The Straits Times recommends

Film Picks: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, A Yellow Bird, and more

PHOTOS: DISNEY, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, PHILIPP ALDRUP, UIP

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (PG)

134 minutes/ 3.5 stars

For those who wondered how the Empire could build such a powerful weapon, but leave a conveniently fatal flaw in it, this movie is for you.

The Rebel Alliance recruits a reluctant Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones, above left, with Diego Luna) in its war against the evil Galactic Empire. Her missing-for-years father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) has secretly sent a message about the Empire's powerful new weapon, the Death Star.

Rogue One bridges Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005), which ends with the construction of the Death Star, and A New Hope (1977), which starts with rebel leader Princess Leia having acquired the blueprint for it.

Boon Chan


A YELLOW BIRD (M18)

111 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Ex-convict Siva (Sivakumar Palakrishnan, photo) is the pugnacious anti-hero, a man frustrated at every turn by bureaucracy, petty criminality and prejudice.

Singaporean writer-director K. Rajagopal's first feature, selected for the International Critics' Week at this year's Cannes Film Festival, is pure expression, free of pandering or pretension. There are some missteps, but at its heart, this is an arresting piece of work, undiluted by an appeal to arthouse sensibilities.

John Lui


SING (PG)

108 minutes/ 3.5 stars

Sing (photo) is essentially American Idol or The Voice featuring talking pigs, porcupines and gorillas, among other animals. A premise that would make many smile.

There are plenty of songs to sing along to here - more than 85, to be exact, ranging from more recent hits such as Katy Perry's Firework to older classics like Paul Anka's My Way. The voice talents, including British actor Taron Egerton as gangster gorilla Johnny, are surprisingly good.

Yip Wai Yee


LA LA LAND (PG13)

126 minutes/ 5 stars

This movie conforms to every genre trope of the classic Hollywood musical, but re-imagines them in fresh ways - and it is probably going to win Best Picture at next year's Oscars. Ryan Gosling as aspiring jazz pianist Sebastian and Emma Stone (both left) as struggling actress Mia fall in love as their careers seem to take one step forward and two steps back. Magical realism takes over when things go well, but when reality bites, it bites hard.

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2016, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe