Film Picks: Saint Maud, The King Of Staten Island, Gunpowder Milkshake

Morfydd Clark in Saint Maud (left) and Pete Davidson in The King Of Staten Island.
Morfydd Clark in Saint Maud (left) and Pete Davidson in The King Of Staten Island.PHOTOS: THE PROJECTOR, HBO ASIA

Saint Maud (M18)

85 minutes, available on Netflix, 4 stars

Just added to Netflix is this eerily beautiful work of psychological horror by first-time feature director Rose Glass.

Palliative care nurse Katie (Welsh actress Morfydd Clark, giving a phenomenal performance) meets with a traumatic incident at work that alters her profoundly. She changes her name to the old-fashioned Maud and becomes deeply religious, believing that God speaks to her directly.

After she becomes a carer for the terminally ill American Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), Maud tries to convert her cynical, pleasure-loving patient to her brand of evangelical worship.

British writer-director Glass' strong visuals are influenced by how she sees small-town England, especially the seaside villages that dot the coast - the ones with brightly coloured tourist attractions which struggle to bring joy to a damp, grey landscape, but never succeed.

The King Of Staten Island (M18)

131 minutes, available on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601, Singtel TV Channel 420) and HBO Go, 4 stars

Comedian Pete Davidson uses his life as raw material for this nakedly honest, frequently hilarious project.

While directed by comedy titan Judd Apatow (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, 2005; Trainwreck, 2015), this movie features Davidson as its star, co-producer and co-writer (with Apatow).

He plays Scott, a jobless 24-year-old emotionally stunted by the death of his fireman father. His vulnerability has earned him a loyal coterie of stoner friends as well as a sort-of girlfriend in Kelsey (British actress Bel Powley).

In an uncool town located in the uncool New York borough of the film's title, Scott struggles to remain as he is - a tenant in the home of his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei), content to stay high and hang out, much to the annoyance of his more ambitious and more well-adjusted sister Claire (Apatow's daughter, Maude Apatow).

Gunpowder Milkshake (M18)

115 minutes, now showing, 3 stars


(From left) Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Carla Gugino star in Gunpowder Milkshake. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

Set in an unnamed American city during a time period that blends 1950s jet-age style with contemporary technology such as mobile phones, a girl, Sam, is abandoned by her mother, a hitwoman Scarlet (Lena Headey).

Fifteen years later, Sam (Karen Gillan), like her mother, is an assassin working for an organisation known as The Firm. Its representative, Nathan (Paul Giamatti), orders her to clean up a case of embezzlement, a job that causes her to meet the three custodians of a private arsenal - played by Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino and Michelle Yeoh.

Israeli director and co-writer Navot Papushado favours intense scenes of gun and knife action, but he loves Americana more.

You find bowling alleys flooded in pink neon, boat-size 1970s cars, a soundtrack thick with classics from The Platters, Matt Monro and Bobby Darin, as well as pivotal scenes set in a 1950s diner, complete with a tough-but-tender waitress.