Film Picks

Adriana Ugarte
Adriana UgartePHOTOS: THE PROJECTOR

John Lui Film Correspondent and Boon Chan Media Correspondent recommend

JULIETA (M18)
99 minutes/3.5 stars

Spanish legend Pedro Almodovar is the master of tone-mixing - his serious pieces are tinged by comedy or horror or fantasy and thriller elements - but this time, he is playing it straight and the result is confident and watchable, if a little on the nose.

The title character (played by Adriana Ugarte, photo, as a young woman, and by Emma Suarez when older) meets the close friend of her daughter one day in Madrid, an event that will lead her on a hunt for the long-estranged child. Julieta is by no means a complex character, but she possesses an earthy humanity that is compelling.

John Lui


YOUR NAME (PG)
107 minutes/4 stars

It is easy to see why Your Name (photo) has been such a big hit in Japan - it has a compelling story told in an unusual way and the visuals are lovely.

Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a high-school boy living in Tokyo, has a crush on a senior colleague at an Italian restaurant where he works part-time. Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi), a restless high-school girl living in rural Itomori, performs rituals for the family shrine.

Their lives start to intersect in a mysterious way that confounds them and the people around them. Based on the 2016 novel of the same name by director Makoto Shinkai.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Sunday, 2.50pm ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: theprojector.sg

Boon Chan


LA LA LAND (PG13)
126 minutes/

This movie conforms to every genre trope of the classic Hollywood musical, but re-imagines them in fresh ways - and it is probably going to win Best Picture at next year's Oscars.

Ryan Gosling as aspiring jazz pianist Sebastian and Emma Stone as struggling actress Mia (photo) meet and fall in love as their careers seem to take one step forward and two steps back.

Magical realism takes over when things go well, but when reality bites, it bites hard.

John Lui


HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE AND CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

The Projector brings back two of this year's most overlooked films.

In the laconic and hilarious New Zealand drama-comedy Hunt For The Wilderpeople (PG13), Hec (Sam Neill) and foster child Ricky (Julian Dennison) are thrown together by Hec's partner, the warm and loving farmer Bella (Rima Te Wiata). Ricky is a soft city kid; Neill once again plays the taciturn introvert who becomes the father figure against his will (see Jurassic Park, 1993).

In Captain Fantastic (M18, photo), Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) and his brood have set up home in the leafy splendour of the Pacific Northwest. Winning performances drive this poignant study of what it means to raise children to be the best they can be, at the cost of them becoming social outcasts.

WHERE: The Projector MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Sunday and Monday, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 a movie INFO: theprojector.sg

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe