Arts & Entertainment

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

Art

Eugene Soh's new photo exhibition, 'The Second Coming'

Best known for his playful parodies of classical masterpieces, local photographer Eugene Soh is referencing something quite different in his upcoming exhibition at Chan Hampe Galleries: the Bible. In The Second Coming, Soh imagines what it'd be like if Jesus makes his promised reappearance in Singapore – will he break bread at a kopitiam? The artist tells us more.  Why did you choose to play with the Second Coming in Singapore? Because I live here. Plus, they also never say where he will come back, mah. Christianity has become so widespread that I'm guessing any country is fair game for the Almighty. Come to think of it, God may be communicating through me. This could be a sign, you never know. One of his favourite styles of communication is through individuals who met him on mountains, alone, with no witnesses. He may have seeded the inspiration in me when I was climbing Bukit Timah Hill by myself that one time. You're right, you never know. Any other reasons? I also decided on the idea when I found Jesus. The Jesus for my photos, that is. I got to know [spoken word poet] Marc Nair last year when we were doing an exhibition in Amsterdam. His face was beaming with holiness in the European sun. I found out later that we both happen to be speaking at TEDxSingapore. I asked if he wanted to be my Jesus during one of the TEDx meetings. #GodsMysteriousWays.

Read more

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
Read more
Film

Spotlight

‘This is Boston,’ says Stanley Tucci’s seen-it-all victims’ lawyer to a reporter in ‘Spotlight’, echoing that famous last line in ‘Chinatown’: ‘Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown’. But forgetting isn’t an option sometimes: ‘Spotlight’ calmly and powerfully traces the work of a group of dogged Boston Globe journalists in 2001, who were determined to expose the systematic cover-up of abuse in the local Catholic church. ‘Spotlight’ is the story behind the story, and it’s the film equivalent of reading an especially thrilling New Yorker article: ruthlessly detailed, precise and gripping but never brash or overemotional. Tom McCarthy is an unfussy, low-key director (‘The Visitor’, ‘The Station Agent’), and that style suits ‘Spotlight’, which is all muted colours, linear storytelling and unobtrusive camerawork. It allows the ensemble cast to shine without showing off: Michael Keaton, fresh from ‘Birdman’, makes his second, perhaps better, comeback as Bostonian Robby Robinson who heads up the paper’s investigative team, Spotlight; Liev Schreiber is the paper’s new editor, an outsider and Jewish in a heavily Catholic city; Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are reporters on the front line, knocking on doors and digging out documents. Ruffalo is perhaps the loudest presence: nervy, energetic and prone to the odd outburst in a film otherwise mercifully lacking those moments. This is ‘All The President’s Men’ for the ongoing exposure of the horror of priestly paedophilia. Yet it’s a more su

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

Anomalisa

‘Anomalisa’ is an animation about a lonely man on a business trip written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman, the writer of ‘Adaptation’, ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. Like all of Kaufman’s films, which tend to play like Woody Allen movies on hallucinogens, it gives us a man in crisis and invites us to enjoy or recoil from his fantasies – or both. Here, the stop-motion puppetry adds new wonder: soft, fluid, realistic with just a hint of strangeness, meaning that you can see the joins in characters’ faces like they’re wearing masks. Michael Stone (the voice of David Thewlis) arrives in Cincinnati, Ohio to give a speech at a conference of customer-service workers. Kaufman indulges banalities: catching a taxi, checking in, ordering room service, a fractured call home to the wife and kid. But, as in all Kaufman’s films, somewhere we leave behind reality and enter the world of Michael’s mind. Or at least we experience a mix of the two that’s impossible or even unnecessary to unpick. Once unpacked, Michael has a nightmare drink at the bar with his troubled ex, Bella, who he telephones out of the blue. He drinks. He wonders if he’s cracking up. He wanders into a sex shop. Back at the hotel, he strikes up an out-of-character rapport with a pair of women in town for his talk and spends the night with shy, adoring Lisa (the voice of Jennifer Jason Leigh; every other voice in the film is performed by one actor, Tom Noonan). It’s a blissful island

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

Trumbo

‘Daddy, what’s a communist?’ a young girl on a pony asks her rich and famous screenwriter father. Brace yourself for dialogue like this in Jay Roach’s earnest, too-soft biopic of Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who fought his way back from the anti-communist postwar blacklist. In ‘Breaking Bad’ Bryan Cranston mined unlikely humour from meth manufacturer Walter White’s teacherly manner. But here, as the fussy, pompous Trumbo, he’s let down by a script that, for the most part, papers over the ‘Spartacus’ writer’s legendary severity. Instead, ‘Trumbo’ goes for a tone that’s more inspirational. We watch as Trumbo is sent to prison in 1950 for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee and name colleagues with communist sympathies. Broke and blacklisted, after his release he churns out scripts under pseudonyms, building a network of fellow outcast writers and winning two Oscars undercover. Around Cranston are performances that supply sparks of the grittier film that might have been. Michael Stuhlbarg (‘A Serious Man’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’) plays an actor who goes from supporting Trumbo to selling him out, and Helen Mirren is the poisonous gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (the film could have used more of her viciousness). Is it too much to ask of a movie about writing that it devote some time to the ego that often drives such careers? Communist or not, Trumbo swanned around on a wave of self-regard. Roach, whose television gigs (HBO’s ‘Recount’)

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

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Literary mash-up ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ was 2009’s must-have stocking filler, the kind of last-minute impulse buy that bookshops stuck next to their tills like Snickers in a supermarket. The questions facing this handsome, decently budgeted movie adaptation are: how many of the people who bought the book ever bothered to read it, and how many of those are going to make the effort to catch it on the big screen seven years later? Lily James (‘Cinderella’) plays Elizabeth Bennett, the brittle daughter of a down-at-heel aristocratic family who falls out of and into love with Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), a smokin’ rogue with a razor wit. Only in this vision of Jane Austen’s nineteenth-century, England is overrun by shuffling brain-eaters so young ladies study martial arts instead of sewing. By far the most enjoyable scenes here are those in which James and her sisters engage in girly gossip while cleaning rifles, polishing samurai swords and beating the crap out of each other. It’s the zombies that are the problem: watering down the violence for teenage audiences and playing fast and loose with undead mythology (zombies can talk now, apparently), the film flatlines the moment anyone draws a blade. The comedy, too, is played peculiarly straight: only Matt Smith seems to be having any fun, as a parsimonious parson who takes a shine to Elizabeth. The result is an odd, inconsequential but not entirely charmless misfire: an action-horror-comedy-romance with none of the first two an

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

Ten films to watch in 2016

We give you a heads up on the year’s best blockbusters – from superhero adventures to classic reimaginings to villains snatching the spotlight

Read more

Top art museums and galleries in Singapore

Things to do

Peranakan Museum

The world’s largest and best overview of Peranakan life over three floors

Read more
Film

Objectifs Centre for Photography & Filmmaking

Regular courses and workshops at this filmmaking and photography hub

Read more
Art

ArtScience Museum

Art and science coexist in the same space at Marina Bay Sands

Read more
Things to do

Gillman Barracks

A cluster of galleries take over this former military encampment

Read more
Things to do

MINT Museum of Toys

A private museum with the largest collection of vintage toys in Southeast Asia

Read more
Art

Singapore Art Museum

20th-century Asian visual art housed in a colonial building

Read more