The 2013 Sundance Review Report: Day 3

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by Steve Greene
January 20, 2013 7:16 PM
3 Comments
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The Sundance Review Report rounds up each day's notable premieres, along with a sampling of their reviews and tweets from Park City, Utah. Here's the reaction to four of Saturday's films:

"Touchy Feely"
Category: U.S. Dramatic
Director: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais
Synopsis: "What happens when a family’s delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels? Abby is a free-spirited massage therapist. Her brother, Paul, an emotional zombie, owns a flagging dental practice, where he enlists the assistance of his equally emotionally stunted daughter, Jenny. Suddenly, transformation touches everyone. Abby develops an uncontrollable aversion to bodily contact, which seriously hinders her chosen profession and the passionate love life she once shared with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, rumors of Paul’s “healing touch” begin to miraculously invigorate his practice. As Abby navigates through an identity crisis, her brother discovers a whole new side of himself."

Reviews:

Sean P. MeansSalt Lake Tribune:

"This time, Shelton forces this top-notch cast tthrough situations that sound better on paper than are realized on screen."

John DeForeThe Hollywood Reporter:

"Laughs come less frequently here than in Humpday and Your Sister's Sister, but the writer/director's empathy for floundering characters is intact."

Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood:

"More intricately plotted than Shelton's last films."

Drew McWeeny, Hitfix:

"Things unfold on their own schedule, and when the film finally reaches a sort of crescendo, it isn't something you see coming."

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily:

"Her cast’s complete confidence with the material helps sell the occasionally saccharine sermonising."

Tweets:

Joey Magidson, Awards Circuit:

"'Touchy Feely' is very much a Lynn Shelton movie, but for the first time it didn't really work for me, despite nice acting all around..."

Jeff Goldsmith, Backstory:

"I loved Lynn Shelton's Humpday & Your Sister's Sister. In Touchy Feely she forgoes comedy & focuses on lost adults looking 4 love & lost me."

Katey Rich, CinemaBlend:

"TOUCHY FEELY is a huge stylistic leap for Lynn Shelton-- written script, evocative cinematography, lots of characters. Not what I expected."

Jason Bailey, Flavorwire:

"TOUCHY FEELY really blindsided me. Narratively slight but emotionally overwhelming. Shelton tops herself. #Sundance"

Sam Adams, A.V. Club:

"TOUCHY FEELY: PORTLANDIA meets CONTAGION. [mic drop]"

"The Spectacular Now"
Category: U.S. Dramatic
Directors: James Ponsoldt
Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler
Synopsis: "Sutter Keely lives in the now. It’s a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he’s never far from his supersized, whisky-fortified 7UP cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky hovering over him. Not a member of the cool crowd, she’s different: the “nice girl” who reads science fiction and doesn’t have a boyfriend. She does have dreams, while Sutter lives in a world of impressive self-delusion. And yet they’re drawn to each other."

Reviews:

Rob NelsonVariety

"Whatever formulaic elements appear in the opposites-attract scenario are mitigated by the film's philosophical underpinnings."

Rodrigo PerezThe Playlist:

"Ponsoldt’s picture is self-possessed, mature and deeply patient, but it’s perhaps not at the exact pace some audiences are accustomed to."

James RocchiMSN:

"'The Spectacular Now' is a finely-made, assured and deeply felt film that still has hope and love in it, precisely because it understands, and shows, what hope and love cost."

Matt GoldbergCollider:

"By investing in his characters and giving the actors room to flesh out their characters, Ponsoldt stops his movie from being a cautionary tale."

Todd McCarthyThe Hollywood Reporter:

"'Two Mothers' paints a picture of privileged isolation so stilted, otherworldly and ultimately impenetrable, it almost qualifies as science fiction."

Tweets:

Katey RichCinemaBlend:

"If The Spectacular Now doesn't make Miles Teller a star, nothing will. He's the standout of an already terrific movie. #Sundance"

Josh DickeyVariety

"THE SPECTACULAR NOW really popped. Throwback teen drama with a #Sundance glow but modern, naturalistic sensibility. This is a winning cast."

Peter ScirettaSlashFilm:

"Spectacular Now: Miles Teller is awesome (will be a big star) & Shaine Woodley, ya. Director of Smash nailed it, long emotional takes."

Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com

"If THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER was told from perspective of a douchebag and all-around mediocre it'd be THE SPECTACULAR NOW. #SUNDANCE"

Daniel Fienberg, Hitfix.com

"In recent Sundance terms, 'Spectacular Now' is 'The First Time' meets 'Smashed.' It zigs a lot where you expect zagging."

"After Tiller"
Category: U.S. Documentary
Directors: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson
Writers: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson, Greg O'Toole
Synopsis: "Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in 2009, only four doctors in the United States continue to perform third-trimester abortions. These physicians, all colleagues of Dr. Tiller, sacrifice their safety and personal lives in the name of their fierce, unwavering conviction to help women. But for some in the pro-life movement, these doctors are “murderers” who must be stopped."

