Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

October 8, 2010 at 8:34am

TFF Sniff 2010: "Cold Weather," cool reception

TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL REPRESENT: A junior college student chases his lifelong dream to play in the Major Leagues despite his lack of athletic ability in the film "Calvin Marshall" screening at 7 and 9 p.m. inside the Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma.

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YOUR DAILY GUIDE TO THE 2010 TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL >>>

Picture a large room with walls of rich mahogany, heavy furniture and ornate rugs decorating its polished floors. Glide inside and you find rows of tables topped with fancy hors d'oeuvres. Musicians sit off to the side, sweet Mozart emanating from their violins.

Take your mind out of 18th-century Europe - The Grand Cinema hosted this swanky scene last night to kick off the city's biggest party for independent moviemakers, the Tacoma Film Festival. (I hadn't noticed until now the posh milieu in which Annie Wright kids complete their tutelage. Why did I leave my monocle at home?)

Among the considerable attendees I recognized several faces from past journeys in the local film sphere. Director Andrew Finnigan showed up, whose short The Stairwell won Audience Favorite last year. I PA'ed for a day this summer on a feature of his currently in post-production, which hopefully graces movie screens at TFF 2011.

I also ran into Isaac Olsen (Quiet Shoes) and Bryan Johnson (20 Seconds), two filmmakers skilled at giving the City of Destiny an endearing makeover in every work they produce. And Randy Sparks made it to the gala as well. He and I began writing A Glitch in the System a year ago, and this weekend our efforts finally see the celluloid light of day.

Pity the dramatic feature opener, Cold Weather, wasn't as enjoyable as the mixer that preceded it. The premise did sound promising: a Portland factory worker gets a chance to play sleuth when his ex-girlfriend goes missing. Yet viewers have to wait almost half of the film's 96 minutes before the plot decides to reveal itself. And despite a somewhat tense climax involving a stolen briefcase, many scenes either end abruptly or possess no true ties to the main story. The post-screening Q&A with star Cris Lankenau didn't offer much revelation. With uninteresting characters painted in dreary hues slouching towards an unsatisfying resolution, Cold Weather looks and feels like a Northwest winter: too long, and no end in sight.

Don't fret - The Grand has crammed the next seven days with plenty of better films. I'll go over what you shouldn't miss this weekend later today.

For a list of today's films, click here.

LINK: TFF goes local

LINK: TFF on twitter

LINK: TFF website

LINK: We wrote a TFF cover story

Comments for "TFF Sniff 2010: "Cold Weather," cool reception" (1)

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kris crews said on Oct. 08, 2010 at 10:50am

um, let me have a go at this...

As I entered the beautiful Anne Wright for the first time ever I was warmly greeted by the charming volunteers of the Grand Cinema... wait wait -cut to meeting the handsome & charming Chris Lankenau who approaches me and my date trying to bum a cigarette from the youngest people he sees in the room. He's just in from NY for the weekend and looking for a good time. I assure him that he is in good hands and promptly find him a smoking companion.

Post mingling, the film begins, as Chris mentioned above, in a pretty f#@king fancy theatre. It's true that the caper aspect of the film doesn't kick in until the second act, but it is preceeded by first act references to Sherlock Holmes and Lankenau's character's background in forensic science.

In the post film Q&A, the endearingly crass, & a bit fidgety, Lankenau emphasizes after questions concerning the film's seemingly abrupt ending, that the film is first about a relationship between a brother and sister, not the case full of money, or the naughty photo posing, doe eyed, ex-girlfriend. I'll add that when the action of the second act does kick it, it is awesome! - Like a movie within a movie, and played so well. The acting is natural. The characters are believable. And they win. The caper is solved and the brother and sister are still in their everyday cold weather life with no fake explosions or Hollywood ending.

And btw, the cinematography alone, is mesmerizing. I'm looking forward to more from the minds that created this gem. Forget Hollywood formulas. Forget gags, shtick, and one dimensional cloned characters. This is filmmaking that I care about.

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