100 mins.

By Tim Lucia

Winter’s Bone was my favorite film of 2010.  Debra Granik’s raw, gritty, nail-biting drama is one of the best American films in years.  17-year old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence, The Burning Plain, X-Men: First Class) lives in backwoods Missouri, where she raises her younger siblings; her mother an invalid, her father an absent meth manufacturer.  Their dirt-poor Ozark existence and home is all they know.  One day, the local Sheriff (Seattle native Garrett Dillahunt) comes to door and informs Ree her father skipped bail and put their house up as collateral.  Knowing their home is all they have, and without it her brother and sister will be forced into foster care, Ree takes action.  She sets out on an incredibly dangerous journey through a meth and crime-filled Appalachian underworld to find her father and save her family.  John Hawkes (Deadwood, Me You and Everyone We Know) turns in an unforgettable performance as Teardrop Dolly, Ree’s mysterious uncle.  Lawrence also turns in the  performance of a lifetime as Ree.  Granik and her co-writer (and fellow Seattle native) Anne Rosellini adapted their script from Danny Woodrell’s novel.  Winter’s Bone received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress (Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Hawkes), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Netflix Instant Pick: ‘Tell No One’

Tell No One (2006)
Directed by Guillaume Canet
In French with English subtitles
131 mins.

By Tim Lucia

Based on an American novel, Tell No One is a French thriller about the past and the present; murder and deception.  The protagonist is Dr. Alexander Beck (Francois Cluzet) whose wife is thought to be killed in the opening minutes.  Eight years later, Beck is still miserable.  He then receives an email with a video of his wife, who is very much alive.  Meanwhile at the old crime site, two more bodies are uncovered.  Beck is again the prime suspect, as he was with his wife’s murder.  He is then forced to go on the run in a race against time to find his wife and uncover the mystery, villains and police both hot on his tail.  Hollywood insists on remaking every good foreign thriller, and I’m sad to report that this one is next in line.  Ben Affleck is on board to direct after he finishes his current project.  Tell No One is a taut, suspenseful thriller.  Watch the original now on Netflix instant, before it’s remade.

Netflix Instant Pick of the Week

Mother (2009)
Directed by Joon-ho Bong
In Korean with English subtitles
129 mins.

By Tim Lucia

Director Joon-ho Bong’s previous films include The Host and Memories of Murder, and he has hit a home run with his latest film, Mother.  The narrative revolves around a mentally challenged young man and his protective mother.  After a murder rocks the town, the alibi-free boy becomes the main suspect.  When the legal system fails him, the mother sets out to prove her son’s innocence, desperately taking drastic measures to do so.  Bong and his co-writer Eun-kyo Park have crafted an excellent, well-layered story, rich with character development, conflicts, and social commentary.  This cinematography was incredible, as is the case with most Korean films.  Heavy and dark, but not over-violent, Mother is an outstanding, powerful film, a must-see for lovers of International cinema.  Even a general movie fan could enjoy it, especially fans of crime and mystery films.