"Good writing will lead you to good work." Paul Eenhoorn has believed in this credo throughout a long acting career that started in his native Australia and eventually led him to Seattle. Recently, he's starting to see the fruits of nearly a lifetime of labor, gaining much-deserved attention for great performances in two independent films.
Not long ago, I wrote in these pages about Eenhoorn's nuanced turn in This is Martin Bonner, a beautifully intimate drama that introduced a lot of critics and viewers to his down-home compassion and yearning presence. Now he plays Colin, a retired banker who gets whisked away to Iceland by his human tornado of a friend Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) in Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens' freewheeling road film Land Ho!
In a phone interview from New York City, Eenhoorn speaks passionately about his experiences shooting the film on location: "It gave us a physical freedom, a natural sense of where you were as an actor or character. It created a lot of intimacy."
The film explores themes of transition, emotional release and friendship in a tender way. It hinges entirely on the chemistry of the actors.
"Opposites attract," Eenhoorn muses about his rowdy co-star, a ragin' Cajun who dominates every frame of the film. "Colin was developed in the shadow of Mitch. I modified my performance to blend with Earl's."
Land Ho!—which opens Friday, July 25, at La Jolla Village Cinemas—provides a quality alternative for older audiences underserved at the multiplex. "Baby boomers are tired of watching 20-year-olds onscreen," Eenhoorn says. "We are spending all the dollars, so why not make films for us, too?"
Even more importantly, the film showcases Eenhoorn the craftsman, an actor whose dedication to the filmmaking process is driven and defined by the possibility of what amazing moment might happen next.
A Most Wanted Man: Director Anton Corbijn (The American) adapts John le Carré’s famous novel about a web of spies operating in the shadowy confines of Hamburg, Germany.
And So it Goes: Michael Douglas plays a grumpy real-estate agent whose life is suddenly uprooted when he’s forced to care for his estranged granddaughter. It co-stars Diane Keaton.
Code Black: Director Ryan McGarry’s documentary takes viewers inside a notorious trauma bay in an inner-city emergency room that’s known as the “hurt locker of medicine.”
The Empty Hours: When a teenager takes over his uncle’s small and cozy hotel on the coast of Vera Cruz, he meets a seductive older woman who changes his life forever. Screens through July 31 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Hercules: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson dons the sword, sandals and skimpy underwear to play the half-god at odds with his immortal brethren.
I Origins: A molecular biologist (Michael Pitt) makes a discovery that could change the world, all while romancing his lab assistant. It’s directed by Mike Cahill (Another Earth) and co-stars Brit Marling and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead).
Land Ho!: Two old friends take a road trip through Iceland, hoping to find a new lease on life, in Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens’ quirky dramedy.
Lucy: Thanks to a drug-smuggling operation gone bad, Scarlet Johansson miraculously begins to use 100 percent of her brain and seeks revenge against the bad guys who put her on the spot.
Mood Indigo: The sprightly world of Michel Gondry produces yet another fanciful and visually textured romance about a wealthy bachelor (Romain Duras) who tries to find a cure for his lover’s (Audrey Tautou) unusual disease. Screens through July 31 at the Ken Cinema.
Step Up: All In: Just dance already.
Sweet Dreams: Documentary about Rwanda’s only all-women drumming troupe, Ingoma Nshya, which decides to open the country’s first-ever ice-cream shop, thanks help from Brooklyn’s Blue Marble Ice Cream. Screens through July 30 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Very Good Girls: During their last summer together, two high-school friends (Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olson) decide to make a pact that both will lose their virginity before heading off to college.
One time only
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson’s latest takes place in an opulent hotel set in a fictional Eastern European country right before World War I. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at the Mission Valley Library.
Batman: Michael Keaton stars as the caped crusader who battles the evil Joker (Jack Nicholson) in Tim Burton’s gothic version of the famous D.C. comic. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Arclight La Jolla.
The Endless Summer: Two young surfers travel the world, following an everlasting summer, in Bruce Brown’s legendary documentary. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music: Documentary that uses photos, concert footage and interviews to explore the life and legacy of the famous singer. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Kick Ass: A teenager living in a crime-riddled city dons a mask and starts fighting back. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival: The “world’s largest gathering of fashion film professionals” returns from Thursday, July 24, through Saturday, July 26, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla location, showcasing film screenings, panels and, of course, fashion shows. Get details at ljfff.com.
Crafting San Diego: Battle of the Breweries: Documentary that surveys the rapidly changing beer culture in San Diego. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at Thorn St. Brewery in North Park.
The Lady Vanishes: Alfred Hitchcock’s British thriller kicks into gear when a woman disappears aboard a moving train, initiating a series of events that reveal a disturbing conspiracy. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 24 and 25, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
When Harry Met Sally: Back when Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan were charming. Remember that? Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: John Cameron Mitchell’s gonzo portrait of a transsexual punk rocker who travels from East Berlin to tour the United States. Screens at midnight on Saturday, July 26, at the Ken Cinema.
Alpha Alert: Thriller about three soldiers who get trapped in an elevator after a terrorist attack cripples the government’s infrastructure. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 28, at San Diego Public Library in East Village.
Child of God: James Franco adapts Cormac McCarthy’s dark and disturbing character study about a depressed, violent man attempting to live outside normal society. A taped Q&A follows the screening, which starts at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
1492: Conquest of Paradise: Gérard Depardieu plays Christopher Columbus in Ridley Scott’s big-budget telling of the “discovery” of the Americas. Screens at 8 p.m. Monday, July 28, at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.
Aliya: A French drug dealer tries to plan one last deal before heading to Israel for a new life. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Who needs school when you can spend your time dancing in downtown parades, driving fast cars and dining at posh restaurants. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Point Loma’s Liberty Station.
