TFCA Friday: Week of June 1st, 2018

June 1, 2018

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

Opening this Week

Adrift (dir. Baltasar Kormákur)

[Shailene Woodley] is astounding in the role of the genial Californian wanderer who takes up with Claflin’s slightly more world-weary Brit” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Shailene Woodley holds the screen effortlessly as Oldham, contrasting her sunny optimism in the flashbacks with desperation and determination post-hurricane” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Some may be turned off by its Hollywood romance, but for those who love this kind of thing, Adrift doesn’t disappoint” — Gilbert Seah, AfroToronto

Might not rewrite the survival drama handbook, but it still delivers a competent, engaging, and often exciting final product” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Contrasted with the darker, greyer images of the ruined ship carrying Tami and Richard, Adrift finds bittersweet harmonies between the thrills of romance and suspense” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Black Cop (dir. Cory Bowles)

Like slam poetry, Black Copdares you to take issue with its point of view” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A smart, slippery examination of race and policing that was shot in Halifax, though the city is never named, and the setting could, sadly, be just about anywhere in Canada or the U.S” — Chris Knight, The National Post

[Its] most daring creative decision is to risk dividing audiences by arguing that there’s really only one side to this issue” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Tilting between social satire and pitch-black drama with unnerving ease, Cory Bowles’s feature debut is an intriguing high-wire act” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

What makes it so compelling is just how angry it is” — Gilbert Seah, AfroToronto

It’s a movie that would have worked as well on stage. Either way, its message is powerful and unsettling” — Jim Slotek,

A righteous work of anger and heartache cleverly disguised as an amoral thriller” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Black Kite (dir. Tarique Qayumi)

A sometimes touching, sometimes frustrating mix of good instincts and better intentions, Black Kite wants to be the most inspiring film you’ll see all year” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail, including an interview with Tarique Qayumi

We’re always aware of what Black Kite is striving to be – and it’s frustrating to realize it’s not going to get there” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A complete mess… despite its good intentions, Black Kite is all over the place” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

What [it] lacks in polish and storytelling chops it more than makes up for in empathy” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

First Reformed (dir. Paul Schrader)

Schrader is a master of austere screen stories of existential crisis, which he’s deepened here with his genuine concerns about environmental ruin” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Entirely of the moment – but its stark visual style feels classical, with Schrader building tension through stillness and formal compositions, focusing on Hawke’s agony until it feels like the screen will shatter” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Schrader’s best film since Affliction” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Schrader proves that he still has the ability to move and provoke viewers like the best of them, and lead actor Ethan Hawke reaffirms his status as one of the most underrated talents of his time” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

If there’s any justice, people will be talking about First Reformed come December” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (dir. Sophie Fiennes)

[This] look at one of pop culture’s most enduring and trailblazing icons, will likely come off as being too impenetrable for casual fans or the unfamiliar” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Reveals Jones also as a lover, daughter, mother, sister, and even grandmother” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Draws upon a decade’s worth of material she amassed following Jones, so the range of coverage and snippets of Jones’s life is impressive” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Let The Sunshine In (dir. Claire Denis)

This is no mere romcom, despite the parade of genre types Isabelle meets in her recherche d’amour” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

It’s all so playful, so smart and buoyed by Binoche’s emotional dynamics. Time may classify this as “minor” Denis, but it is perfect on its own terms – and features one of the most ingenious closing scenes in memory” — José Teodoro, NOW Magazine

Touted by critics as Claire Denis in lighter form, but Let the Sunshine Inis aided by an extraordinary and charming performance by Juliette Binoche” — Gilbert Seah, Toronto-Franco

Cerebral, exploratory, and unpredictable. Each romance represents a shift in tone, a new conversation, a new opportunity for wisdom and foolishness” — Liam Lacey,

Might be one of Denis’ most curiously clichéd efforts to date – which is part of the point – but it’s no less rigorous in its approach” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

M/M (dir. Drew Lint)

It’s formally daring: the total dialogue in the film — mostly Matthew’s long-distance phone conversations with his doting mother— amounts to little more than a handful of script pages” — Liam Lacey,

The Trolley (dir. Stephen Low)

I expected The Trolley, which celebrates electric trams in Toronto and around the world, would be the ride of my life. Boy, was I short-turned” — Chris Knight, The National Post

A charming, old school throwback to the kinds of IMAX formatted educational films that rarely get widely released anymore” — Andrew Parker, The Gate