TFCA Friday: Week of August 11th, 2017

August 11, 2017

Welcome to TFCA Friday, a weekly round-up of film reviews and articles by TFCA critics.

Reviews and features by: Andrew Parker (AP), Jim Slotek (JS), Norm Wilner (NW), Radheyan Simonpillai (RS), Peter Howell (PH), Gilbert SeahGlenn Sumi, Chris Knight (CK), Karen Gordon (KG), and Kate Taylor (KT).

Opening this Week

Annabelle: Creation (dir. David F. Sandberg)

Like most horror spinoff sequels, Annabelle: Creation is a silly, cheap attempt to cash in on a gimmick” — Glenn Sumi

The Glass Castle (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton)

Fine performances that rise above the maudlin familiarity of this triumph-over-adversity story” — PH

Larson and Cretton prove to be a perfect match for Walls’ source material, treating it with respect, dignity, and delicacy” — AP”

How moviegoers view this experience … may depend on how seduced they are by Woody Harrelson’s scene-stealing turn as Rex, the would-be inventor who promises Jeannette he will build the family a glass castle that will be heated by sunshine even as they are living in shacks without electricity or plumbing” — KT

One of those movies that pays attention to the little things, like the funeral scene where Jeannette’s uncle isn’t shaking anyone’s hands as they enter. Not sure why, but it made him more than just a disposable third-tier relative” — CK

Looks and sounds like Oscar bait, but don’t be fooled” — NW

Feels artificial” — RS

Menashe (dir. Joshua Z Weinstein)

About an hour in, I found myself wondering what the Dardenne brothers might have done with this story, with its roots in economic anxiety and parental dedication. I’m pretty sure they would have done more” — NW”

A naturalistic, gentle, light tragedy – perhaps in perfect sync with the glass-half-full philosophic approach of storyteller/playwright Sholem Aleichem, “things could always be worse”” — JS

My own mom told me it was a waste of time and money.A talk with director Joshua Z Weinstein about what makes his Yiddish language custody drama so unique — AP

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (dir. Cal Brunker)

Kids won’t be so allergic to it. Nutty By Nature moves along competently and colourfully, hashing together known quantities that have proven amusing in less forgettable movies” — RS

Parents will find the whole enterprise a chore to watch, while children will undoubtedly be entertained” — Gilbert Seah

Step (dir. Amanda Lipitz)

When we see one of the graduates wearing a sparkly mortarboard cap that reads Black Girl Power – well, it describes these young women’s step aspirations as well as their educational ones” — CK

There are quite a few moments in Step that will reduce you to mush” — RS

I’ve never seen an audience react to a documentary in the way the one I saw Step with did” — AP

Wind River (dir. Taylor Sheridan)

The intense winter frost is never far from anybody’s mind here, especially when it hits smack dab into the deep freeze of bureaucracy and cross-cultural hostilities” — PH

The structure is solid and the performances unimpeachable, though Sheridan’s a little too much in love with his screenplay, pushing hard to make sure we understand the deep meaning in his dialogue and the way certain characters share an unspoken grief which will, eventually, be spoken about quite a lot” — NW

A decidedly American film, but at a time when Canada’s First Nations continue to grapple with violence toward Native women, it’s bound to strike a chord on this side of the border as well. Politics aside, however, it’s also just a really effective crime thriller” — CK

Audio: “The debut of an exciting directorial voice” — KG

Falls into the trap of a white saviour narrative, which structures our perspective and undermines what this movie is trying to achieve” — RS