First Viewings: 23
A Vigilante / Dirty God / We The Animals
These three films are all, at their core, character studies. A Vigilante and Dirty God are both about women dealing with trauma. Olivia Wilde's character in A Vigilante has escaped an abusive relationship and takes violent action to help other abused people get out of their situations, while in Dirty God Vicky Knight's acid attack victim turns to faint hopes of treatment in Morocco along with drinking, drugs and sex to help her numb her trauma. Two excellent films about people in extreme emotional situations, and two of the year's best performances so far.
We the Animals is a little different; a coming of age film about a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality, while witnessing the fractious (and, again, often abusive) relationship between his parents in between fighting and playing with his brothers. It's a low key story, realised through poetic imagery and unaffected performances.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters / Wolves at the Door / Men In Black International
Summer 2019 hasn't been great for blockbusters, but Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Men in Black International are both especially bad. Godzilla is choked with exposition and characters we couldn't give the tiniest of shits about and almost entirely forgets about its raison d'etre, shrouding what monster fights it does have in so much dust and debris they're barely visible. Men in Black International, on the other hand, seems destined to become a byword for soulless reboots; it's a film that almost announces that there's nothing behind it except the fact that someone thought the property could make some money.
Wolves at the Door is the odd one out of this group; a painfully inept riff on the Manson family murders, done in the style of The Strangers. It would just be a poorly made and excruciatingly dull home invasion movie, but the use of documentary footage at the end is so unearned that it retroactively makes everything else in the movie offensive.
Best Actor: Emil Jannings - The Blue Angel
Best Actress: Olivia Wilde - A Vigilante / Vicky Knight - Dirty God
Best Ensemble: We The Animals
Better Than The Film: Julianne Moore - Gloria Bell
Best Director: Josef Von Sternberg - The Blue Angel / Jeremiah Zagar - We The Animals
Ones To Watch: Sacha Polak (Director) - Dirty God
Best Visuals: We The Animals
Biggest Surprise: A Vigilante
Biggest Disappointment: Incident in a Ghostland / Brightburn
I'm Pretty Sure No One Else Has Seen This: Raze
Movie I Finally Got to See: The Child