TFCA Friday: Week of July 12th, 2019

July 12, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Crawl (dir. Alexandre Aja)

A horror movie with no terror, no playfulness, no humour, and the most arbitrary ideas and sensibilities” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Maiden (dir. Alex Holmes)

One of the year’s best docs, it bracingly tells how skipper Tracy Edwards and her 12-woman crew of the British yacht Maiden challenged the planet’s best male sailors in this traditionally testosteronal sea contest, which lasts nine months and spans roughly 34,000 nautical miles” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

The movie is catnip for the gender parity conversation that ends on a triumphant note – which quickly turns sour when you realize that 30 years later the tide hasn’t turned” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

An exceptional, effortless sort of documentary built around a story that’s so thrilling, dramatic, and inspirational that screenwriters who dabble in fictional films would’ve killed to come up with it themselves“— Andrew Parker, The Gate

Offers a conventional, TV-friendly mixture of talking heads and lively archival footage (set to an emphatic musical score) that benefits greatly from the winning presence in Edwards, both past and present” — Liam Lacey, POV Magazine

A beautiful documentary celebrating the harshness of nature and the foibles and strength of [humanity]” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews 

I didn’t expect to be blown away by a documentary on sailing, but there it is” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (dir. Nick Broomfield)

Their story may be too poignant and too complex to be lassoed into a workmanlike documentary such as this, but it’s what we have and it’s very much worth watching” — José Teodoro, NOW Magazine

Fans of the late philosopher-poet will thrill to see Nick Broomfield’s new documentary, which celebrates the powerful, impossible love between Cohen and Norway’s Marianne Ihlen” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Broomfield’s latest is a downright icky, uncomfortable, and possibly even dishonest look at a romance that varies in significance depending on whomever is talking about it at any given moment” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

This is a love story pure and simple, and thankfully Broomfield’s own love for the subject makes him all the more careful to ensure the focus remains pointed to this remarkable woman and the men with which she surrounded herself” — Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

This insider look at a time and place does not flatter Cohen or the sixties hippy lifestyle, and it’s rather depressing at times” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Broomfield proves that there is much to be learned Leonard and Marianne, providing insights on their lives” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

A touching love letter to artists and the kindred souls who inspire them” — Pat Mullen, BeatRoute

Melody Makers, Shoulda Been There (dir. Leslie Ann Coles)

Pushes itself at us so aggressively – piling image upon image, rolling each new anecdote into the last, all of it tracked to a musical score that just won’t stop – that it’s not possible to simply enjoy a moment” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Leslie Ann Coles’ feature debut chronicles the magazine’s heyday in the ’60s and ’70s; if Melody Makers had been a band, this was the period when it went electric” — Chris Knight, The National Post

As a documentary, it could benefit from a little more focus and a tighter edit, but as an overall look back at a time when rock and roll was entering a new, exciting era of reinvention and experimentation, [the film] is charming, informative, and highly entertaining” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Point Blank (dir. Joe Lynch)

The kind of unabashed throwback action picture that will work best at the end of a long day with a six pack of beer and an extra large four-topping pizza in tow” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Should keep Netflix viewers satisfied” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Stuber (dir. Michael Dowse)

It ain’t comedy gold, not by a long shot, but it’s also not complete dross. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Kumail Nanjiani is fast developing a reputation as the one good thing in otherwise bad movies… His starring role in Stuber keeps this Uber driver/cop buddy comedy from driving off the road. Barely” — Chris Knight, The National Post

It feels especially fond of Beverly Hills Cop and Tango & Cash, and maybe Luc Besson’s European knock-off Taxi franchise as well. Violence is encouraged and overblown; insults are specific and cutting, cars go very fast after other cars. Things explode, but it’s all pretty localized” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

It’s fine, but admittedly disappointing. You’ll laugh a few times when the premise and cast are utilized to their full potential, but the lasting impact [will] be next to nothing“— Andrew Parker, The Gate

Go see this with as little expectation as possible, and you won’t be disappointed” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Unplanned (dirs. Cary Solomon & Chuck Konzelman)

Unplanned is neither smart enough to rally anyone to its cause, nor dumb enough to alienate those who believe its message. As propaganda, therefore, it’s basically useless. And as cinema, it’s poorly made. But you have a freedom of choice as to whether or not to see it” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Will make you writhe in agony over how such an ugly, malicious and potentially dangerous piece of religious and political propaganda could have made its way into this world… Would Cineplex, or Landmark, or the handful of independent theatres hosting Unplanned this weekend, program a film that specifically mounts a campaign to roll back the rights of one race, or ethnicity, or sexuality? Women’s rights, it appears, are cheaper and easier to ignore” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

50 Years of Easy Rider

In the Toronto Star, Peter Howell celebrates the iconic movie’s big 

TIFF 2019 Programming

In the Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz writes on the potential selections at the upcoming festival

Mrs. Dalloway is Back

In the Globe and Mail, Nathalie Atkinson looks at Booksmart, A Room of One’s Own, and the legacy of Virginia Woolf