Trieste Kelly Dunn and Cris Lankenau in a scene from Cold Weather.

Cold Weather

Studio: Sundance Selects
Written and directed by: Aaron Katz; Starring: Cris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Raúl Castillo and Robyn Rikoon

Feb 12, 2011 Web Exclusive
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As disappointing as it is to miss the beginning of a film in a theater, there's something especially satisfying about discovering a movie while channel surfing on TV. Two of the funniest films I know, This Is Spinal Tap and Office Space, I was only vaguely aware of before landing upon them in progress on cable TV. The few minutes it took me to identify the films, without checking the TV guide, provided a tantalizing mix of disorientation and amusement. Something similar happened to me last summer when I attended the Los Angeles Film Festival and stumbled upon writer/director Aaron Katz's Cold Weather, my favorite film of the fest.

Unlike the aforementioned films, Cold Weather is not a comedy, per se. It has laughs, but much of its fun is derived from modest surprises. Set in Portland, the film is distinctly indie. It begins at a measured pace, with tranquil, atmospheric shots of the rainy locale interspersed with conversations among family and friends. Doug (Cris Lankenau) has dropped out of school in Chicago and returned home to Portland to move in with Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn). He gets an overnight job at an ice factory, where he befriends a co-worker, Carlos (Raúl Castillo). Katz and the actors gradually unveil these characters with a friendly, unassuming ease before the film changes pace and veers in a different direction.

I would try to get my friends to see Cold Weather without revealing more, to experience it the way I did, which is why I'm being coy in this particular review. But perhaps it's a futile exercise. The details I'm withholding are not earth-shaking, nothing near the magnitude of the surprises in The Crying Game or The Sixth Sense, and other reviews, even the film's trailer and synopsis, reveal more. The Catch-22 is how to encourage people to see a film that benefits from the viewer not being exposed to any hype about it.

In this interview with writer/director Aaron Katz, we reveal much more about the film, while he discusses, among other things, how he's grown comfortable with summarizing Cold Weather and divulging some of its plot to entice audiences.

Cold Weather currently is screening at Laemmle's Sunset 5 in Los Angeles, the IFC Center in New York, and also is available on Video on Demand.

On Friday, February 11 and Saturday, February 12 in Los Angeles, Aaron Katz will participate in Q&As after the 7:10 screenings and introduce the 9:55 screenings.


Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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