TFCA Friday: Week of February 9th, 2018

February 9, 2018

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

Opening this Week

The 15:17 to Paris (dir. Clint Eastwood)

None of the three had previously acted — and they still can’t” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Sort of like sitting through someone else’s vacation photos” — Chris Knight, National Post

A Fantastic Woman (dir. Sebastián Lelio)

At its core, A Fantastic Woman is the story of genuine love, something requires no definition” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

The filmmaking is expert… but the key here is Vega, who gives a spectacular performance as a woman desperate to keep her dignity intact” — Susan G. Cole, NOW

Both a sad and uplifting film that illustrates the old adage that something that will not kill you will make you stronger” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

This film’s heart is clearly in the right place, but to plant a marginalized character in the foreground of a narrative is not quite the same as making that character live and breathe” — José Teodoro, Film Comment

Though the Chilean drama has earned an Oscar nomination for best foreign film, the more appropriate category would be in best actress category” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

“I had only clichés in my mind. I was ignorant.” Sebastian Lelio tells Nathalie Atkinson in The Globe and Mail how meeting Daniela Vega changed everything

Cloverfield Paradox (dir. Julius Onah, Netflix)

Its Super Bowl roll-out aside, the film could quickly fade from Netflix subscribers’ memories and homepages, floating to the bottom of the service’s black hole-like catalogue” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

An entertaining, if admittedly unexceptional piece of genre fluff” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Entanglement (dir. Jason James)

For a little while, at least – before it’s poisoned by its own cleverness – Entanglement spins a sweet, odd romance” — Norm Wilner, NOW

Could have turned out as the best feel-good movie of the year if done right” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

[Shambles] around like the clinically disturbed and unwittingly offensive cross between Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown and David Fincher’s Fight Club that no rational person would ever ask for” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

An oddly enjoyable experience for a film about overcoming suicidal urges… sustains this light touch remarkably well” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Fake Blood (dir. Rob Grant)

So many horror movies start out with a nifty premise only to back themselves into a conceptual corner, but Grant and Kovac figure out a way to pay off their conceit, and leave us wondering how they did it… and how much of it was real in the first place” — Norm Wilner, NOW

What if a filmmaker made a few films no one really wanted to see then made a documentary about those films no one wanted to see?” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

An intelligent and creative exploration into a filmmaker’s responsibility to society [that] will offer genre buffs a few choice chills, but also make them consider some of their favourite films in a different light” — Andrew Parker, The Gate 

Fifty Shades Freed (dir. James Foley)

If you want to be swept up in a dark and thorny romance about a couple who flip power dynamics between dominant and submissive, go see Phantom Thread” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW

… as S&M gives way to “MRS,” some kindly soul might have warned Ana and Christian that it’s true what they say about marriage: it kind of kills the thrills” — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

Though the film has a slick look, there is no substance and the polished exterior fades fast” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Barely qualifies as a movie, but it’s also the most palatable and knowingly silly entry in the franchise” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Let There Be Light (dir. Kevin Sorbo)

Narratively and performatively incompetent…[preaching] only to those who already believe with the depth of Wal-Mart flyer” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Machines (dir. Rahul Jain)

Forces the viewer to confront their own privilege through the power of simple observation” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Permission (dir. Brian Crano)

Offers a novel spin on its romantic-comedy premise, exploring the idea that people can do stupid things with the best intentions” — Norm Wilner, NOW

A thought provoking, and often darkly hilarious bit of anti-romantic sentiment” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Peter Rabbit (dir. Will Gluck)

With its finger on pop charts and classic characters resorting to the requisite lingo, the movie eagerly and irreverently brings Potter’s material up to ADHD speed… but this time, it works” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW

Although it’s far removed from the water-colour delicacy of Beatrix Potter’s garden-patch tales, the new CGI-plus-live-action Peter Rabbit movie has a lot of boisterous hop to it” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

If you see only one movie this season about an anthropomorphic British mammal, make it Paddington 2” — Chris Knight, National Post

Not every family film with literary roots can aspire to the comic, creative, and dramatic heights of Paddington or Paddington 2, but director and co-writer Will Gluck shows a similar understanding of how to balance slapstick, wit, and the tugging of heart strings in equal measure” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Seeing Allred (dirs. Roberta Grossman, Sophie Sartain, Netflix)

A decently made film about a fascinating subject that’s almost too accomplished of a figurehead to distill into a singular ninety minute effort” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Spettacolo (dirs. Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen)

Serves as a hymn to the creative process, but also as a eulogy of sorts to the let’s-put-on-a-show spirit of pre-digital times” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

As a contemplation of identity and the value and comfort people find in telling their own stories, it makes for an engaging, entirely absorbing experience” — Norm Wilner, NOW

Despite the doc’s good intentions and the filmmakers’ diligence, it is really difficult to get drawn in” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

In this case, the play’s not the thing. The people are what really matters” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Strong Island (dir. Yance Ford, Netflix)

In The Gate, Andrew Parker interviews Yance Ford, the first ever transgender male to be nominated for an Academy Award

TIFF presents: Oscar Shorts

Peter Howell in The Toronto Star and Norm Wilner in NOW Magazine share impressions of this year’s crop of shorts nominated for an Academy Award

Philip K. Dick in 2018

Chris Knight in The National Post considers how the sci-fi author’s works have continued to resonate