TRAIN TO BUSAN: PENINSULA
116 minutes/Now showing/3.5 stars
Blockbuster ambitions are revved to the fullest in the tyre-squealing, fender-bending sequel to the 2016 hit Train To Busan. As in the first movie, the plot here can be summed up as "go from point A to point B and don't die".
Four years after the events of the first movie, the undead have overrun the Korean peninsula. It is sealed and declared a no-go zone. In Hong Kong, refugee Jung-suk (Gang Dong-won), a bitter ex-soldier who lost everyone he loved during the evacuation, meets with triad bosses, who dangle an offer of a fresh start if he makes a risky raid into his former homeland to grab looted cash.
Working with a new cast and new setting, director and co-writer Yeon Sang-ho has extracted the essence of the first movie - a family survival drama - and injected it into the new one. Despite obvious lifting from action fare such as John Carpenter's Escape From New York (1981), Yeon retains the first film's tender family emotions, which raise the stakes of the mission, making it more than a man-versus-horde matchup.
SINGAPORE FRENCH SUMMER FESTIVAL
This online film festival will feature 16 films, with eight of them that have not shown here before.
Among the new works is the drama Proxima (NC16, 107 minutes, 2019, available from July 31) starring Eva Green, Matt Dillon and Zelie Boulant. Sarah (Green) is a French astronaut and single mother. When she is picked for a year-long mission in space, a rift opens between her and her seven-year-old daughter Stella (Boulant).
The film is directed and co-written by Alice Winocour, winner of the Cesar Award for Best Original Screenplay for the 2015 drama Mustang.
Where: KinoLounge website
When: Till July 31
Admission: $12.99 to rent, with a 48-hour viewing window
IT'S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
Netflix/ 3.5 stars
Kim Soo-hyun, best known for My Love From The Star (2013), plays psychiatric ward nurse Gang-tae in his comeback drama after completing his military service. He stars opposite Seo Yea-ji, who plays Mun-yeong, a children's book author with antisocial personality disorder.
In their first meeting, Gang-tae sees Mun-yeong smoking on hospital grounds and tries to stop her. The actors do a good job staring each other down and you can see they are immediately drawn to each other.
The romantic attraction is almost instantaneous, but plays out in a way that is arresting to watch.
As the show unfolds, it is very satisfying to watch Gang-tae try and steer clear of Mun-yeong, but his breath is obviously taken away every time she appears.
Kim pulls off a sensitive portrayal of a young man whose life has been derailed by tragedy: the death of his mother and his older brother's severe autism.
The actor also gets the post-military-training treatment - in other words, long and gratuitous shots of him topless.