Arts & Entertainment

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

Film

The Revenant

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

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Latest film reviews and releases

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

Macbeth

At the start of this brilliant, brutal film of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play, Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth lays oyster shells over the eyes of his dead son: an eerie funeral rite before the tiny body is burned on a pyre. Traditionally, the Macbeths have been portrayed as power-hungry. Cutting loose the play’s baggage, Australian director Justin Kurzel (who made the ultraviolent true-crime film ‘Snowtown’) recasts them as damaged. Untethered by grief, ambition fills the void, as Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) lures her husband into dark places, manipulating him into murdering the king. This ‘Macbeth’ is ferociously well acted. Fassbender’s prowling energy electrifies the film. He is utterly convincing as the battle-weary warrior: his face is a map of scars, with the hollowed-out, blank-eyed look of a man who has seen too much death (Fassbender has said he thought of his Macbeth as suffering from PTSD). Lady Macbeth can often be hard to watch, shrill and one-note, yet Cotillard, with that face you could stare at for hours, makes her subtle and human. Admittedly she struggles with the Scots – though, to be fair, she’s not the only actor here with an all-over-the-place accent. Still, both actors risk being upstaged by the natural elements. The wild Scottish Highlands, with its hardness and beauty, is a landscape that seems to have a murderous impulse of its own. And rising-star Kurzel directs this Shakespeare like a western: spare and savage.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Life

This small, well-coiffed and attentively designed film shows us a few weeks in the life of James Dean (Dane DeHaan) on the brink of reluctant stardom in 1955. Robert Pattinson co-stars as Dennis Stock, a Life magazine photographer from New York desperately wooing the farm boy from Indiana to give his own career a much-needed shot in the arm. ‘Life’ continues the current vogue for framing microcosmic snapshots of well-known folk’s lives in the hope that greater truths will emerge. But for every virtuoso ‘Lincoln’ there’s a pedestrian ‘My Week with Marilyn’, and this leans closer to the latter, setting up Dean and Stock’s relationship as meaningful, but in the end offering only a mildly interesting, gossipy window on Dean’s side of the tale as he hovered in limbo between the release of ‘East of Eden’ and shooting ‘Rebel without a Cause’. Director Anton Corbijn (‘Control’, ‘The American’), a photographer himself (and he plays one here in a brief cameo), lends the whole thing a Dean-like careful poise, and DeHaan is good at getting across the actor’s heavy-eyelided, good-spirited insouciance (even if, in the end, he doesn’t have the looks). There’s also a fun turn by Ben Kingsley illustrating studio boss Jack Warner’s control of his stars (‘If you’re not a good boy, I’m going to fuck you til it hurts’). But ultimately Luke Davies’s script, for all its warm observations on the man behind the myth (there are winning scenes back at Dean’s uncle and aunt’s farm), feels like a footn

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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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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Film

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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