The Straits Times recommends

Film Picks: La La Land, A Yellow Bird, and more

PHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, UIP, LIGHTHOUSE PICTURES

LA LA LAND (PG13)

126 minutes/ 5 stars

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 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


A YELLOW BIRD (M18)

111 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Ex-convict Siva (Sivakumar Palakrishnan, photo) is the pugnacious anti-hero, a man frustrated at every turn by bureaucracy, petty criminality and prejudice.

Singaporean writer-director K. Rajagopal's first feature, selected for the International Critics' Week at this year's Cannes Film Festival, is pure expression, free of pandering or pretension. There are some missteps, but at its heart, this is an arresting piece of work, undiluted by an appeal to arthouse sensibilities.

John Lui


SING (PG)

108 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Sing (photo) is essentially American Idol or The Voice featuring talking pigs, porcupine and gorillas, among other animals. Doesn't the premise make you smile already?

There are plenty of songs to sing along to here - more than 85, to be exact, ranging from more recent hits such as Katy Perry's Firework to Paul Anka's My Way.

The voice talents, including British actor Taron Egerton as gangster gorilla Johnny, are surprisingly good.

Yip Wai Yee


SILVER HERITAGE PROGRAMMES

The line-up of events for seniors includes the screening of two films.

They are Sri Menanti (1958, PG, 103 minutes), a Malay film about an interracial romance which faces parental opposition; and Parents' Hearts (1955, PG, 111 minutes), a Cantonese movie about a family's struggle to secure a better future for its children. It is considered one of the best Hong Kong films of all time.

WHERE: Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road WHEN:Today, 8pm (Sri Menanti); Sunday, 2.30pm (Parents' Hearts) ADMISSION: Free; register at peatix.com/event/214728 for Sri Menanti; and peatix.com/event/214733 for Parents' Hearts INFO: Go to nationalmuseum.sg/programmes/programme-list/silver-heritage-programmes-2016

Boon Chan


APPRENTICE

M18/96 minutes

Film festivals have been showering local film-maker Boo Junfeng's death penalty drama Apprentice (photo, which stars Wan Hanafi Su as the prison's hangman) with awards, including Busan International Film Festival's Rising Director Award and Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival's Netpac Award for Best Film.

Film-goers in Singapore can still show the film some love by catching it at The Projector.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Dec 18, 5pm; Dec 26, 8pm ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: theprojector.sg

Boon Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe