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The fine track record that Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton had established with “Humpday” and “Your Sister’s Sister” met a speed bump “Touchy Feely,” which attracted mixed reviews. (Here's Toh's interview with Shelton and star Rosemarie DeWitt.) Her latest title “Laggies" was scooped up by A24 at Sundance and marks a return to form. Significantly, "Laggies" is the first Shelton film based on someone else's writing, in this case Andrea Siegel. No question Sam Rockwell marks an improvement over originally cast Paul Rudd, while Keira Knightley eventually replaced Rebecca Hall. Check out the first trailer, which showcases another mix of fish-out-of-water tropes and angst-ridden adults. Megan, 28, (Keira Knightley) enjoys hanging out with Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), 16, who she meets outside her old high school at a class reunion gone wrong. After her boring boyfriend (Marc Webber) proposes, Megan escapes from her life by shacking »
- Anne Thompson and Nick Newman
For some people, the term “mid-life” crisis conjures visions of blokes with bad comb-overs ditching long-suffering wives for pneumatic new models and buying sports cars. But life crises can happen at any time, as Keira Knightley’s Megan learns in Lynn Shelton’s new film Laggies. Megan would appear to be a carefree young woman on the cusp of 30 with her life in good order. She has a devoted boyfriend in Anthony (Mark Webber) who is ready to propose. But Megan’s suddenly panicked that this is everything her life will ever be, and runs off.She ends up hanging out with teenager Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her single dad Craig (Sam Rockwell). Soon, Megan’s experiencing her youth once again, even if that does include making out with Craig. Then there’s her friend Allison (Ellie Kemper) who disapproves of Megan’s new lifestyle…Shelton, the director of Humpday, »
Dumb, pointless, unentertaining crap. But at least it’s about women. Yay? Nah. I’m “biast” (pro): love Melissa McCarthy…
I’m “biast” (con): …but despair that she will ever get a film worthy of her talent
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Well, it’s a step in the right direction. I suppose. A tiny one.
There are a lot of women onscreen in Tammy. In the same way that most movies feature a ton of men onscreen doing stupid shit for an hour and half with only occasional interruptions from women. That’s what Tammy is. It’s dumb, pointless, unentertaining crap. But at least it’s about women.
What does Tammy (Melissa McCarthy: The Heat, The Hangover Part III) want? She’s the central character of this aimless collection of random, supposedly comedic setpieces, and we have no idea who she is. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
With its time-twisting plot, sci-fi soapiness, powerful humanism, and to-die-for cast, this is the summer blockbuster done with elegance and heart. I’m “biast” (pro): love most of the previous films in the series
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
It is a nasty future we open on, in this I’ve-lost-count-how-many-th X-Men flick: dark postapocalyptic skies and ruined cities left in the wake of the ongoing genocide of mutants and humans by robot Sentinels. The sci-fi Judgment Day has come and the Terminators aren’t even bothering to imprison survivors in the Matrix (they’re not leaving survivors, it seems). And I have to wonder, Was Days of Future Past inspired and informed by the machine apocalypses of 80s and 90s flicks? Or were those flicks inspired and informed by old 70s X-Men comics? Is it both realities simultaneously? »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Lynn Shelton’s fifth feature film Touchy Feely opens in UK theatres this weekend, and HeyUGuys had the opportunity to delve into the mind of the writer-director to discuss a film with an intriguing emotional and physical premise at its heart.
Our discussion charted her discovery of cinema which featured a healthy dose of classic American and French film, her long journey to feature filmmaking that saw a collision of the artist with her art, film as a means to express the human experience, and the motivations that lie behind Touchy Feely.
Looking back, how did your discovery of cinema unfold?
My parents introduced me to the films of Woody Allen and the French New Wave. My mom’s favourite film is Jules et Jim, which I first saw at a young age. But I also remember her taking me to see Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player. One of »
- Paul Risker
Considering it's a movie about nuclear-enhanced, city-trashing monsters, there's a conviction to this reboot that most disaster epics lack both in the relatively logical plot and the carefully detailed tableaux of mass devastation drawing on recent real-life disasters as well as movie lore. The human scale suffers as a consequence (the actors have less character than the creatures) but in pursuit of true epic-ness, that's a price worth paying.
Continue reading »
- Steve Rose
A likeable cast and competent director can't quite make this story about sad people being sad any more entertaining...
Lynn Shelton's previous works – Humpday, My Sister's Sister - may have dallied in your local arthouse cinema, but her latest effort didn't make the same sort of dent as these when released in America last year. It has in its favour a respectable cast full of people you like watching (Ellen Page, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, the voice of Raphael in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Josh Pais), but despite the wealth of talent involved Touchy Feely fundamentally fails to engage.
