TFCA Friday: Week of June 2nd, 2017

June 2, 2017

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

Opening this Week

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (dir. Steve James)

A low-key film with a memorable after-effect” — LL

Poignant and incendiary” — AP, with more on Abacus‘ director

At its best, the film plays like a crackling family drama” — NW

An American Dream (dir. Ken Finkleman)

Finkelman’s satire on America is full of surprises at every corner” — GS

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (dir. David Soren)

Could make you poop your pants with laughter—especially if you’re seven” — RS

Quick and clever and visually inventive; it also has lots to say about friendship and creativity… with plenty o’ potty humour” — Liz Braun

A joyful ode to youthful creativity and puerile humour” — AP

A smart script and comedic timing lift [this film] above the average animated feature” — GS

City of Tiny Lights (dir. Pete Travis)

Effectively uses the noir genre to investigate London’s multicultural rifts” — RS

A boilerplate thriller that makes the most out of a charismatic leading performance from Riz Ahmed” — AP

Drone (dir. Jason Bourque)

A paper-thin thriller that positions itself as a movie about the consequences of drone warfare, but it’s really just a threadbare domestic drama with delusions of contemporary relevance” — NW

One of the dullest films of the year” — AP

A suspenseful and satisfying thriller that forces the audience out of its complacency to confront some painful truths about the toll of conflict” — BD

The Founders (dirs. Charles Fisk, Carrie Schrader)

A solid oral history of a ground-breaking sports league” — AP

God of War (dir. Gordon Chan)

A smartly written, lavishly mounted period action epic with nary a bit of fantasy or slapstick comedy to be found” — AP

Graduation (dir. Christian Mungiu)

Insistent that life is a series of complex decisions, with fate intruding, and the path’s never clear” — PH

The best opening film this week” — GS

Well drawn, but purposefully bitter” — AP

A searing indictment of a society that has lost its moral compass” — CK

Everyone in Graduation wants to do what’s right; it’s just that no two people define “what’s right” the same way” — NW

A fascinating little fable about doing the right thing in a corrupt society” — JS

Score: A Film Music Documentary  (dir. Matthew Schrader)

As fascinating as it is, it soon becomes a bit wearying” — BD

For cinephiles and audiophiles alike, it’s a charming, appealing documentary” — AP

Tanna (dirs. Martin Butler, Bentley Dean)

The film’s most compelling “character” is the island itself… [unveiled] with the verdant wonder of a summer morning” — PH

The perfect combination of an ageless romantic story of true love set in a fresh never seen before setting” — GS

An insight into a culture rarely glimpsed that’s generously provided by the people living within it” — AP

Gorgeous, earnest and conventional, providing Western filmgoers with a glimpse of an isolated, defiantly anti-industrial milieu while ultimately affirming Western liberal individualist values” — JT

The kind of film that begs for further research though the more you learn about the real place, the less this kind of universal love story seems an apt fit” — LL

Werewolf (dir. Ashley McKenzie)

These are performances that really make you feel the scabs on these characters” — RS

McKenzie has effectively drawn us in, although lack of narrative makes the film frustratingly slow in spots” — Linda Barnard

One of the best and most notable Canadian films of this decade” — AP

Offers the distinct hope of a brighter future – at least, a brighter future for Canadian cinema” — BH

Like a land mine buried underneath a placid suburban backyard, just waiting to go off—don’t miss it” — NW

Wonder Woman (dir. Patty Jenkins)

Gadot’s Diana kicks butt with a vengeance” — PH

The action’s not what sold me here—it’s the chemistry between Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Chris Pine’s allied spy” — RS

A popcorn movie blockbuster in every way, but one that’s relaxed and unencumbered by its own scope and stakes” — AP

Despite a long running time and some lazy screenwriting, Wonder Woman rattles along merrily” — CK

The first good movie to emerge from DC’s cinematic universe” — NW

The best of DC Extended Universe films… but that is still not saying much” — GS

Better than the usual comic book movies – though short of the resounding triumph some early reviews have declared” — LL

Reviews and features by: Norman Wilner (NW), Andrew Parker (AP), Gilbert Seah (GS), Jim Slotek (JS), Barry Hertz (BH), Liz Braun, Linda BarnardLiam Lacey (LL) Radheyan Simonpillai (RS), Peter Howell (PH),  Chris Knight (CK), Bruce DeMara (BD), José Teodoro (JT).