Monday, September 30, 2013


"Blood Brother" was nothing like what I predicted it would be.  The title made me picture violence and brutality.  It sounded angry.  It was none of those things.  "Blood Brother" turned out to be a true story about a remarkably typical young man, Rocky Braat, who leaves everything and everyone he knows in the US to travel to a remote part of India.  It is here that he visits an orphanage and finds a place where he is needed.  With these new connections, Rocky carries out extraordinary acts of love and courage.

Rocky's story is similar to many other twenty-somethings.  He is looking for more in life.  He is unsettled.  But this is where Rocky's story diverges from most.  He travels to India and decides to stay.  His best friend from design school, Steve Hoover, listens to Rocky's adventures and can't quite comprehend why his best friend would give up all he had to live in rat infested housing with no running water, and care for mothers and children diagnosed with HIV.  In order to better understand Rocky, Steve visits this desolate and isolated community.  Through Steve's eyes and commentary, we learn more about Rocky, his past, as well as what draws him to these children and families.

"Blood Brother" is a story of faith, hope, and love.  It is a story of how one person can make a difference.  The children are just that...children.  They happen to be sick and ostracized from the schools and community.  They live in less than appealing conditions, but with Rocky's love and guidance, these children continue to be happy and full of hope.  Rocky isn't perfect.  He's human.  He's not the magical cure for AIDS.  But he is what this Indian village needs.  Rocky candidly expresses his ups and downs, his fears, and his emotional attachment to everyone.  We see him flail when he returns to the US.  And we see him thrive in deplorable conditions back in India.

Although many of us can't be Rocky, we can have our eyes opened to what is happening half way across the world.  Children are children wherever they live.  It is through their hope and love of life that perhaps we can better see.  Rocky is a gift to these children and they, in turn are his gift.  He has found his home and his future.

For more information about helping Rocky and these children, go to Blood Brother Film

Click on the link below for a trailer of this film:

Blood Brother Trailer

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Please check back for a full review, but suffice it to say this film is worth going to see!  It'll appeal to the 40-somethings.  It'll make moms who just sent their daughters off to their freshman year of college cry.  It's funny, smart, clever, and entertaining.  GO SEE THIS ONE!

Friday, September 27, 2013

DON JON'S ADDICTION by Pamela Powell

Here's the quickie on this one.  Jonny aka Don Jon for his way with hooking up with a different woman whenever he wants, finds a woman he falls madly for, but she will have nothing to do with his porn addiction.  You see, Jonny finds porn more appealing than "pussy" as they stated in the movie.  Yes, there's a lot of nudity in this film.  What did you expect?  Yes, there's a lot of sex.  Again, what did you expect?  But  there's also a story-line here that weaves it all together from point A to point Z, all the while capturing your every (and I mean EVERY) sense.

Johnny, his family, and his friends are all punctuated caricatures of what outsiders might consider to be the typical New Jersey Italians (please pronounce that EYEtalians...I'm from NY.  I can say that.)  But this exaggeration of voice, speech, and attitude make everyone in the film an interesting character.  The intertwining of religion and the hypocrisy of it in the film was ironic, but comical.  Johnny has some growing up to do and a woman is just the one to help him do that.

"Don Jon" as its name has been changed to (not to protect the innocent) looks at a very real industry in modern life.  Porn.  On-line porn.  It's a huge business which means there's a growing market.  "Don Jon"captures society's view on this industry, but takes it one step further and looks at the psychology behind it.  This is a daring and interesting attempt using the topic of porn and trying to entertain a more mainstream audience.  It succeeds.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt nails the role as well as the writing and directing.  "Don Jon" is Gordon-Levitt's first attempt with writing and directing a full-length feature and with the success of this one, I'm sure there will be more to come.  Scarlett Johansson is the epitome of the sexy, manipulative dame who uses her assets to her benefit in provocative ways.  It was fun seeing Tony Danza as Jonny's dad.  Again, the Italian (you know how to pronounce it now) father who rules the roost, or so he thinks, brings the level of anxiety and stress around family functions to a whole new level.  Julianne Moore, although probably twice Gordon-Levitt's age, plays her role with depth and believability.  She has really taken on some fun roles as of late!  (The English Teacher, The Kids Are All Right) In addition, there's really quite a bit of humor in this film as well.  For example, Don Jon's OCD personality with cleaning and cleaning products was hilarious as he counted the virtues of the Swiffer.  (I know!  I completely agree!)