My Sister's Sister's Rosemary DeWitt stars as Abby, a massage therapist who develops and aversion to human contact. What follows is ninety minutes of depressed and repressed people slowly failing to talk about what's bothering them. It's well acted – presumably when the performances are uniformly restrained this has been »
Touchy Feely, 2013.
Written and Directed by Lynn Shelton.
A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s floundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch.
Apparently the availability of healing hands is limited to one set per household. Writer/Director Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister), now almost notorious for her access to a stable of respected stars that really really want to make independent cinema, ploughs these connections to the hilt for her follow-up, Touchy Feely, a feature of 2013′s Sundance Festival which is now finally reaching our very own big, albeit limited, screens this weekend.
And looking at the line-up of featured players, you can almost feel the weight of Shelton’s »
- Gary Collinson
Lynn Shelton's tale of a masseuse who develops an aversion to skin is acted with touching authenticity
Director Lynn Shelton's two previous features, Humpday and Your Sister's Sister, are the kind of smarthouse low-budget films that bridge the gap between mumblecore noodlings and School of Judd Apatow comedies. Her third, Touchy Feely, although often amusing and well-observed as ever, finds her in a more sombre mood as she explores touch as a metaphor for emotional contact. Shelton-regular Rosemarie DeWitt plays Abby, a massage therapist who suddenly develops an aversion to human skin, an obvious manifestation (though not to her) of her anxieties about moving in with her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy). Meanwhile, Abby's uptight dentist brother, Paul (Josh Pais), seems to have developed miraculous healing powers that fill his waiting room with patients, but he struggles to accept the adult needs of his daughter, Jenny (Ellen Page). The semi-improvised »
- Leslie Felperin
★★☆☆☆In Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely (2013), a massage therapist and holistics enthusiast finds herself developing a mysterious aversion to bodily contact. Eschewing the narrative intensity of the mumblecore sub-genre in favour of a more corporeal approach, Shelton's latest attempts to elevate her middle-class narrative into something more transcendent and less conceptually defined. Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) has found herself at a crossroads in her life. Business is booming but she's unsure whether or not she should move in with her new boyfriend, Jesse (Scott McNairy). Her brother Paul (Josh Pais), a dentist, invites her to live in their parent's old house with him and his aimless daughter, Jenny (Ellen Page).
- CineVue UK
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
new to stream
Easy Money (Snabba cash): a smart, affecting, slow burn of a movie, a spectacular example of Nordic noir [my review] [at Netflix] Nothing But the Truth: flawed but earnest and honest journalism drama, with a great performance by Kate Beckinsale [my review] [at Netflix]
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
Tim’s Vermeer: must-see, chills-inducing documentary looks at the intersections of art, craft, and technology [at Amazon UK Instant Video] The Wolf of Wall Street: a debauched end-of-empire horror story disguised as an outrageous comedy, with remarkable performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill [my review] [at Amazon UK Instant Video]
new to Prime
Chronicle: the superhero origin story in its purest form, stripped of all the pulp and all the camp that has accreted around the genre [my review] [at Amazon UK Instant Video] The Descendants: the meaning of life, via Alexander Payne and George Clooney: funny and brutal, crazy and »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Andrea Seigel
U.S. Distributor: A24
Her characters wear their emotions on their sleeves and normally, she is a wearer of many hats, but for this time out, mayoress of the Seattleites Lynn Shelton worked from a screenplay that is not her own and yet, according to the critical response at Sundance, we find much of the same charisma and tone in previous comedic items such as Touchy Feely , Your Sister’s Sistere and Humpday.
Gist: Written by Andrea Seigel, a young woman Megan (Keira Knightley) reacts to her boyfriend’s (Mark Webber) marriage proposal by pretending to go on a business retreat but she actually hangs out with a new 16-year old friend Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz »
- Eric Lavallee
Since her breakout film “Humpday” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival five years ago, writer/director Lynn Shelton has been one of the hardest-working women in the business. In addition to her last two features—“Your Sister’s Sister” and “Touchy Feely”—she has also directed episodes of “New Girl” and “Mad Men.” Her films are complex and touching explorations of human relationships and, until now, they have mostly been improvisational works developed with talented ensembles of actors (read our review here). In her latest film “Laggies,” which premiered last week at the Sundance, Shelton switches gears, working from another person’s script for the first time—without most of her standard improvisation—on a much higher budget (“I broke the million-dollar mark, by quite a lot!”), and with a bigger cast of characters, many of them A-list. The result is a polished and unique rom-com about a young woman (Keira Knightley, »
- Kristin McCracken
Directed by Lynn Shelton
Written by Andrea Seigel
Keira Knightley stars in the new movie by director Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister) that seeks to reason why a young woman hasn’t grown up yet. It’s a film about hesitancy and not knowing exactly what you need to achieve happiness. Swimming upstream of what everyone else wants for her, the lead character experiences a sea change and begins to buck other people’s advice. Laggies is a stimulating film that deals with individualism and perhaps relies too much on buoying a woman’s true identity with romantic interest but still succeeds in introducing a female character who dares to break away from expectation to do what she wants, even if she hasn’t a clue what that may be.
