95 minutes, now showing, 5 stars
Tusker (Stanley Tucci) is a writer who is aware that dementia will rob him of language and his personality in a matter of months. With his partner, concert pianist Sam (Colin Firth), they go on a caravan holiday, following the same Lake District route they took when they first fell in love.
But it is hard to keep the ominous future from intruding into the happy present. The problem is, each man frames that future differently. As they walk old paths, meet old friends, bicker over driving habits and directions, reminisce and comfort each other, the dissimilar futures collide.
English writer-director Harry Macqueen tells audiences that these lovers are also old friends. Firth and Tucci disappear into their roles as the middle-aged couple who have eaten thousands of breakfasts and travelled countless roads together.
The Climb (R21)
98 minutes, now showing exclusively at The Projector, 4 stars
Winner of the Coup De Coeur prize in the Un Certain Regard section in the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, this comedy plays on the idea that most men have no idea what they are doing when they take on the role of a best friend or romantic partner but will pretend otherwise.
Kyle (Kyle Marvin) and Mike (Michael Angelo Covino) are best friends. When they ride bikes up mountains, Mike is the fitter, sportier one, and the more sexually successful with women. Kyle hates confrontation; Mike not only has no filter, he is ready to throw punches.
The humour comes mostly from Mike's inability to read the room. He is a human battering ram because he mistakes lack of empathy for objectivity. If toxic mansplaining had a face, it would look a lot like Mike.
Middle East Film Festival 2021
This streaming-only festival is organised by the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore and curated by the Singapore Film Society.
Among the six works screened is Afghan drama The Orphanage (NC16, 90 minutes, available from Feb 19), which Wendy Ide, a film critic at The Guardian newspaper has called "original and endearing".
Set during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s, the film follows Qodra (Qodratollah Qadiri), a 15-year-old street boy and Bollywood movie fanatic, after the authorities place him in an orphanage where he is made to learn Russian, among other things. It is a rough experience yet he finds adventure.
WHERE: Kinolounge (kinolounge.shaw.sg)
WHEN: Feb 19 to March 3
ADMISSION: $7.99 for each film, with a 48-hour viewing window; $17.99 for a bundle of any three films; $29.99 for all six films