Arts & Entertainment

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

Art

Penang's best art galleries

Your art appreciation begins now

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Things to do

50 things to do in Penang: Arts and culture

Here's how you can channel your inner culture vulture

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Art

Street art by Ernest Zacharevic

A look at Penang's most photogenic graffiti art

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Shopping

Independent bookshops in Penang

Where you can score some inspirational reads

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Art

Street art in Penang

A guide to George Town's glorious street art

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Latest film reviews and releases

Film

Big Game

Finns ain’t what they used to be. Cinema has long characterised Finland as a nation of heavy-drinking, drily philosophical outsiders, but that’s not how writer-director Jalmari Helander sees it. In this shambolic but lovable action throwback, he’s recast his people as a bunch of hardbitten heroes, taking on a team of terrorists with their rifle sights set on the biggest prize of all – the President of the United States.And he’s hauled in a surprisingly heavyweight cast to assist: Samuel L Jackson plays the Leader of the Free World, lost in the Nordic wilderness after Air Force One is shot down by shifty Middle Eastern revolutionaries. His saviour arrives in the form of Oskari (Onni Tommila), a 13-year-old bowman on a rites-of-passage mission to kill his first stag. Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon, CIA operative Herbert (played by Jim Broadbent – seriously!) struggles to organise a rescue mission.Helander’s breakthrough film, 2010’s ‘Rare Exports’, saw him channelling a love of ’80s American horror into a berserk tale of monstrous Santas and demonic octogenarians. With ‘Big Game’, he jumps forward a decade, drawing on ’90s high-concept action flicks like ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Cliffhanger’ for a rough-edged but always watchable survival romp. The dialogue may be hackneyed (yes, Jackson does get to call someone ‘motherfucker’ right before shooting them) and the special effects are sometimes painfully low-rent, but Jackson and Tommila have a sweet, convincing rapport. And it’s all carr

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Tomorrowland

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to utopia in this peculiar, philosophically inclined Disney family adventure. Britt Robertson plays Casey Newton, a plucky suburban teenager with an uncanny knack for solving scientific problems. When she learns of the existence of Tomorrowland – a parallel dimension where humanity’s greatest scientists, thinkers and artists have created a hermetically sealed ‘perfect’ world – she’ll do anything to get there. Enter George Clooney’s grumpy, crumpled inventor Frank, who has a dire warning for the ‘real’ world and for the ailing Eden over the rainbow. ‘Tomorrowland’ is singularly unafraid of weighty concepts, tackling climate change, our ongoing fascination with the apocalypse and the very Disney-ish idea of being ‘special’. It does get dry (some scenes feel suspiciously like TED talks) and the script’s fleeting efforts to unpick its dubious Ayn Rand-ish central ideology are completely undermined by a disappointingly clunky, flat-as-a-pancake finale. But when it puts down its copy of ‘Political Philosophy for Dummies’ and focuses on character and action, ‘Tomorrowland’ is a blast. ‘The Incredibles’ director Brad Bird could choreograph daring rocket escapes and soaring jet-pack flights with both eyes shut, while George Clooney and Britt Robertson have a thoroughly convincing knockabout chemistry – though both play second fiddle to blank-eyed British youngster Raffey Cassidy as a mysterious dimensional exile. The production design, too, is glorious: To

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Mad Max: Fury Road

The fourth instalment of George Miller’s punky post-apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ saga feels like a tornado tearing through a tea party. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Film

The Age of Adaline

As many a movie vampire has discovered, eternal youth comes with its own set of issues. And so it proves in this fantasy romance, in which ‘Gossip Girl’ Blake Lively’s heroine hasn’t aged a day since 1937. Wary of being treated as a freak, she’s kept on the move for decades, and after giving birth to a daughter has steered clear of emotional commitment. Love may yet play a part in her destiny as the movie does its level best to blow its intriguing conceit: the explanation behind her condition is ridiculous, the fake-documentary asides laughable and Adaline herself is lacking in personality (big secret notwithstanding). By far the film’s best move is casting some lovable veteran actors. Ellen Burstyn is adorable as Adaline’s daughter and Harrison Ford steals the show as an old-timer with an instinct for saying the wrong thing. He’s so charismatic, so alive, it’s his best performance for decades – and that’s the big surprise in this otherwise wonky, frequently shambling tall tale.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Pitch Perfect 2

Aca-about time! Three years after ‘Pitch Perfect’, the first ladies of a cappella are back – and they’re hitting the high notes. This sequel opens as all-girl group the Bellas are branded a national disgrace after a vagina-flashing incident involving Barack Obama. The girls are singing to the President in front of a crowd of thousands when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson, genius) has a wardrobe malfunction, revealing her lady parts live on television. The TV news coverage is hilarious (‘the FBI has ruled out terrorism’). President Nixon had Watergate. This is Muffgate. Nothing in the rest of the film comes remotely close to being as funny. Minutes pass without a big laugh, and there’s definitely one song too many. But ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ has its ‘Spinal Tap’ moments. The only way the Bellas can redeem their reputation is to win at the a cappella world championships in Holland – an event that’s like Glastonbury for nerds. Standing in their way is the techno-fierce black-leather clad German group Das Sound Machine (or Deutsche Bags, as the Bellas call them). ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ is totally goofy but very sweet. And there’s a decent side-plot as Becca (the alt-girl with too much eyeliner played by the awesome Anna Kendrick) heads off to intern with a hotshot producer working on a Christmas album with Snoop Dogg. As with the first film, you’ll be dying to switch on your phone to save the instantly quotable gems (‘What did you say? I don’t speak loser’). And once again, Rebel Wilson – a woman

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

She's Funny That Way

Hollywood loves a rags-to-riches showbiz story. One of its favourites is told at the beginning of this Woody Allen-ish goofball comedy: the legend of how Lana Turner was discovered at 16 drinking a Coke in a LA drugstore. Here director-co-writer Peter Bogdanovich gives us a twenty-first century big-break story in which a Brooklyn call girl (London-born actress Imogen Poots) becomes a movie star. Bogdanovich is the ultimate Hollywood insider – a director, actor, writer and friend to the stars. He loves the movies and movie people – phoniness, tantrums, Everest egos and all – so it’s fondly told.  With bags of charisma, Poots is knock-out as Izzy, a young Hollywood starlet being interviewed by a jaded journalist, who rolls her eyes as her subject spouts Hollywood nonsense about cosmic forces and the stars aligning. But Izzy is totally upfront about her lucky break four years earlier: she slept with a hotshot director while working as a high-class prostitute in New York. In flashback we see Izzy spending the night with Arnold, played by Owen Wilson, doing his trademark shallow sleazeball (Arnold is a man who smugly tells his wife ‘I’m a kind of feminist’ when she discovers he’s been cheating on her). Two days after their night together, Izzy, who is also an aspiring actress, has an audition for a Broadway play. Guess who's directing? The ensemble cast is all-round excellent. Rhys Ifans lays it on as a spiteful thespian who’s chasing Arnold’s wife. Jennifer Aniston plays the wor

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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