Sign-spinning for her father, »
- Lane Scarberry
Five days into the festival, Scott Davis has a look at some of the early Us films garnering both praise and distributors at the famous festival, and what to look out for in 2014.…
It’s Sundance time again in the Us. 30 years since it’s inception by screen legend Robert Redford, Sundance has been responsible for helping the indie scene from across the globe get exposure and on their way into the public domain. Last year, it helped films find distributors, such as The Way, Way Back, Prince Avalanche, Don Jon, Fruitvale Station and The Spectacular Now (the latter two still to see releases in the UK.) This year is no different, and the line-up has the potential to be one of the best it has seen. Five days into proceedings, and many films have already worked up some steam, some finding distributors, others still to be picked up. Below »
- Gary Collinson
So far, the Sundance Film Festival is only a couple days in but there have been a number of big buzz movies and one that had everyone excited sight unseen is the latest comedy from Lynn Shelton, Laggies , starring Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell and Chloe Moretz. After generally positive reactions following its premiere on Friday night, the distributors are circling and fledgling distributor A24 has stepped up to join the bidding war to distribute the film. This is Shelton's third year in a row at Sundance, having brought her previous movie Touchy Feely there last year and My Sister's Sister , starring Emily Blunt, RoseMarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass a year earlier. In Laggies , Knightley (who also made waves at Toronto with Can A Song Save Your Life? plays a 28-year-old »
Since making her Sundance debut with "Humpday" in 2009, writer-director Lynn Shelton's steady output of work has accumulated into a distinctive brand. Always set in and around Seattle and starring either Mark Duplass ("Humpday") or Rosemary Dewitt ("Touchy Feely")—or, at her best, both of them ("Your Sister's Sister")—Shelton's films are distinguished by their improvisational style and a tone that lies somewhere between laid back and extremely uncomfortable. Her latest film, "Laggies," marks the first time she’s directed a film whose script she didn't personally pen. Although the story by Andrea Seigel is more tightly constructed (and much more neatly wrapped up) than Shelton's own improvised scripts, the story of arrested development in extremis fits neatly into the director's oeuvre. The grainy high school prom video that accompanies the film's opening credits establishes from the outset the extent to which Keira Knightley's Megan is stuck in her own past. »
- Emma Myers
Park City - Lynn Shelton has brought four of her films to Sundance, and I've been here for all four of them. Before now, "Your Sister's Sister" was my favorite of her films, while last year's "Touchy Feely" was the one with the most problems. She has rebounded in fine form with "Laggies," the first film she's directed from a script someone else wrote, and I suspect she's looking at her first possible cross-over hit here, due in part to the winning ensemble she put together. Andrea Seigel's script is one of those tricky pieces of screenwriting where the wrong tone »
- Drew McWeeny
Lynn Shelton is a Sundance veteran. Her film Humpday debuted at the annual Park City festival in 2009; last year her story about an anxious massage therapist, Touchy Feely with Ellen Page, made a splash in a year with more female directors than ever at the fest. She returns to Sundance this week with a movie that has a similar sensibility as her previous efforts, but with one big difference: “I’ve never directed a film I didn’t write, and this came to me from an outside source,” Shelton tells EW. “It was an interesting process working with a script »
- Laura Hertzfeld
Before the deal making gets underway at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, here is a review of how the films from last year’s festival fared at the box office. VOD receipts aren’t part of this, and I will add those I get. But you can see that buyers might not want to let the thin air here get the best of them. Sundance 2013 Acquisitions and Box Office Title Distributor-Buyer Rights Type Acquisition (or M.G.) * Domestic B.O. * Don Jon+ Relativity U.S. 4 24.5 The Way, Way Back Fox Searchlight Domestic, some territories 10 21.5 Jobs+ Open Road service deal – 16.1 Fruitvale Station Weinstein English Speaking 2+ 16.1 Before Midnight Sony Classics Domestic and U.K. mid seven figures 8.1 The Spectacular Now A24 Domestic – 6.9 20 Feet From Stardom Radius TWC Domestic low seven figures 4.8 In a World… Roadside Attractions/Sony Wwide U.S../Intl. – 3.0 The Kings of Summer (aka Toy’s House) CBS/Qed domestic/Intl. »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
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