Battle Of The Sexes – A Quick Capsule Review

Battle Of The Sexes – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I can see why a lot of people have enjoyed Battle Of The Sexes but for me it was just a bit dull overall with an overly long run time.  The story itself is interesting but fails to address that little changed in the tennis industry for many years to come and maybe credits itself at being more significant than it was.  The performances are great however – Emma Stone and Steve Carell are epically strong and no doubt will receive nominations for their roles but overall there just wasn’t enough here to grab me.

Best Bit: King finds love

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Wimbledon, Made in Dagenham, Hidden Figures 

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

The Best & Worst Of 2017 – Motion Picture Maniac

The Best & Worst Of 2017 – Motion Picture Maniac

A Blog Motion Picture Maniac Year In Review

Remember when the disappointment that was 2016 ended and we all toasted to 2017 hopefully proving to be better? Didn’t exactly meet expectations did it? Last year many of our favourite celebrities passed away, this year many of those left have turned out to be sex offenders – go team. But anyway, just like last year I’ve had to stretch my film lists out from top 10’s to top 20’s, which could be seen as a good thing, an indication that there were enough good films to warrant a longer list but then, you remember, the same goes for the bad list.

What can I say; this year was long and depressing, the year before it was long and depressing and, realistically, the next year will probably be long and depressing also; happy days! So here we go, the best films of the year and… the other list, along with some other fun considerations because why not? Of course there were some well-regarded films I was unable to see like Call Me By Your Name and Brigsby Bear and I do hate that I missed them but hey, what can I do?

 

Best Films Of 2017

  1. Dunkirk – (Film of the year, a perfectly shot single feature length action sequence rife with lethal intensity, brutal sound design and gargantuan production value; all of which transpire to do justice to real life heroes)
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. Wind River
  4. A Ghost Story
  5. Wonder Woman
  6. Loving Vincent
  7. Thor: Ragnarok
  8. Song To Song
  9. War For The Planet Of The Apes
  10. Mother
  11. American Made
  12. It Comes At Night
  13. Lego Batman
  14. John Wick Chapter 2
  15. Logan
  16. Battle Of The Sexes
  17. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  18. It
  19. The Disaster Artist
  20. Atomic Blonde

 

Honourable Mentions

The Beguiled

The Killing of a sacred deer

Detroit

Double date

Only the brave

T2 Trainspotting

Okja

Get Out

Baby driver

Spiderman homecoming

 

Special Sympathy Mention:

Justice League

 

Worst Films Of 2017

  1. The Shack – (Worst film of the year, one of the most morally bankrupt, self satisfied, arrogant and offensive pieces of propaganda garbage I have ever seen in my life, it’s not just bad, it’s hurtful and dangerous)
  2. The Bye-Bye Man
  3. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
  4. Unforgettable
  5. Everything, Everything
  6. Girl’s Trip
  7. The Snowman
  8. Flatliners
  9. The Zookeeper’s Wife
  10. The Sense Of An Ending
  11. Hampstead
  12. Unlocked
  13. The Emoji Movie
  14. The House
  15. Daddy’s Home 2
  16. CHiPS
  17. Bitter Harvest
  18. Overdrive
  19. Transformers: The Last Knight
  20. Fifty Shades Darker

 

Dis-Honourable Mentions

Geostorm

The Star

A Bad Mom’s Christmas

The Space Between Us

Wish Upon

Fist Fight

Table 19

The Book Of Henry

Snatched

Rings

 

 

15 Favourite Action Sequences

Pretty much everything in “The Air” – Dunkirk

Silo Hostage Rescue And Subsequent Battle – Justice League

No Man’s Land – Wonder Woman

Bifrost Bridge Battle – Thor: Ragnarok

Stairwell Fight – Atomic Blonde

Helicopter Swatting – Kong: Skull Island

Hocus Pocus – Baby Driver

The Battle Of Crate – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Drill Sight Massacre – Wind River

Art Gallery Shootout – John Wick Chapter 2

Aero Baby Rescue – Fate Of The Furious

Throne Room Slaughter – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Steppenwolf In Themyscira – Justice League

K VS Luv – Blade Runner 2049

Opening Sequence – John Wick Chapter 2

 

 

Favourite Villainous Performances

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Ciaran Hinds as Steppenwolf – Justice League

