TFCA Friday: Week of June 30th, 2017

June 30, 2017

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

Opening this Week

Baby Driver (dir. Edgar Wright)

Summer can finally start now: Baby Driver is that blast of energy we’ve all been waiting for” — PH

Like Edgar Wright saw Refn’s Drive and said ‘let me show you how to make this fun’” — RS

Wright’s most perfect film, and it’s doubtful that any other studio released films this summer could hope to clear Baby Driver‘s ludicrously high set bar” — AP

Fast and furious and fun as hell, but its cinema of cool may melt down in the coming years, another artifact of reckless, headstrong youth” — BH

Easily one of the best rides of the summer” — CK

Wright’s most ambitious and best movie” — GS

Delivers a movie-going experience so giddy and thrilling that at times it feels like a wholly new kind of cinema” — NW

The Beguiled (dir. Sofia Coppola)

The notion that these southern belles are in any way the ‘weaker sex’ is quietly and efficiently dispelled” — LB

Tips into turgidity, failing to turn intensity into urgency” — NW

You can almost feel Coppola dithering between letting loose with the Southern Gothic madness or clamping down on it” — CK

Rich in period atmosphere with an authentic feel of the confusion of the civil war” — GS

One of Coppola’s finest and most captivating efforts to date” — AP

The Big Sick (dir. Michael Showalter)

The movie is very nearly stolen by Hunter and Romano, who deliver their best performances in years as Emily’s parents Beth and Terry” — PH

The Big Sick is not only necessary, it’s downright revolutionary” — BH, with an awesome feature on the film

Epic for a romcom” — KG, with a CBC Radio review

This is a comedy fuelled by honesty and specificity” — RS, with a must-read cover story

Pleasantly funny from start to end” — GS

Not your typical boy-meets-girl story, but that’s kind of the point” — CK
Every ounce of good will and praise being showered upon it is well deserved” — AP<

Despicable Me 3 (dirs. Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda, Eric Guillon)

Clutching at air rather than fresh ideas, Despicable Me 3 further dilutes the delightfully droll villainy” — PH

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to please me. Despicable Me 3 isn’t much, but it did please me

Kids will love this” — GS

I mean, I could take more, if they’d only try to do less” — LL

There are plenty of self-deprecating winks, suggesting that the creative team are as mystified by Despicable Me’s appeal as the parents are” — RS

The House (dir. Andrew Jay Cohen)

Was there even a script when filming started? How did things get this bad? Am I in hell? The shoddy existence of The House raises more existential questions than the current revival of Twin Peaks, but none of these questions are worth answering” — AP

In The Name Of All Canadians (dirs. Ariel Nasr & Aisha Jamal, Patrick Reed & Andréa Schmidt, Karen Chapman, Khoa Lê, Jérémie Wookey & Annick Marion, Vivian Belik & Jennifer Bowen-Allen)

Not every piece … [is strong], but Lessons Injustice makes the whole thing worth it“— NW

Boasts vital, thoughtful documents pertaining to this country’s sometimes troubled and contradictory sense of history and justice” — AP, with an exclusive interview with Hot Docs ED Brett Henrie on their first commissioned anthology

Both engaging and difficult to watch, its directors never coming to any pat thesis on what, exactly, Canada is today” — BH

Manifesto (dir. Julian Rosefeldt)

The film offers the breathtaking sight of watching Blanchett delivering famous statements on art, politics and life in intriguing, sometimes jarring new settings” — NW

That rare film that one has to work to earn the pleasure, but it will be one definitely unforgotten” — GS

It’s ambiguity as art, and a gimmick that comes off as a tad classist and superior” — JS

It’s unsurprising that Manifesto began its life as a multi-part art installation, and the material is better suited for such a location” — AP

Nowhere to Hide (dir. Zaradasht Ahmed)

An immersive look at life in Iraq after the U.S. pulled out” — RS

A very disturbing yet true picture of the sufferings of the Iraqi people” — GS

A resonating work about everyday survival under unliveable conditions” — AP

Radio Dreams (dir. Babak Jalali)

Well worth tuning in for” — CK

This is a comedy of gentle chaos; you just sort of coast along with it, smiling and occasionally chuckling” — NW

A mostly likeable disappointment with some poignant insights when it needs to have them the most” — AP

Reset (dir. Chang)

Mashes together a bunch of familiar tropes and ideas to create something fresh and entertaining for those capable of suspending their disbelief and knowledge of physics for a bit” — AP

Army of Shadows: The Films of Jean-Pierre Melville

No filmmaker has made a life of crime look as cool, confident, and stylish as French legend Jean-Pierre Melville” — AP
Selected capsule reviews — GS

Reviews and features by: Norman Wilner (NW), Andrew Parker (AP), Gilbert Seah (GS), Barry Hertz (BH), Chris Knight (CK), Liam Lacey (LL), Radheyan Simonpillai (RS), Jim Slotek (JS), Karen Gordon (KG), Peter Howell (PH), and Liz Braun (LB)