LAND HO! (Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens). 95 minutes. Opens Friday (Aug 8). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Emerging from the burble of the American mumblecore movement, Land Ho! is a lovely little movie about two men in their 60s reconnecting with each other, and themselves, on an awkward tour of Iceland.
Will Colin (Paul Eenhoorn, of This Is Martin Bonner) rouse himself from a funk? Will Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) reveal the details of his recent retirement? The stakes are low, but that's why it works so well.
Rather than push the story toward some life-altering plot point, co-directors Aaron Katz (Quiet City, Cold Weather) and Martha Stephens (Nelson's cousin, who directed him in Passenger Pigeons and Pilgrim Song) are content to hang back and observe the interactions of their leads over the course of a few days. The men talk, argue, hang out with some younger people, go out for a late-night stroll and find that glowsticks make shitty flashlights. That's pretty much everything.
The film is gentle and upbeat and life-affirming in a way that some might find saccharine, but I had no such reaction. It's just utterly pleasurable to watch these guys muck around for an hour and a half, learning nothing they don't absolutely have to.