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

The Mummy
Film

The Mummy

In the opening frames of this murky megabudget monster mash, the famous Universal logo – a twinkling globe – revolves and dims, revealing the words ‘DARK UNIVERSE’ in glowering block capitals. We’re not messing about, the new emblem screams. This cinematic franchise we’re building, set to incorporate Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man, will be every bit as vast and sprawling as anything Marvel or DC have to offer. It’s a big, bold fanfare of intent – after which the film itself feels like one long, wet raspberry. If you’ve seen either the 1932 or 1999 versions of the story, you already know the basics: an arrogant Western archaeologist digs up an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus; its entombed inhabitant reanimates and runs rampant. This time our hero is Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), a wisecracking US Army loose cannon and part-time tomb raider who stumbles upon a buried mausoleum in Iraq – hang on, Iraq? Yes, in a barefaced effort to curry favour with the guns ’n’ ammo crowd, ‘The Mummy’ offers the baffling notion that the ancient Egyptians decided to bury the titular demon squarely in ISIS country, allowing Tom to look good running with a machine gun and cap a few jabbering jihadis in the process. It’s then on to London, where the Cruiser survives a plane crash and learns that his leathery bod been chosen by the Mummy, aka Pharaonic Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), to act as the earthly vessel for Set, the God of death. He also trades flirtatious quips with historical schola

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Wonder Woman
Film

Wonder Woman

Before seeing ‘Wonder Woman’, I got a sinking feeling. It’s been more than a decade since a woman headlining a superhero film saved the world. I had visions of middle-aged male studio execs huddled together in a conference room Googling feminism and group-thinking how to make a lady-hero. Would the result feel like a two-and-a-half-hour tampon advert? Actually, no. ‘Wonder Woman’ feels like the real deal, a rollicking action adventure in the tradition of ‘Indiana Jones’, with a fully functioning sense of humour and the year’s most lip-smackingly evil baddie. It has a wobbly opening on a women-only island where hot chicks in fabulous Ancient Greek sandals appear to have wondered in from a Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign. This is Themyscira where the Amazon tribe have lived in peace for thousands of years. Actress and former Miss Israel Gal Gadot (Gisele in the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise) is their princess, Diana (Wonder Woman), who was sculpted from clay and brought to life by Zeus. The island’s tranquillity is broken by the arrival of a cocky American soldier played by ‘Star Trek’ actor Chris Pine, who is adorable. He knows he’s here as eye-candy and does smoking-hot sexy sidekick with a good sense of humour. The plot is functional. It’s World War One and Pine is an American spy who has discovered that evil German chemist Dr Maru (Elena Anaya) – aka Doctor Poison – is cooking up a dirty bomb to wipe out Allied soldiers on the Front. Wonder Woman volunteers to save humankind, st

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Baywatch
Film

Baywatch

Everyone in ‘Baywatch’ seems on the verge of cracking up about being in a movie version of ‘Baywatch’ – how could they not be? The laughs in director Seth Gordon’s surprisingly fun and self-mocking comedy don’t sneak up on you so much as hail you from a mile off with an air-horn blast and then bonk you over the head. This is a film in which lifeguard Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson explodes out of the water – in slo-mo – with a rescued paraglider in his arms, while porpoises flip behind him in celebration. The thing about this Hollywood version of the butt-ogling ’90s TV phenomenon is that, pretty quickly, it makes you feel in on the gag. Taking lessons from 2012’s wonderfully silly ‘21 Jump Street’ (in which Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill scientifically proved that bad television need not result in bad filmmaking), ‘Baywatch’ owns its preposterousness. The actors are what save it. Johnson builds on his subversive persona of hulking, dimwitted likability, and he’s joined by ‘Neighbours’ star Zac Efron, who plays a cocky, disgraced Olympic swimmer, Matt Brody, nicknamed the Vomit Comet. (Confused by his bodacious lifeguard team’s role in solving crime, Brody says it sounds like a ‘really entertaining but far-fetched TV show.’) Because this is ‘Baywatch’, it’s crude (brace yourself for several movies’ worth of penis jokes – flaccid and otherwise), but at least the camera is an equal-opportunity lech. Kelly Rohrbach and Alexandra Daddario bring a winking awareness and unprudish confi

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge
Film

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge

Despite cries to abandon ship, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ has set sail yet again. We’re on film five now and this really is swashbuckling by numbers, with prison altercations, ghost crews, hangman’s high jinks and battle scenes that could have been lifted from earlier movies. But ‘Dead Men’ is clearly an attempt to return to the good old days of the franchise, with an actual plot – however wishy-washy – and two new young things, played by Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites.  Scodelario is Carina, a ‘woman of science’, a self-taught astronomer hunted on land as a witch. She’s smart and strong, but the movie is too distracted by its own kookiness for her to really get interesting. Thwaites is Henry, the bland but honourable offspring of the even blander Will and Elizabeth – Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters in the earlier films. Bloom even makes a brief, breathless appearance, his cheeks covered in cockles, but fans hoping for a meaningful reunion with Knightley will be left hanging.  Carina and Henry are on the hunt for Poseidon’s Trident, a mythical weapon that, if uncovered, has the power to break every oceanic curse – and therefore undo the plots of the movies that came before. Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbosa ends up being the most likeable character here; Javier Bardem’s pirate-hunter Salazar is all raspy one-dimensional revenge and let’s not even talk about that Paul McCartney cameo. Unfortunately for everyone, Captain Jack Sparrow is still slurring and

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Film

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Or ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation: The Early Years’. Fourth time out, there’s an all-new cast of wimps (the last lot were getting a bit long in the tooth), but the set-up is basically the same. Nerdy Greg (Jason Drucker) suffers the taunts of older brother Rodrick (Charlie Wright), the smothering of mom Susan (Alicia Silverstone) and the general haplessness of dad Frank (Tom Everett Scott), this time on a cross-country trip to Grandma’s ninetieth birthday. And the result is surprisingly pleasurable. Sure, ‘The Long Haul’ checks off all the expected road-trip clichés: run-ins with a rival family, cockroach motel horrors, inadvertent off-roading. But it’s mostly carried off with aplomb, particularly by Wright, who looks like a slightly less evil Ezra Miller (creepy Credence Barebone in ‘Fantastic Beasts’) and gives a genuinely funny performance as permanently perplexed metalhead Rodrick. The script by author Jeff Kinney and director David Bowers even has the faintest whiff of Trump-era politics about it, as Dad heralds their arrival in ‘the real America’ and Greg wonders ‘what does that make us?’. A shame, then, that Silverstone gets to do nothing but nag and whine as killjoy Mom: not only is this a waste of a fine actor, but of the film’s only central female role. It’s a crass note in an otherwise perfectly serviceable kid-friendly comedy.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Colossal
Film

Colossal

Talk about a sledgehammer metaphor: when aimless party girl Gloria (Anne Hathaway) starts to slip from casual drinker into full-blown alcoholic, her fractured psyche somehow conjures a thousand-foot lizard in South Korea that destroys anything it touches. That's the starting premise for this determinedly bizarre, psychologically inquisitive and in the end rather wonderful black comedy from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo. Think 'Trainwreck' meets 'Pacific Rim', with a dash of 'Forbidden Planet'.   Gloria's life is already in decline before Godzilla shows up: she's just been booted out by her prissy New York boyfriend (Dan Stevens), forcing her back to her folks' abandoned home in rustic Nowheresville. It's here that she meets Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a good-natured small-towner with his own bar, and a close circle of dropout buddies into which Gloria slots neatly. And then Seoul gets flattened, and everything takes a turn for the weird.   For the first half, 'Colossal' lurches amusingly if a little awkwardly from smart, snappy indie comedy to oddball disaster movie and back again, carried along by a wry, casually self-mocking performance from Hathaway (complete with a monster fringe). But every time it seems poised to tip into nod-wink hipster self-parody the plot twists, the intrigue deepens and everything gets a little sharper and more savage. Not everyone here is quite who they appear to be, and the city-smashing antics begin to take a back seat to the gripping, at tim

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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