TFCA Friday: Week of May 31st, 2019

May 31, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Always Be My Maybe (dir. Nahnatchka Khan)

Rising above its rather pedestrian plot and filmmaking, Always Be My Maybe has a sharp script written by its stars – who give performances so great it should hopefully and rightfully give them the A-list film careers they deserve – and some truly inspired, gut-busting setpieces” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Asako I & II (dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)

The central conceit might require suspension of disbelief, but the existential crisis it rips open does not” — Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine

The film never really feels much deeper than a distilled version of the Harlequin novel about the hot bad boy, the sweet dull boy and the girl in the middle who doesn’t know her own mind” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

The film’s lightness in tone leads to a weak narrative, concluding with a lot of issues left hanging” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Deadwood (dir. Daniel Minahan)

I expected this would be good, but it’s truly great – a finale for the ages, with a closing note that moved me to tears. It’s a fine valedictory, for both the show and its creator” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The Fall of the American Empire (dir. Denys Arcand) 🇨🇦

The final act is taken up with an elaborate reverse-heist that’s supposed to be clever but just seems tired, padding out a movie that already feels far too long” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Another trifle, a familiar harangue against human perfidy wrapped in a creaky farce” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

A Robin Hood fable for the Trump era that resonates strongly with the anxieties, tensions, and unrest of the time. It’s a perceptive punch in the face to capitalism and a damning satire of these days of darkness” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

A bristling, timely, and highly entertaining return to form for Quebecois filmmaker Denys Arcand” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Godzilla, King of the Monsters (dir. Michael Dougherty)

The story sucks, the direction by Michael Dougherty is strictly by the numbers and the cast members all look as if they’ve been advised by their accountants to do more paycheque gigs” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

As awful as major studio tentpole production gets, and it breaks my heart to say that” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

I accept the onscreen explanation that this Godzilla is simply on atomic steroids. It’s the movie that’s fat” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Confession time: I love it when one gigantic thing fights another gigantic thing” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail, including an interview with Ken Watanabe

It looks magnificent in IMAX, though I suspect 3D will work against Dougherty and cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s gloomy, rain-soaked palette” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine”

Halston (dir. Frédéric Tcheng)

“I have a theory that less becomes more,” Halston purrs in one early interview. The opposite may well be true, and the same could be said for this documentary” — Nathalie Atkinson, The Globe and Mail

Distractions aside, Tcheng’s Halston isn’t so much a rise-and-fall tragedy as a celebration of a singular sartorial vision. Half a century later, the clothes really do look splendid” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A brisk and engaging fashion doc that sizzles with celebrity gossip and jolts with Shakespearean tragedy” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

This is riveting stuff, the most dramatic designer biopic of the past few years, a morality play and warning against ego and greed” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Ma (dir. Tate Taylor)

Settles for stupid and grisly fun; and the only reason it gets away with that is Spencer’s gargantuan performance” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (dir. Tasha Hubbard) 🇨🇦

Anyone wondering what is the best Canadian documentary of the spring should look no further than Tasha Hubbard’s absorbing indictment of this country’s treatment of its Indigenous people” — Marc Glassman, POV Magazine, including an interview feature with Tasha Hubbard by Pat Mullen

The Cree word for “justice” closely relates to the word for “respect,” we learn in Tasha Hubbard’s cinematic inquiry, an understanding that permeates this powerful work of activist cinema” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

What starts off as a detailed look into the 2016 Saskatchewan farmland killing of Colten Boushie, and the outcry that resulted after Gerald Stanley was acquitted of second-degree murder in the 22-year-old Cree man’s death, turns into an intimate portrait of generations-long grief” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

This is an extremely powerful and important film that has taken on a life of its own” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

From the courtroom to the halls of parliament to intimate familial moments of remembrance, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up offers an important counterpoint to mainstream sentiments about reconciliation” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Hubbard’s doc often stands back and observes as Boushie’s family pours their hearts out – for her camera, for Parliament Hill and for the United Nations. She also contextualizes their plight with animated inserts that look back at how Canada’s history informs today’s events” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Photograph (dir. Ritesh Batra)

Batra’s artistry has its own distinct, soft-spoken personality and soulfulness. It’s a pity he couldn’t share some of that with the people in his picture” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Batra reclaims the magic of The Lunchbox as the love story draws upon the divides of class, religion, and gender that give the love story a deeper sting” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

What’s most entrancing about Photograph is that Batra weaves us into the reflective mood defined by Rafi and Miloni. We’re left with a captivating mystery. Watching these quiet, hesitant people who don’t reveal much to us, has, if you’re willing to go with it, a kind of poetry to it” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

A satisfactory romantic comedy with a Mumbai touch” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Rocketman (dir. Dexter Fletcher)

Somewhere up there, Freddie Mercury is smiling at how Rocketman depicts Elton John, his great pal” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A jukebox musical rather than a straight biopic, Rocketman is the movie Bohemian Rhapsody should have been” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Possibly the best full-on musical phantasmagoria about a famous person destroying and reclaiming their life since Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Fletcher’s mastery of its unique movement is breathtaking at times revved up by incredible imagery. Egerton’s full-on broken Reggie and fierce, ballsy stage Elton persona fit together like a graph of the tormented artist’s inner turmoil” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

You got to love it when a subject executively produces his own biopic. And even more when the subject is Sir Elton John” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Sorry For Your Loss (dir. Collin Friesen) 🇨🇦

The mediocre and largely forgettable Canadian comedy Sorry for Your Loss blandly mashes together a bunch of easily digestible cliches about life, death, and family, jokes that are deliberately made in poor taste, and a handful of good performers putting in decent work for an ultimately losing cause” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

There’s never been so much humour generated from unfunny jokes, as evidenced in the funeral service segment” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

An entertaining, banter-filled take on the straight-line from our parents to ourselves, one that grows on you after viewing” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

The Humber’s Last Picture Show

Slated to close, Peter Howell reports on what’s next for this piece of property (and Toronto film history)

Boom! The Ultimate in Camp

In Zoomer, Nathalie Atkinson writes an ode to Joseph Losey’s movie, the campiest film that you’ve probably never seen