Arts & Entertainment

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

Art

Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards 2015

We pick our eight favourite portraits from this year's awards

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Art

Picturing the Nation

The exhibition largely features works from the personal collection of Dato’ Hoessein Enas, one of Malaysia’s pioneering portraiture artists

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Saturday Night Fever - The Musical

It's worth 'Stayin' Alive' for 'Disco Inferno' as 'Saturday Night Fever' hits our shores this September. Based on the popular 1977 movie starring John Travolta, 'Saturday Night Fever' focuses on young Tony Manero, an avid disco dancer with a dead-end job. Becoming 'disco king' is his only ambition in life and when he meets Stephanie, they begin to train together to win a dance competition. Featuring the main Broadway cast, 'Saturday Night Fever' is the musical no disco fan should miss: sparkly costumes, backdrops of 1970s New York and a repertoire of the Bee Gees' greatest hits. 

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Things to do

10 new science fiction and fantasy reads

Pick up these genre-bending works to indulge your lust for the unbelievable, without committing to a 14-part novel series The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor DAW BooksA prequel to Okorafor’s award-winning novel ‘Who Fears Death’, the author’s latest tells the tale of a biologically accelerated superwoman named Phoenix and how her life, her lost love and the genetic experiments that made her all become wrapped up with the fate of humanity. Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley Tor BooksThis new sci-fi adventure is ripe with artificial intelligence, malevolent beings from another world and a race to save humankind. But Mosley’s writing shines brightest in his portrayal of his two heroes and their efforts to connect, despite so many differences. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu Tor BooksFor the first time, legendary Chinese science-fiction author Cixin Liu’s work is available to English-speaking readers. His masterpiece puts forth the classic dilemma of how to welcome – or how to fight – beings from another world. Mort(e) by Robert Repino Soho PressWhen sentient ants wage a war against mankind, one housecat-cum-hero, Mort(e), remains dedicated to the human resistance. With poignant flashes of a morality tale, this debut novel makes us rethink our relationship to all of Earth’s creatures (since they may someday turn on us). The Just City by Jo Walton Tor BooksIn Walton’s Platonic Republic, gods, goddesses and mortals from across time live side by side, and the author weaves a

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Latest film reviews and releases

Film

The Man from UNCLE

Guy Ritchie’s reboot of ‘The Man From UNCLE’ – the 1960s spy TV series that no one under 50 will remember – has a sunny, tongue-in-cheek vibe. Its Cold War Europe setting is less about paying homage to its vague influences (including Ian Fleming and John le Carré) and more of an excuse to embrace old-school city-hopping larks and sharply-suited 1960s adventure. It’s all pulp and no politics. This ‘U.N.C.L.E.’ prefers to giggle where the new-school James Bond would grimace, and to deliver a hearty backslap where le Carré would shoot his doomed characters in the back. A familiar story of spies, disloyalty, twists, double-crossing and a nuclear plot to destroy the globe, the movie hops from Berlin to Rome, taking in other scenic European spots along the way. Henry Cavill’s American spy and Armie Hammer’s Eastern Bloc stooge team up, with Alicia Vikander in tow as a fellow traveller and Hugh Grant and Jared Harris playing backroom puppet-masters. It’s not quite teasing or knowing enough to be a spoof, which is lucky, as that old schtick can get tiring very quickly. But it’s not far off. This is a film that’s one step from winking at you mid-scene. All this charm is a little surprising considering that on paper its trio of leads, Cavill, Hammer and Vikander, feel as charismatic as cardboard. As it turns out, the two men have an especially sharp rapport, something Ritchie previously conjured up between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in his Sherlock Holmes films. You wonder if this

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Southpaw

Like a ‘Raging Bull’ that’s been punched one too many times in the head, Antoine Fuqua’s boxing melodrama is so loaded with obviousness, there’s more pained groaning from the audience than from the guys in the ring.

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Film

Fantastic Four

Following delays, dodgy trailers and on-set rumours, the advance buzz on this reboot of Marvel’s goofiest superhero team has been increasingly gloomy. It’s hard to imagine what the pundits were expecting. This is after all a story featuring teenage characters called Mr Fantastic (special power: stretchy limbs), The Invisible Woman (special power: take a guess) and the villainous Victor von Doom, adapted from a lightweight 1960s comic strip and given a twenty-first century makeover by a guy whose first film, 2011’s ‘Chronicle’, was an ugly, noisy found-footage mess. Frankly, it’s amazing the result is watchable at all. And more than that – for the first 45 minutes or so, ‘Fantastic Four’ is actually a lot of fun. We’re squarely in Joe Dante country, as pre-teen science whiz Reed Richards and his bulky best-pal-cum-bodyguard Ben Grimm set to work on the world’s first inter-dimensional teleportation device. Flash forward seven years and these high-schoolers, now played by Miles Teller and Jamie Bell, are ready to present their invention to the world. Following an invitation to continue this research in a proper scientific setting, Reed and Ben trip off to a parallel universe in the company of similarly nerdy youngsters Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and her adopted brother Johnny (Michael B Jordan). But after an encounter with a bizarre energy force, the quartet return with supercharged powers and are immediately whisked off by shady government forces. At which point the film goes badly

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Film

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Has there ever been a less appealing action hero than Ethan Hunt? 

