John Lui Film Correspondent and Boon Chan Media Correspondent recommend

Film Picks: Our Times, Miss You Already, Crimson Peak and more

PHOTOS: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, SHAW ORGANISATION, GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL, UIP

OUR TIMES (PG13)

134 minutes/4 stars

In this high school love story, Truly (Vivian Sung, far left) is a Plain Jane student who has to do the bidding of troublemaker Hsu Tai-yu (Darren Wang). They eventually become friends and she helps him woo the popular Minmin (Dewi Chien), while he nudges her in the direction of dreamy basketball player Ouyang Extraordinary (Dino Lee, left).

The movie is aware that it is tapping into an evergreen set-up and using certain high school archetypes: dreamboat, bad boy, school belle. But so what if Our Times does not reinvent the wheel? Sometimes, good execution of the tried-and-tested is what viewers need.

Boon Chan


MISS YOU ALREADY (NC16)

113 minutes/4 stars

In this cancer comedy, Jess (Drew Barrymore, right) and Milly (Toni Collette, left) are friends whose ties are strained when Milly is told of a tumour growing in her breast. Jess needs to lend support to her best friend even as she and husband Jago (Paddy Considine) cope with challenges of their own.

Adapted from a BBC radio play, this is the opposite of loose-limbed illness diaries such as 50/50 (2011). Here, the story gallops, never dwelling on any emotional beat.

If anything, director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, 2008; Red Riding Hood, 2011) is a little too aware of slumping into the maudlin. She packs in camera moves that glide and eye-candy locations. Jess and hubby live on a houseboat; the streets of London sparkle.

That desire for tonal edginess bleeds most into the character of Milly, a woman who never outgrows her party-girl stage or thinks twice about manipulating her best pal or feels she should share the limelight. Milly is no saint, but she grows on you.

John Lui


19TH GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL

The highlight this year is the retrospective for Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the film-maker who died in 1982 after making some of Germany's best-known exports. The festival will screen eight works, ranging from lesser-known television works such as The Niklashausen Journey (above) and Rio Das Mortes to later features that would cement his fame (Berlin Alexanderplatz).

Director Sebastian Schipper's Victoria (M18, 140 minutes) is a thriller about bank robbery - shot in one take, which helped it win the Silver Bear for cinematography at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.

New works at the festival include B-Movie: Lust & Sound In West Berlin 1979-1989 (R21, 92 minutes), a documentary about the city's anarchic cultural scene at a time when anything was possible.

WHERE: The Cathay, The Projector, National Museum of Singapore MRT: Dhoby Ghaut WHEN: Till Sunday ADMISSION: Various prices INFO: www.goethe.de/singapore

John Lui


CRIMSON PEAK (M18)

119 minutes/3.5 stars

Arthouse cinema The Projector is screening an uncut, M18 version from this weekend, which includes bits not seen in the widely released NC16 version.

At the turn of the last century, American Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is wooed and won by handsome titled Englishman Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston, right) and taken back to the mass of brooding turrets and collapsed roofs that is his stately manse in Cumbria. His sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain, left) seems warm, but Edith soon discovers that Lucille's smile, like the walls of the family home, hides secrets.

Director Guillermo del Toro's enthusiasm for poetic motifs (snow, moths, blood) can be overblown; Chastain's wayward English accent is jarring, while Charlie Hunnam's earnest good guy Dr Alan McMichael is woefully undeveloped. But what Crimson Peak does have is proper scares, thanks to performance artist Doug Jones, when he does that thing he does, reminding us how unnerving a simple arm or leg movement can be.

WHERE: The Projector, Golden Mile Tower, Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: From tomorrow ADMISSION: $11 INFO: theprojector.sg

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe