LIFE! RECOMMENDS

Films Picks: Coen brothers series, Chappie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

ST 20150320 JOPICKS207D2X 1158296m

THE COEN BROTHERS SERIES

All the biggies are here, and one or two lesser-known ones. Fans of the Coen tone - dry, a little despairing, always funny - will find something here to enjoy on the big screen at The Projector.

Today, start with the film that many critics consider their best: the crime thriller No Country For Old Men (2007). If you prefer something lighter, try the anti-romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty (2003).

Tomorrow, go to the screening of The Big Lebowski (1998) dressed as your favourite character and get a chance to win prizes. The Dude's favourite drink, the White Russian, will be on sale.

Other Coen films include early work such as the black comedy Raising Arizona (1987) and the Oscar-nominated Western True Grit (2010).

Where: The Projector, Level 5, Golden Mile Tower, Beach Road MRT: City Hall When: Now till March 31, various timings Admission: Tickets $10, includes a soda, or $17 with a beer


ST 20150320 KINGSMEN 1158310m

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (M18)

129 minutes

****1/2

In this update of the spy movie, young Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a lad from a working-class neighbourhood, is the son of a secret agent killed in the line of duty. As a favour to his dead father, senior agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) offers the young man a chance to become a spy, as long as he passes the arduous training. Meanwhile, billionaire idealist Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) announces a plan to give the world free mobile phone service.

With a resume that includes Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011), director Matthew Vaughn keeps proving himself to be a writer, producer and director with a gift for turning comic books into movies that revel in scenes of spectacular, cinematic violence.

There is also fun to be had watching quintessentially British actors Firth, Mark Strong and Michael Caine - men who have played memorable gentlemen spies - spoofing themselves. The more intense the emotion, the stiffer the upper lip.

JL


ST 20150320 HOTEL 1158311m

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (PG)

123 minutes

***1/2

In this sequel, with the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel up and running, co-managers Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel with Richard Gere) and British expatriate Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) consider buying over another hotel in Jaipur, India. The American retirementhotel chain they are wooing for investment funds sends an undercover assessor to evaluate them.

Meanwhile, the lives of the quirky, elderly British residents twist and turn as Kapoor prepares for his upcoming wedding with Sunaina (Tina Desai). Meanwhile, Kapoor travels to San Diego, California, to meet the potential investors.

He has two things in his favour to woo the fat cats. First, a real life specimen of the geriatric set named Donnelly (the imperiously acerbic Smith) by his side. Second, an eagerness to impress so breathtakingly clumsy that it qualifies as an exotic art form.

Tay Yek Keak


ST 20150320 CHAPPIE 1158308m

CHAPPIE (NC16)

120 minutes

****

In the year 2016, Johannesburg is deploying robots to keep the streets safe. The humanoid crime-fighters use a Scout programme written by Deon (Dev Patel). Vincent (Hugh Jackman) has created a competing Moose programme. When Deon creates a new algorithm and uploads it into a robot, Chappie (Sharlto Copley), who is capable of learning and feeling, is born.

Writer-director Neill Blomkamp is that rare film-maker who can execute exciting action scenes and also fill a movie with ideas.

His debut feature District 9 (2009) was an action thriller pitting humans against aliens. At the same time, it dealt with issues of xenophobia and social segregation. His follow-up Elysium (2013) had movie star Matt Damon strapped into a powerful exoskeleton suit while contemplating issues of justice, immigration and healthcare. In Chappie, he again delivers a flick that touches the heart and engages the mind.

Boon Chan