PICK OF THIS WEEK’S FILMS
TULIP FEVER (15) RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (PG)
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.
CREED II (12A)
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.
ROBIN HOOD (12A)
The men are far from merry in director Otto Bathurst’s gung-ho action adventure, which