TFCA Friday: Week of January 25th, 2019

January 25, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Chef Flynn (dir. Cameron Yates)

The result is a doc that probably made the McGarry family very happy. But it’s likely to frustrate anyone who understands how documentaries are made, or how restaurants work” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Cold War (dir. Pawel Pawlikowski)

Pawlikowski, who won the directing prize at Cannes 2018, shrewdly maintains suspense until the end, with a movie superbly executed in form, story and performance” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

On its face, Cold War is as emotionally chilly as its title suggests, with its protagonists betraying one another – and themselves – more out of cynical calculation than any patriotic belief…. We feel for them, even if the world can’t” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

There is an inherent icon-making tastefulness that black and white offers. Sometimes, Pawlikowski benefits from it; other times, Cold War seems merely pretentious” — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

A bittersweet love story both epic and intimate as he charts the ups and downs of one relationship with the chaos of post-war Europe” — Pat Mullen, That Shelf

A look back on recent history, not through the lens of realism, but as a Hollywood fantasy, a kind of romantic protest against a political nightmare” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

The movie deftly weaves together the personal and the political. When the lovers are sitting on a park bench, a line like “Let’s go to the other side; the view will be better there” can be read in two very different ways” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Reflects on the cruelty of European prejudices and nationalism during that period in one of the saddest films in recent memory” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Stunning cinematography captures the atmosphere of Poland’s period of popular propaganda” — Gilbert Seah, Toronto Franco

The Image Book (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

At 88, Godard is no less reluctant to express cryptic opinions than he was 60 years ago, as one of the leading lights of the French New Wave. But he prefers to let his pictures speak for themselves” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Another dense assemblage of quotations from his own and others’ works — using onscreen text, voice-over, music, television and internet footage, and shots from phone cameras. Images are distorted, bleached or rendered in hot acid colours, punctuated by abrupt fades to black” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Venture to see Godard’s latest film if you dare. Remember, it is a avant-garde horror essay” — Gilbert Seah, Toronto Franco

The Kid Who Would Be King (dir. Joe Cornish)

I would not have expected the guy who made the marvellous sci-fi horror comedy Attack The Block to follow it, eight years later, with an all-ages fantasy adventure about a London middle-schooler who pulls a sword from a stone and winds up charged with saving Britain… But here we are” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Cornish’s pace here is somewhat casual, and the beats of this hero story awfully familiar, a problem that isn’t diminished by the script underscoring the point” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

An imaginative superhero adventure that cleverly blends medieval lore with a modern spin” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Racetime (dir. Benoît Godbout)

Turns out to be an entertaining harmless family romp (never mind the one fart joke). Credit to the Canadian and Quebec filmmakers” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Like a toboggan ride down a steep and snowy hill, knowing the destination doesn’t lessen the fun of the journey one bit” — Chris Knight, The National Post

A lively if somewhat bewilderingly busy story with a lot of characters who spend their time in an abandoned barn without any hint of adult supervision” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Serenity (dir. Steven Knight)

Writer and director Steven Knight tries to pull a Shyamalan, twisting his neo-noir thriller about a washed up fishing boat captain and his femme fatale ex-wife into something else entirely. But it’s so ridiculously misguided, you’re left wondering why so many talented people jumped on board” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Starts out big. But boy, does it fall hard” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Trashy fun while it works, and fortunately, it works for a majority of its running time” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

As per any McConaughey outing there’s plenty of his naked rear end and rippling muscles but even so, he shows real depth and vulnerability and more than a passing acquaintance with madness” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

From its intense beginnings to its what-really-c’mon-no-reallllllly-c’mon mid-film twist to its defiantly and successfully sentimental finale, the new Matthew McConaughey vehicle is playing by its own demented rules. When it deigns to care about rules” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

This Mountain Life (dir. Grant Baldwin)

A spectacular production that deserves to be seen on the widest screen one can find… a love letter to the outdoors” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine, including an interview with the director

Majestic mountain scenery meets a somewhat limited psychological insight in This Mountain Life, a mosaic documentary of several narrative strands” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Partying Like It’s 2001

In the National Post, Chris Knight recounts his 2001: A Space Odyssey-themed dinner (and other ways food and film intersect)

Talkin’ Oscars

Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail: On the nominations; on the snubs, on the Canadian animators who were lucky enough to make the cut

Brian D. Johnson, Macleans: Will Roma make history?

Nathalie Atkinson, Zoomer: Why Glenn Close deserves that Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Wife

Sundance 2019

Peter Howell, The Toronto Star: The monsters are coming out to Park City’s Main Street — here’s what Sundance has in store