Arts & Entertainment

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

Theatre

Review: The Lower Depths

Nine Years Theatre’s Mandarin adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s classic takes us into a dark world where hope is but a mirage – gritty, but still good to watch

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Theatre

Review: Singin’ in the Rain

If you’re looking to have a splashing good time, check out this West End smash hit – it’s almost impossible not to come out of the theatre grinning

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Film

The seven filmmakers of '7 Letters'

Seven homegrown filmmakers come together to weave tales inspired by our city and its people. We speak to them about their filmic tributes

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Film

12 movies to catch for the rest of 2015

With half the year – and most of the superhero blockbusters – behind us, it’s time to get pumped about a new crop of films

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Art

Interview: Paul Husner

Sun-drenched oils on canvas

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Art and theatre events

Art

Loke Hong Seng: A Social Portrait of Singapore

The local photographer captures the development of Singapore between 1963 and 1985 – including the fight for independence to modernisation – in his solo exhibition, showcasing photos that have never been displayed before.

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Art

K Sajeev Lal: From Singapore with Love

Sajeev Photo Studio specialises in taking portraits of young male foreign workers, to use as comp cards to find wives in South Asia.

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Art

Khadim Ali

Pakistan-born artist Khadim Ali makes his solo debut in South-East Asia. Inspired by events such as the 2001 Taliban destruction of two Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, to childhood memories of his grandfather reciting the Persian Book of Kings to him, his works’ powerful messages are contrasted with their small sizes.

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Art

Allan Sekula: Fish Story, to be Continued

The photographer, theorist, photography historian and critic explores the maritime world vis-à-vis globalisation. The pieces on show include chapters from Fish Story alongside two film works, Lottery of the Sea and The Forgotten Space.

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Centre Stage: Musical Theatre Workshop

Established as a platform for youths to pick up skills in musical theatre, Centre Stage School of the Arts' brings back the Musical Theatre Workshop this August. The workshop will be led by resident director of the international touring production of Singin' in the Rain, Anton Luitingh, as well as dance captain Duane Alexander. The duo have previously also worked on productions including Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar and most recently, The Sound of Music. Musical Theatre Workshop 2015 will be held over six days, with a session each for juniors (aged 7 to 14 years) and seniors (aged 15 to 25 years) each day, culminating in a showcase performance on the last day for participants to show off their newly acquired skills. 

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Latest film reviews and releases

Film

Five things to know about Jurassic World

Before you get scared shitless by the larger-than-life roars of prehistoric creatures, Benita Lee extracts a couple fun facts about 'Jurassic World'

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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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