Arts & Entertainment

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

On The Basis Of Sex
Film

On The Basis Of Sex

Thinkers debate with passion in Mimi Leder’s intellectual ‘On the Basis of Sex’, a knowingly old-fashioned (but far from dated) biopic of the inimitable Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Written by the 85-year-old Ginsburg’s nephew Daniel Stiepleman with affection for his aunt’s lifelong work on behalf of women’s rights – as well as her decidedly ennobled marriage founded on pure equality – ‘On the Basis of Sex’ (like the stirring documentary ‘RBG’) is both a welcome cinematic dissent from today’s disastrous politics and a reminder that words, paired with meaningful action, can change the world. A winning, inspirational crowd-pleaser, Leder’s film follows the early accomplishments of the young Ginsburg (an assured Felicity Jones, convincingly slipping into the trailblazer’s shoes), beginning in 1956. That’s the year in which the bouncy, opinionated Ruth marches into male-dominated Harvard Law School – at a dinner party, the handful of female students are asked to justify their academic seats, ones that could have gone to ‘Harvard Men’. It’s also where her devoted, ever-supportive husband Marty (Armie Hammer, lovably pragmatic) studies. Through Marty’s unforeseen health crisis and Ruth’s unfairly deterred professional aspirations (excuse after sexist excuse, law firms refuse to hire her), the film patiently advances toward the ’70s, focusing on the couple’s family life and Ruth’s career as a professor, leading sizzling feminist discourse among razor-sharp minds of t

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Bohemian Rhapsody
Film

Bohemian Rhapsody

The afterlife has rarely been quiet for Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died young in 1991 after a flurry of late-life creativity. First came ‘Wayne’s World’, with Mike Myers head-banging along to Queen’s 1975 hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Then came a massive tribute concert in 1992 and a globetrotting stage musical, ‘We Will Rock You’ in the 2000s. Now, 27 years on, comes the authorised movie biopic to push the Freddie Mercury legend even further into the realm of the unreal.  ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is as brash, loud and mask-wearing as Mercury at his most playful. Another movie would try to get behind the legend or play with the idea of it but this does neither. Instead, it grabs the legend by the neck and gallops recklessly through the movie on it, climaxing in a wholesale extended recreation of one of the most famous rock gigs of all time: Queen at Live Aid. Modest and inquiring it is not. It boasts a film-stealing, possessed performance by Rami Malek, who pouts, struts and quips as Mercury, turning the rest of the cast into bit-part players. The energy of Malek’s imitation helps to bind what amounts to a series of gossipy but harmless rock-world anecdotes into something vaguely coherent. The story starts and ends with Queen playing Live Aid at Wembley in July 1985. In between, we see how Farrokh Bulsara, born in Zanzibar, became Freddie Mercury and helped to transform a student band into a stadium rock behemoth. The movie, though catchy and often seductive, is an act of b

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Hilarious horror films
Film

Hilarious horror films

Looking for a horror film that is hilarious for all of the wrong reasons? They’re all here: giant rabbits, gay demons, murderous lawnmowers, killer bees and ‘shit weasels’. Every one of these horror films comes heartily recommended: grab a friend, crack a beer and join Tom Huddleston for the ten most hilariously, stupendously, side-splittingly rotten horror films ever made. 

The best Japanese anime shows for beginners
Film

The best Japanese anime shows for beginners

Japanese anime’s long and varied history makes the genre a tough nut to crack for most beginners. Ken W picks the best starter anime series to sink your teeth into.

Ten essential books by Malaysians for Malaysians
Things to do

Ten essential books by Malaysians for Malaysians

If you're unfamiliar with Malaysian literature, here are ten books by Malaysian authors ranging from fiction, non-fiction and poetry in both English and Bahasa Malaysia, suitable for beginners

Latest film reviews and releases

Hotel Artemis
Film

Hotel Artemis

Hollywood’s visions of the future tend to make hellscapes of major cities. Joining the Detroit of RoboCop and the NYC of Escape from New York is Hotel Artemis’s Los Angeles, where the citizens of 2028 riot for water rights and criminals are everywhere. The film’s title refers to a secret emergency room for wounded gangsters over which Jodie Foster’s alcoholic, haunted Nurse presides, with the help of Dave Bautista’s heavy. One night, the patients are joined by LA’s Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum, at the nastier end of his spectrum), the crime boss who owns the hospital, and an injured cop (Jenny Slate) who has a tie to the Nurse’s shady past. It’s an atmospheric setup, with the faded Hotel Artemis offering a nicely seedy backdrop for a cast of good-looking, increasingly antagonistic eccentrics. Offering the closest thing to a moral compass in this den of thieves is the cool and charismatic Sterling K Brown as a badly hurt bank robber. The problem is that screenwriter-turned-director Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) doesn’t get the buildup-to-payoff ratio right: Before any real conflict takes place, a lot of time is spent establishing characters and situations that don’t really matter. As with its fellow underworld action-thriller John Wick, an elaborate mythology informs these people’s interactions; but while that Keanu Reeves franchise was explosive, the action here is underwhelming. Still, at a tight 90 minutes, Pearce deserves credit for packing the screen with interesting characters,

