Arts & Entertainment

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

Penang's best art galleries
Art

Penang's best art galleries

Your art appreciation begins now

50 things to do in Penang: Arts and culture
Things to do

50 things to do in Penang: Arts and culture

Here's how you can channel your inner culture vulture

Street art by Ernest Zacharevic
Art

Street art by Ernest Zacharevic

A look at Penang's most photogenic graffiti art

Independent bookshops in Penang
Shopping

Independent bookshops in Penang

Where you can score some inspirational reads

Street art in Penang
Art

Street art in Penang

A guide to George Town's glorious street art

Latest film reviews and releases

Playing with Fire
Film

Playing with Fire

There’s a longstanding tradition in Hollywood that if you put an uber-macho beefcake in a situation where they have to care for a child, it’s a recipe for hilarity. A man? Looking after a child? What next! Admittedly it can work (‘Kindergarten Cop’) but more often than not, it doesn’t (‘Race to Witch Mountain’ and ‘The Tooth Fairy’). And that’s certainly the case with ‘Witch Mountain’ director Andy Fickman’s latest dead-eyed family film. In this slapdash, slapstick comedy, real life action man John Cena stars as a ‘Smoke Jumper’ – a firefighter who parachutes into to tackle wildfires in California. He’s a duty-bound tough-guy type, living in the shadow of his fire-chief father’s legend. He’s shacked up in the firehouse with three other devoted, and loveable meatheads (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane), and his pet mastiff, Masher – yes even the dog has to be hyper-masculine. While applying for a promotion, Cena and his hapless crew end up rescuing three siblings from a burning log cabin, and chaos ensues. It’s all nappy and fart jokes, accompanied by Cena inexplicably removing his t-shirt every five minutes to show off his rippling physique. The firehouse is trashed in a series of set pieces by the overly curious tykes, but, lo and behold, their antics teach these emotionally pent-up men that opening your heart is the path to true happiness. Judy Greer also makes an appearance as Dr Amy Hicks, Cena’s token love interest and budding herpetologist. She’s the

Time Out says
1 out of 5 stars
Terminator: Dark Fate
Film

Terminator: Dark Fate

The headline on this latest addition to the ‘Terminator’ franchise – a Hollywood series that’s creaking like an aging T-800 with stiff joints – is that it reunites the people who made it great in the first place: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and James Cameron (though not original co-producer Gale Anne Hurd). They’re back for ‘Dark Fate’, promising to straighten all those crooked timelines and deliver some honest-to-goodness shock and awe. On paper at least, that’s a tantalising prospect. In reality, however, the involvement of James Cameron is limited to a story and producer credit – and it’s hard to imagine the story took him longer than an ‘Avatar 2’ lunch break to whip together. The set-up and structure are so similar to 1991’s landmark ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’, ‘Dark Fate’ could almost be called a remake. It’s a watery facsimile of that movie, full of nods and winks to iconic moments long past. ‘Deadpool’ director Tim Miller is the latest filmmaker to try to bring freshness to these reheated beats, and there are some promising flashes early on. That iconic shot of terminators skull-crunching their way across an apocalyptic landscape transforms into a tranquil beachside scene in one smooth edit. The tension at the heart of these ‘Terminator’ movies was always between the clutch of terrified, clued-up survivors and the oblivious masses, and the moment captures it neatly. The setting, 27 years after ‘Judgment Day’, then shifts south of the U.S. border where a

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
Charlie's Angels
Film

Charlie's Angels

Director Elizabeth Banks takes the helm as the next generation of fearless Charlie's Angels take flight. In Banks' bold vision, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend, whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. With the world's smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere. The screenplay is by Elizabeth Banks from a story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Film

