TFCA Friday: Week of February 16th, 2018

February 16, 2018

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

Opening this Week

A Year In An English Garden (dirs. Brian McClave and Tom Wichelow)

Who are the humans who lovingly till this soil? They appear to earn their main income as apple farmers. We briefly see and hear them, but they remain as enigmatic as the stars above, also zooming past the watchful camera” — Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Should appeal to horticultural enthusiasts who look forward to the warmer weather that’s just around the corner” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Before We Vanish (dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

This is a weird one even for writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose work ranges from the bone-deep shudders of Cure, Pulse and Creepy to the terrific family drama Tokyo Sonata and the melancholy ghost story Journey To The Shore” — Norm Wilner, NOW

There’s a message of sorts about the resiliency of the human spirit – every alien invasion in film history can be read as a metaphor – but your own spirit may already be broken by the time you spool past the film’s two-hour mark” — Chris Knight, National Post

Silly from the very start” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

A little bit of wonky fun” — Karen Gordon, CBC

Sporadically fascinating, idiosyncratic alien-invasion story with elements of fifties’ pastiche, apocalyptic thriller and romance” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Black Hollow Cage (dir. Sadrac González-Perellón)

Starts monotonous, turns ridiculous, and never manages to be entertaining or smart” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Nasty, pointless, and violent” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Black Panther (dir. Ryan Coogler)

Of all the wondrous places the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken moviegoers, it turns out the most fascinating one is on planet Earth. It’s called Wakanda, in Africa, as seen in Black Panther, the best superhero movie in recent memory” — Peter Howell, Toronto Star, who also interviewed star Danai Gurira

Black Panther is its own magnificent thing. You should go see it” — Norm Wilner, NOW

Universal, powerful, and tons of fun” — Karen Gordon, CBC

A patient, intelligent, emotional, and politically loaded film that uses previously established tropes and clichés to brilliant, revolutionary effect” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A movie about a Black superhero with an all-female posse that actually says something about our world” — Chris Knight, National Post

It does get old – the use and abuse of weak VFX, the McGuffin-driven narrative, the climactic duels that pre-guarantee the victor, the set-pieces that echo a thousand other whiz-bang battles that came before” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

In The Globe and Mail, Nathalie Atkinson speaks with designer Ruth E. Carter to explain dressing history, power, and politics

One of the best recommendations for Black Panther is it may be your last chance to see a self-contained Marvel story” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Early Man (dir. Nick Park)

Gets by on fond memories of Aardman’s ancient history” — Peter Howell, Toronto Star

If it feels like a lesser work from [Aardman], well, maybe that’s just because we’ve been conditioned to expect a masterpiece from Nick Park and Peter Lord’s oddball English house over the decades” — Norm Wilner, NOW

Like watching a straight-A student suddenly turn in something in that they wrote in a cram session the night before. The results might still be good, but nowhere near the stuff that we all know [Aardman are] capable of” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

An enjoyable, light comedy experience. Though as always, I have to remind myself that children are an intended audience (as well as adults), and the wordplay might sometimes get lost on kids” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

The humour is all over the pitch, which means some jokes will fly over the heads of younger (and/or non-British) viewers, but also that there’s something for almost everyone to enjoy” — Chris Knight, National Post

In Between (dir. Maysaloun Hamoud)

Accomplishes the rare achievement of having even males despise male behaviour” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Poop Talk (dir. Aaron Feldman)

Far more interested in getting friends to share their most spectacular bathroom nightmares” — Norm Wilner, NOW

There’s not much to say about this one… but if you want just over an hour of people talking about their bowel related hang ups, look no further” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

An okay small movie, maybe to watch on the small screen—unless one want to spend extra bucks for shit” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

A documentary that (a) posits as ridiculous the squeamishness society attaches to a universal biological function, and (b) comedians, by nature, revel in that squeamishness” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Shiners (dir. Stacey Tenenbaum)

Over at The Gate, Andrew Parker interviews the filmmaker on her lifelong obsession

Comes close to being as mightily uplifting as getting a bright new shoe shine” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Toronto Black Film Festival

At Original-Cin, Liam Lacey writes on the TBFF’s opening film, The Rape of Recy Taylor

TIFF Next Wave

At The Gate, Andrew Parker previews the teen-centric festival