Film & TV picks: A Banquet, Pinocchio and Narco-Saints

Jessica Alexander in British art-house horror film A Banquet. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

A Banquet (PG13)

98 minutes, showing in cinemas

This British art-house psychodrama explores the terrifying realities of girlhood through the eyes of 17-year-old schoolgirl Betsey (Jessica Alexander). 

Largely set within the suburban London home that she shares with her widowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) and sister (Ruby Stokes) following the recent suicide of her father, Betsey believes that she is a vessel for a mystical force and refuses to eat for fear of defiling her body.

Her insistence on starving herself causes tension to rise between her and her mother as it becomes unclear whether Betsey has been seized by a supernatural force or it is a consequence of her own troubled mind. 


Premieres on Thursday on Disney+

Tom Hanks (left) in the film Pinocchio. Pinocchio is voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth. PHOTO: DISNEY ENTERPRISES

Not to be confused with Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro’s animated movie of the same name that is slated for release later this year, this is a live-action version of the classic tale.

Comprising an A-list cast, the film is about Pinocchio, a mischievous wooden puppet that comes to life in an Italian village and has a nose that grows longer every time he lies. Child star Benjamin Evan Ainsworth takes on the voice role of Pinocchio. 

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks plays Gepetto, a toymaker who raises Pinocchio like his own son, while Cynthia Erivo is the Blue Fairy, who promises to turn Pinocchio into a real boy if he proves himself to be brave and truthful. Joseph Gordon-Levitt contributes his voice as Jiminy Cricket, a wisecracking cricket who is Pinocchio’s sidekick and often the voice of his conscience. 


Premieres on Friday on Netflix

Ha Jung-woo (left) and Park Hae-soo in crime K-drama Narco-Saints. PHOTO: NETFLIX

In South American country Suriname, a South Korean drug lord rules the land and a civilian is the key to taking him down. Shot on location in the Dominican Republic, this big-budget action-packed crime series is loosely based on real events and stars Ha Jung-woo as an ordinary man who dreams of making a fortune in South America.

But he is unwittingly dragged into the treacherous underground drug trade by Korea National Intelligence Service officer Choi Chang-ho (Park Hae-soo), who coerces him into going undercover to gain intel on Suriname’s cocaine king (Hwang Jung-min). 

The series also marks the first time director Yoon Jong-bin (The Spy Gone North, 2018) is helming a television series.

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