A rundown of recent watches in the cinema: Battle Of The Sexes, Loving Vincent and Film Stars Don’t Die In Hollywood
While Emma Stone and Steve Carrell do a great job in their roles as the real-life 70s tennis stars, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, Battle Of The Sexes eventually falls into lacklustre plotting, gay stereotypes (Alan Cummings), Sarah Silverman being annoying and a love story that feels pedestrian in its execution. But even though the said tennis match at the end is a complete snorathon — see Borg Vs McEnroe for how it’s done — this still manages to be a pretty interesting and entertaining show, purely off the back of the leads — Carrell in particular — the Billie Joe King backstory and some great recreations of the ridiculous antics that Bobby Riggs got up to. The depiction of the rivalry and the rampant sexism that occurred in the sport, at that time, is spot on and laid bare in shocking detail but, overall, I did expect better from the creators of the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine. It’s all a bit too by-the-numbers, which is a shame. 6/10
I am in awe of how much work has gone into making Loving Vincent. The rotoscope method of filming, but with Vincent Van Gogh’s style of painting, is a joy to behold and the cast, including Chris O’Dowd and Saiorse Ronan, is great. The writing may be a little flat but this is still well worth a watch for the spellbinding visuals — the first oil painted animation, ever! — and Clint Mansell soundtrack, alone. 7/10
Based on the book of the same name by Peter Turner, this is one of those films that I really didn’t have much of an interest in watching but was so glad that I did in the end.
Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) and Annette Bening (American Beauty) are fantastic in this true-to-life love story about how eccentric Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame (Bening) and young Liverpudlian actor Peter Turner (Bell) got embroiled in a whirlwind affair in 1978, that soon transforms into something profound. The story is brilliantly pieced together with the use of flashbacks and has rapier wit throughout the script, but essentially, this is a bit of a heart-breaker, so prepare yourself.
Paul McGuigan has really found his form after making quite a few dodgy films over the years and with an exceptional cast that also includes greats like Julie Walters and Vanessa Redgrave, alongside Stephen Graham (This Is England), Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool turns out to be a wonderfully crafted love story that I highly recommend. 8/10