LIFE! RECOMMENDS

Film picks: Oculus, Disney's Muppets: Most Wanted and more

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL

The playlist of 20 works this year includes a costume drama banned in its home nation of Thailand and a Bafta-winning documentary about the massacre of Communists and ethnic Chinese in the turmoil of 1965 Indonesia.

From acclaimed Thai director Ing Kanjanavanit (who will also be here for a post-screening discussion) comes Shakespeare Must Die (2012, NC16, 172 minutes), her adaptation of Macbeth that was blocked from cinemas in her home nation because of "content that causes divisiveness among the people". Ing K will speak after the screening of Censor Must Die (2013, PG13, 150 minutes), a documentary of the production team's frustrating and surreal journey into the byzantine corridors of the Thai censorship system following the ban on Shakespeare Must Die.

When: Now till May 4 Where: The Moving Image Gallery at the Singapore Art Museum Tickets: $10 from Sistic. For full schedule, go to www.singaporeartmuseum.sg/seaff/

John Lui


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OCULUS (NC16)

103 minutes/3 stars

***

Eleven years ago, siblings Tim, 10, and Kaylie, 13, were traumatised by the horrific deaths of their parents in a new house. Now released from a psychiatric hospital, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) wants to move on, but Kaylie (Karen Gillan) is convinced that an antique mirror housing a demonic presence is responsible for what happened. With her brother’s help, she plans to outwit the spirit and destroy the mirror. In this horror work from the makers of Insidious, there is an attempt to give the audience characters to root for and a little more complexity to the storytelling.

Boon Chan


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2ND SINGAPORE CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL

Among the highlights at this Chinese film festival are A Touch Of Sin (2013) by Chinese film-maker Jia Zhangke, the crime movie that won the award for Best Screenplay at the Cannes film festival last year, screening this weekend; and Hong Kong indie hit The Way We Dance (2013), a dance flick about a hip-hop expert which earned Golden Horse nominations for Best Action Choreography as well as Best Actress for star Cherry Ngan last year. Most of the films in the line-up are making their Singapore premieres and unlikely to get a commercial release later.

Where: Cathay Cineplexes, The Arts House and National Museum of Singapore When: Until Sunday Admission: $12 and $13 from Cathay Cineplex box offices or online at www.cathay.com.sg; the Arts House box office or online at www.bytes.sg; information counter at the National Museum; Sistic outlets or online at www.sistic.com.sg, depending on the screening venue.

Yip Wai Yee


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DISNEY’S MUPPETS: MOST WANTED (PG)

107 minutes

*** 1/2

Picking right up from the happy ending of The Muppets (2011), the gang have to figure out what to do next, now that they are reunited. Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) suggests that they go on tour with him as their manager. His nefarious reason for doing so is soon revealed – criminal mastermind Constantine escapes from a gulag and switches place with his lookalike, Kermit the Frog. The entertaining mix of anarchic energy and endearing good-heartedness remains from the previous film. There is humour here but generally not of the ironic, too-cool-for-school variety. It is old-school humour that makes you moan or smile, sometimes both.

Boon Chan

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