TFCA Friday: Week of June 22nd, 2018

June 22, 2018

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

Opening this Week

American Animals (dir. Bart Layton)

Hits the usual genre beats, and plays a predictable rock soundtrack as it lurches between comedy and drama, but neither the story nor the characters really mesh” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Mixes dramatization and documentary into a hybrid heist movie, and the results are remarkable” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Masterfully straddles genres and art forms while examining a crime gone wrong” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine, including an interview with Bart Layton on the TFCA website

Adding in documentary footage feels less revolutionary, and more like easy filler” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail, including an interview with lead actor Barry Keoghan

Funny, fresh, smart, and original while still playing homage to classic films” — Gilbert Seah, AfroToronto

A fascinating and effective marriage of documentary interview techniques with slick, stylish, fictional filmmaking” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The Cleaners (dirs. Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck)

A frustratingly superficial treatment of its subject, failing to really push into the questions it raises and unwilling (or unable) to show us any of the images with which these content moderators struggle” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A doc of remarkable access and a feast for thought” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Even more shocking when it shows glimpses of a few of these deleted images. The directors cannot resist sensationalization” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

A tough investigative doc that slowly, inexorably, turns into a cinematic essay about contemporary anger and hatred” — Marc Glassman, POV Magazine

Feels like a film that’s put on pause at the midway point to watch a segment from a different film. Both films are certainly worthy of praise… but it leaves both halves feeling like they could have been made into two capable standalone films instead of one lengthy effort” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The film itself is a model of good design. Vibrant colours and bright lighting make for warm and accessible interviews, while unique title cards play with spatial relations in the frame” — POV Magazine

Design Canada (dir. Greg Durrell)

If you drew a Venn diagram – two circles, one representing patriots and the other people who love design – the overlapping portion will adore this flag-waving documentary about Canadian graphic design. Put me right in that bull’s-eye” — Chris Knight, The National Post

If you let your guard down, the production just might make you feel patriotic – in a self-aware, extremely modest Canadian way, of course” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

A film that wants the viewer to know how advertising and iconography works on them, while simultaneously maintaining a love for form and function. Like the images profiled, it sounds simple, but it’s delightfully complex” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Hearts Beat Loud (dir. Brett Haley)

This is a movie you not only want to see, but also to put on the turntable” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A charming, low-stakes drama about a middle-aged musician’s attempts to start a band with his daughter. Not much happens, but it’s awfully sweet” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Never lets its drama level never go above, maybe, a six. But without a lot of noise, it allows us into the complicated lives of a father and daughter, who need to break free from each other” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Cinematic comfort food that suggests that somewhere out there someone is having a quiet, cathartic moment worth being happy about. It’s a sentimental concept, but it’s a sentiment that’s very much appreciated at the moment” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (dir. J. A. Bayona)

Worst of all is the sad realization that the dinosaurs no longer have the power to make us gape. For the most part, they’ve all dissolved into a CGI mass of grey skin, beady eyes and gaping teeth … failing to impress” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A more stylish, more intimate venture, drawing on the earlier sequels for inspiration” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

“Doesn’t feel quite as fresh as the 2015 “original,” itself a clone of the ’93 blockbuster. But as long as the filmmakers are convinced they haven’t bitten off more than they can chew, the show will go on” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Like almost every other major studio film this summer,Fallen Kingdom plays dumb, and happily” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

At this point even the thrill kills have lost their shiver, objectively less of a threat than a bucket of fried chicken parts” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

A film made only for people who like to spend money, not for people who actually enjoy going to the movies” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Audio: The only cliche the filmmakers didn’t use was the villains twirling their moustaches” — Karen Gordon, CBC’s Metro Morning

The Lockpicker (dir. Randall Okita)

A raw and unnerving study of grief and trauma” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

An intimate coming-of-age drama shot in actual Toronto classrooms over a span of two school years with a cast of non-professional actors” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Octavio is Dead! (dir. Sook Yin Lee)

It’s disorienting, and I don’t know that it works as well as it wants to, but it’s not unpleasant” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Mostly, the story is like a mannequin on which to hang images. And the seams clearly show” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

The rare example of a film where the ideas playing out in the viewer’s head might be better thought out than the drama playing out on screen” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Paper Year (dir. Rebecca Addelman)

This is exactly the kind of small, generous film that gets lost in the tsunami of shiny summer blockbusters. So catch it as soon as you can” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The excruciating realism, the well-observed social undercurrents, and the tentative black comedy are typical of Addelman’s provocative if occasionally wavering style” — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

Leisurely paced with little happenings, making the film a light, entertaining drama with a few touches of comedy” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Balances cynicism and sobriety as Addelman shows a firm grasp for directionless millennials who desperately need something to validate their existence” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Comes from a place of brutal, emotional honesty, but not from an assured filmmaking perspective” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Ticks the rom-com boxes before flipping the formula” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Speed Racer (dir. Lana and Lilly Wachowski)

I crunched the numbers and it’s a little bit of a risk, but you need a bit of excitement, right?” Barry Hertz chats with TIFF programmer Peter Kuplowsky on his 10th anniversary IMAX screening

I was wrong about Speed Racer,” says Andrew Parker in The Gate as he writes on the film for Kuplowsky’s charity screening

Rosemary’s Baby at 50 Years Old

Peter Howell reflects on the most “influential of all horror movies

NFB’s Indigenous Action Plan

In the Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz looks at the National Film Board’s plan to allocate 15% of budgets to indigenous filmmakers by 2020

Jean-Marc Vallee’s Continued Success

Art, film, books, music − he is eager to dissect it all“: For HBO’s Sharp Objects, The Globe and Mail’s Barry Hertz chats with JMV