TFCA Friday: Week of November 9th, 2018

November 9, 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

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man (dir. Tommy Avallone)

Addresses the very real title star’s amusingly bizarre habit of casually barging into regular lives” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Provides a fascinating look at celebrity, spontaneity and how technology often prevents us from being present” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

Makes the case that we should strive to be more like the actor both on screen and off, and the results are genial, but unconvincing at best and troubling at worst” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Bodied (dir. Joseph Khan)

A swaggering, in-your-face, button pushing, purposefully triggering bit of bawdiness delivered from a surprisingly academic perspective” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

At times vile in its content and bananas in its execution” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Boy Erased (dir. Joel Edgerton)

A moving, sober and occasionally rambling adaptation of Garrard Conley’s memoir of his brief but harrowing time spent in a gay conversion therapy program” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Very effective as a mainstream story of love, tolerance, and empathy” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

The type of film that shouldn’t have to be made in a perfect world, but many will find immense strength and education in its existence” — Andrew Parker, The Gate, including an interview with memoirist Garrard Conley

Resonates exactly because it treats everyone as a human being, complex and impossible to reduce to caricatures or binaries” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail, including a feature with Edgerton and Conley

Has perhaps squandered a plum opportunity to inspire real change [by] treating the destructive impact of young innocents forcibly repressing their true sexual orientation or gender identification too intellectually, too goddamn politely” — Bill Chambers, Film Freak Central

The movie often soft-pedals the real visceral impact and that’s a shame” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

Dolphin Man (dir. Lefteris Charitos)

Mayol’s story is one of the sea, a journey through the depths of human endeavour as director Lefteris Charitos portrays the diver’s intense love for the ocean” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Valuable insight on life distinguishes Dolphin Man from your run-of-the-mill bio documentary” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Seeks to do for freediving what Free Solo did for rock and mountain climbing” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Pair Dolphin Man with this year’s other how-is-this-athletic-feat-possible doc Free Solo, and prepare to bask in the joy of people achieving their (quite crazy) dreams” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

At Original-Cin, Liam Lacey interviews producer Ed Barreveld on the legendary diver

The Grinch (dirs. Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier)

Fans of the book and the half-hour animated TV special from 1966 might find the liberties taken to stretch the story to feature movie length a little much” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

My kids called it “the Best. Grinch. Ever.” What do they know?”  — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Might not be an all time holiday classic, but it’s a fine way to dip one’s toe into the holiday spirit pool” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Max, the dog, is the only real charmer here” — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

With only a mildly dastardly villain and a surfeit ofMinions-like anarchy and sidekick characters, the movie buzzes by without leaving an emotional trace” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (dir. Fede Alvarez)

While [Foy is] undeniably effective as Salander, despite an iffy Swedish accent, she’s missing a certain I-do-not-know-what, as Dr. Evil would say” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

It’s a pivot away from Fincher’s moodier, super-stylized take on the material and toward conventional action-thriller territory – to the point where it’s basically a Bond or Mission: Impossible film with Larsson’s Lisbeth in the lead” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

It isn’t hard to find all the many ways in which this film exhausts both itself and Lisbeth. It is time, already, to give this Girl a rest” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Acts simultaneously as an entertaining, if admittedly lesser sequel to David Fincher’s previous adaptation of the same literary characters to the big screen a few years back and as a fun, albeit sillier franchise reboot with a different cast from the top down” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

There is no situation you can throw at her that [Lisbeth] can’t magically elude, which starts to get less interesting as the film goes on” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

In Search of Greatness (dir. Gabe Polsky)

Sports might be the starting point for the conversation during In Search of Greatness, but the implications of the documentary translate to virtually any field“: In POV Magazine, Pat Mullen interviews Gabe Polsky

Achieves the rare balance of giving audiences food for thought … without being overly cute or speaking down to the topic at hand” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The Other Side of the Wind (dir. Orson Welles)

The type of film I wish I had weeks to discuss instead of mere hours” — Andrew Parker, The Gate, including a review of A Final Cut For Orson, Netflix’s companion documentary on film restoration, and They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, Morgan Neville’s making-of documentary

Outlaw King (dir. David Mackenzie)

Never escapes the shadow of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, which offered a much more propulsive and engaging take on this specific period” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

No time spent in the editing bay can help the film escape its familiar pattern: Robert loses men, stages a minor comeback, then loses again” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail, including a feature with the director

The light beer equivalent of Braveheart” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Overlord (dir. Julius Avery)

It could have been a little tighter, and I kinda question the wisdom of releasing this on Remembrance Day weekend, but if you’re looking for chaos, explosions, goop and machismo, Overlord has all of those things by the bucketload” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

J.J. Abrams has his Nazis, and lets them eat you, too” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

80% war movie, 20% horror flick, and 100% fun … one of the best thrillers of the year” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The film devolves into tit-for-tat hostage-taking, torture sessions, face-ripping fights and explosions. It grow increasingly cartoonish, which is a relief” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Thugs of Hindostan (dir. Vijay Krishna Acharya)

An opulent, but overblown and exhausting Indian blockbuster arriving just in time to kick off the Diwali movie season” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Transit (dir. Christian Petzold)

Petzold largely succeeds with his double-track gambit: As a nightmarish but somehow comfortingly familiar thriller about fear, persecution, and mistaken identity” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

A unique, off-kilter cinematic experience, cementing Petzold’s reputation as one of Germany’s most essential filmmakers” — Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

Making the link between wartime fascism and current anti-refugee sentiment quietly explicit, Transit’s slippery narrative act is a notable achievement” — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

Raw human drama brimming with empathy and a sadly all too plausible concept” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

European Union Film Festival

At Original-Cin, Liam Lacey charts the films you’ll want to catch at this year’s event (which he dubs the “senate of film festivals”)

The Year That Defied Predictions

In the Toronto Star: From Disney’s wins and losses to revived franchises no one expected, Peter Howell takes a look at 2018 in surprises

On Jeanne Delman

In cinema, there is in many ways a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ Jeanne Dielman,” Nathalie Atkinson writes for the BBC. Chantal Akerman’s masterpiece was recently ranked the highest-rated film by a female filmmaker in the BBC’s international critics poll