TFCA Friday: Week of August 10th, 2018

August 10, 2018

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

Opening this Week

BlacKkKlansman (dir. Spike Lee)

Set in the late 1970s but informed by the here and now, it’s fuelled by righteous anger against racial hatred and anti-Semitism, leavened by scathing wit” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Messy and conflicted … working through its own identity crisis, not necessarily on purpose, but the result is fitting. The film wavers in its attempts to entertain and provoke; to make light or go hard” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Cielo (dir. Alison McAlpine)

A cosmic meditation on our place in the universe” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Urban audiences in particular will be struck by the profound expansiveness of the skies that McAlpine captures from the ground of Chile’s Atacama Desert” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

A movie to be seen. If you ever indeed have escaped the prison of light with which we surround ourselves, you know that you can get lost staring at a bright, starlit night with its texturized sky” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

A journey of appreciation for both silence and the beauty of the skies” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

The Crescent (dir. Seth A. Smith)

A creeping atmosphere sets in almost immediately, gripping the screen tight until the final image, which can either be read as subtly hopeful or despairingly eerie” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Falls into a rut, drifting through long, languid sequences of vague menace and dicey dramatic choices” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Weird colourful patterns are formed and transformed, which seems to flow naturally” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Dog Days (dir. Ken Merino)

A big, generous heart and a pleasant and unhurried pace, allowing for everyone in the cast to have a genuine moment or two as they go through the standard meet-cutes, misunderstandings and minor tragedies” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Works very hard to be sweet. It telegraphs the arcs of its relationships a mile away, but almost every character in the movie is benignly likeable” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

No shortage of clichés. The human stories — predictable and unexciting — are weakly linked to each other like an excuse” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

The Meg (dir. John Turteltaub)

Jaws knockoff designed to give Jason Statham meaningful employment where he can grunt heroically and cash a cheque bearing many zeroes, now that he has reached the Steven Seagal phase of his career” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

I will say this for the Sharknado movies: they know what they are, and they function accordingly. The Meg is awfully confused about a lot of things” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Audiences looking for a so-bad-its-good bit of kitsch catharsis will likely be let down” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Puzzle (dir. Marc Turteltaub)

There’s sublime simplicity in this jigsaw-puzzle-as-life metaphor, masterfully directed by Marc Turtletaub, who produced previous Sundance Film Festival standouts Little Miss Sunshine and Sunshine Cleaning” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Opens audiences to the world of jigsaw puzzles… a delicate tale of self-discovery, with honest, fresh, and occasionally powerful performances” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

TIFF 2018

COO Michele Maheux set to retire, as Barry Hertz reports

Also from Barry Hertz: TIFF’s Midnight Madness, Doc line-ups; a grittier Platform slate; other other Oscar categories to consider; and why Hollywood is obsessed with Canadian novelist Iain Reid

TIFF’s Platform series is designed to be “an alternative to the hoopla,” says Peter Howell

Also from Peter Howell: In defence of Smoochy; and how new Oscar category is as dumb as “buck-a-beer