Film Picks

PHOTOS: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS, SHAW ORGANISATION, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS THE O.P.E.N.

The O.P.E.N. section of the festival traditionally features fiction films and documentaries with bold, often experimental storytelling styles.

In the documentary, A Magical Substance Flows Into Me (2015, 68 minutes, rating to be confirmed), Jumana Manna, a Berlin-based Palestinian film-maker, uses music as a lens to look at what life was like in Palestine before the post-war influx of Europeans changed the cultural landscape.

The Oscar-nominated Embrace Of The Serpent (2015, 123 minutes, rating to be confirmed) tells the story of native shamans in the Amazon rainforest and their encounters with white men seeking plants to cure the ailments that civilisation brings. 

WHERE: Various venues MRT: Various WHEN: June 25 - July 8 ADMISSION: O.P.E.N. Pass, $45 for all programmes; single entry, $10; registration required before entry INFO: For details and schedule, go to www.sifa.sg

John Lui

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 (PG)

130 minutes/Now showing/3.5 stars

At the end of Now You See Me (2013), ex-magician Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) has been framed and placed behind bars by a group of illusionists calling themselves the Four Horsemen.

In this sequel, Bradley is out for vengeance while the gang of four (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Lizzy Caplan) get entangled with a tech magnate Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) with a hidden agenda.

There is quite a bit of plot to get through and a huge cast of characters to get to know. Still, Now You See Me 2 is a zippy sequel that will please fans of the original magic-trick-flick-meets-crime-caper as it manages to up the ante on the illusion set pieces.

Boon Chan

APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD (PG)

106 minutes/3.5 stars

The world is stuck in the Industrial Revolution era when wood and coal are the main sources of power.

When April's (Angela Galuppo) scientist parents are suddenly killed, she tries to carry on their research in secret in Paris until she uncovers a much larger conspiracy.

Marrying legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's fantastically weird inventions with Tintin creator Herge's ligne claire, or "clear line" drawing style, this story, taken from French comics artist Jacques Tardi's work, is as vividly told as it is beautiful to look at.

Not produced with a younger audience in mind, this work of animation is a complex and intelligent film that requires some understanding of history and science to be fully appreciated.

Yip Wai Yee

FINDING DORY (PG)

103 minutes/Now showing/3.5 stars

The latest Pixar product is a solid piece of all-ages entertainment, but in depth of emotion, it does not reach the standard set by predecessor Finding Nemo (2003).

In Nemo, the love of a parent for his child was cast into an adventure story. The same concept is used in this spin-off, but this time, it is the child seeking the parents.

Finding Nemo begins with deaths in a barracuda attack, follows up with a shark in a feeding frenzy, then moves on to an aquarium overseen by a sadistic child. Dory, on the other hand, grapples more with her mental disabilities than with keeping herself safe from sharp teeth or evil kids.

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe