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Let's Go To The Movies  by Mark Gernpy

 
 

Now playing in Chiang Mai through July 11

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: US, Action/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Thriller – A film that explores the secret life of one of the greatest presidents of the US, and the untold story that shaped the country. Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and the well-known and knowledgeable vampire director Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted and the Night Watch/ Day Watch vampire studies) bring a fresh and visceral voice to the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history’s greatest hunter of the undead. Starring Benjamin Walker (as Lincoln), Rufus Sewell, and Dominic Cooper. Mixed or average reviews, saying generally that it has superb visual style, but that the mashup of genres don’t jell in a coherent way, and the result is not entirely satisfying. Rated R in the US for violence throughout and brief sexuality; 18+ in Thailand. In 3D (English) at Airport Plaza; 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

Magic Mike: US, Comedy/ Drama – Mike, an experienced male stripper, takes a younger performer called The Kid under his wing and schools him in the arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money. Stars Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, and Olivia Munn; directed by Steve Soderbergh. Rated R in the US for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and some drug use; 18+ in Thailand. Generally favorable reviews, saying the film has excellent direction, a smart screenplay, and strong performances. In Digital 2D (English), and only at Airport Plaza.

The Amazing Spider-Man: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Thriller – Playing everywhere in concentrated overkill, this is expected by all concerned to be the next super-big movie hit. I think it may well be – with saturation like this, how could it not? Opening weekend receipts were amazing here, to be sure.

I think it’s good, with some fine work in it, an intelligible story, excellent special effects, the 3D used to extraordinarily good effect. And I find that Andrew Garfield makes a tremendously appealing hero. That said, I found myself cool to it overall, and I don’t know why. I didn’t enjoy it overall as I had expected to. I do know that was irritated by the music, but mark that down to simply my tastes; and I thought the 3D came across as way too dark. Since I haven’t read of any complaints about the film being too dark, I can only assume that it was the fault of the particular projectionist when I saw it – a common enough occurrence, unfortunately.

This time Peter Parker is played by the quite amazing Andrew Garfield (The Social Network). Although he’s hilariously too old to be in high school, he pulls it off. He’s an outcast who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance – leading him directly to the lab of his father's former partner, a true villain whose alter-ego is The Lizard.

Generally highly favorable reviews. In three versions at Airport Plaza: 3D (English), 3D (Thai-dubbed), and Digital 2D (English). At Vista: Digital 2D (English) and regular 2D (Thai-dubbed).

The Dictator: US, Comedy – This newest film by your favorite crazy actor/ screenwriter Sacha Baron Cohen is scripted rather than the sort-of-documentary performances of his previous Bruno and Borat, and I feel a lot more comfortable as a result. The making of fools out of people in real interviews which was so much the style of the previous films made me feel very uncomfortable and sort of slimy. This is much more a regular script. However wild and raunchy the satire might be, it belongs to a truly valid comedic tradition, and is indeed very funny. Here a dictator goes to any lengths to prevent democracy from taking root in the country he so lovingly oppresses. Stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, and Ben Kingsley. Rated R in the US for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language, and some violent images; 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews. In Digital 2D (English), and only at Airport Plaza.

Antapal (Hoodlum) / Gangster: Thai, Action/ Drama – A gritty action film on the exploits of Thai gangsters in the 1950s, starring Krissada “Noi” Sukosol Clapp and "Tao" Somchai Kemglad as a pair of young hoodlums who take on the old-time mafia to shake up the Thai underworld. They then find themselves challenged by a pair of even younger hoodlums who are obsessed with the lifestyle of James Dean. Directed by Kongkiat Khomsiri, it’s based on a true story about a Bangkokian Mafia that was formed during a time of social and cultural upheaval in Thailand. Young people were listening to Elvis and aspiring to be like James Dean, breaking down cultural norms and, in the case of the men at the center of this film, breaking the law with a wild disregard for anything in their way. Rated 18+. Thai-only and only at Vista.


