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

Read more
Things to do

50 things to do in Penang: Arts and culture

Here's how you can channel your inner culture vulture

Read more
Art

Street art by Ernest Zacharevic

A look at Penang's most photogenic graffiti art

Read more
Shopping

Independent bookshops in Penang

Where you can score some inspirational reads

Read more

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
Read more
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
Read more
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
Read more
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
Read more
Film

Ant-Man

Just when it seemed like the Marvel Cinematic Universe was getting so big that the whole superhero-movie bubble might burst, along comes an adventure that’s told on a much smaller scale.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
Film

Return to Sender

Rosamund Pike picked up an Oscar nomination for her brilliantly unhinged turn in ‘Gone Girl’, and she returns to familiar territory in this dark, satisfying indie. Pike is Miranda, an uppity-yet-likeable nurse who’s brutally raped in her home. Struggling with post-traumatic stress, she resolves to visit her attacker in prison, and, through a series of jarring flirting-through-the-perspex meetings, they appear to grow close.It’s an uncomfortable relationship to witness, but, despite appearing sincere, we’re left questioning Miranda’s true intentions. Is she as all-forgiving as she appears to be? Or is this a carefully calculated set-up for an almighty vengeful finale? Put it this way, there’s no way an actress of Pike’s intelligence would have signed on for what looks like, until the last ten minutes, a very poorly judged forgive-and-forget morality tale. And besides, the clue’s in the title.Props to Pike, then, for making an inevitable twist feel like a shock conclusion. Were it not for her trademark icy, enigmatic delivery, this could easily have been a shoddily transparent slice of revenge schlock, rather than a smart, subtly pitched thriller with a fist-pumping feminist finale.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Read more
See all Time Out film reviews