This week’s reviews by TFCA critics, including Downhill, Farmageddon, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
TFCA Friday: Week of November 30th, 2018
November 30, 2018
Welcome to TFCA Friday, a weekly round-up of film reviews and articles by TFCA critics.
Emerging Critic Award
Are you an aspiring film critic? Announced at our Gala, the TFCA’s Emerging Critic Award is a fellowship and mentorship opportunity. Applications are open and due December 3rd, 2018.
Opening this Week
Clara (dir. Akash Sherman)
“The question of whether science and “feelings” can be reconciled is practically a personality test. And it’s central to your appreciation of this three-hankie tragic romance” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin, including an interview with Akash Sherman
“Though the finale is clearly very meaningful to the film’s maker, an outside observer might see the whole of this film as prelude: it’s a story that stops just where it ought to begin” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine
“That rare specimen of science-fiction in which the fiction doesn’t overwhelm the science” — Chris Knight, The National Post
“Will make audiences gaze up at the stars with wonder” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer, including an interview with the director
“A mixed bag of sci-fi tricks, with some good moments” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews
“While a handful of Sherman’s plot elements are predictable and visible from space, Clara remains a gorgeously mounted, well paced, admirably restrained, and exceptionally performed low-key crowd pleaser” — Andrew Parker, The Gate
Dead In A Week (Or Your Money Back) (dir. Tom Edmunds)
“Edmunds balances the tone nicely, keeping things from getting too dark by employing a jolly/ironic soundtrack, wonderfully quirky characters … and a handful of well-timed Monty Python references” — Chris Knight, The National Post
“Wryly amusing” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!
“The movie falls flat early and never recovers” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin
“Only mildly funny comedy at best and a whole lot of predictable fare” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews
Happy as Lazzaro (dir. Alice Rohrwacher)
Nothing Like A Dame (dir. Roger Michell)
“It’s hard to imagine a lovelier fly-on-the-wall experience” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin
“Company with these dames is as splendid as whisky in a teacup on a cold day” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
“These women need no introduction, but Nothing Like a Dame will tell you all you need to know about them” — Andrew Parker, The Gate
“It’s an intimate afternoon… good times!” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!
“A unique and rare opportunity to enter into their presence and share their esteemed company” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews
“The archival footage is wonderful; these women have all been working since the ’50s, and we get to see them grow up in fast motion” — Chris Knight, The National Post
The Possession of Hannah Grace (dir. Diederik Van Rooijen)
Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz (dir. Barry Avrich)
“He was just a 27 year old lawyer when he was named Chief Prosecutor for the U.S. Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trials at Nuremberg in Germany… It remains the largest murder trial in history” — Anne Brodie, What She Said
“Barry Avrich … has found his best subject yet” — Marc Glassman, POV Magazine
“Must-see viewing, not only for people who care about the past, but about the future” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin
“The talking heads are a gathered chorus singing Ferencz’s praises. What’s clear in Prosecuting Evil is that Ferencz is far more convincing when speaking for himself, and for those who didn’t survive” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine
Roma (dir. Alfonso Cuarón)
“Will be tough to beat as the best film of 2018. Alfonso Cuarón’s naturalistic masterpiece is at once a tribute to the women who raised him and a comment on turbulent times” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star, including an interview with Yalitza Aparicio, star of Roma
“Isn’t merely a great film from a masterful auteur. It’s a life experience unlike any other” — Andrew Parker, The Gate
“A childhood memory film, both beautiful to look at and intriguing to contemplate” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin
“There’s never been a movie like this” — Chris Knight, The National Post
“Watching with a packed audience … I couldn’t help but marvel and wonder if this was what it must have felt like to be among the audience to see Vittorio de Sica’s Bicycle Thieves or Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura for the first time” — Pat Mullen, Beatroute
“A profound piece that is tough to shake off … a must-see” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!
“Comprised of outstanding segments done with an old-fashioned, no gimmicks aesthetic” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews
“Perhaps this is the natural order of things: a filmmaker matures and his sense of compassion and social conscience deepens—as does his longing to recapture the ever-more-rapidly receding past in painstaking detail” — José Teodoro, Film Comment
“I could spend the next several hundred words doling out superlatives – and I will – but the words “sublime” and “dazzling” and “brilliant” fail to match just how tremendous a work Roma is” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail
Say Her Name: The Life And Death Of Sandra Bland (dirs. Kate Davis, David Heilbroner)
“What truly matters is how Sandra Bland lived. The film is most impactful when it focuses on that, with family testimonials and old footage that ensure Bland won’t just become another African-American defined by a fatal encounter with overzealous police” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine
Tiger (dir. Alister Grierson)
“Predictable and clichéd” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews
“Encourages staying the course and working to uphold one’s beliefs” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!
“A movie struggling to punch way above its dramatic weight class” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin
“Adds romantic entanglements and some unlikely familial revelations, much of it heavily telegraphed and set to a clichéd score that punctuates every blow both physical and metaphorical” — Chris Knight, The National Post
“What’s worse is the boxing scenes themselves, which lack visual finesse and feel far too bloodless to be taken seriously” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail
Sundance 2019 Preview
In the Toronto Star, Peter Howell looks at the “triple-A” offerings at Sundance