Megan (Keira Knightley) is 28-years-old and she still hasn't got any sort of long term plan for her future. She earns a living as a sign flipper at her dad's business and is still dating her boyfriend Anthony (Mark Webber) from high school. After attending a school reunion, the realisation that her life appears to be at a standstill grows in intensity when he tries to propose marriage. After escaping the party, she bumps into Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz); a 16-year-old girl trying to find someone whose willing to buy them alcohol. She decides to stick around with her and moves in with her for a week to clear her head after lying to her boyfriend about business trip. Annika's father Craig (Sam Rockwell) makes his reservations about a woman in her late twenties hanging out with his teenage daughter known, but soon warms to her as a spark ignites between them.
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After a couple of gimmicky transgressive comedies (Humpday and Your Sister's Sister), writer-director Lynn Shelton takes a more observant approach this time. So even if, as before, the script never quite fills in the gaps in the story, it at least knowingly recreates relational awkwardness in a remarkably sensitive way. And the characters are almost eerily easy to identify with.
The centre of the story is Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), who is debating whether she should move in with her rebound boyfriend (Scoot McNairy). This sparks her to think about her whole life, and she ends up recoiling at the idea of touching human flesh. Which is a problem since she's a massage therapist. By contrast, her dentist brother Paul (Josh Pais) believes he might have the ability to heal his patients, so he consults Abby's reiki-practitioner colleague (Alison Janney) for advice. Meanwhile, Paul's daughter Jenny (Ellen Page) is terrified to tell her father that she hates working as his assistant. And she's even more afraid to admit that she has a crush on her aunt's boyfriend.
Along the way, Abby, Paul and Jenny are all pushed into a turning point in their lives by an unexpected change in circumstances, which of course feels a bit contrived. But the film's real strength is in the messy connection between family members who have issues with themselves and each other, all of which are expressed through clumsy conversations and uncomfortable physicality. As insecure siblings, DeWitt and Pais are terrific in complex roles that draw on the actors' nervous energy. But only Pais and McNairy are genuinely likeable: men who haven't a clue what to do. By contrast, the always terrific Page and Janney have much less-developed roles.
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For this low-key comedy-drama, writer-director David Gordon Green harks back to the quirky charms of his 2003 gem All the Real Girls (rather than the overt silliness of Pineapple Express or The Sitter). This is an astute story about two men who are begrudgingly forced to look at the truth about themselves while isolated from the rest of society. It's a simple idea, beautifully shot and acted.
Set in 1988, the story centres on Alvin (Rudd), who hires his girlfriend's brother Lance (Hirsch) to work with him one summer repairing a rural stretch of Texas highway that was damaged by wildfires. These two guys have nothing in common, but share a tent as they move along the road and work through their private issues. Lance just wants someone to love, and is annoyed that he can't get a girl during weekend trips to town. And Alvin is so devoted to his girlfriend that her break-up letter comes as a deep shock. So now there's nothing really holding these two guys together aside from their pathetic loneliness.
Both Rudd and Hirsch give offhanded, natural performances that play up the comical clashes between them while hinting at much darker issues gurgling beneath the surface. Neither is very good at striking up a conversation, and their awkward interaction is both hilarious and realistically messy. But they don't have many other people to talk to. Although there's a trucker (LeGault) who provides a super-strong homemade hooch, and they have a haunting encounter with a woman (Payne) who lost everything in the fire.
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Alvin is a pretty serious highway worker who's on a long summer job to repaint the road lines on a country highway after wildfire burnt them out. He is accompanied by his girlfriend's peculiar and very unworldly brother Lance, who he finds difficult and immensely frustrating to work with and who he doesn't believe is intellectually capable of doing the job. As the weekend approaches, Alvin decides he wants some quiet time to enjoy the scenery, though with the atmosphere between him and Lance growing steadily sourer, it proves more difficult by the day. After a few impolite tiffs and aggressive exchanges, they start to nurse an unlikely friendship as their camping trip away from the city ignites a brotherly bond between them.
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It's unlikely to win many major awards, though 'Touchy Feely' is likely to be a perfectly watchable indie flick.
The trailer for Touchy Feeling, the new indie-flick written and directed by Humpday's Lynn Shelton, has rolled out online. It stars Rosemarie DeWitt as Abby, a well-respected massage therapist who lives life to the fullest, while her quiet brother Paul struggles with his angst-ridden teenage daughter, played by Ellen Page.
Things get a little complicated when Abby's boyfriend offers her a home at his place and things go from bad to worse when she finds herself unable to face a new client having developed a phobia of skin-to-skin contact. Oh, and Abby's niece develops a crush on her boyfriend and attempts to seduce him. OH NO SHE DIDN'T.
Meanwhile, brother Paul's life begins to turn around when a patient claims his healing hands cured his toothache. Suddenly, his waiting room is packed, though can his newfound 'magic touch' help his sister Abby regain the fun in her life?
Abby is a particularly well-rated massage therapist who enjoys living life to the fullest while her quiet and correct brother Paul is the opposite with his failing dental practise and an awkward teenage daughter to look after. Abby needs a new place to live and when her boyfriend offers her a home at his place, things start to get complicated for her. On a regular day at work, she finds herself unable to face her new client having developed a phobia of skin-to-skin contact which not only puts her career in the gutter, but also drastically affects her relationship with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, her niece Jenny develops a crush on him and attempts to seduce him despite his love for Abby. Paul's life has also taken a dramatic change after a patient claimed that Paul's healing hands cured his toothache, leading to a much fuller waiting room at his surgery. But will his new found magic touch help Abby regain her life back?
'Touchy Feely' is the hearting-tugging drama about the unpredictability of our futures and the importance of family support. Directed and written by Lynn Shelton ('My Effortless Brilliance', Humpday', 'Your Sister's Sister'), it's a movie that will see a few laughs, a few sighs and definitely a few tears.
A year after his brother's death, Jack (Duplass) has become best friends with his brother's ex Iris (Blunt), who suggests that he take some time out in her father's island cabin outside Seattle. When he arrives, Iris' sister Hannah (DeWitt) is there, nursing her pain from the breakup of a long-term relationship. After a few drinks they end up in bed, which is a problem for two reasons: Hannah is a lesbian who wants a baby, and Iris arrives the next day to tell her sister that she's in love with Jack.
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Ben and Anna (Duplass and Demore) are a happy couple trying to get pregnant when Ben's globe-hopping university buddy Andrew (Leonard) turns up for a visit. The two guys go to a raucous dinner party where they drunkenly decide to make a porn film for an upcoming festival. The hitch is that they will star in it as straight best friends having sex in the name of art. The next morning they begin to realise how stupid this is, but neither of them is willing to back down. And then Anna finds out.
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Nights and Weekends removes practically all surrounding environment for its characters except two giant constructs: distance and time. Swanberg and Gerwig play James and Mattie, a young couple trying to make their romance work though he lives in Chicago, she in New York. Our introduction to this pair is remarkably efficient: With a single, fixed shot, James and Mattie enter an apartment and, without getting five feet past the door, breathlessly remove each other's clothing, small suitcase in the corner. No dialogue, but we get it.
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