TFCA Friday: Week of March 15th, 2019

March 15, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Five Feet Apart (dir. Justin Baldoni)

It’s hard to fully connect with characters. Perhaps it’s how the hospital is portrayed as a kind of summer camp, where patients can scurry around after lights-out getting up to G-rated trouble… If you’re a curable romantic, Five Feet Apart should have you up and about (and out of the theatre) in no time” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Stay hundreds of feet apart from this one” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable (dir. Sasha Waters Freyer)

Was Garry Winogrand a great artist? Even he couldn’t kill his reputation. Has Sasha Water Freyer made an accurate film about him? Yes, and it’s unlikely that anyone else will do better by this photo-artist” — Marc Glassman, POV Magazine

The magic question: Will this change the way audiences look at still photographs?  The answer is a clear yes” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Ghost Town Anthology (dir. Denis Côté)

A wintry, low-key chiller about a tight-knit community reeling from both tragic loss and their village’s seemingly unstoppable erosion… has the virtue of being uniquely atmospheric, site-specific, and compassionate, not to mention a subtle commentary on the casualties of urbanization” — José Teodoro, NOW Magazine

Coté’s arresting winter grey palette and heightened natural sound add to the otherworldliness of this ghost town.  This is what a movie is capable of, in setting a connection between us and the profound natural world with such grace and simplicity” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

You don’t have to travel very far anywhere in Canada these days to see towns whose economic and social life-signs are so weak, you practically see ghosts yourself. Ghost Town Anthology merely brings that feeling to life – or death” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Might be Côté’s best film yet, and I say this as a passionate fan. It’s a stripped down horror flick that sends shivers to the bone like a winter chill on a February day” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Gloria Bell (dir. Sebastián Lelio)

Because of Moore’s open-hearted, captivating portrayal of the title character, repetition won’t be a drawback for those who’ve seen Gloria. She makes the role her own with brio and woman-power strength” — Linda Barnard, The Toronto Star

I’m leery of American remakes of wonderful foreign-language films. They tend to pander to Americans’ aversion to subtitles and their assumption that if a film is not in English it’s an art-house pic” — Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

A rare remake that surpasses the original. Little changes in the film, but Lelio is a more accomplished filmmaker now than he was in 2013” — Pat Mullen, BeatRoute

Not full of surprises, but serves a realistic slice of life mature dating, with all its pitfalls and bright spots” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews 

Level 16 (dir. Danishka Esterhazy)

Like a lot of current genre fare, Level 16 gets a little less interesting when it starts to reveal its machinery. Once we know what’s up, the film’s climax feels fairly rote. But we’re still invested in the outcome, thanks to strong performances… It’s an invented reality that’s awfully easy to sell” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Reaches further than the obvious to deliver something uniquely more sinister then simply pitching innocence into the dark arts” — Thom Ernst, Original-Cin

It’s effective as all get-out, but I’d love to see what Esterhazy could do with more production money. It’s time for this director to level up” — Chris Knight, The National Post, including an interview with the director

Mystery and audience anticipation that makes this tale stand out” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

To Dust (dir. Shawn Snyder)

An odd, sweet, dryly funny, existential and slightly blasphemous buddy-movie, in which an Orthodox cantor, grieving his wife’s death, seeks the help of a pot-smoking college professor to understand what becomes of a corpse” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Woman at War (dir. Benedikt Erlingsson)

The story doesn’t always shift gears smoothly, but Geirharosdottir never slips. She’s in command of both of her characters, mostly impressively so in skilfully filmed and edited scenes where she has to play both Halla and Asa at the same time” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

What you’d get if you set out to engineer an art-house delight in a lab: all the idiosyncratic qualities that should come through naturally feel chilly and calculated. The story’s interesting and star Halldóra Geirhardsdóttir is winning, but the execution borders on insufferable” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A helluva smart yarn about a warrior goddess brought to earth, with plenty of Sturm und Drang and humour” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

A surprisingly crowd-pleasing film experience considering its subject matter. In style, Erlingsson evokes the playfulness of Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki, and it seems impossible to film anything in Iceland without being hypnotized by the landscape” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Though the tactic is a bit distracting, there’s a band of musicians in the background of most scenes to deliver the soundtrack, which gives the film a surreal Greek Chorus look, adding to the film’s quirkiness and humour” — Gilbert Seah, Toronto-Franco

Wonder Park (dir. David Feiss)

The rare animated movie that allows for [a] kind of deconstruction while still remaining a fun story at heart” — Chris Knight, The National Post

It’s no Coco — and still mostly for kids — but it’s not without its pleasures” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

del Toro’s Alternative Mexican Cinema

In the Toronto Star, Peter Howell interviews the filmmaker on his TIFF retrospective that looks at Mexico’s under-seen films

Canadian Film Festival

At Toronto Franco, Gilbert Seah has selected capsule reviews from the upcoming CFF