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Sunday, August 10, 2014

'The Cold Lands' DVD: Modern Day Huck Finn Meets Real World

Product Details
The uber-awesome non-profit indie film supporter Cinereach does equally awesomely with the superb festival/art-house flick "The Cold Lands," which is out on VOD, and that Cinereach is releasing on DVD on August 12 2014.

As an aside, Cinereach supplements its production of great art-house and festival films with "Project Greenlight" style grants (without the annoying reality show) to aspiring filmmakers. This facilitation of character and story-driven films, rather than blockbusters featuring the current It girl (or boy) and crude humor or WMD level pyrotechnics, is a true gift to cinephiles.

The DVD release additionally is special in that the disc comes in a collectible hardcover book that has stunning images of the Catskill mountains in which "Lands" is set and filmed and haikus that "Lands" writer/director Tom Gilroy composed while working on the movie.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "Lands" provides a good sense of the exceptional cinematography and great indie vine of the film.


"Lands" centers around a very eventful few weeks in the life of 11-year-old Atticus, played by probable future indie film fave Silas Yelich. He is enjoying a relatively no-frills but happy existence with his fanatically self-reliant mother Nicole, played by well-known artsy film actress Lili Taylor, when the film opens.

Taylor and Yelich have great chemistry whether they are sorting through free stuff that people leave on their lawns or Yelich is expressing mild frustration regarding Taylor not grasping that he and his friends are no longer little boys.

Nicole dying relatively early in the film prompts Atticus to initially flee into the woods near his home before anyone on the scene becomes aware of his presence. This essentially relates to his opposition to becoming "civilized" in a manner that leaves him beholden to his guardians.

Atticus soon meets up with early-30s slacker Carter, who initially tolerates Atticus and ultimately bonds with him. Calling Carter a modern-day (Politically Incorrect Word) Jim is a stretch but he does show this modern-day Huck Finn the realities of our world.

Watching this brotherly relationship grow and seeing the impact on Atticus is simply good film-making. It is equally nice to see scenes, such as one in which Atticus plays with a dog whom the pair meets in their travels, in which the 11 year-old in Atticus comes out.

One nice (and tastefully filmed) scene clearly establishes the lack of improper intent regarding this bond. Carter strips down entirely and lays on the same sleeping surface as a fully clothed Atticus without so much as a smile, touch, or suggestive comment. The fact that Atticus does not shy away shows the level of trust and comfort that he feels in the presence of Carter.

It is nice as well that Carter kindly and gently instills good values in Atticus and shows him the realities of living on the fringes of society. Carter throws in good lessons on trust and fairness for good measure.

All of this shows that the right combination of talent in front of the camera and behind it can create a create a film with both significant artistic and commercial value for no more than the price of many single-family homes.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Lands" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.