Arts & Entertainment

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

Film

Interview: Royston Tan

Like most of us, food is always on the mind of Royston Tan. Old Friends, part of the Rewind/Remind film festival under the Singapore Memory Project, is a celebration of how food brings people together. 

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Theatre

Interview: cast of Tribes

You can argue that all families are dysfunctional, but the one in Pangdemonium’s latest production, 'Tribes', might just take the cake. We meet the clan

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Art

Kevin Ou: The Sew-Out Show – Kinetic Abstraction

Visitors can pick out their favourite section from Ou’s 13 photographs and have them transformed into accessories, such as tote bags and bowties, by craftsmen from The General Company. Prices start from $50. Ou tells us more about the inspiration behind this trippy series. 

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Art

Simryn Gill: Hugging the Shore

Gill’s first major solo show in South- East Asia comprises several series of photographs, which all serve as a documentation of her surroundings and how they engage with more abstract elements like time and culture.

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Cinemas

Swanky Silver Screens

Splurge out at these cinemas for a luxe movie-going experience

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Art and theatre events

Swan Lake

The internationally acclaimed St Petersburg Ballet comes to Singapore for the first time to showcase their production of one of the world’s most renowned ballet pieces. With a score composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the story is about Prince Siegfried, who falls in love with Odette – a young woman transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer.

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Art

Nadir Mehadji: City Lights

The locally based French photographer continues his late-night journeys into the backstreets to present a more complete series of his discoveries.

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Tribes

Pangdemonium’s staging of Nina Raine’s 2012 Drama Desk Award winner for Outstanding Play explores the complexities of communicating with the ones you love through a dysfunctional family. The comedy of miscommunication stars Adrian Pang, Ethel Yap, Gavin Yap among others.

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Silences We are Familiar with

This re-staging of Kuik Swee Boon’s chorography contemplates life, death, love and everything in between. Sound artist Bani Haykal brings out the intricacies of human emotion with a live performance. 

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Primitive

The Japanese visual/performance art collective, enra, combine technology and dance. The digital projection in the show is not just a backdrop to the choreography, but is instead interwoven into the fabric of the piece. Part of Esplanade’s Flipside 2015. 

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Art

Arnaud Nazare-Aga: The Little Prince

Thirteen lacquered white sculptures by the French artist – all of which are inspired by the illustrations of Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince – are showcased in the dark. Part of Voilah! French Festival Singapore.

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Latest film reviews and releases

Film

Film screening of Taxi Tehran

Directed by Jafar Panahi, the Iranian director banned from making films, Taxi Tehran presents to us a slice of life in Tehran, Iran. 

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Film

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Joss Whedon’s first ‘Avengers’ movie was the epic finale to Marvel’s cinematic Phase One, herding all the franchise’s disparate elements in a rousing, rewarding whole. ‘Age of Ultron’, though, has a definite mid-season feel to it, telling a compelling but never game-changing story while laying the foundations for the epic, two-part ‘Infinity War’ due in 2018. It may be piled with MacGuffins, magic crystals, red-skinned demi-Gods and psychic asides, but at the heart of ‘Ultron’ is a simple, even derivative plot about overweening ambition and technology run amok. When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) combine to create the world’s first fully functioning AI, they don’t stop to think of the consequences. And of course it’s not long before Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is building an army of robots bent on wiping out the population of earth – starting with the noble Avengers. Whedon has revealed that his first cut ran for well over three hours, and it shows: ‘Ultron’ feels excessively nipped and tucked, barrelling from one explosive set-piece to the next, leaving ideas half-formed and character motivations murky. While the introduction of new superheroes like Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the confusingly multi-talented Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) may excite comic fans, it makes for such a crowded field that even star players like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) are shoved to the sidelines. ‘Age of Ultron’ is s

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Rubbers

Sex sells. So you can’t go wrong with a film about sexy-time, right? Believe us, there are lots of heavy moaning, masturbating men and dirty positions in Rubbers. But unfortunately, the movie chaffs more than it pleases. Set on Valentine’s Day, the three short tales that comprise the movie – Nightmare, Balloons and The Plumber – are spliced together and abruptly cut from one to the next. Perhaps it would’ve been better to let each one shine on its own, without the arthouse acrobatics. Nightmare, true to its name, is the most jarring and out of place. Adam (Tay), a womaniser and condom-hating Casanova, is made an example of when a playful warning turns into a freakish hallucination ending with his private bits getting hacked off. In contrast, Balloons tells a bittersweet tale of longtime married couple, Ah Hua (Sng) and Ah Niu (Chin). Teetering on the edge of divorce after years of Ah Niu’s philandering ways, they both begin to recall the days of old when their love was young and unscathed. Ah, nostalgia. The highlight performance comes from Yeo Yann Yann, who throws all inhibition to the wind in her portrayal of the lonely Baoling in The Plumber. Egged on by a talking durian-flavoured condom (yes, we were kind of weirded out, too), she attempts to seduce a plumber to hilarious effect. This scene is a fitting example of the type of Singaporean humour employed in Rubbers: slapstick and on-the-nose, with cringe-worthy antics plucked straight out of MediaCorp’s joke archives.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Chappie

After the out-of-nowhere sucker punch of his 2009 debut ‘District 9’, Neill Blomkamp’s second film, 2013’s ‘Elysium’, felt like the work of a Hollywood-designed, blockbuster-producing robot: slick and anonymous. So it’s a huge relief to discover that, with ‘Chappie’, the South African filmmaker has re-engaged his emotion chip and ramped up the weirdness factor for this lovably scattergun cybernetic satire. We’re in near-future Johannesburg, where a platoon of faceless android crimefighters have begun the mammoth task of cleaning up the streets. But their inventor (Dev Patel) has greater ambitions: he’s working on the world’s first true artificial intelligence, a computer that can not only think, but create. The result is Chappie, a creature with the body of a killer but the mind of a child. And when Chappie falls into the hands of wannabe gangsters Ninja and Yolandi – played, roughly as themselves, by Afrikaans electroclash duo Die Antwoord – his future is thrown wide open. Will he become a benefit to humanity? Or a menace to society? It would have been easy for Blomkamp to use Chappie as a cipher, a metal shell to be filled with symbolic notions of nature versus nurture, corporate greed and post-human existential angst. But thanks to a wonderful vocal performance from Sharlto Copley, this droid is so much more: he’s adorable, sympathetic and even relatable, a lost soul in a harsh world. ‘Chappie’ the film isn’t so perfect. The plot is threadbare, the nods to ‘RoboCop’ are

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Fifty Shades of Grey

A watered-down adaptation that hides coyly under the sheets, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is full of all sorts of sex, but it's still a hopelessly softcore erotic drama that fails to be even a fraction as titillating as the EL James books that inspired it. And yet, strangely, that's exactly why it works.'Fifty Shades' begins with Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson, nuanced), a demure college student, arriving for an interview in the office of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan, stiff), Seattle's most eligible billionaire. It isn't long before the two are bound together like the pages in the spine of a saucy paperback. The virginal Anastasia, however, is in for a surprise: Christian is as kinky as he is rich.Inevitably, this telling of the tale has been neutered to the brink of recognition. Christian is an S&M fetishist, and when Anastasia is invited into her new partner's 'Red Room of Pain', she's confronted by a wonderland of leather, rope and recycled circus equipment. And yet, by the time the movie ends just a few mild spankings later, 'Fifty Shades' feels like going on a trip to Disney World and only riding the monorail.But British director Sam Taylor-Johnson's film becomes fascinating for the finesse with which she navigates the prudishness forced upon it. The director is capable of pivoting from romantic comedy to erotic drama at the crack of a whip, her dexterity allowing the tepid sex scenes to be framed by a surprisingly sensitive story of self-discovery. Substituting heartache

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Unbroken

Teenage tearaway, 1930s Olympic runner, World War II prisoner-of-war survivor… Why has it taken so long for Hollywood to make a film about the incredible life of Louis Zamperini? Angelina Jolie's third film as a director is a gorgeously shot and hardhitting old-school war drama that’s meant to leave us awestruck by the power of the human spirit. It gets so much right – but still somehow fails to get under Zamperini’s skin.Jack O’Connell’s scrappy underdog energy is perfect for Zamperini, who we meet at 26 in a gripping scene as he shoots at the Japanese from a B-24 bomber in 1943. In flashbacks we see him as a juvenile delinquent, the son of poor Italians, tearing around California. When little Louis, age 13 or so, discovers there’s more to running than dodging cops he quits booze and fags to train with his brother. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics he catches Hitler’s eye as he runs the fastest lap of the 5,000-metres race. Is it his athlete’s iron discipline that keeps Zamperini alive when his plane crashes into the Pacific – and he’s stranded on a raft with two buddies? He puts the trio on rations of two squares of chocolate and three sips of water a day. There’s little variety in these scenes, although in a shift from the usual macho bravado of men bonding at war, Jolie shows us the tenderness of these boys. When one of them gets sick, Zam – as his mates call him – holds his hand, tenderly telling him stories of his ma’s gnocchi.Which is enough drama to fill one life – and one

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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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

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Film

Objectifs Centre for Photography & Filmmaking

Regular courses and workshops at this filmmaking and photography hub

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Art

ArtScience Museum

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

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Things to do

Gillman Barracks

A cluster of galleries take over this former military encampment

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Things to do

MINT Museum of Toys

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

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Art

Singapore Art Museum

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

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