TFCA Friday: Week of August 17th, 2018

August 17, 2018

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

Opening this Week

Alpha (dir. Albert Hughes)

Nowhere close to the film it’s being marketed as, the prehistoric survival drama remains a gorgeously photographed and surprisingly ambitious studio picture” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Crazy Rich Asians (dir. Jon M. Chu)

Let’s celebrate Crazy Rich Asians, as all of its cast members are exuberantly doing, as being a major crack in Hollywood’s white wall” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Elevates what could have been a trite crowd pleaser into something vibrant and special” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

An unabashedly retro rom-com, and will doubtless live in perpetuity on what used to be called cable, then VHS rentals, and now streaming” — Chris Knight, The National Post

At NOW Magazine, Glenn Sumi speaks about why the movie is a watershed moment for Hollywood representation

The Last Suit (dir. Pablo Solarz)

Assuredly balances a story of an elderly man’s final wishes with the crushing weight of European history” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Brings the thought that without memories, nothing else matters. One feels sadder for those with dementia and have nothing else when they reach that demise” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Maison du Bonheur (dir. Sofia Bohdanowicz)

By the time Sellam reads Bohdanowicz’s own astrological chart, it becomes hard to resist cliché: the stars, for both Bohdanowicz and the audience, have aligned perfectly” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

At a point where documentaries are becoming increasingly flashy and frantic, watching Maison Du Bonheur felt like arriving at an oasis” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

At The Gate, Andrew Parker interviews the filmmaker on how her project ties into her career, and how it was a bit of a healing journey

Mile 22 (dir. Peter Berg)

It’s well made, but it’s bullshit – a wish-fulfillment farce from a man who’s actually said out loud that he could have stopped 9/11, and a director who either believes him or pretends to as long as it gets the movie financed” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Such histrionic thrillers certainly aren’t without their charms when they’re this engaging and energetic” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A slick, swift, and energetic thrill ride. It is also relentlessly, savagely, and exhaustingly violent” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

A bust, a messy bit of mayhem that could have and should have been amazing fun” — Jason Gorber, High Def Digest

What’s worse than all of the above, though, is the absolute, astounding hubris of Mile 22′s final five minutesthe most blatant and crass cinematic up-sell of all time” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Never Saw It Coming (dir. Gail Harvey)

A Fargo-like swirl of misunderstandings, betrayals and reversals of fortune, with a streak of bitter humour underneath the mayhem” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A juggling act of genres and tones that leaves all the eggs splattered on the floor” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Advertised as a comic thriller, but there are hardly any laughs. As a thriller, the violence occurs suddenly, without building tension” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Perhaps director Gail Harvey is the true author of this misfortune, with its rushed scenes and staging that only highlights, rather than deflects, the film’s made-for-TV budget” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Nico, 1988 (dir. Susanna Nicchiarelli)

An outstanding performance from Danish actor Trine Dyrholm works through singer Christa Päffgen’s complicated emotions, moods and levels of sobriety” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Nicchiarelli’s linear, but freewheeling drama finds tremendous depth and nuance in subtle details, and a commanding lead actress delivering one of the year’s most impressionable performances” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Can be best described as an exhilarating feel-bad biography” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Uncannily summons the singer’s brooding performing style, along with her many complications” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Skate Kitchen (dir. Crystal Moselle)

Just about everything about Skate Kitchen is bold – and to use the vernacular of the scene, it’s also super dope, telling a freewheeling story about youth, acceptance and self-discovery” — Jake Howell, The Globe and Mail

A sociological study of teenage life at this specific moment” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

It shows their world… a world of beauty and wonder, a Utopia, the state of pure high from skateboarding freedom” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

At The Gate, Andrew Parker chats with the filmmaker on creating a fictional film about a real skate crew

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (dir. Susan Johnson)

“A charming throwback to the sort of snappy, high concept teen movies that peppered the 80s and 90s” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Wall (dir. Cam Christiansen)

Told mostly in grayscale palettes that evoke the aesthetic of graphic novels, Wall takes audiences to a place where distinctions of black and white arise too easily and lead to long term conflicts” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

We the Animals (dir. Jeremiah Zagar)

Displays a thrillingly sensitive eye for the curiosity and caution that exists in every young child’s heart, and how it is so simple for the world to crush that” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

TIFF 2018

Peter Howell in the Toronto Star breaks down Outlaw King as the TIFF opening night decision, while Barry Hertz in the Globe and Mail comments: “The move marks the first time a film from the streaming giant has opened a major international film festival

Also from Hertz: Analysis on the festival’s Primetime line-up