Bethlehem Press

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Review: ‘Tulip Fever’

Friday, September 15, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

Movies are as close as we get to travelling in time machines. “Tulip Fever” transports us to Holland when the tulip and bulb craze was in full flower, circa 1634-1637. Tulips were introduced from Turkey to Holland. A virus caused a red color to appear on the petals, increasing the price and resulting in speculation on the tulip market.

That’s the background for “Tulip Fever,” directed by Justin Chadwick (“Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom,” 2013; ”The First Grader,” 2010; “The Other Boleyn Girl,” 2008) from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard (Oscar recipient, screenplay, “Shakespeare In Love,” 1999) and Deborah Moggach (based on her novel. She also wrote the screenplay for “Best Exoitic Marigold Hotel,” 2011, based on her novel, “These Foolish Things”).

Dane DeHaan (“Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets,” 2017; “The Place Beyond The Pines,” 2012), who attended Emmaus High School and was in stage productions at Civic Theatre of Allentown, stars as Jan Van Loos, commissioned by wealthy Dutch merchant Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz, Oscars recipient, supporting actor, “Django Unchained,” 2012; “Inglourious Basterds,” 2009) to paint a portrait of him and his young bride, Sophia Sandvoort (Alicia Vikander, Oscar recipient, supporting actress, “The Danish Girl,” 2015).

Jan, the painter, and Sophia, the merchant’s wife, fall in love. As you might imagine, complications ensue. Meanwhile, betting on the tulips bulbs continues and pulls Jan in as a way for he and Sophia to plot their future together.

DeHaan is excellent as the feckless young artist, at once tentative as a painter and purposeful as a lover of Sophia. His blue eyes and lion-like face convey an other-worldly presence, not unlike a young David Bowie.

Vikander is equally mysterious as the young woman torn between her passion and loyalty. Her brown eyes and passive face mask a deep understading, even resignation, of her fate.

Waltz is up to his usual excellentness, bemused and dour as the cuckolded husband. He’s able to play humility and betrayal in equal measure without resorting to the obvious choice of revenge.

The excellent supporting cast includes Holliday Grainger as Maria, the merchant’s servant girl with an agenda of her own; Jack O’Connell, as Maria’s love interest; Tom Hollander as Dr. Sorgh; Zach Galifianakis as Gerrit, Jan’s friend, and Judi Dench as Abbess, a nun.

See “Tulip Fever” and relive a time when a light-bulb moment took on a whole different meaning.

“Tulip Fever,”MPAA Rated R (Restricted. Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian.) for for sexual content and nudity; Genre: Drama, Romance, History; Run Time: 1 hr., 47 min.; Distributed by The Weinstein Company.

Credit Readers Anonymous:“Tulip Fever” was filmed in The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, London, England, United Kingdom (for the Amsterdam exteriors), Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk, England; UK Cobham Hall School, Cobham, Kent, England, and Pinewood Studios, England.

Box Office,Sept. 8: That was “It” for the box office, as the horror clown movie based on the Stephen King novel did summer blockbuster numbers after the traditional Labor Day close of the summer movie season, opening at No. 1 with $117.1 million, with “Home Again” opening at No. 2, way back with $9 million, as “It” scared away the three-week No. run of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” dropping two places, $4.8 million, $64.8 million, four weeks.

“It” set several records: largest opening for September, Fall, an R-rated horror film, and a horror film of any MPAA rating. “It” had about 75 percent of the weekend’s Top 12 box office. And this with Hurricane Irma hitting Florida (typically 6 percent of domestic gross), where 175 theaters closed.

4. “Annabelle: Creation,” dropped two slots, with $4 million, $96.2 million, five weeks.

5. “Wind River” flowed down two places, $3.2 million, $25 million, six weeks.

6. “Leap!” pirouetted down two places, $2.5 million, $15.8 million, three weeks.

7. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” again stuck it out at No. 7, with $2 million, $327.7 million, 10 weeks.

8. “Dunkirk” battled down two places, $1.9 million, $183.1 million, eight weeks.

9 .“Logan Lucky” streaked down four places, $1.8 million, $25.2 million, four weeks.

10. “The Emoji Movie” showed a one-place drop, $1 million, $82.5 million, seven weeks.

25. “Tulip Fever” wilted down one place, $285,300, $1,935,520, two weeks.

Box Office,Sept. 1: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” scored again, No. 1 three weeks in a row with $10.5 million, $55.2 million, three weeks, as “Annabelle: Creation” continued at No. 2, with $7.5 million, $89.1 million, four weeks, as the Labor Day weekend brought “The Summer Of Sequelitus” to a close with an estimated 15 percent revenue decrease for Summer 2017 compared to Summer 2016.

3. “Wind River” headed up one place, $6.2 million, $18.6 million, five weeks.

4. “Leap!” jumped down one place, $4.8 million, $11.3 million, two weeks.

5. “Logan Lucky” played it safe again at No. 5, with $4.4 million, $21.4 million, three weeks.

6. “Dunkirk” hung on again at No. 6, with $4.3 million, $178.9 million, seven weeks.

7. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” again sat at No. 7, with $3.6 million, $324 million, nine weeks.

8. “Despicable Me 3” snuck back up five places from No. 13, with $2.4 million, $257.9 million, 10 weeks.

9. “The Emoji Movie” expressed a one-place rise, with $2.4 million, $80.3 million, six weeks.

10. “Girls Trip” drove up one place from No. 11, with $2.3 million, $111.5 million, seven weeks.

Unreel,Sept. 15:

“Brad’s Status,”R: Mike White directs Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, and Michael Sheen in the Comedy. When a father takes his son to to visit East Coast colleges, he meets an old friend who makes him jealous.

“Mother!,”Darren Aronofsky directs Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer in the Horror Thriller. A couple is tested by uninvited guests.

“American Assassin,”R: Michael Cuesta directs Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, and Taylor Kitsch in the Action Thriller. The story is based on the life of counterterrorism agent Mitch Rapp.

“Rebel in the Rye,”PG-13: Danny Strong directs Zoey Deutch, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, and Sarah Paulson in the Biography Drama about J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Three Popcorn Boxes out of five Popcorn Boxes