The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei DS Stephen Romei John McCal­lum

(M) Four decades after the orig­i­nal Rocky, we are up to the eighth movie, Creed II, in which for­mer heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion Rocky Bal­boa (Sylvester Stal­lone) is long re­tired. Rocky’s great ri­val Apollo Creed is dead, hav­ing been beaten to death dur­ing a bout in Rocky IV (1985). His fighter son, Ado­nis Creed (Michael B. Jor­dan), who we met in the pre­vi­ous movie, Creed (2015), has dad on his mind and Rocky in his cor­ner as his trainer and de facto fa­ther. The doped-up Soviet boxer who killed Ado­nis’s fa­ther, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lund­gren), is still alive. He has a son, too, Vik­tor Drago (Flo­rian Mun­teanu). Ob­vi­ously the two boys are go­ing to fight. It more or less works, though there are a cou­ple of still mo­ments. But when the quiet ends and the fight be­gins it looks su­perb un­der Kramer Mor­gen­thau’s cam­er­a­work. I don’t think I have sat be­fore a box­ing film where the punches felt harder.

Puz­zle (M) Agnes (Kelly Mac­don­ald), the cen­tral char­ac­ter in Marc Turtle­taub’s di­rec­to­rial de­but, Puz­zle, seems to be­long to an­other era. An im­mi­grant from Hun­gary and a de­vout Chris­tian, she lives in Bridge­port, not far from New York City, with her hus­band Louie (David Den­man), who owns a small garage, and her two sons. Ziggy (Bubba Weiler) works along­side his fa­ther but would rather be a chef, and Gabe (Austin Abrams) is a stu­dent who in­stead of go­ing to col­lege, as his par­ents wish, wants to go to Ti­bet with his ve­gan girl­friend Nicki (Liv Hew­son). These are in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters with small but be­liev­able prob­lems and con­cerns, and the film del­i­cately and af­fec­tion­ately ex­plores their lives. Mac­don­ald gives a beau­ti­ful, gen­tle per­for­mance. Puz­zle is get­ting a piti­fully lim­ited re­lease, but it’s worth seek­ing out.

The Club “Tra­di­tion, tra­di­tion, tra­di­tion. We’ve been stran­gled by it.” So de­clares club pres­i­dent Ted Parker early in The Club, David Wil­liamson’s drama about a strug­gling Aus­tralian foot­ball team that has not won a pre­mier­ship for 19 years. The play kicked goals at the box of­fice when it came out in 1977 and was filmed three years later by Bruce Beres­ford. Tra­di­tion soon took a back seat as Aus­tralian sport en­tered the com­mer­cial age. Now it may be hip-and-shoul­dered from the back seat al­to­gether thanks to Ade­laide the­atre com­pany isthisy­ours?, which is bring­ing an all-fe­male ver­sion of the play to the Syd­ney stage. This pro­duc­tion of The Club will stick to Wil­liamson’s play, which un­folds be­hind closed doors. With Jude Hen­shall, Louisa Mignone and Ellen Steele (pic­tured) Belvoir St The­atre, Down­stairs The­atre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills. Tues­day, 6.45pm. Tick­ets: $25. Book­ings: (02) 9699 3444 or on­line. Un­til De­cem­ber 22. A Cheery Soul we fi­nally come to care. Wil­liams’s pro­duc­tion and Eliz­a­beth Gadsby’s de­sign, with a great score by Cle­mence Wil­liams, smooth over abrupt stylis­tic shifts. Syd­ney Opera House, Drama The­atre, Ben­ne­long Point. To­day, 2pm and 8pm. Tick­ets: $65-$108. Book­ings: (02) 9250 1777 or on­line. Un­til De­cem­ber 15. Du­ra­tion: 2hr 30min, in­clud­ing in­ter­val.

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