LIFE! RECOMMENDS

Film Picks: 6th Singapore Short Film Awards, Kingsman: The Secret Service and more

THE 6TH SINGAPORE SHORT FILM AWARDS

Singapore's largest celebration of shorts returns this week with 145 works covering drama, animation and documentary.

One of the highlights screening today is the mood piece Last Trip Home by Han Fengyu, nominated for Best Fiction Film, Best Director and Best Performance (for actor Zhang Zheng Yang). It is a drama about a father and son trying to make a pivotal journey in their last possession, a car.

Also screening today is Stranger By Night by Clare Chong, a piece about one eventful evening in the otherwise dull life of one Lim Poh Huat. The short is nominated in the Best Script and Best Performance categories. Presented by The Substation Moving Images.

Where: The Projector, Golden Mile Tower, Level 5, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway When: Till Sun, various timings Admission: Entry by donation

John Lui


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KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (M18)

129 minutes

****1/2

In this update of the spy movie, young Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a lad from a working-class neighbourhood, is the son of a secret agent killed in the line of duty. As a favour to his dead father, senior agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) offers the young man a chance to become a spy, as long as he passes the arduous training. Meanwhile, billionaire idealist Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) announces a plan to give the world free cellphone service.

With a resume that includes Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011), director Matthew Vaughn keeps proving himself to be a writer, producer and director with a gift for turning comic books into movies that revel in scenes of spectacular, cinematic violence.

JL


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SHAUN THE SHEEP (G)

85 minutes

***1/2

Based on the British stop-motion television series for children, this movie sees Shaun the sheep (right) break out of his boring farm and into the wider world. When their master The Farmer ends up in the city with a bout of amnesia, it is up to Shaun and his sheep friends to bring him home to the countryside.

This work by the creators of Wallace and Gromit never tries to be overly clever or vulgar to attract more mature audiences. Yet, there are enough pop-culture references and witty, visual gags to please both parents and young children.

Yip Wai Yee


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SONG ONE (NC16)

88 minutes

***1/2

There has been a run of pretty spot-on movies about music, including Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and Begin Again (2013). Add to that list Song One. If there is one thing these films share, it is that they are serious about music.

Feeling helpless and guilt-stricken after her musician brother is knocked down by a car and lies in a coma, Franny (Anne Hathaway, right) decides to retrace his steps. She goes to his favourite haunts and listens to his favourite acts. In the course of doing so, she meets singer-songwriter James Forester (Johnny Flynn).

While Hathaway had previously sung onscreen in the musical Les Miserables (2012), her turn as Franny is not a singing one. Her focus is on anchoring the film with the drama of her romance with James, which blossoms under emotionally trying circumstances.

To the credit of writer-director Kate Barker-Froyland, who makes her feature debut here, the relationship feels unforced as it unfolds in a believable manner.

Boon Chan