José Teodoro writes on “Naked,” Mike Leigh’s outlier film that is equal parts darkly funny and appalling.
TFCA Friday: Week of February 21st, 2020
February 21, 2020
Welcome to TFCA Friday, a weekly round-up of film reviews and articles by TFCA critics.
Opening this Week
The Call of the Wild (dir. Chris Sanders)
“Authenticity isn’t a hallmark of any of these canine movies. And with actor Terry Notary playing Buck through motion capture, there’s room for more (“aww, how cute”) expressions from the dog as well as more physical gags. My kids were rolling around and begging for more” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine
“[Aims] to be an old-fashioned adventure movie for family viewing, and it delivers the requisite big warm cinematic hug” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin
“Maybe it’s time to go back to the old-fashioned way of doing things, all strictly within the bounds of ethical treatment of animals of course. Or if you’re going to use technical wizardry to animate creatures, take a lesson from horses and rein yourself in” — Chris Knight, The National Post
Corpus Christi (dir. Jan Komasa)
“Isn’t a fun film to watch, and its lessons are uglier and less comforting than its competitors for the international Oscar this year… but if you’re in the mood for a raw, challenging European drama, you won’t want to miss it” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine
“Much food for thought. We want him to succeed, but are we complicit? An engrossing puzzle” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!
“Makes the sly argument that holiness is as much a state of mind as one of ordainment. Watching Daniel on the altar, receiving a round of applause for his sermon and spontaneously throwing holy water into the air, he seems the very embodiment of that most elusive condition: faith” — Chris Knight, The National Post
Emma. (dir. Autumn de Wilde)
The Lodge (dirs. Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz)
“Comparisons to Ari Aster’s Hereditaryare legitimate from pretty much the opening scene of The Lodge, Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s follow-up to Goodnight Mommy that mixes fanatic Christianity and a snowbound setting for a slow-burning freakshow. Fortunately, despite these many similarities, [the film] successfully deviates by its chilling finale into something all its own” — Jake Howell, The Film Stage
“By the time the movie pulls its final-act reveal, it’s clear the filmmakers have painted themselves into a narrative corner, with nothing for it but to hack their way out” — Chris Knight, The National Post
“As far as horror goes, it’s a tad slow and repetitive, a trifle of a film, but Keough is seriously convincing as an interloper who is besieged, hated and deeply disturbed” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!
“Likely to be categorized as a slow burn, a term often used to describe a film that reserves its payoff until the end. Certainly, the movie waits until the end for its ultimate payoff, but there is far more to the film than just its ending. The Lodge is relentlessly menacing. There is no question that The Lodge is a horror film, but it’s a horror film that steps far enough outside of expectations to exist as something deeper than its genre allows” — Thom Ernst, Original-Cin
Ordinary Love (dirs. Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn)
“A chamber drama about two people dealing with a life-changing event; and like life itself, it sneaks up on you” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine
“A domestic drama that follows a sixty-something couple through the year around a breast cancer diagnosis, relies on simplicity in its extraordinarily powerful examination of a marriage” — Linda Barnard, Original-Cin
“The film’s crafty title demands a bit of reflection. Is it a story of mere ordinary love, or does Joan and Tom’s cross into something more? It’s certainly an extraordinary bit of filmmaking” — Chris Knight, The National Post
Space & Time (dir. Shawn Gerrard) 🇨🇦
“It’s a shame it isn’t more widely available; stripping aside all its scientific trappings – which you don’t need to geek out about, honestly – at its core is a simple, bittersweet tale of romance and the life choices we make, right here on this planet, where a year is a year” — Chris Knight, The National Post
“An uneven film that lacks the kind of metaphysics the title suggests. The script is weighed down by dialogue too ponderous to ring as authentic—perhaps people do talk in philosophical (and metaphysical) jargon but they don’t talk that way all the time, and if they do, then they’re not much fun to hang out with” — Thom Ernst, Original-Cin
Standing Up, Falling Down (dir. Matt Ratner)
“You won’t be surprised by anything that happens, but then it isn’t that kind of movie; it’s the kind of movie you stumble across on Netflix or Crave and wonder how you missed it the first time around. So maybe don’t miss it” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine
“It’s a rare thing to see a movie about failure that a) is plays like a gentle rom com, and b) is not about utter neurosis. But Standing Up, Falling Down is a small, sweet, slightly flawed movie that is both of those things” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin
“It’s fun watching them knock about together; not life-changing, but good for a few giggles. And isn’t that what standup is about?” — Chris Knight, The National Post