Playing in Chiang Mai

The Amazing Spider-Man: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Thriller – Expected by all concerned to be the next super-big movie hit. This time Peter Parker is played by the quite-amazing-by-himself Andrew Garfield (The Social Network). He’s an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to the lab of his father’s former partner, a true villain whose alter-ego is The Lizard. Generally highly favorable reviews. In both 3D (English) and Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza; Digital 2D (English) and regular 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

The Dictator: US, Comedy – It’s scripted rather than the sort-of-documentary performances of Bruno and Borat, and I feel a lot more comfortable as a result. The making of fools out of people in real interviews which was so much the style of the previous films made me feel very uncomfortable and sort of slimy. This is much more a regular script. However wild and raunchy the satire might be, it belongs to a truly valid comedic tradition, and is indeed very funny. Rated R in the US for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language, and some violent images; 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews. In Digital 2D (English), and only at Airport Plaza.

Prometheus: US, Action/ Horror/ Sci-Fi – An exceptionally well-done science-fiction film with a lot to think about amidst all the action. I thought it really a most satisfying movie experience. It’s the story of a team of explorers who discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. Directed by Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, who with this film returns to the genre he helped define. For me, many references to 2001: A Space Odyssey – including a walking, talking, joking HAL 9000 robot. And he’s got his own personal issues to work out (again!). Fine performances by Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender (as the robot). Rated R in the US for sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language; 15+ in Thailand. Generally favorable reviews, but I think it’s much better than that. I’d say it’s not to be missed. Now only in regular 2D, only Thai-dubbed, and only at Vista.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted: US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – The Madagascar team of regulars – Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe – are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style. Mixed or average reviews, which call it bright and breezy with fast pacing, bright colors, dazzling circus acts, a vigorous villain, and some new characters. Now only in Digital 2D (English), and only at Airport Plaza.

Snow White and the Huntsman: US, Action/ Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy – I thought this a fantastically beautiful film with superb art direction and a fully realized story. It’s the old tale intact, with every moment, every twist and turn, given full due. Visually and aurally it is without peer – one of the most exciting and satisfying films I’ve seen in some time. Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron; directed by Rupert Sanders, making his feature film debut. Shot mostly in England, with impressive photography. Mixed or average reviews, but I recommend it highly. Now only in regular 2D, only Thai-dubbed, and only at Vista.

Antapal (Hoodlum) / Gangster: Thai, Action/ Drama – A gritty action film on the exploits of Thai gangsters in the 1950s, starring Krissada “Noi” Sukosol Clapp and “Tao” Somchai Kemglad as a pair of young hoodlums who take on the old-time mafia to shake up the Thai underworld. They then find themselves challenged by a pair of even younger hoodlums who are obsessed with the lifestyle of James Dean. Directed by Kongkiat Khomsiri, it’s based on a true story about a Bangkokian Mafia that was formed during a time of social and cultural upheaval in Thailand. Young people were listening to Elvis and aspiring to be like James Dean, breaking down cultural norms and, in the case of the men at the center of this film, breaking the law with a wild disregard for anything in their way. Rated 18+. Thai-only at Vista, English subtitles at Major.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: (Scheduled for July 5) US, Action/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Thriller – A film that explores the secret life of one of the greatest presidents of the US, and the untold story that shaped that country. Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and the well-known and knowledgeable vampire director Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted and the Night Watch/ Day Watch vampire studies) bring a fresh and visceral voice to the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history’s greatest hunter of the undead. Starring Benjamin Walker (as Lincoln), Rufus Sewell, and Dominic Cooper. Mixed or average reviews, saying generally that it has superb visual style, but the mashup of genres don’t jell in a coherent way, and the result is not entirely satisfying. Rated R in the US for violence throughout and brief sexuality; 18+ in Thailand.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift: (Scheduled for July 12) US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – One of filmdom’s most beloved trios – Manny, Diego, and Sid – embark upon a great adventure after a cataclysm sets an entire continent adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world. Meanwhile, Scrat continues to chase his elusive acorn. Early reviews: mixed or average.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]]

Now playing in Chiang Mai through July 11

Playing in Chiang Mai