TFCA Friday: Week of October 6th, 2017

October 6, 2017

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

Reviews and features by: Jim Slotek (JS), Liam Lacey (LL), Brian D. Johnson (BDJ), Peter Howell (PH), Gilbert Seah (GS), Chris Knight (CK), Eli Glasner (EG), Radheyan Simonpillai (RS), Norm Wilner (NW), and Kate Taylor (KT).

Opening this Week

Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Beautiful, disorienting and one of the year’s best movies” — PH, including an insightful interview with Denis Villeneuve

Let’s not call Blade Runner 2049 a sequel. Call it the spiritual successor to one of the greatest science-fiction stories ever told. And it lives up to that billing” — CK

Villeneuve’s sequel is a deeper and more engaging work than its progenitor, less concerned with action beats than with ideas, themes and character” — NW

The rare sequel that truly merits its existence … Yes, Blade Runner 2049 is one hard-working and deep-thinking replicant” — KT​

An intelligent iteration, 35 years in the making” — EG

May finally be the film for which Deakins wins the Oscar that has eluded him after 13 nominations for best cinematography” — BDJ

Individual moments had me saying ‘wow’ but they didn’t add up to much” — RS, who has a must-read feature on why Quebecois filmmakers (like Mr. Villeneuve) are so successful

Great Great Great (dir. Adam Garnet Jones)

A moody, occasionally piercing drama … a tour de force performance, played in a minor key” — NW

Loving Vincent (dirs. Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman)

If Vincent Van Gogh had ever made a movie, it might have – no, it would have – looked like this fascinating experiment” — CK

Seeing this visual marvel is perhaps worth the ticket price alone, but there isn’t much in the narrative to hang it on” — RS

Lucky (dir. John Carroll Lynch)

What’s a five-letter word meaning “great performance”?” — PH

A worthy swan song of an actor that has [repeatedly] surprised audiences” — GS

A gentle little oddity of a film, light but serious, short but meandering, more of extended vignette than a conventional movie” — LL

A beautiful portrait of a kind of dogged stubbornness in the face of the inevitable. … Stanton bids us farewell with a smile” — CK

The Mountain Between Us (dir. Hany Abu-Assad)

Spoiler alert: They don’t eat the dog. What kind of movie do you think this is?” — PH

No one sets out to make a movie this bad” — NW

For anyone who fantasizing about being stranded on an island with Idris Elba… this is snow, but Idris can warm you up” — RS

Although the mountain landscapes are calendar-art pretty, neither the undisciplined script nor the direction provide a sense of location or the passage of time” — LL

The chemistry between the leads isn’t hot enough to melt an ice cube” — CK

My Little Pony: The Movie (dir. Jayson Thiessen)

I am neither a seven-year-old girl nor a Bronie (look it up), but I can spot a decent film about anthropomorphic miniature horses when I see one” — CK

Rebel in the Rye (dir. Danny Strong)

A uniquely frustrating experience: a J.D. Salinger movie that’s phony as hell” — NW

Take a hot young actor, surround him with era-appropriate jazz music and cigarette smoke, maybe a little mahogany, and stir… [this] approach to onscreen literary iconography was already a trope before Rebel in the Rye came along” — JS

A flawed biography in which Strong commits all the mistakes the writing professor in the script warns Salinger never to make” — GS

Unarmed Verses (dir. Charles Officer)

Their music doesn’t speak directly to the bulldozers at the gate or the politics stirred up by recent tragedies. Those anxieties hover in the air, and the kids may not yet have the words to grasp them” — RS, with a powerful cover story from Hot Docs this year

A quietly insightful film that also serves as a coming-of-age drama of Francine Valentine” — GS

CineFranco 2017

Gilbert Seah with selected capsule reviews on the film festival that features the best in contemporary French film