TFCA Friday: Week of June 29th, 2018

June 29, 2018

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

Opening this Week

Darken (dir. Audrey Cummings)

Unwatchable, and I dare say that it’s in no condition to be receiving a theatrical release” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The first-rate sound design is a spectacular achievement that transports a viewer to an eerie world of uncertainties and hidden dangers” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer, including a comparison to The Unseen

Generically competent enough to serve as the basis of a game or immersive theatre project, or pilot for a television series” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Plays like a children’s playground game for adults that have forgotten to grow up” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

A movie with more ambition than its resources can support” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (dir. Mouly Surya)

Tired of the same old, same old? For something genuinely different, check out the third feature from 37-year-old Indonesian director Mouly Surya, a feminist rape-revenge fable with a headless ghost, women bonding against sadistic misogyny, and some spectacular cinematography on the rolling landscapes of the island of Sumba” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Uniquely pitched somewhere between the work of the gritty and perceptive outlandishness of the Coen Brothers and the surreal, dreamlike work of Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

It’s also gorgeously photographed — the wide screen is truly served by cinematographer Yunus Pasolang — and I can sing that praise even while acknowledging the presence of righteously severed heads and other they-had-it-coming unpleasantness” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A bloody good western for the #MeToo era” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Stylish and violent, proving Surya as a fantastic storyteller” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

A great feel for elemental imagery, giving a timeless quality to the story by keeping the flip phones and vehicles to a minimum, even finding a way to work horses into the action” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

North Mountain (dir. Bretten Hannam)

Isn’t a good movie, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like or admire it. It’s a poorly made film with lots to like within its shaky margins” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A good blend of drama, emotional suspense, and thrills” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Makes for a familiar kind of wintry, small-town neo-noir in the vein of Fargo or A Simple Plan” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Recovery Boys (dir. Elaine McMillion Sheldon)

Made by a filmmaker and subjects who wish to speak frankly and without embellishment about one of the most misunderstood and stereotyped facets of modern society” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (dir. Stefano Sollima)

The Sicario franchise is all about male violence, whether in the service of the coca or in the service of the state” — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail”

This sequel doesn’t undo the work on Villeneuve’s film, and returning screenwriter Sheridan finds some refreshing new things to say about the plight of two of the first film’s original characters” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

What this blood-splattered sequel truly lacks is Villeneuve at the helm, Emily Blunt in front of the camera and ace cinematographer Roger Deakins behind it, plus late Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson on the soundtrack” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A no-nonsense action suspense thriller” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Were it a stand-alone film, one might be inclined to mildly-recommend it as a fast-moving, improbable action film about Americans killing Mexicans over a little girl” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Sicario is not a movie that demands or even accommodates a sequel” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Uncle Drew (dir. Charles Stone III)

It ain’t Ozu or Kubrick, but Uncle Drew exceeds its rock bottom expectations” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

It hits me where I live to see heavily made-up NBA stars, current and retired, pretend to be senior citizens who humiliate “young bloods” a third their age” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Essentially a feature-length commercial, where Nike, Aleve and Footlocker are among the many brands getting in on Pepsi’s action” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The Unseen (dir. Geoff Redknap)

A great concept, and well executed in fits and spurts, but something like this needs a lot more room to grow and breathe than it’s given here” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

A solid Canadian horror piece” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

If nothing else, The Unseen, which finishes strongly, could have used a strong opening too” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

You don’t expect to see something like this in a horror movie – The Unseen isn’t really a horror movie at all. It’s something else, and I really appreciated that” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Upgrade (dir. Leigh Whannell)

A no-nonsense thriller that is also entirely nonsense – takes its execution very, very seriously” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

A glib but tautly-crafted sci-fi allegory of the near-future, wherein a cockroach-like computer chip will begin to crawl up our spines and take control of our individual brains and eventually society” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

The kind of film that should feel sharp and overwhelming. Instead, it’s just a competent, workman-like product that’s too silly to hate and too dumb to remember” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (dir. Lorna Tucker)

A thoroughly underwhelming and unnecessary looks at a fashion world figurehead” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Eschews celebrity profile hagiography to provide a fuller and fairer portrait of Westwood. That’s exactly why the film works: Westwood isn’t just another bullshit puff piece” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Flows very smoothly, as if all the images and words match identically” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Introducing Telefilm’s Talent to Watch


In the Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz details the future of Canadian cinema by way of Telefilm’s new innovative funding program

Remembering Troy Hurtubise


Peter Howell writes on the memory of Project Grizzly‘s star

5 Odd Facts From David Lynch’s Biography


Did you know? David Lynch isn’t a Trump supporter — but he does love the Beatles, says Peter Howell in the Toronto Star