Jamie Foxx as Bats – Baby Driver

Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster – Thor: Ragnarok

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise The Dancing Clown – It

Sylvia Hoeks as Luv – Blade Runner 2049

Will Poulter as Krauss – Detroit

Woody Harrelson as The Colonel – War For The Planet Of The Apes

Ruby Rose as Ares – John Wick Chapter 2

Robert Carlyle as Francis Begbie – T2 Trainspotting

 

 

Best On-Screen Couples (Romantic, Bromantic Or Otherwise)

David and Walter – Alien: Covenant

Thor and… his Hammer – Thor: Ragnarok

K and Joi – Blade Runner 2049

Hobbs and Deckard – Fate Of The Furious

Billie-Jean and Marilyn – Battle Of The Sexes

Greg and Tommy – The Disaster Artist

Rocket and Baby Groot – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Wolverine and X23 – Logan

Batman and Superman – Justice League

Bryce and Kincaid – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

 

 

Special Awards

Best Opening Credit Sequence: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Best Use Of Music In Correlation To The Visuals: Blade Runner 2049 – “Sea Wall”

Pottymouth Of The Year: Robert Carlyle – T2 Trainspotting

Most Interesting Style: TIE – Loving Vincent/A Ghost Story

Best SFX: War For The Planet Of The Apes

Most Immersive Camera Movements: Justice League

Funniest Line (Intentional): “I’m gonna knock your teeth so far down your throat you’re gonna stick a toothbrush right up your ass to brush em” – Fate Of The Furious

Funniest Line (Unintentional): “Blow into the hole gently, I’ll do the fingering” – Alien: Covenant

Captain Obvious Award: Josh Duhamel, Transformers: The Last Knight – “Look, it’s a big alien ship”

Guilty Pleasure Of The Year: TIE – xXx: Return Of Xander Cage/Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Notable Face-Palm Of The Year: Fakest Sneeze Of All Time – The Bye-Bye Man

Done and dusted, recalling and sifting through the stuff I liked about the year was great fun, doing the same for what I didn’t like bloody hurt. Oh I wonder what the next year will hold, not just regarding the movies but the politics, the sociology, the very backbone of public opinion… who am I kidding, it’s gonna suck, it’ll all suck and we should probably all just save time by taking turns gleefully leaping into a giant deadly shit hole to boil and desolve to death.

 

Happy New Year.

Motion Picture Maniac 

Battle Of The Sexes – Motion Picture Maniac

Battle Of The Sexes – Motion Picture Maniac

A Blog Motion Picture Maniac

You know those movies that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Battle Of The Sexes is one of those films for me, and yet I am surprised, it does things I’m not usually crazy about when present in other films but I didn’t care anywhere near as much this time around; Battle Of The Sexes is an entertaining, very sweet, very charming and uplifting little tale that I caught myself not really wanting to end.

There are some things I’m not too fussed on, during the first act the musical score had a tendency to be a little overly positive and triumphant from time to time and one or two lines of dialogue were a tad on the nose in relation to the film’s subject and themes but aside from all that – I enjoyed the living hell out of this movie. It tells the true tale of Billie-Jean King begrudgingly accepting a tennis challenge against Bobby Riggs, at a time when women’s rights were ever so slowly climbing the ladder and equal pay was being called into question, victory for Billie-Jean meant victory for women everywhere, especially given the chauvinistic persona Riggs chose to adopt just to make the game more interesting.

Reviews for the film have been pretty positive but there have been some complaints that the film is overly feministic, especially considering the more negative presence of modern neo-feminism, but I have to strongly disagree. The film is all about equality but not just when it comes to the rights of women (we’ll get more into that in a bit), when Billie-jean is straight up asked if she is a feminist she says she’s just a tennis player who happens to be a woman and, most importantly, it doesn’t present Bobby Riggs as an actual woman-hating monster.

He’s a hustler, a showman who understands how to draw the crowds and wants to entertain people, with women’s rights being the topic of discussion he simply thinks a chauvinistic character would provide the other side of the coin when going up against a women’s rights pioneer, all for the sake of providing a good show; he thinks it’s just a fun little idea. If you’re still not convinced then just wait until you behold his relationship with his wife, it feels more like a mother-child relationship than a marriage, she’s the one in charge but only because parental guidance is something he’s sorely lacking. That’s what stops the film from being preachy, it doesn’t get ahead of itself and refuses to debase its characters into stereotypes because a modern audience might expect as much; these aren’t characters – they’re real people the film avoids compromising.

