Arts & Entertainment

Your complete guide to Kuala Lumpur's art exhibitions, theatre plays, musicals, comedy, movie reviews and film trailers

Film

The best film screenings in KL this month

When the latest blockbusters just wouldn't cut it, head to these film screenings for documentaries, local films and festival picks

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Latest film reviews and releases

Film

Joy

David O Russell’s wacky screwball spin on the rags-to-riches biopic opens with the line: ‘Inspired by stories of brave women.’ He could just as easily have borrowed the opening line from his last film, ‘American Hustle’ – ‘Some of this actually happened.’ ‘Joy’ is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), the Long Island single mom who in the early 1990s invented the self-wringing Miracle Mop and became a shopping channel superstar. Cinema is full of American dreams: stories of men battling to build empires. This is a film about three generations of women. It has some of the macho stuff: the nostalgic voiceover, Scorsese-style, by Joy’s grandma (Diane Ladd); Cream’s ‘I Feel Free’ blasting out; and it ends with Joy sitting behind a giant I’ve-made-it desk like Don Corleone. But Russell also mixes in elements of kitsch soap opera, allowing the dialogue to tip over in bigger-than-life melodrama. Only he could pull off a film with one foot in daytime TV and the other in ‘Goodfellas’. ‘Joy’ is brilliantly feminist – written by Russell and based on a story by Annie Mumolo, who co-wrote ‘Bridesmaids’ with Kristen Wiig. We first see Joy as a little girl, making a fairytale forest kingdom out of paper. All that’s missing is a prince, says her sister – ‘I don’t need a prince.’ Later, Joy meets Bradley Cooper’s TV exec, the boss of the QVC channel that will make her a star. Both their hearts skip a beat – but this woman does not have time for that. Joy is too busy

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Deadpool

‘You are relentlessly annoying,’ barks arms dealer Ed Skrein to Ryan Reynolds’s wisecracking, fetish-clad anti-superhero midway through this latest romp inspired by a Marvel comic. It’s an insult that applies just as easily to the film itself. Bloody, shallow and oh-so-smug, ‘Deadpool’ is so eager to offend that it’d almost be sweet if it wasn’t so, well, relentlessly annoying. We first meet Wade Wilson as an ex-military drifter, working as a thug-for-hire and about to fall madly in love with (you guessed it) a hooker-with-a-heart, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). When he’s diagnosed with terminal cancer, Wade is suckered in by a shady corporation run by the villainous Ajax (Skrein), who promises to save his life. The cure leaves Wade disfigured and scarred, but pumped with advanced healing powers, a hunger for revenge and a thing for bright red Lycra. Clearly inspired by the ooh-aren’t-we-naughty sweary superheroics of Matthew Vaughn (‘Kick-Ass’, ‘Kingsman’), ‘Deadpool’ is the kind of movie that thinks a shot of the hero being dildoed by his girlfriend on International Women’s Day is feminist enough to make up for the fact that she’s a foxy ex-prostitute and the script is peppered with rape jokes. It all looks cheap and grimy – whether this is a stylistic choice or a budgetary issue isn’t clear. Meanwhile the action sequences sacrifice tension and excitement in favour of hyperactive editing and splattering gore. The result is rarely boring, but it’s not half as smart, funny or sub