So much for the quickie.  Longer is better anyway, right?  If you aren't offended by porn and are aware of what is out there in today's society, take a look at this film.  It's creative and provocative, yet tells a very interesting and touching story.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

RUSH TRULY IS ONE by Pamela Powell

“Rush” captures the true story of two Formula One race car drivers, Niki Lauda and James Hunt, during the mid 1970’s.  This was a time in racing when cars were described as “bombs on wheels.”  Safety was not first and foremost, but speed and winning were.  Niki Lauda, posed to be the world champion, made one wrong choice.  He raced on a wet and dangerous track consequently resulting in a devastating crash that would change his life.  The world now awaited the final race between the two drivers to determine the true champion. This isn’t just a story about racing; it’s a story about integrity and motivation.  Everyone truly is “driven by something” and James Hunt and Niki Lauda find out what their driving force is.

From the beginning of the film, we know that there is a brutal and horrific crash, disfiguring Lauda.  We also know that the two race car drivers are destined to have a final race.  For racing fans, you know the result.  For the rest of you, it’s still a story to unfold.  The final race isn’t what the film is about, though.  The movie then takes you back six years before the crash to give you an in-depth look at each of the racers and who they truly are.  These two men couldn’t have been any more different.  Hunt, the handsome and charismatic British playboy who lived fast in all aspects of his life on and off the track, clashed directly with Lauda, an Austrian with determination, rigorous discipline, focus and unfaltering ambition.  With the two opposing personalities comes entertainment as fans love to see the competition and antagonistic behavior.  Both drivers had the same goal, but they both struggled tremendously with how to attain that goal.    

“Rush” is an adrenaline producing film. You don’t have to be a race fan to find yourself clenching your teeth at every bend in the road as the tires screech and the vehicles careen out of control.  Your feet will attempt to hit the brakes, but it’s no use.  The story’s speed and intensity bring you along for this fast paced film so put on your seat belts.  With Lauda’s pompous and unlovable personality and Hunt’s love of living life to its fullest, the constant opposition is enjoyable.  Each driver’s disposition and makeup is clearly defined enabling you to have empathy for both of them, even though they are both quite obviously flawed, yet lovable.

Hemsworth is the star of this film with his engaging smile, confidence, and fun-to-be-a-bad-boy attitude.  He is a true presence on the screen, dwarfing anyone around him.  Daniel Bruhl looking uncannily similar to the real-life Lauda,  plays him with expert precision.  He’s pompous attitude and unemotional portrayal as an outcast shows that he just can’t play well with others.---he has no edit mode and he doesn’t care, yet there’s more to him.  This is where Ron Howard’s directing ability comes into play.  You see so much more to this man.  You root for him as much as you root for Hunt.  Two polar opposite men, but both with qualities you admire.  

Given that “Rush” is based on a true story, it becomes an even more intriguing one.  Formula One racing is not for the faint of heart.  Back in the 70’s, you had a 20% chance of not coming out of the race alive.  “Rush” captures that reality and triumphantly tells a remarkable story about two men---two very different men who had the same goal.  What motivates each of them to reach that goal changes throughout the film and you see how that in turn changes who they are.  You don’t have to be a race fan to enjoy this film.  You just need to enjoy a sincere story capitalizing on heart, determination, and drive.  This 123 minute film will fly by faster than a Ferrari or McLaren at Watkins Glen.  With the graphic injuries, sex, and nudity, I would recommend paying heed to the R rating. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


The 49th Chicago International Film Festival begins October 10th and runs through October 24 in the heart of the beautiful Windy City.  Don't wait to get your tickets as this year's lineup is amazing and tickets will go fast!  You can browse the catalog of films online at or take a look at Reel Honest Reviews' recommendations!  Here they are:

*12 Years a Slave
*August: Osage County
*The Harvest
*Le Weekend
*The Book Thief
*Breath In (see review)
*The Fifth Estate
*Blue Ruin
*The Miracle
*Life Feels Good
*The Major
*Alan Partridge

*Bread and Tulips
*La Jaula de Oro
*Just a Sigh
*Memories They Told Me

*A Motel Life
*Of Good Report
*The Priest's Children
*The Verdict
*Wild Duck

Then there are the wonderful shorts which sometimes turn out to be my favorites at festivals!  So don't miss out on those!

I'll be giving you updates on the festival and my recommendations so please check back!  This should get you started in finding some films that are sure to entertain you.