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

An overstuffed follow-up to 2014’s skilful Sleeping Beauty’ spin-off ‘Maleficent’, Joachim Rønning’s (‘Kon-Tiki’) sequel finds one worthy reason to exist in Michelle Pfeiffer’s wicked Queen Ingrith. As the nemesis to Angelina Jolie’s red-lipped siren, Pfeiffer gives us exactly what we want: the venomous Catwoman attitude she brought to ‘Mother!’. Intimidating in costume designer Ellen Mirojnick’s pearl-encrusted threads, Pfeiffer strides into character – her Ingrith plots to overtake the realm, poisoning the familial bond between its young queen, Aurora (a graceful Elle Fanning), and her misunderstood godmother, Maleficent (Jolie, glamorous and imposing). Will Ingrith’s villainy destroy the duo’s love, which the first film so thoughtfully built?Even if you have an idea how that question gets answered, Pfeiffer’s deceitful empress (with flower allergies) keeps things entertaining enough. The rest of the package isn’t as inspired, despite Patrick Tatopoulos’s fanciful production design that recalls a lesser ‘Avatar’, and all the cute, flickering things hovering around. A smitten Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), engaged to Aurora, sometimes downgrades the otherwise central Maleficent from feared potentate to anxious empty-nester. There’s also an underground clan of creatures that includes Chiwetel Ejiofor’s horned Conall, living in hiding from human threat. It all leads to a noisy finale that wears out its welcome. (You’ll crave more of the quieter battle from an earlier dinn

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Midway
Film

Midway

You don’t go to Roland Emmerich for subtlety. The director behind such shuddering behemoths as ‘Independence Day’, ‘2012’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ is most comfortable with explosions – he mainly exists to make Michael Bay seem slightly more interesting. ‘Midway’, his cacophonous, often rousing reconstruction of the four-day 1942 naval battle that turned the tide of World War II’s Pacific theatre, is right up Emmerich’s alley. The film pays hypnotic, nearly educational attention to dive-bomber runs, plunging us earthward behind planes as their pilots dip low enough to drop their lethal payloads. Battleship grey and cascading fire are the film’s primary colours; the movie flaunts its hugeness at every turn. You’d never mistake it for the real thing, but Emmerich’s eye for historical detail is impressive. Still, in our current moment of ‘Dunkirk’ and war films with an arty pulse, ‘Midway’ plays like a Hollywood relic: a two-hour videogame in which all the action goes down without a hint of wind against the actors’ foreheads. (And don’t think too hard about the gaucheness of Emmerich’s opening act, a bloodless reconstruction of the attack on Pearl Harbor.) The movie briefly becomes a superior entertainment whenever it shifts focus to the military strategists behind the hardware: Patrick Wilson’s Japanese-speaking intelligence officer Edwin Layton, guilt-ridden and determined to make good, could have commanded his own plot. But elsewhere, we hear flyboys shout lines like ‘Knoc

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Zombieland 2: Double Tap
Film

Zombieland 2: Double Tap

Emma Stone, still with her post-‘La La Land’ and ‘The Favourite’ glow yet palpably bored to be in a zombie sequel, isn’t the only thing that’s tired about this belated follow-up to 2009’s ‘Zombieland’. The redneck-liberal alliance of the first movie – embodied by Woody Harrelson’s strutting Tallahassee and Jesse Eisenberg’s neurotic Columbus (people assume the names of their hometowns in this post-apocalyptic universe) – once felt edgy. But in today’s political landscape, it’s less believable than reanimated corpses. Meanwhile, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have honed their R-rated snarksmanship in two ‘Deadpool’ movies. What was left to be said here? Very little, and the film seems to realise as much. (Eisenberg even thanks the audience in a cringingly clever voiceover: ‘Everyone has choices when it comes to zombie entertainment.’) It’s extra infuriating that the new plotline does so little to justify its own existence. The gang now lives in a gone-to-seed White House – the front façade, overgrown with weeds and stray lumbering flesh-eaters, is a dreamy piece of CGI – but the new residents bicker just like they did the last time, and only Little Rock (a grown-up Abigail Breslin, underused) fantasizes about straying off the grounds. She does, triggering a rescue effort. Heroically, ‘Double Tap’s new actors, rare though they are, save it from being completely brain-dead. Zoey Deutch (soulful and spunky in Richard Linklater’s ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’) does what s

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
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