Boon Chan Media Correspondent and John Lui Film Correspondent recommend

Film Picks: Stories That Matter 2017, Collide, and more

Safari (2016), by Austrian director Ulrich Seidl
Safari (2016), by Austrian director Ulrich SeidlPHOTOS: ODEX, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY (SOUTHEAST ASIA), TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, ULRICH SEIDL

STORIES THAT MATTER 2017: SCREENINGS

The theme for this year's slate of documentaries is conspicuous consumption.

Safari (2016), by Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, zooms in on trophy hunting; City Of Jade (2016), by Taiwan-based Midi Z, digs into the jade mining industry in Myanmar; and Cameraperson (2016), by New York-based Kirsten Johnson, questions what it means to look at the world through a lens.

WHERE: Chapel Gallery, Objectifs, 155 Middle Road MRT: Bras Basah WHEN: March 22-25 ADMISSION: Entry by donation, register at storiesthatmatter2017.peatix.com INFO: www.objectifs.com.sg/storiesthatmatter2017/

Boon Chan


COLLIDE (PG13)

99 minutes/3.5 stars

This is a romance in the guise of an action-thriller and both aspects work, thanks to the casting and director/co-writer Eran Creevy's sly sense of humour.

Americans Casey (Nicholas Hoult, photo) and Juliette (Felicity Jones) meet and fall in love in Cologne, Germany. He swears off crime to win her over, but decides to do one last job for Geran (Ben Kingsley) to get the money for her medical expenses. The running joke here is that every time Casey crashes a car, he gets his hands on a sweeter and swifter one.

Boon Chan


ANIME FILM FEST

Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale is the highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of the popular manga about various virtual-reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game worlds.

It premiered in Japan on Feb 18 and fans here get to watch it soon after as part of the Anime Film Fest, which also includes titles such as The Moment You Fall In Love (2016, photo).

There will also be merchandise and interactive game booths and a cosplay wefie competition at City Square Mall.

WHERE: GV City Square, City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road MRT: Farrer Park WHEN: Till Sunday ADMISSION: $15 from www.gv.com.sg INFO: www.facebook.com/ODEXanime

Boon Chan


HIDDEN FIGURES (PG)

127 minutes/ 3.5 stars

This picture, uncovering the achievements of African-American women in the early days of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), is an unabashedly joyful account of the triumph of all-American values over racism and sexism, told with humour and patriotic fervour.

Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson (photo) and Janelle Monae are Nasa "computers", which in its mid-century sense referred to human number-crunchers.

Director and co-writer Theodore Melfi uses girl-group shorthand to give them identities: There is the brainy one (Henson's Katherine Johnson), the fiery one (Monae's Mary Jackson) and the down-to-earth one (Spencer's Dorothy Vaughn).

Race and gender politics enter as small, personal insults - a segregated coffee pot, a condescending smirk, a closed meeting-room door - but every setback is tied up neatly with a victory.

John Lui


THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (PG)

105 minutes/ 4 stars

This spin-off of the hit animated flick The Lego Movie (2014) gleefully sticks a pin into the self-inflated pomposity of superhero flicks.

It is chock-full of that familiarly irreverent tone, non-stop wisecracks and, of course, the inventive use of the humble Lego brick.

For all the silliness and mayhem, it asks smart, pointed questions about the genre: What is a superhero without his nemesis? Particularly in the case of Batman, a lonely man with attachment issues, shunned even by the rest of the Justice League.

Boon Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2017, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe