TFCA Friday: Week of July 20th, 2018

July 20, 2018

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

Opening this Week

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot (dir. Gus Van Sant)

By the end of this gentle, odd little picture, we understand where the man’s art came from – and we admire him for being able to find it” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Callahan passed away in 2010 at the age of 59, which gives the film a tidy closure it would otherwise lack. But even at that, the screenplay struggles to connect several disparate threads in his life” — Chris Knight, The National Post

An often achingly-tragic film about a guy who gave the world a lot of guilty laughs” — Jim Slotek,

Offers gut-wrenching insight in this soulful biography of a troubled human being” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Phoenix is left to burden the entirety of the production, with Van Sant constructing an aggressively conventional character study that attempts to constrain and diminish Phoenix’s efforts at every turn” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Audio: Joaquin Phoenix is superb” — Karen Gordon, CBC

Eighth Grade (dir. Bo Burnham)

Everybody who has been through eighth grade needs to see Eighth Grade” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

When you’re a kid, everything is already intense. Eighth Grade gets that, and plays it back for those of us on the other side – and for those who might still be in the thick of it” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

There’s more going on in Eighth Grade than you might at first think. Vote this one “most quiet” if you want, but listen up and you’ll realize it has a lot to say” — Chris Knight, The National Post, including an interview with the director

A small, lovely, touching movie that sums up all that’s wrong and all that’s right with being a teen and feeling unmoored” — Karen Gordon,

The Equalizer 2 (dir. Antoine Fuqua)

The action turns out even shoddier in this second outing, particularly during a climactic blowout on an island hit by a hurricane” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Our hero proves remarkably less inventive here than he did in the previous film’s climax, which basically turned McCall into MacGyver” — Chris Knight, The National Post

An unequal sequel, a follow-up cock-up, a sophomore bore. Not as good” — Liam Lacey,

Generally slower, albeit with quick-edit fight sequences and lots of blood and gore” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Hitler’s Hollywood (dir. Rüdiger Suchsland)

This comprehensive slice of film history asks difficult and relevant questions… navigates a tricky chapter of film history thankfully without celebrating it” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Apart from the blatant anti-Semitism and ideological kitsch, the era’s celebrations of collective sacrifice and violence feel entirely familiar today” — Liam Lacey,

Letters From Masanjia (dir. Leon Lee)

A powerful indictment of human rights abuses in China, but director Leon Lee fumbles the telling at almost every turn” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Yi recounts his experience in drably shot interviews, which contain urgent subject matter but aren’t visually compelling enough to carry a theatrical feature” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (dir. Ol Parker)

Just try throwing shade at Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Its relentlessly sunny spirit will burn right through it” — Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

The Third Murder (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)

The grim milieu of the procedural is new territory for Kore-eda, and in its early scenes The Third Murder feels like a riff on the genre work of his contemporary Kiyoshi Kurosawa” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Is at its simplest a courtroom drama, but the themes of family, memory and loss that play throughout many of the director’s work are evident here as well” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Kore-eda completists should add it to their itineraries if for no other reason than to see how a master can stumble, but for audiences unfamiliar with the filmmaker’s work, a simple plea: Start anywhere else” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Brilliantly thought of and executed, The Third Murder marks Kore-eda as his latest and best” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Under the Tree (dir. Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson)

A jet-black comedy about getting along with your neighbours and your spouse. The moral of the story would seem to be: Or else” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Demonstrates the worst there is in human beings, creating a dark comedy at its blackest” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Though Under the Tree falls firmly into satire, it is not a comedy with a lot of laughs. It is more an absurdist tragedy, with cringe-worthy moments” — Jim Slotek,

Unfriended: Dark Web (dir. Stephen Susco)

Matias’s computer crashes several times trying to make sense of it all, and with it so does the film” — Chris Knight, The National Post

A clever novelty, resulting in a tidy, economic little film” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Nasty in its narrative and nifty in its aesthetic, Stephen Susco’s new film is a solid argument against doing anything remotely illicit online” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

TIFF 2018

In the Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz predicts what will end up at TIFF later this September, including The Sisters Brothers

Canadian filmmakers now streaming on Mubi

Did you know? Films by some of the newest wave of Canadian filmmakers are available to watch on Mubi, says Barry Hertz in the Globe and Mail