John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Midnight Special, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl, The Jungle Book

PHOTOS: WARNER BROS, THE PROJECTOR, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (PG)

111 minutes/Now showing/4 stars

Writer-director Jeff Nichols has a thing for people split between our world and another only they can see. His latest work has a boy, Alton (played with an otherwordly gravity by Jaeden Lieberher, main photo, second from far right), at the centre of a struggle between the FBI and his parents. He is also the target of a cult which his father Roy used to belong to, one that views the boy as God's messenger.

Nichols is paying homage to Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977), but this work, in its deliberate, character-driven pacing and graceful acknowledgement of invisible realms parallel to ours, stands in a category of its own.

The cast also includes (main photo, from far right) Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton.


THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (R21)

102 minutes/Now showing/4 stars

Coming-of-age stories are rarely as bluntly confessional as this account of a teen who falls in love with her mother's boyfriend in 1970s San Francisco. Mimi (Bel Powley, above) is a girl who thinks and feels too much. Driven by loneliness, lust and curiosity, she goes to bed with Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard), the boyfriend of mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig). Writer-director Marielle Heller bases her award-winning work on the graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner. Heller examines the delusions of teen protagonist Mimi and the adults around her with empathy and precision, and with its hand-drawn graphics sequences, it is also pretty to look at. 

WHERE: The Projector, 6001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Tower, 05-00 MRT: Nicoll Highway INFO: Tickets and schedule at theprojector.sg


THE JUNGLE BOOK (PG)

106 minutes/4.5 stars

This mostly animated feature sets a benchmark in realism. The rippling hair, supple bodies and, most of all, the spot-on facial expressions of the animal characters mark the crossing of a new technological barrier.

Look into the eyes of the snake Kaa (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) or the bear Baloo (Bill Murray) and a soul can be glimpsed. The art and the story are so intertwined, it would be wrong to sing the virtues of one without praising the other.

Jon Favreau directs this remake of the Disney classic about the adventures of Mowgli (Neel Sethi, above), a boy raised by wolves.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe