JOHN LUI RECOMMENDS

Film Picks: Gems of Amoy cinema, Cinderella and more

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WINNERS OF THE 6TH SINGAPORE SHORT FILM AWARDS

Watch the winners: Last Trip Home, by Han Fengyu, tops in the Best Fiction Film category, is a drama about a father and son trying to make a pivotal journey in their last possession, a car. The Longest Distance Relationship, by Lee Sin Yee, winner for Best Documentary, is a film about four friends who try to make sense of the ideas behind religion.

Where: The Projector, Golden Mile Tower, Beach Road When: Sat, 8 pm Admission: Donation at the door


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GEMS OF AMOY CINEMA

For a time, the studios in Hong Kong were cranking out Amoy and Hokkien-dialect films for consumption in Singapore, Taiwan and Manila.

About 200 films were made just after World War II and the 1960s. Most have been lost, but the National Museum of Singapore, with the help of the Hong Kong Film Archive, will be showcasing 13 films, which run the gamut from comedies to weepies, and from musicals to Chinese opera.

Where: Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum Of Singapore When: Till Sun, various timings Admission: $8 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)


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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 mobile phone 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.

There is fun to be had watching quintessentially British actors Firth, Mark Strong and Michael Caine - men who have played memorable gentlemen spies - spoofing themselves. The more intense the emotion, the stiffer the upper lip.


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CINDERELLA (PG)

113 minutes

****

This retelling of an old, old story sets a low bar for story creativity, but the project is infused with just enough easy charm to make it a thoroughly enjoyable if lightweight piece of entertainment.

Ella’s loving father (Ben Chaplin), a widower, marries again. The stepmother (Cate Blanchett), jealous of the beautiful Ella (Lily James), moves her to the attic. There, the lonely girl befriends some mice. One day, while fleeing her stepmother, Ella bumps into “Kit” (Richard Madden), who claims to be a lowly apprentice.

In a time when fairy-tale are metaphors for modern anxieties, this work is about what it says it is about. It is, in all senses of the phrase, a Cinderella story - a rags-to-riches fantasy in which a young girl rises from obscurity to find love, wealth and social status. Along the way, it nods to the 1950 Disney animated classic. While there is no singing in this update, there is the helpful team of mice, a dotty Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) to supply the gown, glass slippers and the pumpkin carriage and a generous dollop of comic relief.