TFCA Friday: Week of October 19th, 2018

October 19, 2018

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

Opening this Week

Beautiful Boy (dir.Felix Van Groeningen)

A harrowing and frequently dispiriting watch. It’s also urgent: a text scroll warns of rising overdose casualties” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A gruelling story, a deep-dive into addiction and its effect on one family from their lived experience. But a breathtaking performance by Timothée Chalamet plunges it even deeper” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

It’s meant to be a profound gesture of love, but it just seems pretentious” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

All the wrong decisions end up smothering strong performances from Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

If there’s one undeniable success of Beautiful Boy beyond Chalamet’s performance, it’s the raw frankness with which van Groeningen portrays addiction” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Proves once again the triumph the human spirit over adversities” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

The film’s own sentiments seem oddly flattened by the end of two hours” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The Guilty (dir. Gustav Möller)

Clever sound design helps sculpt the clockwork narrative. The best stories are the ones that unfold in your mind” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

An intriguing addition to both the Scandi crime canon and the single-location thriller sub-genre” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

As Jean-Luc Godard once said (or D.W. Griffith, depending on which film historian you ask), all filmgoers want is a “girl and a gun.” How about a guy and a phone, though?” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Halloween (dir. David Gordon Green)

You don’t have to be a Halloween cultist or even a horror fan to appreciate how this film gives strength and agency to its female characters” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

It takes a little too long to get going, but the only thing that really matters is whether this new Halloween can deliver a satisfying climax, and it absolutely does” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The Platonic ideal of a slasher reboot – fierce, lean, and with no fewer than three fist-pumping “Hell, yeah” moments” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

A blast — a veritable holiday treat that brings scares, thrills, and a hell of a lot of fun to the party” — Jason Gorber, High Def Digest

As much an impressive homage as it is a reboot” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

[Green] dives into the horror genre with great enthusiasm but mixed results” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The Happy Prince (dir. Rupert Everett)

A richly detailed and deeply affecting look at the final days of Oscar Wilde, penned and directed by a man who knows the life and work of the Irish writer intimately” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

The New Romantic (dir. Carly Stone)

The ending doesn’t quite satisfy – the air goes out of the plot in the last 10 minutes – but maybe that’s intentional, too. I need to think about it. You will, too” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The Oath (dir. Ike Barinholtz)

Barinholtz doesn’t fully explore his dystopian premise and he doesn’t make the best use of his cast. But The Oath has the scary energy of an all-too-plausible scenario” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A comedy about the political divide in Trump’s America, which is to say it’s not really a comedy at all – but it is funny” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Opening with a dark joke that is just-this-side-of-plausible but afraid to hit the obviously ugly punchline, The Oath falls prey to the same weak-willed citizenry its satirizing” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Ends up letting down audiences’ expectations despite some solid and compelling drama” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

An unsubtle and eventually off-the-rails satire of politically-charged domestic life in Trump’s America” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Sharkwater: Extinction (dir. Rob Stewart)

Stewart’s third film is also his best, adding urgency to the planetary concerns of his earlier films, Sharkwater and Revolution, with scenes of marine genocide that should make us all weep tears of rage” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star, including a feature on the director as seen by the people he worked with

A solid journalistic work that honours the man who made it” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

A touching tribute that will inevitably inspire more young minds to carry on Stewart’s mission” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

The result is as visual as it is heartbreaking, and Stewart’s death is a serious loss (not only to sharks, but to documentary, to Canada, and to conservationists around the world)” — Jake Howell, Long Takes

Adieu, Rob Stewart,” Marc Glassman laments at POV Magazine, talking to Sturla Gunnarsson on Stewart’s last dive and editor Nick Hector on his experience cutting the film

Original-Cin’s Jim Slotek sat down with Cahill (founder of the SeaChange Agency) and Andersen (founder of Shark Angels) to talk about Stewart and about being the keepers of his legacy, now and down the road

Transformer (dir. Michael Del Monte)

The topical issue of gender indeterminacy is examined, not through the lens of moralizing or academic theory, but from one person’s vulnerable experience” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin, including an interview with Janae Kroc, subject of the film

Everything a solid documentary should be — an intriguing subject that inspires and teaches; a character who will persevere despite all odds” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

imagineNative (October 17th — 21st)

At Original-Cin, Liam Lacey rounds up the films to catch at this year’s festival