Land Ho! (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 3, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Land Ho!” is an entertaining road trip comedy, showing that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to have fun! A beautiful film worth watching! A beautiful film that looks fantastic on Blu-ray!
TITLE: Land Ho!
TELEFILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 95 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio), English, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English-Audio Description Track, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: R (Some Language, Sexual References and Drug Use)
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Written and Directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens
Produced by Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy
Co-Producer: Birgitta Bjornsdottir, Hlin Johannesdottir
Executive Producer: Wendy Ettinger, David Gordon Green
Co-Executive Producer: Abigail Disney, Wendy Ettinger, David Gordon Green, Emily Ting
Music by Keegan DeWitt
Cinematography by Andrew Reed
Edited by Aaron Katz
Earl Lynn Nelson as Mitch
Paul Eenhoorn as Colin
Karie Crouse as Ellen
Elizabeth McKee as Janet
Alice Olivia Clarke as Nadine
Mitch, a bawdy former surgeon, convinces mild‐mannered Colin, his ex‐brother‐in‐law, to embark on an unplanned trip to Iceland with him. In an effort to get their grooves back, the odd couple set off on a road trip that takes them through trendy Reykjavík to the rugged outback. Mitch and Colin’s picaresque adventures through Iceland evolve into a candid exploration of aging, loneliness and friendship.
Featuring a collaboration with filmmakers Aaron Katz (“Cold Weather”, “Quiet City”) and Martha Stephens (“Pilgrim Song”, “Passenger Pigeons”) comes a comedy titled “Land Ho!” starring Earl Lynn Nelson (“Pilgrim Song”) and Paul Eenhoorn (“This is Martin Bonner”, “Chemistry”). The film was the first feature to be financed by Gamechanger Films, an equity fund dedicated to financing features and co-directed by women.
A low-budget film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and shot with a $676,000+ budget, the film will be released on Blu-ray + DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
“Land Ho!” is a film that begins with retired surgeon Mitch (portrayed by Earl Lynn Nelson) visiting his ex-brother in law Colin (portrayed by Paul Eenhoorn), who is trying to get over his divorce. Seeing how Colin has not been in the best of spirits, Mitch surprises him with tickets to Iceland in order to help get him on with life.
While Colin is more reserved, Mitch seems like a young man who is wanting to discover the good things in life through travel and cuisine. But when Mitch tries to get Colin out of his shell and visit areas such as Rejkjavik, Skogar, Jokulsarion, Landmannalaugar, Gulfoss, Strokkur and Blue Lagoon, what happens when Mitch and Colin have dinner with college students, go to a dance club and enjoy the beauty of Iceland?
“Land Ho!” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The film was shot on two Red One cameras and close-ups showcasing amazing detail to the chagrin of actor Earl Lynn Nelson who tells the viewers via the audio commentary that it’s too clear that you can see his wrinkles. But that is how detailed the picture quality is and the shots of the various locations in Iceland are absolutely gorgeous to look at.
The cinematography by Andrew Reed is absolutely gorgeous! Definitely a film that looks amazing on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Land Ho!” is presented in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA and English – Audio Description Track, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. The lossless soundtrack is primarily dialogue driven but there are moments where you can hear the ambiance of the ocean, the geyser and of course, the crystal clear music at the dance club. But overall soundtrack and it’s dialogue-driven soundtrack is crystal clear.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Land Ho!” comes with the following special features:
- Commentary with Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson, Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz
- LA Film Fest Q&A with Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson, Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz and Elizabeth McKee – (13:21) A fascinating post-screening Q&A with a few of the cast and crew.
- Deleted Scenes – (12:18) Featuring three deleted scenes and an alternate opening.
- Theatrical Trailer – (1:56) The theatrical trailer for “Land Ho!”.
“Land Ho!” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.
Quite often when you watch films about friends going on a trip, it usually is about a group of young people discovering another world and quite often, your banal story of self-discovery, finding love with the addition of your typical shenanigans.
With “Land Ho!”, the film we see is quite rare because the main characters are older men. Men who have had their ups and downs with women, have gone through divorce and pretty much want to enjoy life and also discover another world different from the life they currently live. Of course, in this case, the men journey through the beautiful areas of Iceland.
While the film was scripted, the film allowed for improvisation and what makes it interesting is the men are not far off from their characters. Actor Earl Lynn Nelson is nearly like his character of Mitch, not afraid to talk about the bodies of younger women and doesn’t care about seeing something and equate it to a penis or ejaculation.
And this goes beyond your general road trip, these men discuss life and Mitch enjoying life at its best and moving past his divorces and just having fun. He doesn’t care he’s older, he has no qualms of smoking weed or going to a dance club to observe younger women, he’s all good with that. As for Colin, he’s the opposite. He is reserved and is often annoyed by Mitch and his constant cajoling and he is a man that seems to wallow in his sadness because his relationships have gone south.
But through this road trip, it does touch upon the banality of road trip films of self discovery, meeting women and having fun, but instead of the teenage shenanigans, it is replaced by two men rediscovering life at an older age. And of course, the film is set in Iceland and adds to the charm and beauty of the film.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is gorgeous, while the lossless soundtrack is dialogue-driven as expected but also crystal clear. You also get a fascinating audio commentary and a LA Film Festival post-screening Q&A that I couldn’t help but laugh because both are entertaining and the comments are often unexpected.
While the friendship between Mich and Colin is rather interesting because they are total opposites, the film doesn’t play out as effectively when compared to the Gene Saks/Neil Simon 1968 comedy “The Odd Couple” but the premise of the film of two older men rediscovering life in another country is fascinating. And I found myself wanting to visit Iceland because the scenes from various locations showcase the beauty of Iceland.
Overall, “Land Ho!” is an entertaining road trip comedy, showing that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to have fun! A beautiful film that looks fantastic on Blu-ray!
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