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Movie Review: ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Is a Mixed Victory

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Battle of the Sexes Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he story of the legendary tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is practically a fable when you think about it. The veteran talent of the cocky Riggs faces off against the struggling and determined King. He lounges with vitamins while she struggles with practice. He’s a sexist pig and she’s a woman committed to equal rights for women. Their tale is so ripe with melodrama and historical checkmarks in the road to gender equality that it’d be too easy to make a movie out of. Yet they did so anyway with all cliches you’d expect in Battle of the Sexes.

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Emma Stone and Steve Carell play real life sports stars Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

The film does hold a relevance, even if it’s delivered with the bluntness of an atomic bomb. Taking place in the early 1970s, the snobby tennis league isn’t all that accepting of Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) as its top female champion. The organization, headed by the smarmy owner played by Bill Pullman, only pays her a fraction of the prize money, reasoning that women are not as big of a draw as the men.

Furious, she leaves in a huff with her companion Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) and starts her own female tennis organization. They have a rocky start, but thanks to Billie’s pluck and Gladys’ cutthroat negotiations, they become a legitimate sports organization. Billie is better able to keep her league of female tennis players in line than maintain her marriage, which goes south when her hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) has Billie questioning her sexuality.

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Emma Stone wears the crown.

Meanwhile, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is struggling to better himself after winning the tennis championship. He’s a masterful player and has a genuine charm when either playing on the court or playing with his younger son, but he hasn’t gotten over his gambling addiction. Why would he? He’s always been so good at it, to the point of winning tennis matches for new cars. He attends a support group for gambling and calls out everyone attending as just being bad at it, offering to give them an edge to make better bets. He even convinces his therapist to take some pointers from him on card playing. In the male-dominated landscape of the 1970s, men like Bobby are not seen as having problems, despite the obvious issues he has that need treatment if he hopes to maintain his struggling marriage with his concerned wife (Elisabeth Shue).

Related: Movie Review: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Strikes Sequel Success (Mostly)

Read more for the rest of the Battle of the Sexes movie review:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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