Film picks: Singapore International Festival of the Arts, Minions, Boyhood, Spy

Alfredo Castro.
Alfredo Castro. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
Bob, Kevin and Stuart (left to right).
Bob, Kevin and Stuart (left to right).PHOTO: UNIVERSAL PICTURES AND ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT
Olivia (Patricia Arquette, centre) is a divorced single mother to two children, Mason (Ellar Coltrane, left), six, and his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater).
Olivia (Patricia Arquette, centre) is a divorced single mother to two children, Mason (Ellar Coltrane, left), six, and his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). PHOTO: UIP
Melissa McCarthy.
Melissa McCarthy.PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

In this mini-festival that prefigures the actual festival, Chilean film-maker Pablo Larrain has two films set around the time of the Augusto Pinochet military dictatorship.

Post Mortem (2010) tells the love story of a mortician (Alfredo Castro) and a cabaret dancer set during the 1973 coup that installed General Pinochet. As the morgue fills up, the mortician sees the awful truth of what happens to those taken away by the soldiers.

In No (2012), Larrain's most celebrated film and winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2013, Gael Garcia Bernal is an advertising executive asked to design an advertising campaign encouraging voters to say "no" in a referendum asking if Chileans want more years of Pinochet rule.

He takes the job, but only if the "no" side stifles the urge to obsess about the brutality of the regime and instead focuses on abstract, uplifting ideas of future happiness.

Where: The Projector, Golden Mile Tower MRT: City Hall When: Tomorrow - July 4 Admission: Sistic, at sistic.com.sg. $45 for an O.P.E.N. pass, for access to all films. Info: Full schedule at sifa.sg/theopen

John Lui


MINIONS (PG)

91 minutes

3.5/5

In this spin-off and prequel to the Despicable Me movies, the Minions (Pierre Coffin) are purposeless and listless without a villain to serve. So adventurous Kevin, rocker Stuart and little Bob head off into the world to search for a despicable master.

They find Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) at Villain-Con in Orlando in 1968. With the help of gadgets from her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), the trio attempt to steal the Queen's crown in London.

A movie needs to be more than a series of little skits strung together, however, so a new superbaddie is introduced. Unfortunately, Scarlet Overkill is not very interesting despite being hyped as the first female super villain.

The highlight of the film comes from co-director Pierre Coffin, who, as voice artist, breathes life into Bob, Kevin and Stuart and others in the crew.

Boon Chan


BOYHOOD (NC16)

166 minutes/ Opens tomorrow

 5/5

Brought back to the big screen at The Projector, this is a coming-of-age story that has taken ages to make. Filmed over 12 years, director Richard Linklater shows an articulate affection for the pain and joy of growing up.

Olivia (Patricia Arquette) is a divorced single mother to two children, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), six, and his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater).

Over the course of the next 12 years, Mason sees his family change as his mother remarries and moves the family around Texas. Appearing every so often is his father, Mason Sr (Ethan Hawke), a footloose dreamer who seems incapable of becoming a responsible parent.

Where: The Projector, Golden Mile Tower MRT: City Hall When: Opens tomorrow Admission: $13, at theprojector.sg

JL


SPY (M18)

120 minutes

3.5/5

In this spoof of the secret agent movie, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy, on scooter) feeds suave spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law) intelligence from behind her desk at the headquarters. When he falls off the grid, she steps up and goes undercover to get close to arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). The bumbling efforts of compromised agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) get in her way.

After McCarthy broke out on the big screen with a memorable turn in the raunchy Bridesmaids (2011), she seemed to be stuck in movies which ran the gamut from terrible to lacklustre: Identity Thief (2013), The Heat (2013) and Tammy (2014).

Teaming up again with writer-director Paul Feig after Bridesmaids and The Heat, she strikes gold. Laughs, action and, buried beneath the pottymouthed dialogue, an inspirational message of believing in yourself - Spy has it all.

BC