TFCA Friday: Week of July 6th, 2018

July 6, 2018

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

Opening this Week

22 Chaser (dir. Rafal Sokolowski)

A great-looking, entirely respectable first feature. It’s not nearly as compelling as it wants to be, but it’s always watchable. So that’s nice” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Might sound like a low budget Canadian indie thriller with a quirky, eyebrow raising hook, but it’s one of the most surprising homegrown efforts of the year” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A solid crime thriller that Torontonians will be proud of” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Undergoes a severe case of narrative whiplash, as the movie jumps lanes into a vigilante thriller” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Always at the Carlyle (dir. Matthew Miele)

As fluffy as a cloud… but it’s nothing more than a well made, feature length commercial for something most people watching it will never be able to book in their lifetime” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

If you’re interested in entertaining fluff, catch the film that celebrates celebrities” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

The rambling doc mixes name-dropping trivia – Paul Newman used to make his own salad dressing while dining there, years before he started selling it – with fun facts about the building” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Ant-Man and the Wasp (dir. Peyton Reed)

The first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to have a female character’s name in the title. Lilly is given ample screen time to make that distinction more than mere tokenism” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Just enjoy the ride and don’t swat anything on your way out of the theatre” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

This spring’s heaving Avengers: Infinity War felt like it was missing something. Something fun. Something small” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

A film that’s perfectly adequate to sate the audience between the major tentpoles, kicking the can down the lane a little until we get new origin stories to interest us” — Jason Gorber, High Def Digest

Like going to a barbecue on a sweltering summer day, and all that’s available are plain cheeseburgers, vanilla ice cream, and light beer in a beat-up cooler” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A movie in desperate need of dramatic relief” — Chris Knight, The National Post

I just don’t like this story as much, though it’s still a pretty peppy ride the second time around” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Boundaries (dir. Shana Feste)

The latest exercise in mainstream mediocrity from American writer/director Shana Feste, who never saw a movie cliché or character quirk she didn’t love” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A road comedy for people who enjoy seeing that nice Christopher Plummer play a bit of a rascal but would prefer not to encounter anything terribly edgy in their evening’s entertainment” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A film that mistakes quirk for sincerity at every wrong turn” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Full of theatrics, but you’ll laugh and cry” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

It’s a story as old as time, possibly even as old as Christopher Plummer” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Fireworks (dirs. Akiyuki Shinbô and Nobuyuki Takeuchi)

An intensely one-sided affair from the outset… leaning heavily into male-driven fantasy” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The First Purge (dir. Gerard McMurry)

May be the most believable film of the four, despite encroaching franchise fatigue, sketchily drawn characters and numerous instances of the idiotic horror film trope of people wandering alone into deadly circumstances” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

An origin story with the unenviable task of explaining how the country decided to temporarily legalize murder (and all other crimes – but really, let’s just focus on murder)” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Should be the film in this franchise with the most to say about crumbling American empathy and morality. Instead, it’s just a flimsy, monotonous, plodding action flick with a well worn hook that’s grown exhausting” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

This may be where you’d be wise to cleanse yourself of the series’ influence” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Its big, violent finish notwithstanding, a lot of it is quite dull and its pacing inconsistent” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Leave No Trace (dir. Debra Granik)

Speaks in hushed voices, makes few fast moves and requires the viewer to infer a lot about its characters — and also to fear for their safety” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Simply exists alongside its characters, observing the story as it happens to them and letting us take note of the small moments” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Granik and co-writer Anne Rosellini’s story is a spare one, all quiet drama and internal moments of profound change” — Barry Hertz, including an interview with the filmmaker

It’s humane, singular, and illuminating without being preachy or judgmental; the kind of film that’s only equaled in modern cinema by the works of Kelly Reichardt” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The rare film that proves confrontation in a story need not always be resolved by shouting and screaming, but with reason and understanding” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

There’s a calming sense of rhythm and rules in their wilderness lifestyle, like a camping trip that never ends” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The Oslo Diaries (dirs. Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan)

Using cannily created re-enactments, this pic traces the process of both sets of negotiators arguing, agonizing and finally crafting a deal” — Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

Places a uniquely human face on the fight for peace” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Audiences need to hear this plea for peace” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine