TFCA Friday: Week of Friday, October 27th, 2017

October 27, 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), Kate Taylor (KT), and Jim Slotek (JS).

Opening this Week

California Typewriter (dir. Doug Nichol)

California Typewriter slightly overstays its welcome, as Nichol pushes past a natural end point to make the case for manual typewriters as the new vinyl… well, that seems somehow appropriate, too. Love has a way of blinding us to reality, after all” — NW

There is the title establishment and the hard-working, indefatigable family that is at the movie’s heart, devoting their lives to a pursuit that would seem doomed. That they prevail, for now, is probably the purest joy in the film” — JS

Those uninterested in typewriters will shrug, [but] the film is nevertheless educational and puts the subject of word processing on the computer in perspective” — GS

Deliver Us (dir. Federica Di Giacomo)

It’s awfully hard to take an exorcism seriously when it’s being performed over the phone… but if it works, does that speak to the power of faith or the power of suggestion? And aren’t they the same thing? Di Giacomo leaves the question open, which proves to be her film’s greatest strength” — NW

Faces Places (dir. Agnès Varda)

A delightful, artful road trip by French New Wave master Agnès Varda and photographer/muralist JR” — PH

A film whose deceptively whimsical trajectory quietly builds an investigation into identity, celebrity and self-revelation in the age of the selfie” — KT

Personal, inspiring, powerful… hands down, the best and most enjoyable documentary to be seen this year” — GS

Jigsaw (dirs. Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig)

Look, if you enjoyed the previous instalments, you’ll like this one too; it’s designed to be precisely the same experience. This is not an endorsement” — NW

Suburbicon (dir. George Clooney)

Double your flavour, double your fun? Not so fast. There are also two movies happening within this 1950s-set film noir and that isn’t so keen” — PH, including an interview with Clooney on what’s being described as his noble failure

There are distinct traces of that vintage Coen zing, but only in flashes. Most of this film is just a flat imitation of Blood Simple, following along as a noose slowly tightens around the necks of the inept lovers-slash-murderers at its centre” — NW

Let George Clooney’s attempt at Coen Brothers cosplay be a lesson to anyone who thinks that admiration effortlessly transfers over to achievement” — BH

Mordant and absurd? That’s the Coens. Righteous and angry because racism is bad? That would be Clooney” — JS

An interesting failure, and by no means a dull piece” — GS

Thank You For Your Service (dir. Jason Hall)

Hall’s direction and script are efficient and to the point. The actors all acquit themselves well, but always with a grim sense of reality that the film seeks to really drive home” — PH

A worthy and competent docudrama when it focuses on the grindingly mundane struggle of coming home… but this outrage is blunted by the familiarity” — LL

Wonderstruck (dir. Todd Haynes)

Haynes struggles to connect all the dots. Wonderstruck reaches for the stars and falls short” — PH

Takes a little time to establish its rhythm, but it’s worth sticking with it; the reward at the end is really something” — NW

Weaves a tale of innocence lost that is bold if only for its lack of cynicism” — BH, including an interview with Haynes on his two simultaneous narratives

The experience of reading these adventures can’t be replicated in movie form. This is something that hobbled Hugo and, to a lesser extent Wonderstruck” — KG

Though credit should be given to Haynes for his [innovative] storytelling, it doesn’t really work” — GS