The nominations are in, and the Snub Club has some high profile new members.
With the Oscars and the BAFTAs having both announced their shortlists of the great and the gongworthy, there has, as ever, been as much focus on who hasn’t made the cut as who has – with the omission of Best Director and Best Actress Oscar nods for Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie sparking particular online opprobrium.
Like an indie music fan publicly bemoaning their favourite band’s lack of mainstream recognition while privately rejoicing in their cult status, there’s a part of me that’s always a little relieved when my faves get overlooked by the establishment – and in any case, the fact that Barbie made the cinema the in place to be last summer arguably means more than any awards recognition.
As if to prove that those little golden statuettes aren’t the be-all and end-all, this week’s big new release All of Us Strangers stars men of the moment Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal; has five-star reviews coming out of its ears; and seems to reduce everyone who sees it to a sobbing emotional wreck.
Its grand total of Oscar nominations? Zero. The Snub Club is definitely the place to be…
All of Us Strangers
Harrogate-born director Andrew Haigh’s previous films (from relationship dramas Weekend and 45 Years to boy-and-his-horse tale Lean on Pete) haven’t been short on critical praise, but it feels like his latest could be the one to bring him to a wider audience.
Boasting a cast of some of the UK’s finest and garlanded by rave reviews across the board, this supernaturally-charged fable follows Adam (Andrew Scott), a lonely writer living in a near-empty London tower block, as he embarks upon a relationship with his mysterious neighbour Harry (Paul Mescal).
At the same time, a visit to his childhood home leads Adam to discover that his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) appear to be alive and well and exactly as he had last seen them on the day of their death, 30 years earlier.
The Color Purple
Hot on the heels of Mean Girls, here’s another film-of-the-musical-of-the-film – although of course it’s also the film of the book, marking the second adaptation of Alice Walker’s classic novel, which was first brought to the big screen by Steven Spielberg in 1985.
Taking elements from the novel, the original film and the Broadway musical, this acclaimed new take on the tale stars Fantasia Barrino (reprising her role from the stage version) as Celie Harris, who endures abuse, forced marriage and separation from her beloved sister Nettie, but finds the strength to survive in the support of her closest friends.
A stellar supporting cast includes Taraji P. Henson as the charismatic jazz singer Shug Avery and Colman Domingo (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) as Celie’s brutal husband ‘Mister’, while director Blitz Bazawule previously collaborated with Beyoncé on her Lion King musical film Black is King.
It’s an oft-quoted story that Ridley Scott’s inspiration for the iconic visuals of his sci-fi landmark Blade Runner came from the industrial landscape of Hartlepool where he grew up – and it’s the area’s undersung cinematic quality that local director Jamie Childs wanted to harness in his feature debut.
As Childs told the BBC, he decided that Hartlepool and Teesside would provide the perfect backdrop for his action thriller about army veteran Jack Dawson (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, The Haunting of Hill House), who returns to his hometown to look after his brother after his mother dies.
Desperate for cash, Jack accepts a job picking up a mysterious package in the North Sea – but when things inevitably go wrong and his brother disappears, the former motocross champion sets out on a violent nocturnal odyssey to discover who betrayed him.
Other new releases and previews
The Witcher’s Freya Allan stars as a woman who inherits a haunted pub (or, as we call them in York, a pub) from her estranged father in Baghead, a new horror from the producers of 2022’s breakout hit Barbarian – get them in at Cineworld and Vue from Fri 26th.
With awards season now in full swing, you can catch previews of two hugely acclaimed Oscar contenders this week in the form of chilling Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest (City Screen, Fri 26th to Sun 28th; Cineworld, Sat 27th to Mon 29th) and literary satire American Fiction (City Screen, Tues 30th; Vue, Weds 31st).
Expect Top Gun-style antics aplenty in Hindi-language aviation actioner Fighter (Cineworld, daily to Weds 31st), and death-defying feats of heroism in Malayalam-language adventure Malaikottai Vaaliban (Cineworld, Sun 28th; Vue, Fri 26th to Sun 28th).
They think it’s all over – it isn’t quite yet: Joseph Fiennes continues to tread the boards as Gareth Southgate in encore NT Live screenings of hit new stage play Dear England (City Screen, Mon 29th; Everyman, Weds 31st; Vue, Fri 26th to Sun 28th and Weds 31st), while Cineworld swaps football boots for Kinky Boots: The Musical, the stage version of the 2005 film as performed at London’s Adelphi Theatre, on Thurs 1st.
And from the West End to West End Girls, on Weds 31st you can witness the peerless pop perfection of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe in Pet Shop Boys Dreamworld: The Greatest Hits Live (Cineworld, City Screen), which captures the deadpan duo domino dancing through their back catalogue at Copenhagen’s Royal Arena – there are also a few more IMAX screenings of their fellow 80s titans in action in Queen Rock Montreal, showing at Cineworld from Fri 26th to Sun 28th.
The residents of Mossy Bottom Farm have an otherworldly visitor in A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, which is this week’s Kids’ Club selection at City Screen on Sat 27th (tickets £3.30).
Kung Fu Panda flies into action in Everyman’s Toddler Club on Fri 26th and Sat 27th (£6.25 for children, £8.25 for adult plus toddler), while the saga continues over at Cineworld in Kung Fu Panda 2, which is one of two Movies For Juniors picks this weekend alongside Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie (both showing on Sat 27th and Sun 28th, tickets £2.50).
Meanwhile, it’s Vue’s turn to host the so-so sounding puppet adventure The Inseparables in their budget Mini Mornings slot (Sat 27th/Sun 28th, £2.49) – more reliably entertaining animated hijinks can be found courtesy of the prehistoric pals of Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (Vue, Sat 27th/Sun 28th, £6.99 – £9.99).
The Dude abides and Buster splits your sides: old favourites back on the big screen
City Screen’s Buster Keaton season continues apace this week with two of the legendary silent comic’s most famous films: Steamboat Bill, Jr. (home to the celebrated falling house stunt) screens on Sun 28th, followed on Mon 29th by a Dementia-Friendly screening of comedy Western The General, regarded by many as his masterpiece.
Vue are bringing Barbie back to shine a little light into the winter gloom over the next few weeks, starting this weekend with screenings on Fri 26th, Sat 27th and Mon 29th, while they’re also offering fun with nuns in the form of Sister Act on Sat 27th, Sun 28th and Tues 30th.
Tony Montana blasts his way back on to the big screen at Everyman this week, as their Throwback strand showcases 1983’s gangster classic Scarface (Sun 28th, Tues 30th).
And finally, if you’re looking for a laidback alternative to all that coked-up carnage, fix yourself a large White Russian and head down to Everyman on Fri 26th, where Jeff Bridges will be ambling his way through the Coen brothers classic The Big Lebowski. This aggression will not stand, man!