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Skyscraper
Film

Skyscraper

‘Skyscraper’ is a cacophonous blockbuster, in the Die Hard wannabe (plus obligatory 3D and pricey special effects) mold, the likes of which you’ve probably seen (or perhaps avoided) many times over. Dwayne Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader currently on assignment in China with his family, in his new job as skyscraper safety assessor. It’s no spoiler to say that this skyscraper, a tech-laden, phallic monstrosity, doesn’t turn out to be so safe, and the film quickly turns into an occasionally tense but mostly predictable tale of a man taking risks to save his family from explosions, devious suits and terrorists. Johnson is obviously a bankable star, and his charisma lightens up a few moments, as when he makes creative use of his character’s prosthetic leg to save himself, and has a satisfied reaction. For the most part, though, touches of humanity are largely absent. Sawyer’s two children are cute, but they’re pretty much pawns in the action scheme here, and we know Johnson will serve a big heroic ending. Sawyer’s wife, Sarah, is largely depicted as a woman in peril–which is a shame, given that she’s played by Neve Campbell, who brought such shrewdness to roles in ‘Scream’ and ‘Wild Things’ back in the ‘90s. Campbell is given a couple moments to shine (as when she shows she knows Chinese, to the surprise of the officers helping her), but they’re few and far between. The most egregious moment in ‘Skyscraper’ just might come during a fight scene

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
Ghost Stories
Film

Ghost Stories

'The Exorcist’ meets ‘The League of Gentlemen’ in a triptych of horror tales that’s presided over with assurance and some seriously mordant wit by playwrights-turned-directors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman. They’ve given their own stage play a cinematic reboot that’s both faithful and fresh, without sacrificing any of its macabre intimacy. ‘Ghost Stories’ is smart, surprising and recognisably British, right down to the peeling wallpaper, caravans and analogue tech of its sorta-bygone setting. Its world is weirdly familiar and yet alien. It’s also darn scary. The three storylines’ common denominator is parapsychologist Professor Phillip Goodman (Nyman). In truth, it’s an odd profession for a man whose sole mission is to debunk witnesses to the supernatural. The arrival of a mysterious cassette sends him to meet three victims of ghostly encounters – Paul Whitehouse’s night watchman, Alex Lawther’s nervy teenager, and Martin Freeman’s Scottish financier – and offers harrowing opportunities to change his mind. Nyman neatly charts Goodman’s arc from condescension to icy terror, but it’s Whitehouse and Freeman who steal the show. The former’s chapter takes place in an abandoned factory guaranteed to haunt your dreams, while Freeman’s is an off-balancing mix of cockiness and menace. If the climax feels a touch clichéd, it barely spoils the ride.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Film

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first ‘Ant-Man’ movie succeeded largely because of its less-is-more approach: a livewire heist caper stuffed with Honey-I-Shrunk-the-Avenger-style visual gags. It leant hard on Paul Rudd’s guileless charm as criminal-turned-micro-hero Scott Lang and some scene-stealing turns, spearheaded by Michael Peña as Lang’s motor-mouthed buddy Luis. Diminishing returns bite, though, in a sequel that strains hard to be effortlessly fun but lacks the same helter-skelter irreverence. We meet Lang under house arrest for siding with Captain America in ‘Civil War’ way back, trying again to go straight. Of course, you can’t keep a besuited burglar cooped up for long. Cue grumpy genius Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and still-underutilised daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) roping him into their quest to save Hank’s long-lost wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer, underemployed). For 30 years, she’s been stuck in the Quantum Realm, a place where all logic bends in service of the plot, but Hank may have a way of rescuing her, with Hope’s superhero alter-ego the Wasp helping out. Cue an uninspiring quest and chunks of pseudo-scientific exposition that’ll make sense only to those with degrees in Marvelology. There’s a solid chase sequence, utilising some of San Francisco’s very fine landmarks, but the low-stakes villains, anodyne superbaddie Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and out-of-place black marketeer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) are anticlimactic after the charismatic dread of Thanos in ‘Avengers:

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
See all Time Out film reviews

Film and TV features

Saw Teong Hin interview
Film

Saw Teong Hin interview

Director Saw Teong Hin talks about his latest movie and first Penang Hokkien feature film 'You Mean the World to Me'

Dain Said interview
Film

Dain Said interview

The charismatic filmmaker talks identity, literature and his distaste for nostalgia

U-Wei Haji Saari interview
Film

U-Wei Haji Saari interview

Director U-Wei Haji Saari talks about his latest film, ‘Hanyut’, and the lost art of storytelling

Everything you need to know about ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’
Film

Everything you need to know about ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’

From trailers to casting news, details about sequels and the release date – here’s everything you need to know about JK Rowling’s new movie set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter