The Herald Magazine - - Arts CINEMA -


Filmed in the sum­mer of 2014 be­fore lead ac­tress Ali­cia Vikan­der de­servedly won her Os­car as best sup­port­ing ac­tress for The Dan­ish Girl, di­rec­tor Justin Chad­wick’s lust-fu­elled pe­riod romp has been wilt­ing on a film stu­dio shelf for more than three years. Har­vey We­in­stein’s in­volve­ment as a pro­ducer can’t be blamed for the de­lay. Tulip Fever is a turgid, life­less adap­ta­tion of Deb­o­rah Mog­gach’s novel, which fails to bloom on the big screen de­spite some half-hearted prop­a­ga­tion from di­rec­tor Justin Chad­wick (The Other Bo­leyn Girl) and his starry in­ter­na­tional cast. Not even Dame Judi Dench, purs­ing her lips be­neath a wim­ple, can in­ject life into a plod­ding, wa­ter­logged nar­ra­tive in which a lowly fish­er­man bran­dishes a bas­ket of pungent goods and tan­ta­lises one po­ten­tial cus­tomer by boast­ing “I’ve got a nice thick eel” with a straight face.

When it comes to a se­quel, go big­ger or go home. Rich Moore and Phil John­ston’s imag­i­na­tive and deeply sat­is­fy­ing fol­low-up to the 2013 feel­good com­puter an­i­ma­tion Wreck-It Ralph achieves the for­mer with­out stray­ing far from the lat­ter by pro­pelling its coin-op­er­ated ar­cade game char­ac­ters into the mind-bog­gling realms of the world wide web. Ralph Breaks the In­ter­net ex­pands its be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of vis­ual tar­gets to in­clude so­cial me­dia be­he­moths, video-shar­ing por­tals and on­line shop­ping brands plus those ir­ri­tat­ing advertising pop-ups that mul­ti­ply like a vir­u­lent fun­gus. A savvy, warm-hearted script is punc­tu­ated by cau­tion­ary notes about viruses, the dark web and trolls.


Deep-rooted nos­tal­gia for Rocky fails to de­liver a knock­out blow in the eighth in­stal­ment of the long-run­ning se­ries, which punched well above its weight class in 1977 by win­ning three Acad­emy Awards in­clud­ing best pic­ture and best di­rec­tor. Co-writ­ten by Sylvester Stal­lone, whose fin­ger­prints are on the scripts to ev­ery bruis­ing bout in the saga, Creed II un­leashes the same flurry of emo­tional jabs as its brawny pre­de­ces­sor but these slick moves fail to con­nect squarely in a se­quel that han­kers for the past.

Di­rec­tor Steven Caple chore­ographs im­pres­sive sweat-drenched fight se­quences be­tween lead­ing man Michael B Jor­dan and real-life Ger­man boxer Flo­rian Mun­teanu, a 6ft 4in man-moun­tain with eight-pack abs and a stone-cold stare to match his in­tim­i­dat­ing phys­i­cal pres­ence. In­side the ring, the film is on sure foot­ing and there are fa­mil­iar bursts of adren­a­line for us as well as the char­ac­ters as they dig deep to over­come dizzy­ing blows and achieve glo­ri­ous des­tinies.


The men are far from merry in di­rec­tor Otto Bathurst’s gung-ho ac­tion ad­ven­ture, which

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