Touchy Feely - Review
I was lucky enough to be the first ticket holder in line to attend the premier for Touchy Feely. I have been anxious to see it for a long time same with “The East”. Touchy Feely is premiered at the Eccles Theatre in Park City, UT at 12:00 PM on January 19, 2013. The director of Sundance introduces the film and Lynn Shelton onto the stage as she gives a little intro about the film.
Rosemarie Dewitt -- Abby [Paul’s sister and Jenny’s aunt]
Ellen Page -- Jenny [Paul’s daughter]
Josh Pais -- Paul [ Dentist/Jenny’s father ]
Allison Janney -- Bronwyn [Abby’s masseuse/therapist/friend]
Tomo Nakayama -- Henry [First patient/singer ]
Scoot Mcnairy -- (no character name given) [Abby’s boyfriend]
Ellen Page’s character (Jenny) starts off in the beginning of the scene looking very gloomy, lonely and continues to look that way throughout the entire film. Paul (Josh Pais) who plays Jenny’s father is blinded by his daughter’s livelihood which seems to be dismal by being his assistant at his dental clinic. Jenny is happy when it comes to cooking that in fact she insists in making the best homemade calzone for the man she crushes on who happens to be her aunt’s boyfriend (Scoot McNairy).
Jenny and Paul have the sweetest father/daughter relationship, yet they both have something in common, they are both lost. Paul and Jenny are not used to more than two patients a day until Jenny invites her good friend Henry (Tomo Nakayama) for a free cleansing. He complains about experiencing some pain and just by a touch from Paul he is magically cured. Thinking maybe that was out of the blue, Henry refers many of his friends and family to go to Paul’s dentistry to see him cure more people. Henry praises Jenny and Paul constantly for curing his pain after suffering for two years, which kept him from singing. Soon Paul and Jenny see there is a huge waiting line for patients to see the dentist to get “cured”.
Jenny is striving to be a chef in the future and in fact, she fills out plenty of Culinary College Applications, but does not send them out, due to money shortage and the fear of having to leave her father behind. Abby’s (Rosemarie Dewitt) character on the other hand brings more confusion to the film but at the same time she is rather intriguing. Abby plays a masseuse who all of a sudden gets scared of commitment when asked to move in with her boyfriend. She begins to feel strange about skin and isn’t able to touch him or anyone else. Abby goes to her personal masseuse, Bronwyn (Allison Janney) this hippy, bubbly friend who advises Abby to take Ecstasy to relieve some stress. Abby is a mother figure to Jenny and encourages her to explore the world, but Jenny refuses. Henry meets with Jenny to give her debut tickets to see him perform live after 2 years, along with a gift that puts the only smile on her face during the film. Henry performs an amazing song, playing guitar where you see the emotion in each of the character’s faces. Tomo Nakayama (Henry) brought great attention during the Q&A session at Sundance where audience members were dying to find out where his song can be downloaded. Henry is from Washington, where Lynn Shelton had first heard him play in a café and casted him immediately.
The movie was sweet, and caring, but at the same time the ending was a little ‘lost’. It ended with a lot of unanswered questions, but during the Q&A Lynn Shelton pointed out that she purposely left it ‘mysterious’ so that the audience could speculate what would happen next ... I guess they can imagine their own ending for this film? I was lucky enough to ask Ellen a question that was recommended by Domink Keppner the author/designer of the EPO website since I was too nervous to think of one myself.
Q: This is for Ellen Page, I know you play a dentist’s assistant ... I’m wondering how scared you are from the dentist in real life?
A: I can’t say I’m particularly afraid of the dentist. I’d say I’m neutral about the dentist. I wouldn’t say there was some sort of incredible excitement (Laughter) about going to the dentist. But I guess I’m not afraid. But I’d say it’s like a fair neutral. It's like you know how I am about needles it's also like a neutral ... like a neutral zone. (Laughter)
The East - Review
The ticketholder line for The East was so long! Sundancers were ready to see this Eco thriller that Zal has been teasing us about and finally the day had come! The East premiered at the Eccles Theatre in Park City, UT at 3:30 PM on January 20, 2013. Zal gave a small intro before showing his film as we all waited anxiously on the edge of our seats.
