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Film Picks: The Nice Guys, 26th European Union Film Festival, The Family Fang, The Songs We Sang

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in The Nice Guys
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in The Nice GuysPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL, CATHAY-KERIS FILMS

THE NICE GUYS (M18)

116 minutes/ 4 stars

Shane Black, Hollywood's king of bickering-buddy pictures, returns to the Los Angeles noir territory he covered in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005).

It is the 1970s. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a private detective and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a bully who roughs up other bullies for a living. The men are at first enemies, but later have to work together to look into the disappearance of an actress, Amelia (Margaret Qualley).

The things that fans like about Kiss Kiss are here: This is a two-hander in which men express affection by taking digs at each other. Gosling and Crowe give very charming, lighter-than-air performances.

John Lui


26TH EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL

One of the three films closing the festival this Sunday is the Lithuanian drama Santa (M18, 100 minutes, 2014, photo), about a mother trying to save her seven-year-old son. Magical realism abounds when they go to Lapland. Stars Sandra Dauksaite-Petrulene.

WHERE: Golden Village Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall, East Atrium, 03-373 WHEN: Till Sunday ADMISSION: $12 INFO: www.euff.sg

John Lui


THE FAMILY FANG (PG13)

105 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Siblings Annie (Nicole Kidman) and Baxter (Jason Bateman) return to their childhood home in search of clues when their famous performance artist parents, Caleb (Christopher Walken) and Camille Fang (Maryann Plunkett), suddenly disappear.

As an actor, Bateman has carved out a career playing Mr Nice Guy - you know, the guy who is everybody's friend. As a director, he is showing his propensity for much darker fare. This is a peculiar story, whose dark tone Bateman adeptly keeps consistent throughout. Despite an ending that is not completely satisfying, he has painted a portrait of a very believable family, idiosyncrasies and all.

Yip Wai Yee


THE SONGS WE SANG (PG)

128 minutes/ 4.5 stars

Film-maker Eva Tang - co-director of popular feature documentaries Old Places (2010) and Old Romances (2012), about disappearing spaces in Singapore - puts together an ambitious account of xinyao, weaving together interviews with singers, songwriters, producers, media reports, radio segments and video footage of television and stage performances. Its stars include Kelly Loo, Eric Moo and Low Swee Chen.

Tang will be present for a question-and-answer session at the screening on May 29.

WHERE: The Projector, 6001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Tower, 05-00 WHEN: Sundays till May 29, various times ADMISSION: $13 INFO: Book at theprojector.sg

Boon Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe