Film Picks: John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

PHOTOS: N.O.W. 2019, SONY, THE PROJECTOR

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (PG)

130 minutes/Now showing/4 stars

Some months after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is coping with returning after the event now called the "blip", the disappearance of half of all creatures.

He is preparing to go on a tour of Europe with his high-school class, where he hopes to reveal his feelings for classmate MJ (Zendaya, with Holland).

In this second movie featuring Holland's Spider-Man as the lead character (after Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2017), returning director Jon Watts helms the closest thing to a dialogue-driven teen ensemble comedy in recent years.

It does not break new ground - the funny Jacob Batalon as Parker's best friend Ned, for example, is the archetypal "ethnic" comic sidekick - but Holland is perfectly cast as a teen who could plausibly still be nervy and tongue-tied despite being capable of god-like feats.

Zendaya is a talent to watch - her MJ (Mary Jane) has an energy that lifts each scene she is in.

N.O.W. 2019

The N.O.W. project has a mission, according to its statement, to “make visible the multi-faceted and capable women, their voices and their not ordinary work”.

The film portion of the event, which also covers music, visual arts, workshops and talks, will feature four works by women.

Among them is journalist and director Benedette Argentieri, whose documentary, I Am The Revolution (2018, 74 minutes, rating to be confirmed), follows three women living in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq and their fight for gender equality. Rojda Felat, for example, is a commander in the Syrian Democratic Army, in charge of 60,000 soldiers fighting Islamic State insurgents.

WHERE: 72-13, Home of TheatreWorks, 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road MRT: Fort Canning WHEN: July 19 and 20, various times ADMISSION: $12 INFO: notordinarywork.com

TALES FROM THE MAINLAND

This celebration of independent cinema from China features the drama Girls Always Happy (NC16, 117 minutes, 2018).

Film-maker Yang Ming Ming (left, with Nai An ) wrote the screenplay as well as directs and stars in this portrait of two women, a mother and daughter, living together in one of Beijing’s historic and picturesque hutongs.

The complex modernity of their interaction – repulsion, love, understanding and misunderstanding – stands in contrast to the traditional surroundings.

The film won Best Director for Yang at the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul, as well as scored nominations at the Berlin and Edinburgh film festivals.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Tomorrow and July 14, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: theprojector.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2019, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe