Battle Of The Sexes

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As I had mentioned before in a previous review for Borg v McEnroe, tennis related sports movies are not at all common, but for some reason this year we are getting two movies in one year which is even more unusual.

This time we go back a little further than the previous one to 1973 and the hype around this one rivaled the publicity that you would normally associate with two prize fighters in a boxing match. It started out in a quiet way Billie Jean King, the female player was fighting to be paid the same prize money as her male counterparts. Enter Bobby Riggs into the mix, in his private life he gambled and would bet on pretty much anything. He also sought to capture past glories on the tennis court.

Bobby Riggs couldn’t help him himself and believed that men were the stronger players on the court and despite initially saying no, Billie Jean King found herself agreeing to the challenge.

Man against Woman on the tennis court – who would be the ultimate victor?
Along with these challenges on the court, both of them also faced internal
battles as well in their personal lives. To tell you any more would spoil the ending, but if you were not around to watch in 1973 or have caught it online somewhere, who do you think won?

Emma Stone portrays Billie Jean King and very well too I might add and Steve Carrell is ideally suited for the portrayal of Bobby Riggs. Do you have to be fan of tennis? No, it is what happens off the court and before the match that is as equally engaging compared to what happens on it. Might it be a contender for Oscars early next year? Well even it doesn’t end up in the final race for those golden statuettes it’s certainly a great watch.

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Ingrid Goes West

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There is probably a good chance that if you have not already seen a caped crusader and his pals new outing that you will pencil it in for your movie choice of the week.

Although we don’t see the man who hangs round with bats a lot in this movie he does get quite a few honourable mentions in this movie. Might make for slightly weird movie double bill!! Well, Ingrid is seeking a new #BFF after the last one didn’t quite work out and while scrolling through Instagram she spies a hip Californian girl with a life that seems to be what’s cool, hip and happening right now – she seems to have captured the zeitgeist of the moment. I SO want be HER right now!!

Ingrid upends her life and decides that she must get to know THIS GIRL a little better and heads west. But what starts out as seeking to manufacture a random meeting with this girl and a new #BFF and also a  need to be liked, very quickly morphs into #Stalker.

Aubrey Plaza perfectly inhabits the social media following and obsessive – Ingrid and equally Elizabeth Olsen does just a good job of capturing the essence of Taylor, that girl we would SO like to follow.

At times both darkly comic and also facing up to some hard facts about how we live now in equal measure, this movie may not be everybody’s choice for a trip to the movies, but don’t let that put you off, this one is worth seeking out.

(Insert your #hashtag or emoji of choice here)

 

Paddington 2

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Did you like the first movie? Well if you did, you are sure to enjoy this one too.

There are many movies that claim to be a family friendly film, but they tend to stick in a few references that only the adults will get. This one actually is – from the youngest to the oldest, it’s the type of movie that we tend to remember from our childhood.

After the surprise success of the first one it would have been easy for the filmmakers to just make a by-the-numbers sequel to cash in on the audience that frequented the first one, thankfully they haven’t and it is the better for it, I might even go so far to say that even though I liked the first one, I prefer this one. It feels more like the tales from the books written by Michael Bond, rather than a cobbled together story. Though the author is no longer with us, I am sure that he would be more than happy with this film and how it sticks to why we love Paddington Bear, a bit clumsy sure but a bear that would melt the hardest of hearts.

Paddington is now not only part of the Brown family but most people in his neighbourhood now like this bear too. During a stop-off in a local antique shop, he spies a pop-up book and thinks Aunt Lucy would like it, he saves up money from odd jobs that he is doing in his local area, but before he has a chance to buy it a thief steals the book. This thief knows that this is no ordinary children’s book and there are hidden clues contained within the book and he is not allowing anyone including Paddington get his hands on the book.

Along with Paddington Bear who is voiced by Ben Whishaw, the stand out performances here are Hugh Grant(Phoenix Buchanan) and Brendan Gleeson(Knuckles McGinty), they really add to the fun of the crime caper in this movie and make sure not to get up when the credits start to role, it’s worth sticking around just for that.