Reviews:

Eric KohnIndiewire:

"Only once the arguments have been plainly established does the emotion truly take hold, with the doctors expressing their own reservations about their perilous task."

Daniel Fienberg, Hitfix:

"What Shane and Wilson don't do is put their fingers on the scale any more than the facts do on their own."

Kim Voynar, Movie City News:

"What the filmmakers capture beautifully, sometimes agonizingly here is that these doctors wrestle with this same quandary themselves."

Scott Renshaw, City Weekly:

"It's compelling watching the easy rhetoric that paints these doctors as “monsters” turned into the complicated reality of humans who feel themselves just as driven by their own sense of purpose."

Tweets:

Matt Cohen, The Week:

"AFTER TILLER: Compelling, often heart-wrenching look at what exactly the process of choice in "pro-choice" actually means. #Sundance"

Bryce J. Renninger, Indiewire

"AFTER TILLER, about the four working third trimester abortion docs in US. Incredibly complicated people. Incredible filmmaking. #sundance"

Ray Pride, Movie City News:

"Tender, melancholy yet emphatic advocacy doc to uphold the law of the land: AFTER TILLER. #sundance"

Eric D. Snider, Film.com

"Very impressed with AFTER TILLER. Compassionate documentary shedding light on a very sensitive issue. #sundance"

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

"Third trimester abortion could be the toughest decision anyone has ever made. After Tiller explores it thoroughly & emotionally. #Sundance"

"Two Mothers"
Category: Premieres
Directors: Anne Fontaine
Cast: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frechevile
Synopsis: "A gripping tale of love, lust, and the power of friendship, Two Mothers charts the unconventional and passionate affairs embarked upon by two lifelong friends, Lil and Roz, who fall in love with each other’s sons. Afraid of facing the ire and judgment of their insular seaside community, they continue the relationships in secret over the years. Once the affairs are discovered, the revelation threatens to tear apart their lives and those of the young men, who must eventually choose between following a well-worn path or their true desires."

Reviews:

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

"But basically, this is tasteful MILF porn."

Adam Chitwood, Collider:

"It’s refreshing to see two lead female characters that aren’t at each other’s throats or who experience a rift over boy problems, but on the other hand it’s incredibly hard to accept or connect with relationships between young boys and their surrogate mothers."

Tim GriersonScreen Daily:

"The leads make their characters strongly empathetic in an understated way, even when they seem to have ensured their own heartbreak."

Kyle Buchanan, Vulture:

"I had just come from watching the best movie and the worst movie. In fact, they were the same movie. It's called Two Mothers and it's imperative that you close all your other browser windows and memorize everything I tell you about it, because it is a doozy."

Justin Chang, Variety:

"'Two Mothers' paints a picture of privileged isolation so stilted, otherworldly and ultimately impenetrable, it almost qualifies as science fiction."

Tweets:

Germain Lussier, SlashFilm:

"Two Mothers is a refreshing, honest & surprisingly beautiful drama. A bittersweet take on life, love & relationships. Great stuff. #sundance"

Kyle Smith, New York Post

"#sundance.....middle aged women's sex fantasy Two Mothers drew gales of laughs. Alas, not a comedy. Sorry Naomi Watts, Robin Wright."

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap:

"Two Mothers: the kind of sun-baked arthouse sex flick that used to star Laura Antonelli. Lots of inappropriate snickers at #Sundance preem."

Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com

"Most unintentional laughter I have heard at a public screening in a long time. #Twomothers #sundance2013"

Click Below to Read More Sundance Reviews and Tweets Of:

"Crystal Fairy"
"May in the Summer"
"Twenty Feet From Stardom"
"Who Is Dayani Cristal?"
"
Austenland"
"Escape from Tomorrow"
"Kill Your Darlings"
"Don Jon's Addiction"

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3 Comments

  • Christina Dunigan | February 9, 2013 4:18 AMReply

    "Deaths from hemorrhage associated with legal induced abortion should not occur." In every hemorrhage death the Centers for Disease Control investigated, "Lack of adequate postoperative monitoring or treatment of hemorrhagic shock" was a factor. The CDC's article noted, "Deaths from hemorrhage can be eliminated by preventing uterine trauma during abortion and by rapidly diagnosing and treating hemorrhage if it occurs."

    Medicine has advanced since that study was published in 1983. So what did "After Tiller" hero LeRoy Carhart do that allowed a 29-year-old abortion patient to bleed to death on February 7?

  • areacode212 | January 21, 2013 7:24 PMReply

    Jada Yuen described Two Mothers as being "deeply hot", so...I'm sold.

  • Arch | January 21, 2013 7:13 AMReply

    I gotta admit that my RSS streams are literally flooded these days. So even though it may sound kinda lazy: I love these reports of yours. Keep em coming.

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