Watch Some Local Cinema

Singapore has a thriving local film industry that ranges from Jack Neo's populist movies that focus on the social topic du jour, to Anthony Chen and Eric Khoo's more literary works. There are other filmmakers grabbing headlines with movies being commended at film festivals. E.g. Anthony Chen (Ilo Ilo), Michelle Chong (Already Famous) and more.

Ah Boys to Men series

Series included: Ah Boys to Men, Ah Boys to Men 2 and Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen

Ah Boys to Men (2012)

Directed by: Jack Neo

Produced by: Jack Neo, Lim Teck and Leonard Lai

Being the first local film depicting Singapore at war, Ah Boys to Men (新兵正传) is a Singaporean-Malaysian two-part film which illustrates the story of a group of army recruits as they embark on their National Service journey in Singapore, transforming from ‘Ah Boys’ (teenagers) to real ‘Men’. Despite their differences – in family backgrounds and personalities – these boys go through the same disciplinary training and adversities together as one in the army. Besides the daily torturous training, their family and romantic relationships are also factors which make this journey a challenge – physically, mentally and emotionally. Can we depend on them to protect our nation? Composed and written by Tosh Zhang, who is also starring in the movie, the official theme song ‘Recruit’s Anthem’ became a top hit for the film. This visually appealing movie filmed at BMTC Pulau Tekong was released on November 8, 2012 and its tremendous success made it the highest-grossing Singapore film of all time with a box-office gross of S$6.03 million.

Who should watch:

Fans of YouTubers Tosh Zhang, Noah Yap, and Ridhwan Azman , getai singer Wang Wei Liang, blogger Joshua Tan and Maxi Lim.

Ah Boys to Men 2 (2013)

Directed by: Jack Neo

Produced by: Jack Neo, Lim Teck and Leonard Lai

A sequel to the first film, Ah Boys to Men 2 (新兵正传II) features the same cast but returns with a fresh plot. In the first film, viewers witnessed the struggles of the soldiers as they step into a new phase of life. This time, these soldiers reveal their other sides in the progress of striving towards completing their National Service journey and blossoming into manhood. IP Man (Noah Yap) deals with his girlfriend cheating on him, Ken Chow (Joshua Tan) turns over a new leaf after his Dad’s car accident, Wayang King (Maxi Lim) attempts to be likeable amongst his platoon mates and more. From strangers to brothers, Ah Boys to Men 2 is definitely a humorous yet heart touching film which will bring you through an emotional train wreck of laughter and tears.

As in the first film, Tosh Zhang starred and wrote the official theme song titled ‘Brothers’, which received 2.3 million hits on YouTube. Ah Boys to Men 2 was released on February 1, 2013 and it overtook the title as the highest-grossing film of all time with a box-office gross of $12 million.

Who should watch:

Fans of YouTubers Tosh Zhang, Noah Yap and Ridhwan Azman, getai singer Wang Wei Liang, blogger Joshua Tan, Maxi Lim.  

 Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen (2015)


Directed by: Jack Neo

Produced by: J Team and mm2 Entertainment

Director Jack Neo has proved that there is still more to the story of a ragtag group of misfits going through an ineffaceable journey in every Singaporean male's transformation from teenagers to young, mature adults. Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen (新兵正传 III) is the third film in the Ah Boys to Men franchise. The film showcases a different story line should the boys have been assigned to the Naval Diving Unit (NDU). Being the ‘baddest from the sea, air and land,’ these NDU boys are obliged to perform routines such as tyre flips, boat tosses, capsize drills and all sorts of murderous trainings you could ever think of. Well, things can’t get any worse than the infamous Hell Week. Lobang (Wang Wei Liang) struggles to support and protect his younger sister from his drug-addicted mother, Ken Chow (Joshua Tan) still faces girlfriend issues and refuses to give up brainstorming for ideas to escape from camp, smart-aleck Wayang King (Maxi Lim) chooses to underplay than overplay his role and new character, Hei Long (Wesley Wong) gets involved in conflicts and fights.

Raking in a shockingly high $2.83 million from box offices over a short period of four days, Ah Boys to Men 3 is now the Asian film with the highest box office takings since its opening weekend in Singapore. The film was released in cinemas on 19 February 2015.

Who should watch:

Fans of YouTuber Tosh Zhang, getai singer Wang Wei Liang, blogger Joshua Tan, Maxi Lim, Charlie Goh and Hong Kong actor Wesley Wong.

7 Letters

Directed by: Boo Junfeng, Eric Khoo, Jack Neo, Tan Pin Pin, Royston Tan, Kelvin Tong and K. Rajagopal

Produced by: Tan Pin Pin

As Singapore celebrates its 50th jubilee year, seven of the country’s most prominent directors have incorporated their creative storytelling and filmmaking talents to present an emotive anthology featuring the lives and chronicles of Singaporeans as a tribute.

7 Letters is more than just another film. It signifies seven heartfelt ‘love letters’ to Singapore, featuring the directors’ personal and heart-rending connection with the island they call ‘home’. The seven stories tell of our heartland and its people through tales of lost love, identity, inter-generational familial bonds and tensions, unlikely neighbours, and even references to traditional folklore.

Released on 24 July 2015, 7 Letters has been selected as Singapore’s entry to the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category.

Who should watch:

All Singaporeans



Directed by: Randy Ang

Produced by: Daniel Yun

Apart from 7 Letters, 1965 is another film honouring Singapore’s golden jubilee and 50th year of independence. The film was released on 30 July 2015.

1965 is a captivating, action-packed thriller that travels back into the history of Singapore like never before. Narrating heart-warming stories of immigrants and natives, witness the lives of a group of people, divided by race, language and religion transform through a defining moment in history. Their paths will intervene and clash in race riots during the months resulting in the separation from Malaysia, and towards Singapore’s independence.

Who should watch:

Fans of Joanne Peh, Qi Yuwu, Deanna Yusoff, James Seah, Sezairi Sezali, Mike Kasem, and Lim Kay Tong.

Ilo Ilo

Directed by: Anthony Chen

Produced by: Anthony Chen, Ang Hwee Sim and Wahyuni A. Hadi

As a child in Singapore, Anthony Chen had been under the supervision and care of a Filipina nanny. To him, the relationship between domestic helpers and employers is viewed as  ‘quite brutal’- “You invite a stranger into your home, have them forge a semi-kinship with your children over a number of years and only when you decide you don't need help any more, you send them home, and that sense of family is very brutally erased."

Not wanting to forget his nanny, Chen decided to make a film about her. Ilo Ilo (爸媽不在家 ) is a sensitive, meticulous study of a typical Singaporean family who has hired a nanny. Set in 1997, the year Chen bade goodbye to his nanny who has taken care of him for eight years, the lead character in the film has the same name – Teresa, or "Aunty Terry", as Chen called her. Ilo Ilo is the province of the Philippines where she belongs to. Contrary to reality, Aunty Terry's treatment in the film is harsher, having to sleep on a mattress and handle domestic chores instructed by the commanding mother in addition to her guilt over her own son who was growing up without a mother back in the Philippines. A subplot featured the father of the family pushed to the brink of despair by the Asian economic crisis.

Who should watch:

Fans of Chen Tianwen, Yeo Yann Yann and Angeli Bayani.


Already Famous (一泡而)

Directed by: Michelle Chong

Produced by: Anita Hatta

As a young village woman, Ah Kiao (Michelle Chong) has always wished to flourish into a famous actor someday under the influence of the famous actors she sees in her beloved soap operas. Despite her family's disapproval, she voyages to Singapore to fulfil her dream and takes on a job as a salesgirl to make ends meet while auditioning. During her stay, Ah Kiao crosses paths with a coffee shop worker (Alien Huang), who threatens to disrupt her dream. Already Famous (一泡而) was released on 1 December 2011 and nominated as the Singaporean entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.

Who should watch:

Fans of Michelle Chong, Taiwanese idol Alien Huang, Patricia Mok and Enlai Chua.


Directed by: Gilbert Chan

Produced by: Gary Goh, Au Yuk Sing and Freddie Yeo

A wild rumour sparked off speculations that a mentally ill woman who once lived on the island had passed away at the exact time of 23:59. Belief states that her spirit is back to haunt the soldiers at the exact same time every night. The introverted platoon outcast, Tan, is terrified that he will be the next victim of the mad woman's spirit as it started visiting him every night. Despite numerous attempts to convince his buddy, Jeremy, that the vengeful spirit is coming for him, Jeremy often laughs it off and claims that they are just Tan’s hallucinations. It was only when Tan died an unnatural death during the 24 km road march for the platoon in the forest did Jeremy decide to investigate Tan's death. 23:59 was released in Singapore on 3 November 2011 and in Malaysia on 29 December 2011 with grossing $1.5 million in box-office sales.

Who should watch:

Anyone but the weak-hearted.

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