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🍿58: Alice, Darling
This week, Oscar-nom-news and early drawings of Buzz Lightyear, or rather "Lunar Larry" 👨🚀
“I'm on a special diet. No toxic waste.”
~ Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, 1989
And the award goes to…
With the BAFTAs on 19th February and the Oscars on the 13th March, it’s safe to say that awards season is fast approaching. As the Academy Award nominees have been announced, I thought I’d have a go at predicting the winners for the key categories.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
It seems like an unlikely contender for the top spot, but as it’s taken more nominations than any other film (and because it’s a flawless work of cinema), I do think it’s the most obvious choice.
Although I was put off by the film’s first trailer, Blanchett is being praised for her performance in Tar.
If The Whale is as good as it’s cracked up to be, then I can’t see the Academy putting an end to Fraser’s Hollywood comeback (though it would be nice for Paul Mescal to win).
It’s hard to imagine Spielberg not winning with The Fabelmans.
International Feature Film
All Quiet on the Western Front
While I’d love for an indie drama to win over Netflix (Close and The Quiet Girl both look fantastic and I’ve wanted to see them for while), the Academy love a war epic.
If you’ve got any predictions of your own, we’d love to hear them, so let us know in the comments. In return, you’ll have proof of your foresight and future bragging rights!
Now for the headlines:
The nominations for the 2023 Academy Awards have been announced, with Everything Everywhere All At Once leading the pack. Read more.
Filming on the sequel to Gladiator has been delayed to accommodate Paul Mescal’s theatre commitments (as he’s currently playing Stanley in ‘A Street Car Named Desire’). Read more.
Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski has bagged an Oscar-nom for his upcoming feature EO, a feature-length drama that tells the story of a donkey who leaves the circus to embark on a journey across Europe. It sounds silly, but we think it’ll be great. Read more.
Universal has pulled out of Madonna’s self-directed biopic following her world tour announcement. Read more.
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UK: 10 February // USA: 10 February
It’s 1988 and Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government is about to pass a law stigmatising LGBT people, forcing Jean (Rosy McEwen), a PE teacher, to live a double life. As pressure mounts from all sides, the arrival of a new girl at school catalyses a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core.
UK: 24 March // USA: 27 January
While staying at an isolated island resort, Em (Cleopatra Coleman) and James (Alexander Skarsgård) are enjoying a perfect vacation of pristine beaches, exceptional staff, and soaking up the sun. But guided by the seductive and mysterious Gabi (Mia Goth), they venture outside the resort grounds and find themselves in a culture filled with violence, hedonism and untold horror.
Fact of the week
It’s been nearly 30 years since the world was first introduced to Toy Story and the gang. But did you know that Buzz Lightyear was almost called… ‘Lunar Larry’. That’s right, a couple of years ago Disney released several unseen sketches, which give an insight into what Buzz might have looked like. Click here to see them all.
Review: Alice, Darling
3.5 (out of 5)
Where to watch:
USA: Only in cinemas
UK: Only in cinemas
After taking a vacation with friends, Alice (Anna Kendrick) reassesses her relationship with her psychologically abusive boyfriend, Simon (Charlie Carrick) and attempts to break her codependency in spite of Simon's vengeful attitude.
The review (SOME spoilers):
In Mary Nighy’s directorial debut, Anna Kendrick shines in this slow-burning and impactful drama that puts the spotlight on non-physical domestic abuse.
For an actor whose career has been defined largely by light-hearted comedies, I was impressed by how well Kendrick managed to play Alice, a nervous wreck of a woman shadowed by unearned guilt, anxiety and fear. Her performance is laden with intricate ticks and behaviours that convey what she’s going through while giving the feeling that she’s not the same person she once was.
I did, however, find myself waiting for something big to happen. While that might say more about my expectations of a film with a star like Kendrick, the lack of a climax left me deflated. When the credits started rolling, it didn’t feel like the story had ended as there was no hard-hitting resolution.
The film’s subtlety is refreshing in some ways. While it’s bound to be more of an uncomfortable watch for anyone who has (or knows someone who has) experienced a coercive relationship, for a film about domestic abuse, it’s not as disturbing as one might expect - which is a good thing.
Using violence to shock an audience can be a cheap trick when dealing with sensitive and serious issues, though fortunately, it’s not one that Nighy has employed. Instead, the film feels as delicate as Alice’s emotional state and there’s no shortage of uncomfortable scenes.
I do think, however, that Nighy spent too much time on an unnecessary and ultimately fruitless subplot, time that could have been spent reflecting on Alice and Simon’s (Charlie Carrick) relationship. Learning more about them as a couple, how they met and how their relationship became so toxic would have added more depth to the film and built a stronger connection between the audience and the characters.
Of course, bearing witness to Alice’s anguish and anxiety is enough to show the severity of the abuse she’s suffered, but more could have been done to solidify the audience’s connection to her.
Scroll down to see what’s in the next issue.
If you liked Alice, Darling…
Thin Invisible Man
2020 | UK: Amazon Prime (£3.99) // USA: Amazon Prime ($3.99)
While speaking about Alice, Darling at a press event, director Mary Nighy said: “This kind of abuse… there aren’t many movies about it.” And she was right. I’ve struggled to find a similar film that sensitively explores non-violent abuse and coercion and it’s been tough.
While The Invisible Man is very (very) different in tone and steps a little into the world of sci-fi, Elisabeth Moss plays a woman trying to leave an abusive partner. These are two very different films, but I remember being surprised at just how good The Invisible Man was when I saw it in 2020 (just before the first lockdown).
In the next issue:
UK: 3 February // USA: 09 December | Watch the Trailer