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Oscars Alternatives: What to Watch Other than the Academy Awards

26 February 2017 | Edd Elliott

Tired of the Oscars? Yes, us too – and there’s still a few hours of endless hype and interviews left to go! No need to avoid the cinema, however. There are still a few interesting films showing out there that aren’t on the nominee list, and we’ve compiled them into a handy guide for you to follow. Here are our Oscars Alternatives.

Big, Bad Action
 
Urgh, enough of this well-meaning, do-gooding, witheringly worthy Award fodder – we want mindless entertainment! Well don’t worry: there’s plenty of that floating around multiplex cinemas. The Great Wall, notable for Matt Damon’s strange ponytail and even stranger accent, is on screens right now. Swooping in just behind is Keanu Reeves action venture John Wick 2. The first instalment of this gun-toting revenge saga was a cult hit. Now the mopey hitman takes his act to Europe and kills – by the look of the trailer – everyone. A particularly British-brand of violence is dispensed by the wry-eyed Prevenge, still screening in select cinemas. The story of a pregnant woman out on a killing spree, Alice Lowe’s directorial debut was described by the Times as “daringly bonkers” and will certainly be a crowd-pleaser. There are showings at the Odeon Panton Street, The Ritzy Picturehouse and Stratford East Picturehouse this week.
 


Off-Mainstream, Under-rated Hits
 
The Academy Awards would have you believe that they have the be-all and end-all when it comes to cultured cinema. A cursory glance at this week’s film listings proves otherwise, however. 20th Century Women is still showing on many screens. Mike Mills’ family drama has set hearts aflutter with its soft and soothing look at single-parenting in late 70s California. Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup all feature. Similar themes – if a different tone – are presented by Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women. The lives of three characters (played by Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern) intersect in the daily events of a small Mid-Western town, leading to poignant consequences. Screenings start 3 March. Finally, It’s Only The End of a World opens on Friday. Xavier Dolan’s French-Canadian drama set Cannes alight when it screened at the festival last year. Every French actor you can think of – Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel – stars in this ode to family feuds, definitely not one to be missed.
 


One-off Screenings
 
If you fancy something a little more unique, there are plenty of special screenings over the weekend that are worth tracking down. The BFI’s Scorsese season rumbles on and the 1976 classic Taxi Driver has showings every day until the end of the month. You can also catch the Beatles biopic George Harrison: Living in a Material World on Saturday 25 February – a really underrated music doc. Another documentary, Lo and Behold, Reveries of a Connected World, screens on Sunday 26 Feb at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre at 4pm. It’s the latest work from cult director Werner Herzog – prepare for your minds to be boggled! The Regents Street Cinema continues its Universal Monster Season this weekend as well. Creature From the Black Lagoon swims up from the depths of film history once again, readying itself to scare audiences all the way from 1954. A lesser known member of the monster gang, this creeper is definitely one for the cinephiles to tick off. Finally, The Prince Charles has a jammed packed weekend of events, including screenings of Your Name, Howl’s Moving Castle, Blue is the Warmest Colour and a Lord of the Rings Marathon. For full details, see their website.
 

Forget about Fences and leave La La Land alone – get to some of these instead!
 
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