TOMB RAIDER (12)
MY first lingering memory of Whitney Houston was an infectious smile framed by tumbling curls of caramel hair telling me – and anyone who would listen – that she wanted to dance with somebody.
The whole world danced with Houston in the summer of 1987, propelling her to the top of the charts in numerous countries including the UK.
Staccato bursts of that rousing dance floor anthem open Kevin Macdonald’s revealing documentary, which arrives one year after Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal’s film Whitney: Can I Be Me.
The two portraits of doomed musical genius share some narrative threads including the importance of best friend Robyn Crawford to Houston’s well-being, and the spiral of self-destruction which followed her marriage to bad boy singer Bobby Brown.
Macdonald’s heart-breaking film is the only account of Houston’s life and career officially supported by her estate and includes original studio recordings and never-before-seen footage alongside live performances recorded by the late singer.
The Scottish director has been granted unrivalled access to the family’s archives and he lovingly assembles personal home movie footage, which reveals the humour and the anguish behind the ★★★★★
ENTREPRENEUR Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) is a globe-trotting protector of hidden ancient artefacts. He vanishes during an expedition to the burial tomb of Japanese empress Himiko. Seven years later, his daughter Lara (Alicia Vikander) makes a treacherous journey to an uninhabited island in the Devil’s Sea. She clashes with sadistic archaeologist Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) and exposes an ancient militant organisation called Trinity, which seeks control of supernatural antiquities.
■ Download/stream from July 9, and available from July 16 on DVD/Blu-ray. polished stage persona.
Whitney shows boundless affection for its luminous subject but Macdonald’s absorbing film does not shy away from ugly truths: unflattering images of Houston in a stupor are juxtaposed with one of her latter performances when she failed to hit the high notes in her cover version of I Will Always Love You. There are strong echoes of the deeply moving, Oscar-winning documentary Amy as a glittering star falls back to Earth with a sickening thud.
What sets apart this meticulous sift through family albums from other character studies is the suggestion that Houston’s downfall may have been precipitated by child abuse when she was growing up.
Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft