RESPECT (FILM REVIEW)

When it comes to singing, folks usually find praise in technique and tone, but singing as an artform can also find greatness in authentic expression. While every genre of music has its fans, soul music has an incomparable effect to move any audience – and you can’t talk about soul music without mentioning the Queen…

THE YEAR OF THE EVERLASTING STORM – FILM REVIEW

What a year it’s been. Covid-19 brought the world to its knees, showing up faultlines and shifting paradigms in a way no other historical event has laid claim to. We’ve all had to adapt to these changes – some more inconvenient than others. From face masks and beeping apps, to isolation and strained relationships, the…

GUIMOON: THE LIGHTLESS DOOR (FILM REVIEW)

For all the modernity that surrounds Singapore, there’s always something about Asian rituals and ghosts that unnerve even the most disbelieving of us. In the case of Guimoon: The Lightless Door, director Shim Duck-geun leads us down a rabbit hole of hereditary spiritual work, trapped souls and superstitious lore, filled with a core of vengeance….

DUNE (FILM REVIEW)

In the media world, Frank Herbert’s Dune is well-regarded as the sci-fi equivalent of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – unfilmable. Peter Jackson surprised everyone with his production, even as it took almost an entire country’s worth of talent to realise the vision of the latter. Hoping to capture the other corner is Denis Villeneuve….

THE MEDIUM (FILM REVIEW)

The promise of a collaboration between Shutter-famous Banjong Pisanthanakun, directing a new horror title produced by The Wailing Na Hong-jin, is enough to make any pundit in the genre sit up and take notice. The two veterans are strong in their compelling narratives – both enjoy layering their characters with the burden of a strained…

OLD (FILM REVIEW)

Perhaps one of the most intriguing trailers to come out of 2021 is M. Night Shyamalan’s Old. It begins with a couple and their children visiting the Hollywood definition of a luxury resort – tropical palms, overly decorated drinks and too much linen – and quickly goes for WTF when they start rapidly aging after…

GHOST MANSION (FILM REVIEW)

Webtoons are having their day in the sun in Korea’s entertainment industry, as seen by their popularity in titles such as Itaewon Class and Sweet Home. Though it isn’t an adaptation, Ghost Mansion does tap into this cultural phenomena by pitching the protagonist as a webtoon artist who digs a little too far into the…

WAITING FOR RAIN (FILM REVIEW)

When the script led its lead actor Kang Ha-neul to tears during his reading, you know a it makes for a bonafide tearjerker. However, Waiting for Rain isn’t your regular ballad of a saga, milking languorous musical slow-mos and fall-in-your-arms tropes for romance. In fact, the female protagonist even insists they never meet – but…

IN THE HEIGHTS (FILM REVIEW)

Hungry for projects, studios are riffling through the past for a quick way to make content, and adaptations have been one of the treasuries they’ve been drawing from. With the Broadway breakout Hamilton under his belt, Lin-Manuel Miranda portfolio became Warner Bros’s target, given how his material not only brought relevant messaging on diversity and…

HOW TO BUY BITCOIN (AND OTHER COINS) IF YOU’RE A BEGINNER IN SINGAPORE

You know Bitcoin. Maybe heard about Ethereum. And if you’re not under a rock, Dogecoin and perhaps Shiba Inu too. Cryptocurrency has exploded on the market in a big way, led mostly by stories of millionaires made in seconds, as well as spectacular losses. Arguably the godfather of crypto coins, Elon Musk certainly keeps crypto…

SPIRAL (FILM REVIEW)

The collection of Saw films has shuttled along its timeline, but one fact remains – Jigsaw, the vigilante serial killer, is well and truly at rest. So what would it possibly take for a new episode to arise? It seems, a chance meeting between franchise fan Chris Rock and Lionsgate vice chairman, Michael Burns. CEO…

H24: THE HERMES MAN CLAIMS MODERNITY WITH A BOTANICAL PRESENCE

The widely-anticipated men’s perfume is the house’s latest after 15 years. One moment, we’re trying to start the year right with pandemic vaccination. The next, we’re treated to snippets of a young man Inception-walking in an illusory city made up of smoke and mirrors. “H24: A fragrance beyond the lines,” the ad promised. If one…

CLIFF WALKERS (FILM REVIEW)

A Zhang Yimou film is always an event. As one of this generation’s most iconic Asian directors, Zhang has been able to transition from more independent efforts to commercial titles with great success, receiving critical acclaim for his earlier works Red Sorghum and Raise the Red Lantern, and popular appeal with Hero, House of Flying…

THE HYPNOSIS (FILM REVIEW)

When it comes to hypnosis, you usually belong in one of the two camps: Those that believe and wish to try, and those that don’t but would also like to try. Suffice to say, The Hypnosis is eager to tap into this fascination for this fledgling science, though practitioners might not appreciate the dramatic slant…

SEOBOK (FILM REVIEW)

Mention of this film locally has quickly drawn reference to crispy pork belly (even from my editor), given how similar the two are when spelled out. But this is a film review and not a food review so all jokes aside… On the name, director Lee Yong Zoo explained, “Emperor Qin of China was a…

CAN GREAT FILMS CHANGE THE WORLD?

SK-II thinks so, with the creation of SK-II STUDIO. As a film student, I learnt to look past the entertainment facet of the medium, and into the art of its expression. Hirokazu Koreeda became known to me through the film Shoplifters, and the watching left me haunted for days to come. His gift of translating…

POSSESSOR (FILM REVIEW)

Cronenberg. The surname itself signals that Possessor is going to be deeply provocative. Son of David Cronenberg, Brandon Cronenberg, is fully realising every bit of his family’s legacy with Possessor. The sci-fi horror checks all the heritage hallmarks – body horror, unflinching gore, ethical conundrums and brutal delivery – all somehow still wrapped in a…

THE BOX (FILM REVIEW)

With some members beginning their enlistment, SM Entertainment has officially announced that EXO’s future will be moving towards more solo projects. It is a timely balm then for fans of the 9-member boy band, that The Box stars one of the two prominent rappers in the group – Chanyeol. While the band was known for…

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (FILM REVIEW)

In this biographical depiction of revolutionary Fred Hampton, director Shaka King condenses the events of his influential years as a chairman in the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, that inevitably led with his assassination in 1969. He was 21.   But the focus here is less on his incredible charisma that realised a “rainbow…

MINARI – FILM REVIEW

Two months into the new year and we may very well have another Parasite on our hands. Minari is Lee Isaac Chung’s feathery opus, chronicling an immigrant family trying to take root in a new motherland while earning their own particular version of success. It’s a gentle story held aloft by deceptively easy story-telling, yet…

BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY (FILM REVIEW)

At one point, I almost choked on my coffee. So zippy are the liners coming from Breaking News in Yuba Country, that I’d suggest one be careful with your concession fare, lest it ends up in the wrong orifices. It could be a side comment, a fleeting look or just full-on slapstick, but the pitches…

SUPERNOVA (FILM REVIEW)

When the film begins quietly in the motorhome of Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), one almost instantly feels intrusive – such is the simmering tenderness coming from the on-screen lovers. As Supernova unfurls, the story of this middle-aged couple facing obstacles from a medical predicament is teased out in similar fashion. Tucci displays…

STIGMATIZED PROPERTIES (FILM REVIEW)

Would you stay in a stigmatized property? Just the thought of it might make some skins crawl. Stigmatized properties are residential places for rent or purchase, but with one big twist – someone’s passed away in them before. Sometimes this is a little more peaceful, where the occupants die during their sleep. Other times it’s…

THE CON-HEARTIST (FILM REVIEW)

Besides sinful Mookatas, fiery Tom Yum soups and delicious Phad Thai, it’s safe to say that the Thai have cornered the market on wacky humour on-screen. It’s not just in movies, but you’ll likely have seen one of those twist-ending ads that drops a curveball of an ending after an emotional wringer. But a victim…

JOINING THE FRAY – 1MORE TRUE WIRELESS ANC IN-EAR HEADPHONES REVIEW

Audio gear has taken huge steps in the last few years, and one of the most significant upgrades is the ANC or Active Noise Cancellation feature. It’s been so popular that even regular folks recognise the acronym, thanks to the launch of Apple’s Airpods Pro. As the market ramps up to demand, 1More has introduced…

BRAVEN – MOVIE REVIEW

The thing about superhero blockbuster (as much as I enjoy them) is that sometimes the audience doesn’t worry about our leads. We know they will come out unscathed. And when the hero looks like Jason Momoa – in a forest of trees, this man is a sequoia – it’s even easier to believe that they…

SOUL SNATCHER – MOVIE REVIEW

In the myth-rich troves of China folklore, there are likely a million entities written about to bless, curse, scare or just remind us what it means to be human. At this intersection of the godly, demonic and human natures, storytellers have been seeking to investigate ethics and morals, while offering up philosophical revelations. They are…