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film and TV features

Film

Rebel Wilson interview

First things first. Rebel Wilson is not Fat Amy – the character she plays in ‘Pitch Perfect’. This is disappointing for precisely as long as it takes for her to answer my first question. Disappointing because Fat Amy (she calls herself that so ‘twig bitches’ don’t do it behind her back) is one of the most hilarious characters in recent movie memory – so funny people have taken to wearing her off-the-wall one-liners on t-shirts. The actress is one of the most impressive people I’ve met – funny, yes, but totally focussed and refreshingly honest about her ambition, refusing play down her intelligence. Put simply, Rebel Wilson is the living, breathing woman you want to be after reading Sheryl Sandberg’s motivational book ‘Lean In’. The 29-year-old moved to Hollywood in 2010 after working on the stand-up circuit and TV in Australia, and within months landed a role in ‘Bridesmaids’ playing Kristen Wiig’s flatmate. It was a tiny part but here’s the thing about Rebel Wilson – she’s got a knack for stealing every scene she appears in. Within two weeks, she signed up to six new films, including ‘Pitch Perfect’. The sequel, out this week, opens with Fat Amy flashing her vagina to President Obama on his birthday in front of a crowd of thousands. Okay, let’s talk about that opening scene in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’. You end up dangling in mid-air with a split leotard in a massive concert hall. Is it true that you went to circus school to prepare?Yes! I trained really hard. I had to, because th

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Film

Benedict Cumberbatch interview

It’s 7.15 on a Saturday morning, and Benedict Cumberbatch is trying but failing to leave his Hampstead home and jump into a car to the airport. He keeps forgetting stuff, running back in, grabbing more things. ‘I’m useless at getting into a car. I always think of five things I have to have before I leave. It’s like threshold anxiety!’ This early hour is the only part of the day when the 38-year-old has a decent amount of time to talk, and he’s on the phone with me all the way to the check-in desk, talking fast about everything he’s up to.Most recently, he’s been recording the voice of the tiger Shere Khan for Andy Serkis’s new film of ‘The Jungle Book’ and rehearsing his role as Richard III in a series of upcoming Shakespeare plays for the BBC. Today he’s catching a flight to Toronto for the film festival where he will introduce ‘The Imitation Game’, a film in which he plays wartime hero Alan Turing, the mathematician who helped break the Nazi Enigma code and then faced postwar persecution because of his sexuality.  If anyone in cinema is on a high right now, it’s the actor once known as ‘that guy in “Sherlock”’.So, here we are, at the crack of dawn on a Saturday, talking shop. Something tells me you’re busy these days. Are you good at juggling so many jobs?I’m chuckling wryly because me getting out the door this morning was like a child who’s never travelled before – having something like a panic attack about not having the right pacifier or teddy. Honestly, it’s not that I’

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Things to do

Five cult TV comedies to watch

We pick five unsung cult TV comedies from the past and the present to fill the mainstream gap

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Film

Jamie Dornan on ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

It is a flawless LA morning, the sun already high enough to fill a sixth-floor suite of the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel. Yet despite the glow streaming through the windows, Jamie Dornan seems worried. The Northern Irish actor (who is also one of the highest-paid male models in the world) has the expression of a man about to leap out of a plane. It is the first day of a press junket marathon for the movie release of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, the sure-to-be-divisive adaptation of the global erotic phenomenon. And the film’s relatively unknown star senses he might be thrown to the lions. At 32, Dornan has only just begun his ascent to the A list. As a brooding serial killer in BBC crime drama ‘The Fall’, he established himself as an acting force to be reckoned with, but with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, Dornan has been thrust at hyperspeed into the limelight. Playing the lead character of Christian Grey, he’s gone from being a torso to swoon over in the occasional Calvin Klein ad to being an icon woven for ever into the silky fabric of female fantasy. In case you’ve been living in an Amish village, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is a romantic novel with lots of sex – lots of rough, masochistic sex. When it was published in 2011, it was just what the reading public had been breathlessly waiting for. With the book garnering legions of fans, the movie has been hotly debated. And under the unexpected direction of artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, it’s predicted to be either sheer genius or pure junk.

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