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Film Picks: Despicable Me 3, Kedi, War Machine and Bad Genius

Despicable Me 3
Despicable Me 3PHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, NETFLIX, TERMITE FILMS, UIP

DESPICABLE ME 3 (PG)

90 minutes/3.5 stars

Three movies in and this series has settled on a nice mix of breezy tone, funny gags and sweet moments.

Evil-turned-good Gru's (Steve Carell) nemesis here is a bitter former television child star, Balthazar Bratt (above, Trey Parker), who is determined to relive his glory days in dastardly ways.

The opening sequence alone is enough to raise some smiles as Bratt pulls off a heist to the soundtrack of Michael Jackson's irrepressible hit, Bad. The period details of the 1980s child star's get-up are perfect, from the flat top mullet haircut to the over-the-top shoulder pads.

Boon Chan


KEDI (PG)

79 minutes/3.5 stars

The people of Istanbul and the city's hundreds of thousands of street cats have a special relationship - the cats belong to no one and so they belong to everyone.

Former Istanbul resident Ceyda Torun, working with cinematographer Charlie Wupperman, takes a cat's-eye view of the city, from up in the rooftops, balconies and treetops and down to its sewers.

She makes a compelling emotional argument for sharing urban spaces with another species - if we give cats our pavements, they will give us back our souls.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Opens tomorrow, various times ADMISSION: $13.30 INFO: For bookings and schedule, go to theprojector.sg

John Lui


WAR MACHINE (NC16)

122 minutes/4 stars/ Now showing on Netflix

Brad Pitt is General McMahon (above), a fictionalised version of General Stanley McChrystal, the soldier whom then United States president Barack Obama put in charge of military operations in Afghanistan in 2009.

His rise and fall is charted in the 2012 book, The Operators, on which the screenplay is based.

Australian director and co-writer David Michod (crime saga Animal Kingdom, 2010; dystopian thriller The Rover, 2014) paints a riveting portrait in which McMahon's strengths - intensity of purpose, sense of his destiny and his faith in his team - are also his weaknesses.

Ben Kingsley is hilarious as cynical then Afghan president Hamid Karzai trying to keep the general's gung-ho idealism in check, like a wise old cat reining in a rambunctious puppy.

John Lui


BAD GENIUS (PG)

130 minutes/4 stars

Brilliant student Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) makes money by helping her classmates cheat on school tests.

Her friends Grace (Eisaya Hosuwan) and Pat (Teeradon Supapunpinyo) then propose a million-baht idea: to help students cheat on the STIC, an important standardised test used for university applications.

Writer-director Nattawut Poonpiriya (Countdown, 2012) keeps things surprising from start to finish, especially in the methods the students come up with to game the school system.

Yip Wai Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2017, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe