ATH Abroad: Secret Solstice – 2018

It’s a crazy thing to travel abroad right now as an American with everything that’s going on (wrong) in our country. One can feel embarrassed, guilty, or even ashamed to admit your nationality while trying to blend in with the locals and keep your voice down. What better way though to bring people together, regardless of background or political affiliation, than a massive, 3 day music festival. Secret Solstice Festival in Reykjavik allowed the wife and I to act as locals while soaking up some great new Icelandic music and enjoy the weather, the food, and the culture.

For more thoughts and pics from the grounds, hit the jump.

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Secret Solstice 2018

Hey do you remember that time when I went all the way over to Iceland for a music festival? Yeah it was quite awhile ago so maybe you don’t keep detailed notes on my whereabouts over the last several years… Well the wife and I had so much fun 4 years ago that we’ve decided to return to Iceland and attend the Secret Solstice Festival in June. It must tell you something about how the event is run and the quality of the festival as a whole for two Texans to travel all that way again. This time we plan to do things right by flying direct out of Dallas instead of a massive layover in NYC. Oh and we’ll probably buy out the duty free store right after we land. If all this sounds interesting to you, hit the jump for links to buy tickets and some thoughts on the 2018 lineup/event.

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Film Review – Land Ho!

landho!

Rating: ★★½ · ·

Before I jump right into this review, it’s worth mentioning that this will be our very first film critique.  That’s right folks, ATH is getting into the movie review game.  I’ve always been a movie buff who enjoys talking shop with friends, so this seemed like a natural thing for me to undertake.  And of course a free screening or an advance copy will always warrant some type of posting here.  Which leads me to…..

Land Ho! – An American-Icelandic adventure comedy

Like I said, a free movie is a free movie, and I’m always grateful to those who think we are important enough to offer us their art for free.  Thanks goes out to Sony and Violet Crown Cinema.

As I start this review I am unsure of what to say about the film, because honestly, not a whole lot really happens.  Is that such a terrible thing in our day of Michael Bay explosions and former wrestlers dominating the weekly theatre numbers?  Not at all, Land Ho! just seemed to fall a little short at times as a movie that chooses to focus mostly on scenes of dialogue and social interaction.  The film certainly had some entertaining scenes between the two Grumpy Old Men style characters, but  sometimes the interactions just grew a little stale and drawn out.

We begin our film with senior citizens Collin and Mitch, the later of which refuses to go by his God given name Leslie because it “sounds like 606x340_270940a girl’s name”.  From the first few scenes, you can tell that Collin is the intellectual, more well spoken one of the two, who speaks with an Australian accent and seems to enjoy the finer things in life.  Mitch on the other hand is a crass, loud mouthed, fun loving good ‘ol boy from New Orleans who hasn’t seen a movie since Sleepless in Seattle and consistently refers to the female sex in the crudest way possible.  For a large part of the film, this is basically what you get; Collin attempts to have thoughtful, provocative conversations about art or music and the audience giggles as Mitch attempts to lighten the mood with inappropriate jokes and “a little doobification” as he calls it.

In the opening scenes we establish that the pair know each other by formerly being married to a set of sisters.  Mitch has been divorced for quite some time, while Collin’s wife passed away years ago only to see him remarry and divorce a short while after.  Both men are also currently retired from working as a doctor and french horn player/banker respectively.  Can you guess who did what?  So both men are a bit down on their luck, reminiscing on old times, and Mitch surprises Collin that he has purchased first class tickets to Iceland and he plans to cover the entire thing with his riches from working in the medical field for many years.  Why Iceland?  Why not.

cq5dam.web.420.270From here, the movie sort of turns into Grumpier Old Men (yes the second one) set in beautiful Iceland.  I of course enjoyed the wonderful scenery and smiled to myself seeing several major landmarks that I saw with my own eyes just a month ago.  At times though, the film almost seems like a shameless, tourist enticing travel video to boost the local economy.  Yes, Mitch offers some funny one liners, but it starts getting a little old after the creepy comments seem to never stop.  Collin even appears more and more irritated as the movie goes on when the pair have a mini verbal argument after Mitch leads them out into a pitch black night for an adventure only to get them lost.

Honestly, that’s about all you’re going to get here.  An Icelandic travel video with a retired man making dick jokes while his companion rolls his eyes.  Again, the movie can offer some laughs from time to time, but I felt like the characters needed more time to develop for us to truly care about their self discovery trip.  At one point, Mitch even begins to tell the story of his recent forced retirement with the “short-version”, as I’m desperately hoping for the full version so maybe we can find out what really makes this guy tick.  Not to be so, we get a 1 minute story and almost genuinely care about these guys, but rather we’re left with another reference to tight asses and Meg Ryan’s breasts.

Land-Ho-MovieThe credits roll as the pair stroll into the famous Blue Lagoon spa in Reykjavik and I swear you can almost hear Mitch whispering in Collin’s ear that they definitely have a chance to score with the Icelandic babes in the pool.  Movie over.

Final Verdict: The movie certainly has some genuine laughs and beautiful scenery, however it falls a little short with what could be interesting characters if given their due.  Think Road Trip with your dirty grandpa.

Land Ho! will be coming to Austin theaters on August 15th.

ATH Abroad: Secret Solstice Festival

solsticebannerAfter an 18-hour ocean crossing trip, followed by a brief power-nap, I finally found myself at the Secret Solstice Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland.  To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect as I was very unfamiliar with most of the artists on the lineup and I don’t speak a lick of Icelandic.  Of course what we worry about most never happens and I ended up being treated to a great festival experience that could rival most anything we can offer here stateside.  Click read more for words and fancy photos.

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