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15 Films to See in August

Written by on July 29, 2019 

10. The Peanut Butter Falcon (Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz; August 9)

A little later this year Shia LaBeouf will likely once again be the leading topic of conversation across Film Twitter for the deeply personal Honey Boy, but first, he’s going on an adventure. John Fink said in his SXSW review, “A triumph for diversity in casting, The Peanut Butter Falcon is an enormously endearing and often funny drama about two outlaws: Zac (Zack Gottsagen), a 22-year-old with down syndrome, and Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a small-time crab fisher who sets his competition’s traps ablaze.”

9. One Child Nation (Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang; August 9)

Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the harrowiing new documentary One Child Nation will arrive next week. Directed by Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow and I Am Another You) and Jialing Zhang (Complicit), the film traces the untold history of the implementation of China’s one-child policy from its inception in 1979 to its dissolution in 2015 and the continual impacts of the policy to the present day.

8. Luce (Julias Onah; August 2)

Bouncing back from the disaster that was The Cloverfield Paradox, director Julius Onah returned to more small-scale roots with his follow-up Luce, and it became one of the most acclaimed films from Sundance. Set for a release this week, the drama follows Kelvin Harrison Jr., Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, and Octavia Spencer as a psychological game of dangerous stereotypes play out in a high school. Jake Howell said in our Sundance review, “With its deconstruction of stereotypes and how people of color are set up to fail, this film, ultimately, is a major work of contemporary American cinema: complex, beguiling, and full of meaty discussion points that will challenge audiences throughout 2019 and beyond.”

7. The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent; August 2)

After delivering a frightful experience (and unexpected LGBTQ icon) with The Babadook, Jennifer Kent is back with a brutal tale of revenge. Leonardo Goi said in his review from Venice, “Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale features some of the most atrocious on-screen violence in recent memory. It is a cauldron of blood, murders, and rapes so unflinching in vividness and brutality as to make it impossible to go through its 136 minutes without ever turning away from the screen, let alone to come out of it untouched. But it is also, in a way that’s indissolubly bound to role that violence plays in Kent’s work, and to the depiction she offers of it, one of the most memorable works in its genre – a parable that never turns violence into a spectacle, but is resolutely committed to expose the poisonous double prism of racism and sexism it feeds upon.”

6. Los Reyes (Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff; August 14)

When it comes to dog movies, Hollywood usually piles on extraneous family-friendly melodrama to build up a narrative. A new documentary hailing for Chile, however, puts our stars–and pretty much only our stars–front and center. Los Reyes is a formally impressive, heartfelt look at canine best friends who more or less govern a skate park and those that cross their path. Told with a patient eye and little frills, one comes away with a raw, poignant feeling of camaraderie.

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