KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (PG)
103 minutes/ 4 stars
In this gorgeously illustrated and touchingly told story, a kid has to fulfil his destiny by searching for the power that will grant him victory in a battle against evil spirits.
This is the cinematic equivalent of slow food. It is exquisitely handcrafted, not just in its animation, but also in character development and plot.
In ancient Japan, Sariatu (voiced by Charlize Theron) lives in a cave with her son Kubo (Art Parkinson), a born storyteller who transfixes villagers with stories of heroes crossing swords with demons.
Kubo's tall tales foreshadow his adventures. It is one of several clever tricks employed in this work from Laika, maker of The Boxtrolls (2014), ParaNorman (2012) and Coraline (2009).
THIS BUDDHIST FILM FESTIVAL
The fourth edition of the Thus Have I Seen (This) series features 17 films from around the globe that run the gamut from experimental fiction to documentaries - each one examining aspects of Buddhist philosophy.
Monk With A Camera (PG, 90 minutes, 2014, photo) is a film biography of Nicholas Vreeland (Rato Ken Rinpoche), born into an upper-crust American family, whose members include fashion editor Diana Vreeland.
Leaving behind a career as a high-society photographer, he joined a monastery in India in 1985 and became an abbot, while carrying on his work of photographing Buddhism-related topics.
WHERE: Shaw Theatres Lido, 350 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard WHEN: Sept 17 to 24 ADMISSION: $13 INFO: Go to www.thisfilmfest.com for film schedules
24TH ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL
Winner of multiple awards from the Israeli Film Academy, Fire Birds (PG, 107 minutes, photo) is a murder mystery featuring a cop who has to solve the case of an elderly man found stabbed to death.
As the policeman delves into the life of the dead man, he gains insight into a community of people too often ignored by society.
WHERE: The Projector, Level 5, Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Sept 22 to 25 ADMISSION: $13 INFO: Go to theprojector.sg for film schedules
BRUTALLY HONEST: NEW WAVE OF SINGAPORE AND JAPAN ANIMATION
Anime is not just about fighting robots or girls in sailor outfits, it is also a weird and wonderful world of creativity unto itself.
Three directors from Japan - Masanobu Hiraoka, Eri Kawaguchi and Asami Ike - will be coming to Singapore to present their works (such as Hiraoka's Land, PG 13, photo) at the first Anime-Asean festival, held as part of the Japanese Film Festival. Thirteen short films from Japan and Singapore will be screened and film-makers will be present for questions.
WHERE: Gallery Theatre, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road MRT: Dhoby Ghaut/City Hall WHEN: Sept 17, 11.30am ADMISSION: Free