Emma Stone is absolutely awesome as Billie-jean King, torn by the world around her, presented with obstacles she needs to take seriously if she ever wants to change things but here comes this clown who treats it all like a joke, she doesn’t seem to know how she’s supposed to feel, not even sure if she wants to accept his challenge at first because it may not be the most secure way of making a difference. Steve Carell balances himself perfectly between comedy and tragedy, he plays Riggs as a man who thinks I can mask his problems, even from himself, by treating everything like a game, he’s a gambling addict but it’s something he’s good at so why bother fixing it, he’s always trying to make people laugh and have fun but behind those bright eyes lives a man nerve wracked by how his life has turned out.

Sarah Silverman is almost unrecognisable, Bill Pullman is exceptionally hateful as a man who sees nothing wrong with his words and actions, Alan Cumming is a ton of fun to watch and Andrea Riseborough shines as Billie-Jean’s secret girlfriend. This is where we get more of the film’s theme of equality, it’s not just about women getting equal treatment but the acceptance of gay people too, I was rather surprised by the film’s first half coming off more like a romance film than a sports drama and as romance goes I found it very sweet and touching; the scene where these two women meet and Billie-Jean appears to literally fall in love is just adorable and the chemistry they share really snuck up on me.

I’m as far away from the naïve will they-won’t they obsessed romance enthusiast as you can get and yet this film had me invested enough to want yell for the character’s to just kiss for goodness sake when they stop and stare at each other for a minute, both knowing full well it’s what they want to do. When a romance has me that invested you know it’s doing something right; as an onscreen couple these two were just wonderful to tag along with. It’s also tragic seeing Larry King torn apart upon discovering the affair, you get the sense he has seen this coming, like he already knew, or at least suspected she was a lesbian, and knows there’s not all that much he can do about it; I mention all this because this movie actually managed to get to my emotions and, these days, that’s a rare feet.

The tennis matches are also handled with gusto, without spoiling anything – when we get to the titular battle I was suddenly taken aback by how humorously uneventful it seemed, it gets so much hype within the story, so much build-up, that when it begins it suddenly seems simple, but grows more and more intense as it goes on; it’s not shot like an action scene but rather just like any other tennis match, mostly from afar with only the occasional close-up of the players. It made me laugh upon realising the film itself knew very well it wasn’t the match that mattered, just the outcome and what it meant in the long run, something Margaret Court certainly didn’t know.

I especially enjoyed the film’s style and cinematography, there is fantastic use of the foreground, lots of out-of-focus people/objects obscuring most of the frame except for what we need to be looking at, it comes off as very playful and lively; something I’ve seen Barry Ackroyd do from time to time. Battle Of The Sexes is not a perfect film but it was just great enough to warrant some withdrawal symptoms from me, I feel more compelled to see it again than most other films I would give higher scores, it’s not the absurd comedy the trailer makes it out to be, it’s actually a lot more serious minded than that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still fun.

I know I said not all of the dialogue works but I’m only talking about a select few, seated very far apart from each other, everything else about the script works very well; the lines of dialogue that work being some of its highlights. There’s a fantastic scene in which Bobby Riggs attends a gambler’s anonymous and declares the other addicts they don’t have a problem because they’re gamblers, but rather because they’re terrible gamblers and need to be taught how to win, a very interesting point, would it be a problem if they didn’t lose so much, who knows? Characters also only subtly suggest awareness of Billie-Jean’s sexuality without flat out saying it, whether they’re friendly words of wisdom or malicious threats, it’s all very well thought out and involving.

I’ve heard the TV movie comparison and I guess I can sort of understand it, despite the film’s best efforts to go about its narrative in a way that isn’t obvious it stills ends how one would expect it to, but it manages to be so surprising and just plain good in other areas that predictability doesn’t feel like as much of a problem, that and it’s way to deep to be considered fluffy overall like an actual overly cheerful TV movie, even though it has some fluffy parts. If the music in the first handful of scenes wasn’t so damn proud, as well as the odd line of dialogue here and there, the film would be close to perfect; I love the characters, the handling of the themes and the style and I absolutely wouldn’t mind seeing it again – it’s very sweet, very uplifting and very watchable.