John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Film Picks: Singapore Cult And Underground Film Festival, Phantom Thread and more

PHOTOS: ANG LARAWAN, SCUFF 2018, THE PROJECTOR
PHOTOS: ANG LARAWAN, SCUFF 2018, THE PROJECTOR

SINGAPORE CULT AND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL (SCUFF) 2018

In the film Have A Nice Day (above), set in a small town in China, Xiao Zhang's girlfriend needs money to go to South Korea to fix her face ruined by botched plastic surgery. Xiao Zhang's plan is to rob his boss, a mobster.

This black comedy, which took animator Liu Jian three years of single-handed labour to make, bagged last year's Golden Horse award for Best Animation. It is one of the four films screening at this year's edition of the Scuff festival, which celebrates the horror, thriller and exploitation genres.

WHERE: The Gallery, Level 5 *Scape, 2 Orchard Link MRT: Orchard WHEN: Feb 23 to 25, various times ADMISSION: $13 INFO: scumcinema.com/events/scuff-2018

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (NC16)

117 minutes/4.5 stars

British-Irish screenwriter and director Martin McDonagh likes that area where religion, murder, stupidity and silly jokes come out to play. But his new movie is his most grounded and irony-free yet, featuring a family that suffers real heartbreak.

Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand, far right), enraged that the rape-murder of her daughter remains unsolved after several months, pays for billboards that announce the incompetency of her small town's police force.

Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) is annoyed but does nothing. His deputy, Dixon (Sam Rockwell), decides to take action.

PHANTOM THREAD (NC16)

131 minutes/4.5 stars

Celebrated fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis, above) is a man whose genius is matched only by his obsession with control over everything, including his lovers.

His sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) takes care of the day-to-day business in his London apartment, which doubles as his studio. He falls in love with waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps), but inevitably, the relationship falters once she gets a taste of his controlling nature.

Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson begins the film as a character study of one man, but later, a relationship movie emerges, one that carries a Gothic twist in its final act.

ANG LARAWAN (PG)

124 minutes

This Tagalog-language musical has its roots in a classic stage drama from 1950, created by acclaimed writer and journalist Nick Joaquin. That was turned into a musical, staged in 1997, from which this screen adaptation was derived. It premiered at last year's Tokyo International Film Festival.

Set in pre-war Philippines, the film tells the story of two sisters (Joanna Ampil and Rachel Alejandro) who decide to sell a cherished portrait of their father to raise badly needed funds.

The film's producer, the singer and actress Celeste Legaspi will speak at the screenings.

WHERE: Nexus Auditorium, 05-07 Cuppage Plaza, 5 Koek Road MRT: Somerset WHEN: March 4, 2.30 and 5pm ADMISSION: $18; $15 for overseas Filipino workers INFO: anglarawan.eventbrite.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2018, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe