TFCA Friday: Week of August 2nd, 2019

August 2, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground (dir. Chuck Smith)

As close as we’re likely to get to a genuine biography of one of cinema’s most elusive artists and psychologically toughest nuts to crack” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

One can’t deny this woman was a force to be reckoned with” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

David Crosby: Remember My Name (dir. A.J. Eaton)

An affectionate, funny and bracing documentary confessional featuring the gnarly rock legend” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

More brutally honest and moving than all of this year’s other music docs put together” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Whether you know his music or not, it’s a rich experience listening to one who can look himself in the mirror with such clarity and still find grace notes in the world” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

A.J. Eaton asks tough questions and to his credit, Crosby answers sincerely” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

A testament of the fallen star and how Crosby redeemed himself” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Free Trip to Egypt (dir. Ingrid Serban)

There’s no doubt that the participants enjoy some eye-opening experiences during the trip, but the project’s unearned self-congratulation is, as Mounib says in the film, “stupid and naïve”” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

There were some uplifting moments and some real embarrassments, but overall it was intense, and a real eye-opener” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

A feel-good film, but the director manipulates too much” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Perhaps a weekly reality television series “Free Trip To …” would test the idea in more useful ways – and it might be useful to hear what the hosts had to say” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Hobbs & Shaw (dir. David Leitch)

Soon devolves into yet another blockbuster pileup of CGI mayhem, each scene more ludicrous than the last, interspersed with family interludes that stretch the movie to a groaning 136 minutes” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Fans won’t be disappointed. The movie delivers the constant, ridiculous action they’ve come to expect, along with the usual themes of family and friendship. It just doesn’t hit the same level of transcendent ridiculousness that distinguishes the franchise’s best chapters” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Nicely tickled my sweet spot for what I like to see in a shallow, loud, noisy, and ridiculous action picture” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Samoa is worth keeping… A good, angry, grimacing Haka Dance is what this franchise has needed for a long time” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

For the most part, it’s a batch of silliness that knows exactly what it’s trying to do” — Jason Gorber, High-Def Digest

Aside from some excellent action set pieces, this is a total bore” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Honeyland (dirs. Ljubomir Stefanov and, Tamara Kotevska)

This amazing doc, a multiple prize-winner at Sundance 2019, makes for the most primal of environmental allegories” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A film of beautiful intimacy and tragedy, a rare glimpse at a dying way of life, and an observation of culture at a crossroads filled with heartache and humour” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine, including an interview with the filmmakers

A beautifully realized film, full of tragedy and joy, simplicity and complexity” — Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine

Simple extrapolation bodes badly for living things on this planet, and while [this] is alarming, it’s not depressing, leaving an intense sensory impression” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

It’s the story of everywhere, destruction of nature by humans through carelessness and greed” — Anne Brodie, What She Said

Once it becomes apparent exactly the sort of story that Kotevska and Stefanov have stumbled upon, Honeyland will shake viewers to their very core and force them to wrestle with facets of human nature that often go ignored” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Contains some unforgettable candid scenes” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank (dir. Gerald Fox)

On a personal level, I can see why Frank was uncomfortable with people seeing [this], but it’s also valuable bit of insight and a well made documentary” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Museo (dir. Alonso Ruizpalacios)

References classic noir in key sequences, but gradually runs out of stylistic gas. The most fascinating elements are the stolen objects – their meaning, their power – but, save for the heist scene, details are glossed over in favour of genre conventions that fail to make the characters’ arrested development seem compelling” — Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine

An enriching and visually dazzling take on the traditional heist movie template, [this] boasts a fascinating, unusual, and frequently thrilling story that’s delivered by a young filmmaker operating at the top of his game” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A total delight for cineastes especially with its constant cinematic surprises around every corner. The best foreign film I have seen this this year” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

The Red Sea Diving Resort (dir. Gideon Raff)

Never becomes a good movie or even that focused or engaging of one, but it does its best to shamelessly rip off a much better directed and written motion picture” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Tel Aviv On Fire (dir. Sameh Zoabi)

A hysterically funny modern fable of an underemployed Kramer-esque Palestinian who somehow becomes a TV soap opera writer on the phenomenally popular series Tel Aviv on Fire” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

This is a movie that lets its characters worry about the messages they might be sending. It’s funnier that way” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Earns bonus points for degree of difficulty” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Directed and [written] with an ear for banter and deadpan comedic sensibilities, [this] is more witty and perceptive than gut-bustingly hilarious” — Andrew Parker, TheGate

TIFF 2019

In the Toronto Star, Peter Howell outlines TIFF’s recent announcement of the Canadian slate, with Indigenous films the highlight