Brit Marling - Sarah [Detective Spy]
Ellen Page - Izzy [The East member/Benji’s lover]
Alexander Skarsgard -- Benji [The East leader/ Izzy’s lover]
Wilbur Fitzgerald -- Robert McCabe [Leader of community/The East’s target]
The film starts off with a bang as Izzy (Ellen Page) narrates what sounds like the ritual that her anarchist gang follows ... which goes something like this:
"We don’t care how rich you are...We want all those who are guilty to experience the terror of their crime ... it’s easy when it’s not your life ... easy when it’s not your home but when it’s your fault, it shouldn’t be so easy to sleep at night especially when we’ll know where you live. Lie to us, we’ll lie to you. Spy on us, we’ll spy on you. Poison us, we’ll poison you. We are The East". While Izzy chants this ritual, the opening scene is a bit daunting with synchronized images of a house being broken into and ultimately destroyed by oil being dumped in its living room along with the shattering of windows etc. by The East. The film continues with scenes of damage being done to the community as well; such as pharmaceuticals generating poisoned pills that are sold to the country which are ultimately killing people. Robert McCabe (Wilbur Fitzgerald) is stated as a leader in the community who’s at fault for throwing bad water, and oil spills into the lakes/rivers killing their animals and poisoning the community. Sarah (Brit Marling) who is one of the writers of the film and lead actress plays a young detective who yearns to go undercover and finds out who this gang of terrorists really are. As an audience member you feel for "The East" and want to side with them but at the same time they are secretly committing heinous crimes by going after anyone involved in the area of production.
Brit Marling gets the chance to spy on them and reports to her boss. She lies to her boyfriend about going to Dubai when really she is going a few blocks away into the wilderness to be with The East. Benji (Alex Skarsgard) plays the main leader who oversees all of the group’s decisions. The East has their own way of life, by living in a dark cabin away from society, yet they still manage to have human recreation with one another. Ellen (Izzy) who happens to be Benji’s lover comes off very cold towards Sarah and wants nothing to do with her. One of the most talked about scenes after the film was when Izzy meets Sarah in a closed room and asks her to wear a white straight jacket otherwise she couldn’t have dinner. Sarah looking rather puzzled does as Izzy desires, and proceeds to the dining room where everyone is staring at her. Benji asks her to begin eating. As an audience member, this kept me at the edge of my seat wondering what the heck she is going to do next! And I found myself asking myself: how can someone eat with their arms strapped with a huge wooden spoon and a bowl on the table?! It’s not possible; unless you attempt to eat like a dog. And that’s exactly what Sarah did. She began to stuff her head in the bowl because she was unable to maneuver her arms. She stops and then Benji gives the cue for the rest of the gang to dine. You begin to see everything unfold so beautifully with every other person picking up the wooden spoon with their mouth scooping the food and then feeding it to the next person, in an impressively systematized fashion. It brought to my attention that Ellen’s character was a mix of Hard Candy with a touch of Super except she never smiled or laughed. She was very fierce, a fighter, and extremely demanding all because she is heartbroken by what McCabe has done to their land.
The East has "Jams" which means attack. They plan out who has done what and appear innocent only as a means to poison/hurt the people involved. One of the jaw dropping jams was when Ellen is looking drop dead gorgeous in a dark blue dress to have "dinner" with her father who she hasn’t seen in years. Meanwhile the rest of her crew is keeping an eye on her and the father for what they have planned next. Overall this movie was so amazing! It had a great flow, each scene had its own unique intensity, and nothing was tedious. Ellen as always did a great performance as well as the other cast mates.