TFCA Friday: Week of July 21st, 2017

July 21, 2017

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

Opening this Week

A Ghost Story (dir. David Lowery)

Vividly illustrates the passage of time, plus memory and loss, with an almost wordless screenplay that tugs at our deepest fears about emotional and physical detachment” — PH

Profoundly original on just about every level, and casts such an astonishing spell, I can’t imagine it not making my top 10, no matter what movies come and go before the end of the year” — BDJ

It asks questions about what holds us to a place, a relationship, a belief. What we accept or long for. A Ghost Story doesn’t provide answers but its simplicity and dignity is affecting and quite beautiful” — KG

An interview with David Lowery talking about the difference between history and nostalgia, employing a documentarian cinematographer, and why there’s a cut of his work here that “sounds like a James Wan horror film” — AP

A separate interview with the director, who discusses hitting his comfort zone — LL

Affleck, monosyllabic in life and silent afterward, is fascinatingly blank, while Mara makes her character’s shifting levels of unhappiness, from mild irritation to paralyzed misery, play like a symphony” — NW

The music is eerie, dialogue kept at a minimum. People move in and out of the house as C occasionally scares people in the house by throwing cutlery” — GS

The Black Prince (dir. Kavi Raz)

While the story of Duleep’s mistreatment seems intended to stir Sikh ethnic pride, the movie seems more likely to rouse yawns” — LL

One dull history lesson” — GS

A dud that earns a lot of points for having its heart in the right place, but has little else to recommend it” — AP

Dawson City: Frozen Time (dir. Bill Morrison)

A hypnotic mashup of narrative cinema, filtered through Morrison’s fascination with the history of deteriorating celluloid” — NW

Like shooting the breeze with a really knowledgeable cinematic librarian for a couple of hours” — AP

Dunkirk (dir. Christopher Nolan)

This blockbuster spectacle is an intense experience of pure cinema that far exceeds the standard “miracle at Dunkirk” narrative” — PH

A stunning technical accomplishment – like all of writer/producer/director Nolan’s films, I suppose – and also the leanest, sharpest thing he’s made since Memento” — NW

Impressive, a precision-tooled cinematic artefact, a vision of war as a machine run amok” — LL

A taut, technically impressive, narratively flimsy masterclass in sustained tension” — AP

Technically awe-inspiring, narratively inventive and thematically complex, Dunkirk reinvigorates its genre with a war movie that is both harrowing and smart” — KT

“I’m actually quite a shy and unconfident person, so I have a need to imagine the back story, to convince myself on a set surrounded by master technicians and someone as smart as Chris. If I’m not imagining I’m someone else, I’m going to be terrified” — Mark Rylance, in conversation with BH

Girls Trip (dir. Malcolm D. Lee)

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan (dirs. Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger)

Strictly for ballet and dance aficionados” — GS

An inspiring look at a passionate artist’s last and most personal stab at greatness” — AP

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (dir. Luc Besson)

Like a dinner banquet where the host begins by serving dessert, then keeps on serving it, skipping the other courses altogether” — PH

The film seems too large to simply live in the headspace most humans are afforded. It is bigger, louder and more than any one man can comprehend” — BH

By all means go and see it for the visual pop and fizz. But if you really want to enjoy the experience, plug your ears so you don’t have to endure the dialogue, suffer through the acting or follow the plot. As a moving wall poster, though, Valerian is just great” — LL

Scores top marks as a futuristic space action adventure” — GS

The War Show (dirs. Obaidah Zytoon, Andreas Dalsgaard)

TIFF Cinematheque presents: Kathryn Bigelow: On the Edge

GS with select capsule reviews and a feature write-up of Near Dark

Reviews and features by: Andrew Parker (AP), Gilbert Seah (GS), Barry Hertz (BH), Peter Howell (PH), Karen Gordon (KG), Norm Wilner (NW), Kate Taylor (KT), Brian D. Johnson (BDJ), and Liam Lacey (LL).