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Film

The Revenant

After the playful, urban and contemporary humour of the Oscar-winning ‘Birdman’, this bleak-faced 1820s-set frontier western sees Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu return to the darker worldview of his earlier films like ‘Babel’ and ‘21 Grams’. Based on a 2002 Michael Punke novel about real-life folk hero Hugh Glass, ‘The Revenant’ stars Leonardo DiCaprio (gruff, committed, unreadable) as a fur trapper and frontiersman left for dead by his colleagues in a wintry American landscape after he is viciously shredded by a grizzly bear. Glass survives, and he hauls his damaged body through snow, across rivers, up rocks and over plains, driven by revenge. In his sights is John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy, savage with a dash of black humour), the man responsible for abandoning him to die and for forcing him to watch as his young son (of mixed-race parentage) is murdered in front of his eyes. So, no, it’s not a happy tale. But what survives from ‘Birdman’ is a compelling, forward-moving, simple approach to storytelling that grips us through stretches of silence and misery. The film's relentlessness itself becomes magnetic. There are times when 'The Revenant' feels like one long and unforgiving act of sadism, mostly directed at its lead character, but occasionally at us (a warning: the film is long, the dialogue is minimal and the violence is sharp). There are moments, too, that feel like parodies of awards-hungry acting, such as when we see DiCaprio chomping on raw animal organ

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

The Big Short

Adam McKay's latest film is a gleeful tumble towards the apocalypse

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Film and TV features

Film

Minority report: Asian life sitcoms on TV

We rate the sitcoms that have brought Asian family life to the forefront of pop culture consciousness.

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Film

The best films to watch in 2016

There's a whole bunch of movies to look forward to in the next 12 months. From blockbusters and comedies to Oscar-tipped favourites, these are the films you should be watching this year.

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Film

John Boyega interview

Right now, John Boyega might be the happiest guy in the universe. He’s 23, he was hand-picked by director JJ Abrams to appear in ‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’, set to be the biggest movie of the decade, and now everyone on Earth wants a piece of him. Dressed to the nines in designer clobber and slumped in a chair in one of London’s swankiest hotels, the young Brit grips my hand and grins like a lottery winner. ‘You know when you sit down with an actor and you ask how they are and they say they’re good?’ he bellows. ‘I’m genuinely good!’ Boyega’s casting in ‘Star Wars’ as Finn – a character rumoured to be a foot soldier who deserts his Stormtrooper platoon to join the rebel resistance – came as a surprise to almost everyone when it was announced last year. It was followed by a slew of comment pieces, many of them portraying him as a kid from the mean streets, cut from the same guns ’n’ gangs cloth as his character Moses in the 2011 British alien invasion flick ‘Attack the Block’. All of which is, of course, complete nonsense: Boyega is just a damn fine actor, fierce and charming in the proud British tradition of Albert Finney, Bob Hoskins and Tom Hardy. But there’s an openness to him too, especially in person: a hyperactive enthusiasm and skyrocketing self-confidence that’s impossible not to warm to. It’s a unique combination, and it makes Boyega the perfect fit for the gritty-but-giddy fairytale world of ‘Star Wars’. The fact that he’s a lightsaber-swinging, action-figure

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Daniel Craig interview

If you want to know how James Bond – sorry, I mean Daniel Craig – starts the day, I can tell you. Two double espressos with honey. Plus poached eggs on toast. With another double espresso to follow. So basically: caffeine, more caffeine and some more caffeine, with honey to soften the blow. And some eggs. It’s the British actor’s fourth outing as Bond, and his second with the director Sam Mendes after the huge success of ‘Skyfall’ – which in 2012 took over USD1,000 million at the global box office. So, no pressure, then. Another double espresso, please… When we speak, Craig is tired and he’s wired. He turns up in jeans, T-shirt, leather jacket and a New York Yankees cap at the photo studio where he’s being shot for Time Out. His arms betray the intense fitness training that goes into playing 007. At one point during our hour together he jokes: ‘Am I getting my kit off in this movie? Yes, I’ve been working out for six months. Of course I’m getting my kit off!’ He’s exhausted but he’s also on a high from two years of intensive work – first getting the story right in close collaboration with Mendes and the film’s writers and producers. Then came the shoot, hopping back and forth between Pinewood Studios near London and Mexico City, Morocco, the Austrian Alps and Rome. He thinks – thinks – ‘Spectre’ is going to be a good, stylish, classic Bond movie, and Craig is not an actor who talks bullshit. He’s blunt. He’s thoughtful. He’s wary of being precious. But he’s obviously nervo

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