The Graduate: Mrs. Robinson, still seducing after all these years. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Sex Tape: During a drunken celebration, a husband (Jason Segel) and wife (Cameron Diaz) make a sex tape, only to find it gone the next morning. A frantic search for it’s whereabouts commences.
Boyhood: Richard Linklater’s epic drama follows the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from age 6 to 18, charting all the highs and lows in between.
Closed Curtain: Under house arrest, a filmmaker (Jafar Panahi) hides his beloved dog from the authorities while interacting with some of the characters from his previous films. Ends July 25 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Planes: Fire and Rescue: This sequel to the 2013 animated hit film finds lead race plane Dusty (Dane Cook) forced into working with a fire-and-rescue unit after his engine is damaged.
The Purge: Anarchy: It’s that time of year again to murder, murder, murder, all for the benefit of the good ol’ United States of America. Let freedom ring.
Siddharth: A desperate man searches for his missing son in Mumbai, fearing that he’s been kidnapped for slave labor. Ends July 24 at the Ken Cinema.
Video Games: The Movie: The documentary every gamer’s been waiting for with bated breath. Just in time for Comic-Con. Ends July 24 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Wish I Was Here: Zach Braff stars as a struggling actor attempting to overcome the avalanche of problems that face his family and parents.
Begin Again: When a forlorn singer / songwriter (Keira Knightley) breaks from her cheating superstar boyfriend (Adam Levine), she finds newfound success with a disgraced record executive (Mark Ruffalo) willing to take a chance on an unknown talent.
Le Chef: An aspiring chef faces off against a celebrity food star in this French comedy by director Daniel Cohen.
Coherence: Old friends gets together for a dinner party, only to see the night descend into chaos after a comet creates a disturbing celestial phenomenon.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Ten years after a virus outbreak pitted apes against men, the two factions forge a fragile peace that’s tested by fear and aggression. It’s directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) and stars Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis.
Hidden Universe: Blast off into the stratosphere with this documentary that uses real images captured from telescopes to examine the vast reaches of space. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
America: From the mastermind behind 2016: Obama’s America comes another hyperbolic documentary that imagines a scenario where the United States lost the Revolutionary War and America did not come to exist.
Deliver Us From Evil: A New York City police officer (Eric Bana) and an unconventional Catholic priest (Edgar Ramirez) team up to solve a series of supernatural crimes terrorizing the city.
Earth to Echo: The found-footage film has finally found its way to the children’s-sci-fi genre in this adventure about an alien who recruits a group of friends to help it return home. I’m sure E.T. is suing for copyright infringement.
Life Itself: A documentary portrait of Roger Ebert, legendary film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times who revolutionized television with his popular review show with Gene Siskel. Ends July 24 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Snowpiercer: In a frozen post-apocalyptic future, the only human survivors live aboard a high-speed train with distinct class boundaries and brutal restrictions. A revolt by the impoverished tail section threatens to shift the balance of power.
Born to be Wild: Morgan Freeman narrates this IMAX adventure that follows the lives of elephants and orangutans from birth to their time in the wild. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Tammy: Melissa McCarthy stars as a fast-food employee who hits the road with her alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon) after losing her job and leaving her husband.
Yves Saint Laurent: Biopic about the famed French fashion designer who battled addiction during his rise to fame in the late 1950s. Ends July 24 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Third Person: A successful writer (Liam Neeson) going through a mid-life crisis begins writing his next book only to find his novel splitting off in different directions.
Transformers: Age of Extinction: Boom!
Jersey Boys: Clint Eastwood adapts the popular Broadway play about the rise of musical group The Four Seasons.
Think Like a Man Too: Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy once again star in a mosaic of couples behaving badly, this time set in Las Vegas. It’s a sequel to the 2012 comedy Think Like a Man.
22 Jump Street: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return for more violent shenanigans as undercover cops trying to expose a drug ring at a local college.
How to Train Your Dragon 2: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless encounter new challenges while trying to bring their species together in harmony.
Edge of Tomorrow: Tom Cruise dies a thousand times in order to find the right info about an alien attack that will destroy Earth. It co-stars a very buff Emily Blunt.
The Fault in Our Stars: In a dramedy starring Shailene Woodley (Divergent), from the writers of (500) Days of Summer, young love is tested when a cancer-stricken teenager falls for her witty foil despite her serious illness.
Maleficent: Angelina Jolie stars as the infamous sorceress who sets her sights on the nubile young Princess Aurora in this big-budget reboot of Sleeping Beauty.
X-Men: Days of Future Past: The latest installment of the popular Marvel franchise finds Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) going back in time to recruit his colleagues’ younger selves in order to save mankind from the evil Sentinels.
Belle: An illegitimate, mixed-race daughter (of a Navy admiral) being raised by aristocrats finds herself in a precarious social position in Victorian England. Ends July 24 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Chef: Jon Favreau returns to comedy filmmaking with this story of a well-respected chef who opens a food truck after being fired by a posh restaurateur.
Million Dollar Arm: On a mission to find the next baseball phenom in the unlikeliest of places, a sports agent (Jon Hamm) travels to India in hopes of convincing talented cricket players to play American baseball.
Neighbors: A newly relocated couple can’t enjoy their beautiful new residence after a rowdy fraternity moves in next door. Every homeowner’s worst nightmare comes true.
Journey to the South Pacific: Let the glorious scale of IMAX take you to the tropical islands of West Papua, where life under the sea is just as lush and vibrant as it is on shore. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Mysteries of the Unseen World: This amazing documentary uses high-speed and time-lapse photography to focus on things that are either too fast or two slow for the eye to see. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.