LIFE! RECOMMENDS

ST Life!'s top movie picks this weekend

Begin Again. -- PHOTO: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS
Begin Again. -- PHOTO: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS
Survive Style 5+. -- PHOTO: DENTSU_TOHOKUSHINSHA FILM CORP NIPPON
Survive Style 5+. -- PHOTO: DENTSU_TOHOKUSHINSHA FILM CORP NIPPON
The Fault In Our Stars. -- PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
The Fault In Our Stars. -- PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
Non-fiction Diary. -- PHOTO: 1+1=FILM
Non-fiction Diary. -- PHOTO: 1+1=FILM

FILMS OF THE SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS' THE O.P.E.N.

Nineteen films will be shown, most of them making their theatrical debut in Singapore.

Among them is Non-fiction Diary (2013, 90 minutes, PG13), screening on Monday at 7.30pm.

This stylised documentary by Yoon-suk Jung draws a line from the 1980s economic boom in South Korea to the rise of a serial-killing cult that targeted the rich, and to the shoddy construction work done by firms owned by tycoons that resulted in the collapse of a department store and a bridge. Passionate and highly subjective, Jung's work can be enjoyed as a narrative about contemporary South Korea and as a work of art that dares break out of the linear story-telling style found in non-fiction film.

Some screenings will include post-screening discussions, led by the festival films' curator, Tan Bee Thiam.

Where: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road MRT: Clarke Quay/Dhoby Ghaut When: Thu - July 12 Admission: With The O.P.E.N. pass, $45 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg), which allows entry to all screenings & most arts performances Info: theopen.sifa.sg

John Lui


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (PG13)

119 minutes/Now showing

***1/2

Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is depressed from battling thyroid cancer. But when the 17-year-old meets the sunny Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), 18, at a support group, things start looking up. Gus’ osteosarcoma is in remission but he had to have his leg amputated.

The film has humour and a little bit of sexiness to lighten the gloom.

The connection between Hazel and Gus feels genuine and deep as they have to contemplate death and their place in the world along with more mundane concerns.

Boon Chan


JAPAN FILM FESTIVAL 2014

Some 17 out of 24 films at this year’s Japan Film Festival will be screened free, including a “mystery” title that closes the event.

This week’s picks include Survive Style 5+ (2004, 120 minutes, NC16) the debut of up-and-coming Sekiguchi Gen. From the trailer, it looks to be part Quentin Tarantino action and violence, part Michel Gondry surrealism. Five seemingly disparate stories, each more zany and lurid than the last, come together at the end. It screens tonight at 7.45pm.

Where: National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre When: Until July 12 Admission: Selected screenings are free. Ticketed screenings cost $10 to $13 from Ticketbooth (call 6296-2929 or go to www.ticketbooth.com.sg) Info: jpfilmfestival.com

Yip Wai YeeFilm


BEGIN AGAIN (NC16)

104 minutes/Now showing

***1/2

Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is a washed-up music producer who gets fired from the label he set up. Gretta (Keira Knightley) is a songwriter nursing the wounds of a break-up with singer boyfriend Dave (Maroon 5’s Adam Levine). They both get a second chance when Dan produces her album guerilla-style in and around New York City.

After the Pirates Of The Caribbean films (2003-2007) and lush period drama Atonement (2007), it is nice to see Knightley in a captivating contemporary role. For all the doubters out there, take note: She can sing.

While Gretta and Dan share a connection, writer-director John Carney (Once, 2007) never shoehorns a romance into the proceedings. Unlike the recent Words And Pictures (2014), Begin Again recognises that life is rarely that neat.

BC

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