Friday, September 13, 2013

THE FAMILY FAILS by Pamela Powell

"The Family" has an unbelievable cast with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, but even these famous and credible actors can't turn this film into something worth paying money to see.   "The Family" is about a NYC mobster who turns on his mafia family and puts his boss behind bars.  Now in the witness protection program, the family relocates to Normandy, France.  The goal is to blend in and not stand out, but this seems to be an impossible task for this very American mobster family.

Yes, this was a fun premise for a film.  From the trailers, it looked like it was a comedy.  Unfortunately, all the funny parts were revealed in the trailer.  No need to see the movie, just watch the trailers.  It seemed that "The Family" wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a comedy, a drama, or a crime thriller.  It really didn't satisfy any of those genres and it certainly didn't successfully blend them together either.  Many aspects of the movie were over-the-top, but still not certain in what direction it was trying to go.

De Niro and Pfeiffer played the typical NYers/Americans well, but they just weren't funny nor were they interesting.  The entire film just dragged.  Throw in a gorgeous daughter with a love interest and a little sex, and they cover that part of a film.  Toss in an angry teenage boy who gets kicks out of beating the crap out of people and extorting others and you have another movie point crossed off the list.  Playing cat and mouse and having lots of shootings I suppose covers another portion of film making, but it just doesn't work.

This is a short review because I've already wasted my time and money on seeing this film.  I really don't want to waste any more.  I hope I can save you both your time and money by advising you to avoid this one!



Wadjda is a young girl growing up in Saudi Arabia, but Wadjda doesn't seem to conform to the restrictions that the Saudi's place on females.  Her sometime inadvertent as well as sometimes intentional rebellious behavior frequently lands her in the Headmistresses office at school.  Wadjda wants nothing more than to buy a new bicycle, but financially it's out of her and her mother's reach not to mention the fact that it is considered inappropriate for a girl to ride one!  That doesn't stop Wadjda from trying to attain her goal.  With potential prize money for reciting the Koran's verses dangling in front of her, she appears to turn over a new leaf.  Wadjda's journey of growing up in a male dominated environment is a sweet, humorous and sometimes heartbreaking ride.

Wadjda is what I would consider a typical American girl, but she's not in America which makes her attitude and actions appear quite rebellious.  From wearing the wrong shoes (converse) to forgetting that she must cover her face in the presence of males, Wadjda seems to constantly be pushing the envelope of her restrictive environment.  In her mind, she has no limitations.  Being female shouldn't limit you.  Wadjda wants nothing more than to have a bike to keep up with her best buddy who happens to be a boy.  They know each other better than anyone and seem to have a bond that runs quite deep.  With Wadjda's mother living apart from Wadjda's father and watching him prepare to wed another woman, Wadjda and her mother help each other learn about support and relationships.

"Wadjda" is a cleverly written and directed film with naturally talented actors.  Waad Mohammed plays Wadjda as if this is exactly what her personality is like.  She's bright, insightful, thoughtful, and independent; qualities that make her stand apart from other girls.  The film enlightens the viewers to understand that children are really the same across the world, it's the society's norms that make us different.

"Wadjda" is a film that will entertain and enlighten you.  The humorous situations as well as the rather sad ones,  are all aspects of life that each of us can relate to.  Wadjda learns life lessons and grows up in this film while helping her mom do just the same.  "WADJDA" will also make you appreciate what you have, especially if you are a female. Don't miss this film and don't let subtitles scare you away.  It's well-worth finding this film!



Wednesday, September 11, 2013


“The Grandmaster” opens in wide release this Friday after extremely mixed reviews from critics across the globe.  Written and directed by Kar Wai Wong, this epic film, ten years in the making and one year in the editing room, is marketed to fans of Kung Fu and Bruce Lee.  Ip Man, Lee’s martial arts’ trainer, has a background that is both dramatic and notable given the time period in China.  Wong tries to tell Ip Man’s story of the love of his country, his heart, and above all, his discipline.

Ip Man was a young man looking to become the next Grandmaster of martial arts in China. The country was then divided between the North and South and their martial arts were reflective of these regions.  As the reigns are handed over from the Gong family Grandmaster to Ip Man, constant challenges confront Ip Man who strives to be a strong, fair, and wise man.  Beginning in 1936 and covering approximately two decades, Ip Man  finds that changing your surroundings doesn’t always change who you are.

To see this film, you don’t need to see the previous films about Ip Man.  Nor do you need to be a fan of Bruce Lee or martial arts, although appreciation of those aspects will make the film more enjoyable.  “The Grandmaster” initially introduces the numerous primary characters through demonstrating various types of Kung Fu fight scenes.  These scenes are amazingly choreographed, utilizing a quick pace and then accentuating various moves by slowing the film down to a snail’s pace to feel the impact of the specified move.  The slow motion filming along with extreme closeups of small items being broken, are visually captivating.  Incorporating powerful classical music with the fighting makes these martial arts feel almost tranquil and sophisticated.  A unique pairing which seems contradictory to the art.  

The film’s story has a confusing and slow start with difficulty focusing on one main story line.  In fact, the plot seems to meander so much that you are unsure as to what the film is even about.  It brings in so many characters, but never really completely develops their importance to any one plot.  At one point, it is a story about transitions in life.  Then it jumps to being a love story, then on to one of vengence and family honor.  The topics are numerous.  This could have been three or four different and separate movies about one man.  It missed the mark with lacking the ability to find a theme and develop it completely.

“The Grandmaster”  is a circuitous tale which fails to bring emotion through the story or acting, however the film is the most beautiful cinematic example seen in recent times.  The Grandmaster is reminiscent of films from the 40's with the camera angles and cuts.  It is the color schemes, the views, the make up and backgrounds that make this film intriguing and worth seeing.  The panoramic scenes feel hauntingly beautiful.  It is the filming technique that is the main actor in this film.

“The Grandmaster” is an extremely slow moving and unfocused film that somehow captures you through the visual beauty of the story.  Its attempt to be an old fashioned love story isn’t complete.  Its attempt to tell a story of revenge and honor isn’t complete.  Its attempt to really tell you who Ip Man is, just isn’t complete.  Overall, the story just meanders too much to be appealing.  But what this film lacks in story, it makes up for with its music, choreography, cinematography.  It is truly a brilliant visual cinematic masterpiece.


Monday, September 9, 2013


Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in this adrenaline producing film about a crisis situation in outer-space.  When an accident separates them from their destroyed ship, they must work together to survive.  Directed and written by Alfonso Cuaron, this film tackles not just outer-space, but the human psyche as well.  The 3D filming is an absolute must to fully experience this film.

Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a medical engineer with about 6 months training by NASA.  She and Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) and a small team are repairing a space station when Houston lets them know there is unexpected debris coming their way.  As the team scrambles to abort the mission and get to safety, they are stranded as safety isn't to be found.  Kowalsky attempts to tether himself to Stone and come up with a survival plan.

"Gravity" is intense from the very beginning.  The camera work and 3D effects enable the viewer to experience the same visual disorientation that the characters appear to feel.  To say that Dr. Stone and Kowalsky had a bad day is an understatement.  At every turn, their luck seems to be nothing but bad.  The story isn't without humor, though.  Kowalsky seems to be the calm, cool, and collected one of the pair always knowing just what to say to get them through the situation at hand.  Dr. Stone is quite the contrast to Kowalsky, but both of them look for inner-strength to make the right decisions.  As the two are stranded, they learn about one another. Their stories are intriguing, especially Dr. Stone's as the horrors of space bombard them.  Oxygen is precious and gravity is necessary.  When either is not available, the consequences are extreme.  The story and the perils of space intertwine to bring us into the world that few have experienced.

Sandra Bullock's performance is of Oscar calibre.  She masterfully carries this film with intensity and believability.  She pulls you into her head and heart, enabling you to feel her every emotion.  Your own breathing will change as she endures one catastrophe after another, yet never losing hope.  She's strong, but is she strong enough?  She's smart, but as Kowalsky said, "It's not rocket science."  Clooney's role, decidedly smaller, yet just as important, brings levity and calmness to the film.  Constant stress and anxiety don't produce entertaining films.  Kowalsky brings the balance this piece needs to make it not just entertaining, but gripping.  With the filming technique that was used to give the illusion of zero gravity and moving with no friction, the movie succeeds in this capacity as well.  You believe they were truly in space.  It actually feels real.

"Gravity" is a wonderfully creative story of survival.  It delves not only into the perils of space exploration, but also into the strength, courage and character of the astronauts.  It is a beautiful, yet horrific story with emotional pull that draws you into every moment.  Bullock is spectacular as the lead, carrying the film with deft skill.  With amazing 3D filming, writing, directing, and acting, this is a must-see film.  A simple plot with wonderful complexity.


