TFCA Friday: Week of April 26th, 2019

April 26, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Avengers: Endgame (dirs. Joe and Anthony Russo)

Mathematicians say infinity has no end. Avengers: Endgame thrillingly and movingly proves them wrong” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star, including a list of five nerdy notes about Thanos and co.

I was delighted by the directions Endgame takes. When it finally fires up its big plot engine, the movie plays like a remix of Marvel’s greatest hits, riffing on 40 hours of cinematic continuity and using the elastic nature of its comic-book origins as a strength” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

It’s a worthy bookend to an ambitious cycle of interlocking blockbusters, credible fan service, and far and away the best film to have Avengers in the title” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A glorious epic-length movie that indulges the series’ deepest themes without skimping on action. In a word, it’s terrific” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

The action sequences are more than aptly executed with the directors playing it smart to play up the human parts of the story” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Furiously smart and frequently witty. There are instances of indelible delight and glimpses of technical excellence. But the giant cosmic brain powering everything and everyone involved in making Endgame – that would be Walt Disney Pictures – is not using its brilliance for the betterment of art or society. The film is, in a very real way that is wholly absent of irony, as much an evil genius as its own central villain” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Despite the comic-book origins of the tale, the stakes feel real, with some powerful moments of sacrifice, and a few wistful reunions” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Faithful to its core, dense and rich, nostalgic and yet new, it reaches far and succeeds with all the elements the fans will love” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Diane (dir. Kent Jones)

It would be so easy for Jones’s film to slide into melodrama here, but he avoids narrative shortcuts at almost every turn” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Not just another movie of a parent struggling with an adult child’s addiction. It’s a depiction of many trials, stretched over years, as Diane watches friends and family fall away to death, and deal with a personal secret” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

A sublime puzzle of a movie, resolving itself without completely yielding its secrets. Jones says he was also inspired by the poetry of Ezra Pound, which makes sense” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

For a film about about sick and depressing people, the film has a sly look at things thus giving the film some humour and a cutting edge” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Dragged Across Concrete (dir. S. Craig Zahler)

Nearly everyone in this movie, and nearly everything that happens in it, is awful. Vile. Nasty. But it is a nastiness that sticks” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

The Public (dir. Emilio Estevez)

Has some extremely broad storytelling sensibilities, but it also boasts a big, beating heart that can’t be denied, discounted, or maligned” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The film is low key, a joyless affair, a dreary version of what must have been a galvanising experience, weighed down by unnecessary subplots” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

A decent mix of comedy / drama on relevant social issues that, at times, tries too hard to please the audience” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Under the Silver Lake (dir. David Robert Mitchell)

A staggering work of mind numbing self importance and borderline toxic nostalgia baiting” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Is it for everyone? Hell, no. But Mitchell has made an iconoclastic, frustrating film that won’t leave your head once you’ve seen it; I caught it last fall, and it’s haunted me ever since” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Hot Docs 2019

In the Toronto Star, Peter Howell’s 10 docs you need to see

At the Gate, Andrew Parker’s round-up of reviews you can use

In the Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz asks: Are we living in a golden age of documentary? (He also has an interview with opening night film director Tasha Hubbard)

At NOW Magazine, a directory of reviews for many of Hot Docs’ biggest titles

In Maclean’s, Brian D. Johnson has a feature on Laurie Lynd’s Patient Zero, a Hot Docs title that takes on the AIDS epidemic

At POV Magazine (which also has a new issue – pick up a copy while at Hot Docs!), Pat Mullen interviews Tasha Hubbard, and a profile on Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, directors of For Sama

At Toronto-Franco, Gilbert Seah has capsule reviews of the festival’s must-see titles

Cléo – A Journal of Film and Feminism: Vol. 7, Issue 1

At cléo, editor Mallory Andrews banks on the issue’s central theme of “capital”