TFCA Friday: Week of September 27th, 2019

September 27, 2019

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

Opening this Week

Abominable (dir. Jill Culton)

Has all the broad thrills, furry-critter cuteness and stock humour young audiences could hope for. But this U.S.-China co-production is far more fascinating as a business model than a movie” — Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

It is, in many ways, a very standard animated kids movie, three well defined characters who are contemporary teens and tweens (four if you count Everest). Doing the right thing sets them on an adventure that changes all of them in subtle ways. But it goes deeper” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

You told yourself you were only going to see one Yeti movie this year, and you’ve filled your quota, why not break the rules and give this one a chance?” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Doesn’t break any new ground in animated storytelling whatsoever, but at least it’s cute, enjoyable, and has a lot of heart” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Not much excitement in anything in terms of insight or innovation” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

The Curse of Buckout Road (dir. Matthew Currie Holmes) 🇨🇦

If this sounds like I’m having fun at the movie’s expense – well, I am. But that might actually be the most enjoyable manner of approaching its villain-in-plain-sight ethos and its screwball finale. Sometimes the best way to meet a road-based curse is head-on” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Diego Maradona (dir. Asif Kapadia)

Although Kapadia hones in on a specific ten year time span, Diego Maradona feels overwhelmingly comprehensive. It’s a cautionary tale that will endure as long as sports continue to exist” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

At POV Magazine, Jason Gorber interviews the director on his “archival trilogy”

The Fanatic (dir. Fred Durst… ?)

What does it say when something as dreadful as The Fanatic turns out to be only the eighth worst movie of Travolta’s perpetually tarnished and only occasionally elevated career?” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

In the Shadow of the Moon (dir. Jim Mickle)

A satisfyingly twisty and original take on traditional gumshoe and time travel tropes, [this] is the rare sort of film that keeps redefining audience expectations while the core story is still unfolding, right up until the final scene” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Judy (dir. Rupert Goold)

Somewhere over the rainbow, there’s a place for a movie like Judy, which manages to soar even while remaining earthbound” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

A showcase for Renée Zellweger’s deeply felt and eerily effective performance as Judy Garland in her final months. But it’s also a surprisingly solid film in its own right” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

The film doesn’t stumble as often as Garland the performer did, though there are a few poor choices. We spend a little too much time back in the Yellow Brick Road days, and her relationship with Deans never feels quite real, although perhaps that’s the point” — Chris Knight, The National Post

[The film] is as good as it needs to be to stand as a framework for Zellweger’s incandescent performance. Parts of the plot are A-to-B, a lot is unsubtle and a climactic scene involving her most famous song is pure-Hollywood schmaltz” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Much like the desperate final gig Judy Garland takes on to salvage what’s left of her career, Goold’s film is a one woman show with plenty of interchangeable background elements. But oh what a one woman show it is” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

An okay watch, aided by a solid performance by Zellweger” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

“Zellweger is phenomenal in her performance and singing. She may not have Garland’s musicality but the raw emotion in her maturing voice and extraordinary lung power is truly Garland-like” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (dirs. Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman)

Gives the eclectic singer – who’s now living with Parkinson’s disease – her due, presenting a convincing case that she may be the most versatile American vocalist of her generation” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

What The Sound of My Voice does beautifully is wrap up that career in a package of work so eclectic, even her fans may have forgotten how many musical pathways she took” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

It’s almost unfathomable that Ronstadt has seen her starpower fade considerably since her retirement, given her tremendous success as an artist. [This] goes a long way towards making sure that legacy is preserved and respected for generations to come” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Out of nowhere, my laptop just died. My computer, like me, simply could not endure another goddamn Baby Boomer music doc” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

The Meaning of Life (dir. Cat Hostick) 🇨🇦

The unabashedly corny, earnest, and well intentioned Canadian tearjerker The Meaning of Life never rises above its relentlessly manipulative subject matter, but it’s not entirely without merit” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Entertaining with a message to boot, the film makes a worthy watch” — Gilbert Seah, Afro Toronto

Monos (dir. Alejandro Landes)

An intoxicating descent into anarchy that alarmingly suggests the bonds of civility are all too easy to shuck off” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Leans a little too heavily on his reference points – Lord Of The Flies, Beau Travail and Apocalypse Now are all invoked rather than evoked over the course of the picture – but the shout-outs constitute just a couple of rough notes in an otherwise confident, even masterful work. Please try to see this in a theatre” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

An immersive, sweaty, almost hallucinatory experience of hormone-driven anarchy” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

One of the few films that could be most adequately described as barbaric without that word taking on a negative connotation” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Order descends into chaos and within Monos, the strong begin to prey on the weak in this vivid, cautionary fever dream” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

This is a truly original and contemporary fable of what happens when children are left to their own devices in the wilderness” — Chris Knight, The National Post

“This is mind-bending stuff about children who live outside society with nothing but machine guns strapped to their backs” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!