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Independent movie review: 'Land Ho!'

Land Ho! movie poster
Sony Picture Classics

Land Ho!


One of the best aspects about an independent movie is that you never know what you are going to get. Since they are usually not bound to the Hollywood system, indie filmmakers can do pretty much whatever comes to mind. Do you think a Hollywood studio would green might a film that would take 12 years to make like the recent critical sensation, "Boyhood?" Not a chance! Just like there would be a very small possibility of them developing a movie where the two main characters are over 60 and the movie is about their trip to Iceland like in "Land Ho!" opening today, August 8 in South Florida.

Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) are a pair of two brothers-in-law who have remained close over many years. Mitch comes up with a plan for the two to take a trip to Iceland to get away from things back home and just to go out and have a good time and maybe recapture some of their youth and get their groove back. Colin is hesitant, but agrees and the two embark on a journey neither will soon forget.

If this were a Hollywood story, maybe the two men stumble across a nefarious plot that only they can stop or it would be some zany fish-out-of-water story. Instead, being in the independent world, "Land Ho!" focuses on the relationship between these two men throughout their journey in a foreign country. Each stop along the way features a title up on screen as if they were chapters, something becoming more and more common in indie features. The movie is dialogue heavy that sounds "real" and you wonder if it was scripted or if the two men improvised much of it. Nelson and Eenhoorn play very well off one another.

"Land Ho!" is written and directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, no strangers to the world of independent film. Sometimes a movie can benefit from co-directors and sometimes not. The movie has its good scenes and scenes that feel like they take forever, when only a few minutes have gone by. At least they kept the movie to an easy 90 minutes.

The main attraction of "Land Ho!" is certainly Earl Lynn Nelson and Paul Eenhoorn. Sometimes it's like watching two little boys on screen instead of two senior citizens. They fart in bed and other times just run around the beach in any direction. It looked like they had a lot of fun working on this project. The movie is not for everyone, but if you are a fan of independent films, this one should be caught. It is rated R for some language, sexual references and drug use. It is playing at select theaters around South Florida including Regal South Beach, The Living Room Theater, The Movies at Delray, Cinemark Paradise and Cinemark Palace. Check your local movie websites for additional theaters.