Sunday, September 8, 2013


Starring: Eugenio Derbez, Karla Souza and Jessica Lindsey
Written by: Guillermo Rios and Leticia Lopez Margalli
Directed by: Eugenio Derbez

Oh, if only instructions could be included, I know my life would be a bit more stress-free.  Instructions for what, you ask?  Why, raising children, of course!  There are manuals for everything from coffee makers to computers, to digital cameras and everything in between, but when it comes to kids, every kid is different and every family is different.  If instructions were delivered along with the baby, I could have avoided many errors in child-rearing.  But alas, my children will probably go on to require therapy during which time it'll all by mom's fault.  It always is, you know.  In any case, not only have I been a less than perfect parent (I lose the Mother of the Year nomination by January 3rd of every year),  so it is the case for Valentin in the new indie film, "Instructions Not Included."

Valentin is a ladies' man.  When I use the plural of this noun, I truly mean it.  He lives in Acapulco, not really having a job, but seems to enjoy whatever the young, beautiful girls can provide for him.  The number of women he is with is mind-boggling, but Valentin is happy.  He lives each and every day for what it is.  Valentin has perfected the lines that women want to hear.  But one day, his "eternal love" shows up on his doorstep with a baby in tow.  His baby.  She hands the baby off to him with a diaper bag and goes to pay the cab, except she keeps going, and going.  Valentin is in a pickle.  He needs to return this baby to her mother as he isn't ready to be a father.  His father tried to teach him to be fearless, but the exact opposite occurred.  As he travels back to L.A., he finds a certain connection to this little girl, Maggie, that he never thought imaginable.  The father-daughter match are an unlikely pair, but she becomes quite a precocious little girl under his watch.

Valentin wouldn't be nominated for Father of the Year, but he has the love of a father which always makes up for other "mistakes."  His father attempted to make him Brave, but that didn't work...or did it?  The imaginative aspects that the viewer is privy to gives us so much insight to Valentin's thoughts.  The creativity in story-telling just adds yet another level of fun to the film.  "Instructions Not Included" is an absolute pleasure, at times a bit corny, but sweet to watch.  Valentin and Maggie's relationship is one that any father and daughter would be lucky to have.  When mom returns to the playing field, things go a little haywire.  "Instructions Not Included" now delves into custody issues, but it never loses the comedic value or the sweetness of the main characters. Is this a predictable film?  Sure, to some extent, but there is one part that you won't see coming.  Bring your tissues as there won't be a dry eye in the house.

"Instructions Not Included" is a fun, sweet story about a father and daughter getting to know each other and trying to be brave.  Their love is portrayed in a beautiful way, yet the film is a bit over-the-top in acting.  If you can get past that aspect and just enjoy the fun, laughter, antics, and heartfelt story, you'll be glad you watched it.  Again, here's my final warning:  BRING TISSUES!  Oh, I almost forgot.  It is primarily in subtitles, but you really forget this because you are so involved in the film.



Friday, September 6, 2013


“Riddick” opens today as the third installment of the trilogy of films.  Whether or not it will be a part of a quadrilogy most likely depends upon box office numbers Monday morning.  What?  You haven’t seen the first or second films, “Pitch Black” or “the Chronicles of Riddick?”  No worries because I have taken one for the team and watched the first one which hit theaters back in 2000.  To get you up to speed before spending your hard earned money on “Riddick,” let me give you a brief synopsis.  A ship traveling through space carrying a variety of passengers including a convicted felon, Riddick, crash land on a rather inhospitable desert planet with three suns.  When a solar eclipse occurs and all goes black (thus the name, Pitch Black), strange creatures tear the small group apart, literally.  Riddick and the others must work together to save themselves.  

Now as we fast forward to 2013, the film begins and Riddick gives us an historical run down to get us all up to speed.  He also gives us an early prognostication stating that “...there are bad days and legendary bad days...”  With that introduction we see the perils that he must fight on a daily basis just to survive.  The strange creatures that range from hyena-like dogs to a water-loving scorpion-type of velociraptors that threaten him at every intersection. Riddick then gives us more information about the man he has become.  You see, he has become “civilized” which could ultimately be his demise.  

