TFCA Friday: Week of November 15th, 2019

November 15, 2019

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

Emerging Critic Award

The TFCA’s annual Emerging Critic Award is open for applications. With a $1,000 cash prize, this Award aims to elevate a new (or new-ish!) writer whose focus is critical perspectives on film. Read about this opportunity here.

Opening this Week

Charlie’s Angels (dir. Elizabeth Banks)

There is no way in hell you can revive the hellcats-in-hot pants hit TV series of the 1970s and the campy early 2000s movie reboot without leaning into its innate sexism” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

If you can get past the casual violence, there are also oodles of fun moments in the film, from audiovisual callbacks to the original series and a wonderful cameo” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Banks is good at handling the action sequences; they are genuinely fun and well-executed, and Stewart gives the movie one of its better performances as Sabina, the unfiltered, bad-ass Angel” — Thom Ernst, Original-Cin

Ford v Ferrari (dir. James Mangold)

The gas is high-octane and so’s the testosterone in Ford v Ferrari, a movie that thrillingly tells the tale of Detroit’s Ford Motor Co. taking on Italy’s Ferrari for Le Mans car-racing glory” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Beautifully balanced, entertaining and edge of your set nerve-wracking, this is a terrific film for all ages, bumped up by impressive performances and well-developed relationships” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Makes the most of a meandering screenplay that assumes viewers care a lot more than they likely do about the internecine battles within the Ferrari and Ford corporations” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Aims to be a racetrack version of The Right Stuff, with its true story of driven men pushing themselves and their technology beyond all rational limits. The ambition is commendable, even if it never gets out of third gear” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

It’s on the track where it finds traction. The events of the various races, reflected on the faces of characters whose lives revolve around the outcome, tell a story all by themselves” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Definitely worth a look for its excitement and drama” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

The Good Liar (dir. Bill Condon)

This is a movie where a character improvises the ingenious murder of a man decades younger in a matter of seconds, and yet cannot figure a way out of a scuffle with another person of roughly the same age” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Remains a good watch even when it asks too much of the audience’s generosity. Enjoying Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen together is reliable entertainment. Perhaps the story behind their casting is a catfishing tale for another movie” — Pat Mullen, That Shelf

A preposterous mess of romance-with-secrets, generations-old closet skeletons and revenge, The Good Liar is the kind of fragrant dramatic cheese that Sidney Sheldon would have squeezed an ‘80s network mini-series out of” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Ends up a cheesy thriller with some really nasty bits — not entirely boring, but lacking a more solid substance” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power (dirs. Peter Raymont and Nancy Lang) 🇨🇦

What she conveys here is a constant attentive energy and ready answers. Beyond that, her secrets are her own” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Has much to offer Atwood fans and neophytes alike. Co-directors Nancy Lang and Peter Raymont follow the storied writer from her birth in 1939 Ottawa through her fame with The Handmaid’s Tale – the 1985 novel, the recent television adaptation, and the appropriation of its symbols by protestors in the Trump/#TimesUp era” — Chris Knight, The National Post

An hour and a half requires too much compression to do justice to the woman who may well be Canada’s finest and most enduring author” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (dir. Nick Zeig-Owens)

Pardon the pun, but the Trixie Mattel doc is a bit of a drag” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

The Warrior Queen of Jhansi (dir. Swati Bhise)

This is a first film from Bhise, and an ambitious one, though it doesn’t always deliver the force the story deserves. After opening with an awkward historical voiceover – “In 1600, the East India Company was set up …” – the film often relies on flat exposition by secondary characters to move the plot forward” — Chris Knight, The National Post

TIFF Retrospecetive: Nagisa Oshima

At Original-Cin, Liam Lacey goes long in a great piece about In the Realm of Oshima, TIFF’s new series on the Japanese master filmmaker

The Pain of Being C-3PO

In the Toronto Star, Peter Howell interviews Anthony Daniels on his new book, which details the life of a pained actor

The Best Kept Canadian Secret (Composer)

In the Globe and Mail, Nathalie Atkinson talks to Christophe Beck, the best-kept-secret Canadian composer behind all your favourite scores — from Buffy and The Muppets to Ant-Man and the Frozen animated movies