TFCA Friday: Week of October 11th, 2019

October 11, 2019

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

Opening this Week

The Addams Family (dirs. Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon)

The members of family Addams are still creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky. And their house is still a museum. They just aren’t much of a scream any more” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

This is one of those animated features that veers way towards adult references for the parents in the room, while creating occasional mayhem in the pursuit of short-attention-span theatre. The latter fails” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Sure, it’s harmless fun — but why isn’t it more fun?” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Dolce Fine Giornata (dir. Jacek Borcuch)

The Italian title of this drama from Polish director Jacek Borcuch translates as “Sweet End of Day,” an ironic title for a film that grapples with issues of racism, violence and the European refugee crisis… it provides much food for thought, and is beautifully shot to boot” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The film centres on semi-retired Nobel literature winner Maria Linde who is living out her golden years in casual luxury… [as such, it] provides no answers to Europe’s current crisis of morality and identity” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Dolemite Is My Name (dir. Craig Brewer)

Raunchy, funny and celebratory, Craig Brewer’s biopic on Rudy Ray Moore, the comedian behind mid-70s blaxploitation classics Dolemite and The Human Tornado, avoids the stuff that could kill its vibe” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

Can you dig it? With [this] comeback comedy, Eddie Murphy returns to his 1980s comic heights by way of a rudely hilarious salute to a 1970s blaxploitation totem” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Murphy brings his usual charm to the role, but also a charming sense of vulnerability. He’s electric, but also acoustic” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Gemini Man (dir. Ang Lee)

A sci-fi thriller, built around the much-hyped gimmick of Will Smith as a badass assassin battling a badder, younger clone of himself… it doesn’t have much of a story to tell, and it has a needlessly complicated high-tech way of telling it” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star, including an interview with director Ang Lee

An awkward misfire of an action movie in which Will Smith plays an assassin who has to fight with his own younger clone, in a lethal game of digital shadow boxing” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

A mess of thin characters, bad CG and ugly imagery, with gifted actors doing their best to sell the hoariest of action-movie clichés and match the eyelines of a defective digital character. It simply does not work” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

When Lee called “action” on the set, he clearly meant it. But he obviously hollered “cut” before the film could find its philosophical footing. Even the film’s tidy conclusion lacks introspection” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Harpoon (dir. Rob Grant) 🇨🇦

Refuses to stay in its lane, functioning equally well as a barbed comedy of manners and a survival picture” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

My first stab at this review began like this: Holy crap! Now that’s a horror movie! Now, several days later, I still feel the same. I just want to find a way to express it differently. Why? Because I really want you to see this movie” — Thom Ernst, Original-Cin

Honeyland (dirs. Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska)

A beautifully realized film, full of tragedy and joy, simplicity and complexity” — Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine

Lucky Day (dir. Roger Avary)

[A] paper-thin narrative with rambling stories, protracted confrontations and a lashing of art-world satire that just doesn’t land” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Lucy in the Sky (dir. Noah Hawley)

Going smaller and smaller as the movie around her gets bigger and bigger, [Portman] delivers one of the most moving performances of her career. People might miss it in all the sound and fury, but it’s there” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

An awkward, difficult, and sometimes anxiety-inducing experience. But this character lives for exploring uncharted terrain. More often than not, it’s a thrill to step into the dark with her” — Pat Mullen, That Shelf

A dull, disappointing drama disguised as a space movie” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Matthias et Maxime (dir. Xavier Dolan) 🇨🇦

Men who struggle to be vulnerable is a big theme in cinema lately (Ad Astra being a major example), but Matthias & Maxime goes deeper than most – even if it fumbles, albeit fittingly, toward its conclusion” — Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine

The two leads have an unmistakable spark, with Dolan, in particular delivering one of his stronger performances. One sees considerable growth as Matthias & Maxime further hones a talent on both sides of the camera” — Pat Mullen, That Shelf

MS Slavic 7 (dirs. Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell) 🇨🇦

For anyone who really loves digging through the stacks and embracing the tactility of history, MS Slavic 7 is a geeky thrill. But it’s also quite brilliant in the questions it raises” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Thanks to whatever symbiotic alchemy Campbell and Bohdanowicz have achieved, Audrey seems more real with each appearance – stubborn, thoughtful, focused to the point of fixation – and as ever, I’m curious to see where she goes next” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

“I’m now feeling quite excited about acting for the first time.” — At our Long Takes blog, José Teodoro interviews actor and co-director Deragh Campbell

Rendezvous With Madness: An Interview with Geoff Pevere

At Original-Cin, Liam Lacey interviews Geoff Pevere, one of our own, who has long been the Chief Programmer of the Rendezvous with Madness film festival. Geoff was, ironically, recently diagnosed at 62 with bipolar disorder. Lacey wraps this interview around an advancer of films themed to the festival