Eager to escape New Year’s Eve, I took myself off to see “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”. I’d heard good things about it, and they actually turned out to be true: it’s a touching but unsentimental piece of story-telling with pitch-perfect performances all round, not to mention a fine 1970s/1980s soundtrack including Elton John’s “Song for Guy”. When I saw Annette Bening in “20th Century Women” last year I assumed she’d be a front-runner at the Oscars, but somehow she missed out completely. I know there’s no point expecting much from the people who cast the votes, but it will be a travesty if her portrayal of film noir star Gloria Grahame doesn’t get a nomination this year. It’s also really refreshing to see a British film which actually looks like it belongs on the big screen.
Two other new releases came my way recently. Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, “Molly’s Game” is a flashily edited, overly talkative, pseudo-Scorsese dud with wobbly supporting performances from Idris Elba and Kevin Costner. For poker fanatics only. As for “Battle of the Sexes” – the story of the 1970s tennis showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs – I watched it on Netflix and lasted all of thirty minutes. The seventies décor was good; the script could have been written by a computer.