TFCA Friday: Week of Friday, November 3rd, 2017

November 3, 2017

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

Reviews and features by: Peter Howell (PH), Gilbert Seah (GS), Barry Hertz (BH), Karen Gordon (KG), Liam Lacey (LL), Norm Wilner (NW), Chris Knight (CK), and Jim Slotek (JS).

Opening this Week

A Bad Moms Christmas (dir. Jon Lucas, Scott Moore)

It may be the season for giving, but I’ve already given this film two stars (one for Baranksi) and that’s enough” — CK

A nightmare” — GS

Dina (dirs. Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles)

A not-so-perfect couple with a not-so-perfect romance ends up a not-so-perfect movie” — GS

Sometimes heartbreaking, occasionally funny, and most often both” — CK

The Divine Order (dir. Petra Volpe)

The movie is a lovely diversion, and a reminder of how recent some changes to women’s rights have been” — CK

Quiet and small, but effectively done” — GS

God’s Own Country (dir. Francis Lee)

Favours action over dialogue, with Lee – in a feature debut that declares him a powerful, emotional storyteller – juxtaposing tiny moments of compassion and understanding against the unforgiving landscape” — NW

A love letter to the land, and to an unconventional romance” — CK

It’s worth mentioning that, a dozen years after Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, here’s another movie about a couple of shepherds who fall in love, and this time nobody dies. That’s progress” — LL

A hard look at gay life—acceptance and reality—the way it happens in real life” — GS

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

Lanthimos, a master of menacing absurdity, reunites with his The Lobster star Colin Farrell for the writer/director’s most terrifying act of eccentricity” — PH

A well-executed psychological and emotional horror film—not for everyone!” — GS

Novitiate (dir. Margaret Betts)

As heated with ideas as it is with fire in the flesh” — LL

Navigates a narrow path between praising the Church and damning it. If there is a single image that dominates the film, it is that of a statue of the Virgin Mary in the cloister courtyard, at once serene and welcoming, cold and stony” — CK

Politically, the film is downright weird. In an attempt to give the Reverend Mother some sympathy – why bother when she’s so ridiculous?” — SGC

Novitiation, or ‘Becoming a nun 101’—an eye-opening and gruelling lesson” – GS

The Square (dir. Ruben Östlund)

Laugh-out-loud funny and occasionally just plain silly. But it asks a serious question that seems more urgent with every passing day: “How much inhumanity does it take before we access your humanity?” — PH

It seems as if [the film] is two different movies, constantly fighting against each other. There is the more nuanced comedy of human behaviour pivoting on the life of Swedish museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) and then there is the outrageous but empty shock that surrounds him” — BH

It’s as if, if someone managed to dramatize the trolley problem and make it laugh-out-loud funny, would it be churlish to then ask: Where’s the trolley going?” — CK

The Square, with its many layers , is looking straight into the heart of western culture. And in its easy going way asking questions that are worth contemplating” — KG

As wicked a wicked satire can be, as well as sexy, brilliant, complex, and wickedly hilarious” — GS

Thor: Ragnarok (dir. Taika Waititi)

More fun than a barrel of winged monkeys, but man, do we have questions” — PH

Ragnarok’s bouncy energy is also pure Waititi, whose oddball Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows wrung huge laughs out of eccentric premises (survivalist children and socially awkward vampires, respectively)” — BH, featuring an interview with the director (while also asking: Why are there so many “Chris” actors?)

Put your brain in neutral and enjoy!” — CK

Lots of laughs. But it’s kind of an odd state of affairs when a Spider-Man movie is the most serious Marvel offering of the summer; Spidey being the designated quipster throughout Marvel’s history” — JS

It also feels a little bloated, pushing past the two-hour mark after peaking in the second act. But it’s a fine popcorn movie, propelled by a proper sense of play” — NW

A fair share of the budget must have gone into the CGI and special effects. It shows!  The film looks amazing and is visually stunning” — GS

Black Star: TIFF’s 100 Years of Black Cinema

Peter Howell chats with Cameron Bailey on the BFI-inspired programme