TFCA Friday: Week of June 9th, 2017

June 9, 2017

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

Opening this Week

A Better Man (dirs. Attiya Khan, Lawrence Jackman)

Has the power to change how we look at physical and emotional abuse in relationships” — AP

A great place to begin a conversation that many of us need to have” — BD

Awakening the Zodiac (dir. Jonathan Wright)

A steady snooze” — GS

Churchill (dir. Jonathan Teplitzky)

A remarkably human portrayal, inspiring both awe and pity” — PH

Bereft of ideas, they even steal the climax from The King’s Speech” —NW

Brian Cox is nothing short of stunning in the title role” — GS

Far too windy, filled with speeches and scenes that are pretentious and hysterical” — MG

Blood, toil, sweat, and tedium” — LL

Almost good” — AP

It Comes At Night (dir. Trey Edward Shults)

Could have had a sharper bite” — NW

Despite a few carefully planned scares, this well-worn apocalyptic thriller has nothing fresh to offer” — GS

Works as a compelling parable of Trump’s America, with its gated communities and walled borders where paranoia destroys what is supposed to be cherished” — LL

Comparing It Comes at Night to a vacuous abyss would be doing a disservice to the abyss” — AP

Works best in the moments when it drills down into the social dynamics of the six survivors” — CK

Trey Edward Shultz shows off how much he can scare you or make you uneasy while not showing us much” — RS

This tense little undertaking will fill you with dread and despair” — LB

Megan Leavey (dir. Gabriela Cowperthwaite)

Well-rendered and suspenseful, Leavey’s postwar struggle to be reunited with Rex delivers a surprisingly emotional payoff” — PH

Never distinguishes itself, cranking out one familiar scene after another” — NW

A well-told moving tale of girl and man’s best friend” — GS

Dog lovers are advised to see Megan Leavey only in theatres with special ‘Weep-O-Rama’ absorbent seats” — LB

Apart from dog lovers, should anyone else bother to see the movie? I think not” — MG

Both decent for what it is and a missed opportunity given what it could have been” — AP

It didn’t make me groan” — RS

The Mummy (dir. Alex Kurtzman)

Tom Cruise must be feeling a little desperate these days” — PH

Exhausting and largely pointless, setting the stage for a whole run of movies that seem equally unnecessary” — NW

Two well-executed action set-pieces are the only things going in this totally incoherent mummy rubbish” — GS

[An] overstuffed barrage of pointless effects and dubious plot-points” — JS

Russell Crowe shows up like the monster mash version of Nick Fury, grinding the narrative to a halt to build real estate for the Dark Universe” — RS

It’s not all bad: The Mummy is more coherent than Suicide Squad, less grim than Batman v Superman, and easily 16 times better than Fantastic Four CK

A mess. A boring mess” — LB

One of the laziest summer blockbusters in recent memory” — AP

My Cousin Rachel (dir. Roger Michell)

We’re just pulled further and further into the story, wondering how it will end and fearing that whatever does happen, “happily ever after” isn’t going to be a part of it” — NW

A damning feminist critique of the status of women in 1800s England, one that demonstrates how the impulsive emotions of men can easily influence the direction of their lives” — TH

Sacred (dir. Thomas Lennon)

A great idea for a long-form series, but struggles to find its footing as a feature” — AP

The Canadian Sport Film Festival (June 9—12)

A showcase of some of the best non-fiction films from around the world that celebrate, critique, and examine our love affair with sports” — AP

The Italian Contemporary Film Festival (June 8—16)

The largest Italian film festival outside of Italy” — GS

Family-friendly Films?

Hollywood has always been regarded as something of a dirty business, but what happens when it tries to go clean?” — BH

Reviews and features by:Peter Howell (PH), Norman Wilner (NW), Andrew Parker (AP), Gilbert Seah (GS), Marc Glassman (MG), Jim Slotek (JS), Barry Hertz (BH), Liz Braun (LB), Liam Lacey (LL), Radheyan Simonpillai (RS), Chris Knight (CK), Bruce DeMara (BD), Tina Hassannia (TH).