TFCA Friday: Week of October 25th, 2019

October 25, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Black and Blue (dir. Deon Taylor)

A cat-and-mouse thriller with a loaded premise, a really engaging cast and the money to pull off a couple of good set pieces. It has all the ingredients to work – it just gets the recipe wrong” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Suffers from many of the pitfalls of familiar action thrillers — overlong chases, continuity errors, familiar situations, etc” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Dolemite is My Name (dir. Craig Brewer)

At Zoomer, Nathalie Atkinson talks to Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter about her work excavating black cultural history from Black Panther to Dolemite is my Name (now streams on Netflix)

Jojo Rabbit (dir. Taika Waititi)

It’s a comic showcase, sure, but there’s something terrible underneath it, playing first on our horror that anyone could imagine Adolf Hitler this way, and then on Jojo’s own horror when he sees the truth” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Movies give us a safe space to mock what we would otherwise fight. And Jojo Rabbit is a remarkably funny tale” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Somewhere between a comedy and a satire, and gently delivers a beautiful and potent message. It’s like eating a decadent chocolate truffle that’s good for you too” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

It’s not an easy task to make a tasteful movie with Nazi Germany” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

For all its mockery and hilarity, the film has a serious message: war is the ultimate insanity and love must find a way to triumph” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star, including an interview with Taika Waititi

The Lighthouse (dir. Robert Eggers)

A psychological nightmare that gnaws at the brain long after the disturbing final image assaults the retina. Eggers plunges us into darkness and madness even as he’s lighting the way” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

As the friction threatens to burst into flame, the men find themselves alternately at each other’s throats and in each other’s arms, dancing, fighting, cursing, gamboling. While overhead, the third side of the love triangle moans its wordless speech and shines its pharos beam. Let there be light” — Chris Knight, The National Post

It delights in the descent. Eggers knows his audience is expecting a dour, miserable story – that’s what he gave us last time – and while the new film has its share of unnerving images and disquieting psychology, it’s also a giddy, loving tribute to the outsized performances and storytelling of the silent era” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The movie takes one unexpected turn after another. These are two of the richest and most interesting performances of the year” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

Pain and Glory (dir. Pedro Almodóvar)

It’s a mellifluous, touching story right up to the final shot, a clever reveal that brings the past and the present back together. If he never produced another frame of film, this could serve as a fitting finale to Almodóvar’s career” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Has all the vivid colour and considered composition, fluid camera moves, striking wardrobe and art direction for which Almodóvar is known. And though he seems to pointedly acknowledge his bougieness, the director hasn’t bought into the film industry’s move toward diverse casting” — Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine

Most marvellous about Pain and Glory is the way Almodovar shows the beauty in life, and how life dishes it out” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

It’s a film to savour like a fine bourbon, watching how Salvador (and Almodovar) wrestles with demons (and angels) of the mind, heart and body” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

The result is what many are calling Almodovar’s best film (and Banderas’s career best performance). It certainly is the most candid film Almodovar could be making at this point in his career, along the soul-baring lines of Fellini’s 8 ½” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin, including an interview with Antonio Banderas

Western Stars (dirs. Bruce Springsteen, Thom Zimny)

Bruce Springsteen’s best album in years makes for an enchanting movie that looks bravely ahead at the open road while casting a longing glance in the rear-view mirror” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

If there’s one downside to the cinematic experience of watching and hearing Springsteen play, it’s the odd silence that envelops the theatre as each song ends” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Uncharitably, the elements could easily fit into a credit card commercial… yet somehow, almost implausibly, this visual representation of the album’s themes works, proving to be a fine companion to this exceptional late-career recording” — Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

ImagineNATIVE Fest

At Original-Cin, Thom Ernst reviews award-winning The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, playing the fest, and previews the films to come