TFCA Friday: Week of October 5th, 2018

October 5, 2018

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

Opening this Week

93Queen (dir. Paula Eiselt)

What at first looks like a straightforward story about plucky Hasidic women battling to create an all-female emergency force in Brooklyn turns into something much more complex” — Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

A Star is Born (dir. Bradley Cooper)

Heralds the birth of a dynamic new movie star in Lady Gaga, but also a great new director in Bradley Cooper” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star, including an interview with both

Her voice rises, his falters and you know where this is going, but Greek tragedy always has a sense of the inevitable, too” — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

Yes, you’ve seen this movie before. It worked then, it works now. Maybe it’s never worked better” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Lady Gaga makes this movie” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Every frame is pure enthralling, heartfelt emotion” — Pat Mullen, Beatroute

All of this thoughtfulness, care and attention has breathed new life into this version” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

An impressive and monumental achievement no matter how many films the person at the helm has under their belt” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

At First Light (dir. Jason Stone)

Outside of a mawkish, but ambitiously ambiguous ending, it’s an engaging, thoughtfully composed piece of entertainment” — Andrew Parker, The Globe and Mail

A film about first contact that intelligently shows first contact need not be physical” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Becoming Burlesque (dir. Jackie English)

Tells a familiar story in the least interesting way, and that’s a shame” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Big Mouth: Season Two (Netflix)

Returns to find its crew of hapless suburban tweens … still deep in the throes of puberty, and dealing with issues they are not in the least ready to handle. But it’s okay: their hormone monsters are around to make things even worse” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

The Hate U Give (dir. George Tillman, Jr.)

[Struggles] to fit all the novel’s strands into the film, resulting in some underdeveloped characters and a lengthy running time” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

Too manipulative, predictable and a crowd pleaser. This film contains no surprises and no new insight” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Let The Corpses Tan (dir. Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani)

Cattet and Forzani shoot it like the nightmare you’d have after watching Mario Bava’s entire filmography in one sitting, with a dollop of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s sexualized weirdness in a recurring fantasy sequence. If you like their stuff, you’ll like this one, too” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Revels in retro-European exploitation cinema of the sixties and seventies with a care that borders on reverence” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. (dir. Steve Loveridge)

This is a doc about a girl finding her voice, or at least that’s how it begins. But then that voice starts screaming about the genocide in Sri Lanka, which plays a pivotal role in M.I.A.’s career, and it becomes clear that this is also a doc about who’s willing to listen” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine, whose must-read cover feature on the artist gets immediately heated

Provides necessary context and education that most who write her off as a political provocateur choose to ignore in favour of stereotyping” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

M.I.A.’s never been one for vanilla flavouring, so a doc that explores the harder questions of her success is far more reflective of her character than a self-serving concert film could be” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

The Old Man and the Gun (dir. David Lowery)

[See it] if you want to experience Redford in one of his most joyous roles, whether or not it proves to be his farewell from the big screen” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

And if this does turn out to be that one last job before he retires, I can’t think of a more appropriate subject” — Chris Knight, The National Post

An exercise in nostalgia for the good old days when Redford played outlaws with hearts of gold, and cops and robbers respected each other, and men were noble and women were loving and all sorts of other junk the movies have always sold us. I’m just not sure he knows it’s junk” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

slow but well thought out and executed entertainer” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Might be the filmmaker’s least ambitious and breeziest project to date, but it’s hard to argue with such a genial film that’s made to showcase one of the all time greats attempting to leave at the top of his game” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Private Life (dir. Tamara Jenkins)

It’s nice to have Tamara Jenkins back, and it’s even better that Private Life marks her strongest film to date as a writer and director” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The Sisters Brothers (dir. Jacques Audiard)

Equal parts comedy, drama, love story and horror story, the saga simply refuses to be easily lassoed” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A saddlebag worth of fisticuffs and gunplay, starting with the opening scene, an artistically shot shootout in the dark” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The pairing of Phoenix and Reilly is genius, and Audiard seems to instinctively “get” the mood of the American Western in all of its sweaty, dirty, gritty, untamed glory” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

Try not to learn anything else before you see it; so much of The Sisters Brothers’ oddball charm depends on its ability to introduce little surprises as it unfolds” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Rife with biting humour and a bit of message on the lessons in life” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

A nice change of pace for all parties involved, but especially Audiard, who relishes the chance to loosen up from his normally melodramatic presets here” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Venom (dir. Ruben Fleischer)

A godawful mess” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Isn’t just a hot mess, it’s a boiling one” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Hey, what universe is this?” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Yes, Venom does possess an enormous tongue” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

People’s heads get bit off and we never see blood? Did Deadpool not teach them anything?” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

A mostly drab, forgettable affair that’s chaotic in all the wrong ways” — Andrew Parker, The Gate