This movie is sure to fill you up with more sweety goodness than a marmalade sandwich and that saying something.

 

Murder On The Orient Express

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Well there goes my no spoiler rule right out the window!! Sorry folks!!

Here’s a question, do you like ham & cheese? Because there’s enough in this movie to feed an army.Were this movie to be on television rather than on the big screen, it would be the perfect accompaniment to a warm fire and a mug of cocoa, it’s that type of movie.

In fact it’s previous incarnation back in 1974 is pretty much the same template for this one, spectacular scenery and as many big movie stars as the budget will allow for and I am fairly certain that it will be dusted down and re-shown by some TV station while this movie is in the cinema

Let’s be honest here even without my opening line it is pretty obvious from the start how this movie is going to work out, 1 – Murder – check, 2 – Lots of suspects – check & 3 – a detective to sort it out quite neatly by the end of the movie – check, 4 – once of the people on the train is a killer, will they kill again? – check.

Kenneth Branagh helms the director’s chair and is also the Belgian detective behind a very large moustache, in fact I am surprised it didn’t get included in the cast list in the credits also. Now there are quite a few other big stars in the movie, but a few too many to mention here, but you can see that there is a lot of British acting talent up on screen here.

If you are looking for an intricate movie with a deep and complicated plot maybe look elsewhere,looking for an enjoyable night at the movies, then this is the one for you.

 

 

Thor: Ragnarok

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Third times a charm!! It is not very often that you can say this, more often than not by the time a movie series has reached No. 3 in the franchise it is starting to run out of steam and seeming somewhat tired. Thankfully this is not the case here. From the very first scene this movie knows it is a comic book movie and is not afraid to poke fun at itself and everybody feels like they are having fun being in it and directing it.

Taika Waititi – New Zealand director helms the movie this time. There are more than one or two actors from that part of the world in this movie along with the director as well and it seems to add a new spark of energy to this movie this time around that might have been missing in the previous movies and others from the Marvel Comic Universe.

I suppose I better get to the story in hand!!
We find our superhero Thor(Chris Hemsworth) on the other of the galaxy. He finds himself imprisoned and in a gladiatorial contest with fellow Avenger – Hulk(Mark Ruffalo), finally having escaped this showdown he is required to team up with his brother and foe – Loki(Tom Hiddleston) to defeat Hela(Cate Blanchett) from destroying their home and to save their civilization from destruction.

To tell you more would spoil the fun so to speak and there is quite a lot of that in this movie. Is it the Deadpool or Guardians Of The Galaxy effect exerting their influence on this movie who knows? Don’t worry about that, just enjoy the true popcorn filled fun of this movie.

P.s Keep an eye out for some unexpected cameos in this movie too!!

The Death Of Stalin

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‘A Comedy Of Terrors’ goes the tagline for this movie and never more true is that statement. Do you you like your comedy dark? Well this is, about as dark as a starless Siberian night.

This movie is based around a French graphic novel and directed by Armando Iannucci.

Moscow 1953, was not a happy place – Stalin had an iron grip on power and that is an understatement. It was a case if he said jump, you would say how high – this can be seen very clearly in one of the opening scenes.  Stalin wanted a recording of a classical concert that was taking place live in the city. The question goes round the concert venue’ Did we record it? No, well don’t let anyone leave, close the doors, we go again’ – told you this comedy was dark!!

Stalin receives the recording and a note drops out, he reads it and then promptly dies. Panic now ensues, what do we do now and how do we replace him? This is at the heart of the comedy story line in this film. If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny, turns out despite yourself you will probably find yourself laughing even though you know you shouldn’t.

The stellar cast don’t even attempt a Russian accent, in fact Stalin speaks with a north of England accent and equally the American actors don’t change theirs. In a lesser movie that might grate with you, but actually this is quickly forgotten in the absurdity of it all.

While this is a historical comedy, it is more a case of making the history fit the comedy rather sticking strictly to the facts, but a bit like the accents issue I mentioned in the previous paragraph you forget that pretty quickly, if you like your comedy dark then this is the one for you, if not I hear that ‘My Little Pony’ is also out in cinemas this week!!