“Riddick” is a predictable and wearisome sci-fi horror flick.  It’s attempt at telling a story to engage the viewer truly borders on the ridiculous.  Riddick’s aforementioned civility is the filmmaker’s effort to make us root for Riddick’s survival and ability to conquer all.  Strangely and almost comically, this story takes a sweet, yes, sweet, turn and becomes a story about a man and his dog.  You realize immediately that there will be an “Old Yeller” moment at some point.   After watching Riddick perform grotesque self-surgeries, outwit the scorpion-velociraptors, and flex his muscles quite literally at just the right camera angles for just the right amount of time (it was that obvious), he then must fight the human bad guys who are hunting him.  The group is quite similar to the first group from “Pitch Black.”  There’s a blonde female, Dahl, and a guy who is religious, Luna, among the group. The blonde, however, is one tough cookie and she happens to not like men.  That seems to be a senselessly emphasized point that bordered on offensive as the film suggested that Riddick could change who she was.  We then are subjected to the overly dramatic pose that Dahl takes whenever the camera catches her. Placing one foot and hip out, thrusting her large chest forward and with a turn of her head, she raises an eyebrow and pulls back her lips in an absurd snear.  This happens several times which makes it quite silly.  I could almost hear her say, “I am woman, hear me roar!”  The film bounces back and forth between Riddick fighting humans and creatures.  But the very clever Riddick is always one step ahead, as expected.  After interjecting the Matrix-style of fighting into the film, it just becomes fight after gruesome fight.  “Riddick” is a typical sci-fi horror flick.  Unfortunately, there are no gasps or surprises, just utterances of, “Yeah, I knew that was coming” and “Is it over yet?” 

To Riddick’s credit, the gruesome scenes with special effects are well, quite effective.  Riddick also has the “cool factor.”  Only Riddick could pull off these stunts.  If they could have made it more tongue and cheek, the humor would have made this film enjoyable.  The first film actually had more of a story to it.  The saying should be, ‘First time’s a charm.’  Again, my thoughts on sequels are that they shouldn’t be made.  But then again, my bank account doesn’t look like Vin’s, I am sure.

If you are a “Riddick” fan, this is a film you will see no matter what the reviews say. The CGI special effects have improved since the last two films, but the story is really just the same.  If you aren’t a “Riddick” fan, save your money and your time. There are plenty of other wonderful films to see this weekend. 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Lynn Shelton
Once again, the Sundance Film Festival was home to the premiere of another heartfelt film, "Touchy Feely."  This thoughtful and sincere film starred Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Allison Janney, and Ron Livingston, cuts through the superficial levels of who we are and shows us how one family heals itself from within.  Directed by Lynn Shelton who also is responsible for the success of "Your Sister's Sister," candidly answered questions about the film, its actors and script prior to the unveiling of the film.  Creating a safe and comfortable environment for the actors was of utmost importance to her.  The actors all concurred that these factors enabled them to perform to their best abilities.

Abby is a massage therapist who suddenly has an aversion to touching people.  Ironically, at the same time, her brother who is a failing dentist, seems to have acquired a healing touch.  As the story unfolds, details from their past as well as information about their psyche is revealed.  These factors directly influence what they are currently experiencing.  Intertwined with these career changes are life factors that create people we care about.  Abby and her boyfriend try to figure out where their relationship is going and Abby's brother and niece try to find out if their lives can grow or will they stay stagnant.  The interactions among family members are touching.  The natural and comedic effects of Henry, a high school friend, and the Reiki Master, Bronwyn, just add another wonderful level to this well-balanced film.
Josh Pais
Rosemarie DeWitt
Rosemarie DeWitt proves once again to be a powerfully talented actress in this film.  There is no question as to what she is feeling and why she is feeling that way without her uttering a word.  The audience is completely connected to her and her situation.  Josh Pais plays Paul and is the perfect representation of a dentist.  He is smart, sweet, and quirky, but not the best businessman.  His humor is a little off, but you love him because he is so endearing.  (I can say all this because I am married to a dentist!)

 You want nothing more than for Paul to be happy.  Ellen Page plays Paul's teenage daughter struggling with helping her father reach his potential while trying not to ignore her own future.  Her miscommunications and good heart paired with typical teenage girl reactions (again, I can judge this as I have one of those too), make this odd family quite typical and believable.  Allison Janney is one of my all-time favorite actresses as she has such talent and range.  This was a different type of role for
Janney as she explained in the panel discussion at Sundance.  She appeared to be quite comfortable and competent in this calm and reassuring role as Reiki Master.

Ellen Page
"Touchy Feely" is a unique and cleverly written film which is endearing as well as entertaining.  Its humor and touch of reality is refreshing with a heartfelt take-home message about our power from within to heal.  Ms. Shelton shared that with the script of "Sister," the majority was improvised.  This was not the case with "Touchy Feely."  Although while you watch the film, it feels so natural it could have been improvised, it was not.  The directing and acting was so spot on that it just made it feel that way.  You will not only laugh out loud in this film, you will sigh and have empathy for each and every character.