Monday, August 18, 2014

"Land Ho!" - The Mom's Movie Review

A year ago this week Aaron called to tell me he would be flying to Iceland in September to film a new movie. "Iceland?!?" I thought to myself with concern. Lots could go wrong in a place so remote, but in an effort not to question or meddle I just said, "Wow, that's great honey. I hope things go well in Iceland."

Aaron, Martha, and Earl Lynn who plays Mitch on a cold day in Iceland.

The filming over about 18 days went well and everyone returned safely in October. Aaron with his co-director Martha Stephens at his side, set to work in LA editing hundreds of hours of takes on one end of his dining room table while the music composer worked on the other. They met the Sundance deadline in November with a rough cut and were accepted for the festival scheduled for January 2014. According to the reviews, the film was a breakout hit with the Sundance crowds. Sony Pictures Classics snapped it up in a late night, middle of the festival negotiation. Voila - "Land Ho!" was destined for release in July 2014.

New York and LA got first dibs. Portland had to wait until August. Last Friday night the film opened here at Cinema 21 to a sold out crowd. Who would have known that a gentle soul like Aaron could make it in the competitive world of independent film. I'm so proud of my boy. Not just because his work has been recognized. My pride comes from knowing that he has stayed true to himself along the way. A shout out here for Aaron's wife Elizabeth who plays Janet in the film. She is just as charming in real life.

"Land Ho!" is a sweet, funny story about two older retired men (ex-brothers-in-law) at loose ends who want to "get their grove back" and reconnect with each other on a trip to Iceland. The two main characters are real and relatable. Mitch the loud, potty mouth Kentuckian might be difficult for some to appreciate, but he mellows over the course of the film. Colin, the Australian, starts out cool and closed down then warms as the journey progresses. Each encounter with fellow tourists and dynamic scenery adds a subtle dimension to the characters. As they move from the loud bars, trendy restaurants and galleries of Reykjavik into more and more remote areas of the island the other worldly place and banter between the two works subtle magic on both of them.

As you can see by the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie isn't for everyone, but the "mom" gives it two thumbs up. The theme song is still playing in my head (link to title track), the images of the lush Icelandic landscape scroll through my mind, and the characters continue to speak to me. What more would you want from a movie. Click HERE for a link to the website.

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