TFCA Friday: Week of June 15th, 2018

June 15, 2018

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

Opening this Week

Beast (dir. Michael Pearce)

Tension begins to slacken … but then comes an ending that makes the waiting worthwhile. Sometimes, you just don’t know people” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

One of the much-anticipated Platform selections at TIFF last year, Beast turns out to be… well, it’s just another British murder mystery, isn’t it?” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

This unlikely mash-up of a rural romantic drama and a serial killer film, is haunting, disturbing, and remarkably nuanced” — Andrew Parker, The Gate, including an interview with the director

We wanted it to have a very elemental feeling“: At BeatRoute, Pat Mullen interviews Michael Pearce

Gripping from start to finish” — Gilbert Seah, AfroToronto

Becoming Who I Was (dirs. Moon Chang-Yong and Jeon Jin)

It’s worth sitting through the film’s meandering first hour – which observes Angdu and Rigzin in their village in northern India – to get to the genuinely powerful final movement, in which the pair undertake a long, dangerous journey to a Tibet monastery in the hope that Angdu will be able to reclaim his place there” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A transformative journey, a spiritual pilgrimage and coming-of-age alike” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

A work of great complexity, cultural specificity, and intense emotional response, but there’s still a sense that something’s missing and that the film’s narrowed vision can’t contain everything that’s happening” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Incredibles 2 (dir. Brad Bird)

No longer so incredible — and in truth, they never really were — Brad Bird and the Parrs are now happy just to be thought of as reliably entertaining” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

It satisfies on the most basic level – but you’ll be left wondering why it didn’t go any further” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

It’s not up there with Coco or Inside Out. It is, however, the family-friendliest superhero movie of the year” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Every bit as good as the original, but it may seem better because we’ve caught up to it” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

A credible follow-up, offering an assemblage of avenging superheroes who manage to entertain and exhilarate if never quite surprise” — Jason Gorber, High Def Digest

The most satisfying major studio blockbuster of the summer movie season thus far. On a storytelling level, it’s a sequel that’s virtually on par with the original. And on a technical level, it’s Pixar’s most elaborate and gorgeous achievement to date” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Nothing against the occasional zip-zam-pow theatrics of the superhero movie, but the genre is quickly becoming an invasive species” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Over-complicated, and may prove too much for younger kids to understand” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Superfly (dir. Director X)

Nods to the original movie but also smartly insists on finding more within its violently pursued “American Dream” narrative” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star, including an interview with Director X

Makes obvious drive-by observations about racism today, somewhere between its Scarface drama and Fast And Furious resolutions, but in its manicured state it remains committed to leaving nothing up for discussion and being ultimately forgettable” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

The cast made the trip worthwhile. I’ll confess, I couldn’t take my eyes off Priest” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Ultimately, the clothes and music in Superfly are more memorable than the bloody shoot-outs and generic car chases” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Although lacking in the grit and stakes of Gordon Parks Jr.’s 1972 blaxploitation classic, music video veteran Director X’s modernist updating of Superfly for the trap rap era isn’t without certain charms” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Tag (dir. Jeff Tomsic)

Frantic and shrieky and often very funny – thanks mostly to Hamm’s indignant deadpan and Buress’s distinctive line readings, which make everything he says seem like a non sequitur” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

There’s no denying its infectious nature. You may even find yourself patting your moviegoing companion on the back as you leave the theatre” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The crude if silly humour of the movie’s first 90 minutes is followed by a dollop of sentiment at the film’s end, resulting in a case of tonal whiplash” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Gradually the film’s manic energy, goodwill, and creativity starts getting chipped away thanks to an emerging mean streak that threatens to derail everything likable” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Decidedly not ‘it’” — Gilbert Seah, AfroToronto

Funny Girl: The Films of Elaine May

What about Elaine? In Zoomer, Nathalie Atkinson revisits the influential director, writer and improv pioneer for TIFF’s June retrospective

Breakthroughs Film Festival

At POV Magazine, Pat Mullen looks at the documentaries on display, including Living Here, Work, and Dear Hatetts

At The Gate, Andrew Parker highlights the importance of the festival, which focuses on emerging female filmmakers

Italian Contemporary Film Festival

In Toronto-Franco, jury member Gilbert Seah writes on selected films from the ICFF (which, strangely, is also screening A Fistful of Dollars)

A Story of Opportunity for North Korea

Hollywood agents, drop your calls, and studios, start recasting all your Kevin Hart-Dwayne Johnson buddy flicks: Kim and Trump are set to take over showbiz,” quips Barry Hertz in The Globe and Mail

Grease: The 40th Anniversary

At Art of the Title, Nathalie Atkinson goes deep on the film’s rich title sequence

TIFF 2018

In the Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz looks at TIFF’s new diverse media accreditation initiative, in partnership with Brie Larson