TFCA Friday: Week of May 24th, 2019

May 24, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Aladdin (dir. Guy Ritchie)

An unnecessary, overlong version of something that worked perfectly well the first time around. It has some pleasant moments, but not enough to justify its existence – or the price of a ticket” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A blandly competent, flavourless film that has no reason to exist outside of making a quick buck from families and nostalgic millennials who’ll shell money out for anything based on an intellectual property they have fond memories of” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

You know the story, just think of it bigger, better and somehow old school adorable. The film’s brilliant acid colour palette and exotic Arabic art design only add to its delicious escapism” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

The magic is truly gone” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

All Is True (dir. Kenneth Branagh)

Ben Elton’s melancholy script meanders from scene to scene, lacking momentum and begging many questions. Why is Shakespeare only now grieving – and investigating – his son’s death? And what’s the basis of his falling out with his wife?” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

As laid back and approachable as historical costume fiction tends to get” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Beautiful cinematography, natural landscapes and Tudor architecture help create this otherworldly, heavily atmospheric fantasy place” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Branagh plays Shakespeare in down-to-earth terms; a genius, sure, but also a savvy impresario and a pragmatic poet who uses his capacious imagination to reel the crowd in. Branagh has also peopled the film with some of his own favourite actors (and members of his own theatre company) to enjoyable, if not entirely credible, effect” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Branagh takes the film out in the open many times with stunning cinematography by Zac Nicholson, yet it remains feeling like a play. Still, a film for all Shakespearean fans” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Booksmart (dir. Olivia Wilde)

There’s a lot of heart to Booksmart, as well as raunchy laughs that are provided in part by a ribald animated sequence. Dever and Feldstein make an amusing and endearing pair, fully inhabiting characters whose foibles and hang-ups are recognizable from the real world” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

I’m sure it will be a hit, and I’d encourage everyone to see it, even if my own response to Booksmart is more muted. It could be a guy thing. Or it could just be a me thing” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Teen comedies are rarely this smartly written, consistently hilarious, expertly performed, assuredly directed, culturally relevant, inclusive, and poignant” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

It’s a triumph from first-time director Olivia Wilde, who’s had her share of pretty-young-thing roles as an actor and now disappears behind the camera to show us a side we’ve never seen” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Nothing short of brilliant” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Brightburn (dir. David Yarovesky)

Would have been a lot more gripping had it really leaned into the nature-versus-nurture conflict at its core, or even added a little complexity to the people around Brandon… but it wants what it wants, and goes for it. Good luck stopping it” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The movie rattles through ninety minutes of episodic jolts, the visual style is jumbled. Distinctive only in having a better effects budget than your average demons-in-the-attic quickie” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

I’ll probably struggle to remember anything about Brightburn other than its concept and title by the end of the weekend” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Diamantino (dirs. Gabriel Abrantes and, Daniel Schmidt)

Perhaps the most subversive throughline is the central character’s ambiguous sexuality and expressions of unmitigated joy and vulnerability. His childlike demeanour is the subject of scorn but the filmmakers suggest, refreshingly, that it’s his greatest asset” — Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind (dirs. Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni) 🇨🇦

A laudatory, unchallenging, boilerplate pat-on-the-back for one of Canada’s biggest musical icons” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

How wonderful to be reminded of the treasure that is Lightfoot in this excellent and nostalgic couple of hours” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Does not quite read its subject’s mind. But you’ll likely come out knowing much more about him, and appreciating his place in history that much more” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

A snapshot of Canadian culture coming into being,” writes Pat Mullen in POV, who has a feature with the directors

A relaxing easy-going doc, with lots of yes, wonderful Gordon Lightfoot songs” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

I’m Going To Break Your Heart (dirs. Jim Morrison and Annie Bradley) 🇨🇦

A refreshing, if slightly overlong documentary about a married couple trying to work out their personal and professional issues in tandem” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The Perfection (dir. Richard Shepard)

About all that’s missing from director and co-writer Richard Shepard’s gleefully nasty revenge thriller The Perfection are cackling, wisecracking appearances from The Cryptkeeper at the beginning and end of the film as bookends, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Cannes Film Festival 2019

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Reviews of The LighthouseOnce Upon A Time In… Hollywood, and Rocketmanand features on Tarantino’s press conference and Cannes 2019 as a whole

Chris Knight, The National Post: The funniest posters of “movies” at the Festival’s Marché

Inside Out 2019

At Original-Cin, Liam Lacey and Jim Slotek have capsule reviews of some must-see films

At Toronto Franco, Gilbert Seah has all the hits