JOHN LUI RECOMMENDS

Film picks: Gone Girl, Laggies and Hedwig And The Angry Inch

A cinema still from Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. -- PHOTO: FOX 
A cinema still from Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. -- PHOTO: FOX 

GONE GIRL (R21)

149 minutes

4/5

Director David Fincher owns this movie, from its leisurely opening section, when it looks as if it might be a portrait of a disintegrating marriage, to its middle section, when it becomes a suspense thriller, down to its final third, when it becomes something else again.

Based on the 2012 bestseller of the same title, the story follows the lives of suburban couple the Dunnes, Nick and Amy (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike). One morning, while Nick is at work, Amy disappears and police investigation reveals evidence of foul play. The case generates nationwide interest and Nick becomes the target of suspicion in some quarters and pity in others.

Fincher oversees this machine of so many moving parts with a baleful eye, staying on the right side of misanthropy. He does not hate the characters as much as not trust any of them to live up to their notions of themselves. By the end of the movie, he should have convinced you of the same.


BOUNDLESS (NC16)

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This documentary biopic of Hong Kong film-maker Johnnie To was supposed to have been screened earlier this year at the Singapore Chinese Film Festival, but was withdrawn after its director Ferris Lin objected to cuts suggested by the Media Development Authority.

Now, it can be viewed uncut because of a successful appeal. Made by Beijng-based fan and film student Lin for his graduation thesis and shot over two years, the documentary follows the life of To, known for either directing or producing acclaimed action thrillers such as Election (2005) and Drug War (2012).

This screening is jointly presented by the Singapore Film Society and The Arts House.

Where: The Arts House, Screening Room, 1 Old Parliament Lane MRT: City Hall/Raffles Place When: Oct 26 & 27, 7.30pm Admission: $12 from www.bytes.sg, with discounts for members of the Singapore Film Society & The Arts House Info: www.sfs.org.sg


PERSPECTIVES FILM FESTIVAL

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Making its premiere in Singapore is Hedwig And The Angry Inch (2001, 95 minutes, NC16), the film based on the cult off-Broadway musical.

Starring and directed by John Cameron Mitchell (who also originated the part on stage), this is a loosely autobiographical tale of a transgender German rock musician and her search for love, a fact complicated by a botched sex-change operation that has left her with an "angry inch" of flesh.

Now in its seventh edition, the festival is organised by students of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at the Nanyang Techno- logical University.

There are seven films on the roster, built around the theme of displacement.

Where: National Museum of Singapore (Hedwig And The Angry Inch) MRT: Dhoby Ghaut When: Oct 18, 7.30pm Where: GV VivoCity & National Museum Gallery Theatre (Perspectives Film Festival) MRT: HarbourFront/Dhoby Ghaut When: Thu - Oct 19 Admission: $10 or $45 for festival pass to all seven films from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg) Info: Go to perspectivesfilmfestival.com for full schedule


LAGGIES (PG13)

102 minutes

4/5

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What at first glance seems to be yet another paen to millenial self-absorption is instead a delightful, heartfelt comedy about looking 30 but feeling 17.

Megan (Keira Knightley) is close to 30, but is unwilling to let go of her adolescence. Her father (Jeff Garlin) has given her a trivial part-time job and she lives with her high-school sweetheart Anthony (Mark Webber). Her old clique in school, meanwhile, have jobs, marriages and children. She meets 16-year-old Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz), parented by single dad Craig (Sam Rockwell).

This project marries director Lynn Shelton, queen of the low-budget, improvisation-heavy mumble-core scene with a script from novelist and first-time screenwriter Andrea Seigel.

Shelton is known for talky, realist works built on the comedy of awkwardness that occurs after close friends or relations are forced to tear down their boundaries (Humpday, 2009; Your Sister's Sister, 2011).

But here, working with text from professional wordsmith Seigel (rather than on the riffs of actors), the director and occasional actress proves she can deliver a work that feels studio-polished, without it feeling like the film equivalent of refined sugar.