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Let's Go To The Movies  by Mark Gernpy

 
 

Now playing in Chiang Mai through August 15.

P-047: Thai, Drama – This is a puzzle of a Thai movie that’s quite worth making the attempt to decipher. The filmmaking is solid, with great use of the architecture of the locations, and a couple of amazing performances from the leads. The timeline of the story is splintered and wrapped back upon itself, leaving you to basically come up with your own personal version of the movie. The film offers only minimal narrative that explores the concept of personal identity while blurring the lines between what we can and can’t believe.

An outgoing young man, Kong (Parinya Ngamwongwan) quits his job in film production to become a bookseller. There he meets the introverted and lonely Lek (Apichai Trakulpadejkrai) who works as a locksmith. When Kong, who dreams of becoming a writer, discovers that Lek can pick any lock, the pair of them start breaking into homes during the day, not to steal anything but to learn more about how other people live their lives. On one such escapade they get caught and get into a fight with the owner. Lek wakes up alone in a hospital but finds everyone is calling him Kong and has to try and unravel just who he really is. It’s eerily fascinating. English subtitles, and showing at Major only, generally once a day in the evening. See it!

The Bourne Legacy: US, Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – Jason Bourne (played in the three previous films by Matt Damon), the cause of all the mayhem, is not in fact in this film. It retains the name Bourne to identify it as a continuation of the franchise. The protagonist here is played by Jeremy Renner, in yet another CIA black ops program that the CIA decides to terminate after the disastrous events depicted in the first three films. It’s directed by Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter for the previous films. Generally favorable reviews, saying in general that It isn't quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but nevertheless proves the franchise has stories left to tell -- and benefits from Jeremy Renner's magnetic work in the starring role. In Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza, regular 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

Brave: US, Animation/ Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family/ Fantasy – Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, about an impetuous daughter of royalty. It’s produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney, and is Pixar's first fairy tale, and somewhat darker and more mature in tone than its previous films. Generally favorable reviews, saying it offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy-adventure with a strong female protagonist, and surprising depth. In 3D (English) at Airport Plaza, 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

Sat2Mon / Kuen Won Sao: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – A love-stricken young man is seeking help to date his dream girl from the girl's best friend. It’s said to have some cute and endearing moments along the way to a predictable ending. Thai-only at Vista; English subtitles at Major.

Ka Nam Nom: Thai, Drama – Director Nati Phunmanee fashions this Thai drama of a mother who sends both her children off to study in Bangkok, hoping that they can get good jobs and rise from their hardscrabble roots to have better lives. Their determination and relationship is put to the test when they get caught up in all the various problems that come with life in the big city, such as gang fights and drugs. At Vista only and in Thai only.

Total Recall: US/ Canada, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi – This is a remake of the 1990 science fiction film which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. This one stars Colin Farrell, with Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, directed by Len Wiseman. It’s set in 2084, and the plot involves a factory worker who suffers from violent nightmares, and takes advantage of the services of a corporation that provides its clients with implanted artificial memories of the lives they would like to have. Mixed or average reviews, saying that it has some impressive action sequences but lacks the intricate plotting, wry humor, and fleshed out characters that made the original a sci-fi classic. In Digital 2D (English) at both locations, and Vista also has a regular 2D version that’s Thai-dubbed.

Echo Planet: Thai, Animation/ Family – A Thai animated feature by the studio that gave us the hit cartoon Khan Kluay six years ago. It’s about three youngsters determined to save the world from global warming, and how traditional folk wisdom can do more to tackle world-wide problems than high-tech devices. Has gotten some highly appreciative reviews. No longer shown in 3D at Airport Plaza, only 2D, which is a shame; English subtitles. Not playing at Vista.

Step Up 4 / Step Up Revolution: US, Drama/ Music/ Romance – If you like the Step Up films, there's no reason you won't enjoy this one. The dance sequences are lively and spectacular, and there is something endearing about this series that separates them from other dance flicks: they know that they aren't high art, don't take themselves too seriously, and simply enjoy themselves. Their predictable and moronic story lines are only an excuse to showcase some mad dance moves that you'll never get to see in real life. Mixed or average reviews, but on the low side. In Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza; regular 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

Seven Something / Rak Jet Pee Dee Jet Hon: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – Three love stories from three generations, designed to celebrate the seventh year of the film studio GTH, home of many Thai hits, starting with the 2003 childhood romance Fan Chan (My Girl), one of my most favorite of all Thai films. Thai-only at Vista; English subtitles at Major.

The Dark Knight Rises: US/ UK, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Thriller – If you at all enjoyed the first two in this series, you will enjoy this one too. All in all, it’s a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the series, with much to commend it. This is without doubt one of the darkest mainstream films ever made, with an unrelieved depiction of the worst of human behavior. Even though the film is rated “G”, the dark is so unrelieved that it really makes me question whether I can consider it entertainment.

It is well made, there are fine performances, the movie craft in every department is superb. It’s directed again by Christopher Nolan, with Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, and Morgan Freeman. The movie was shot in 2D on film, which the director prefers for its photographic qualities which he finds superior in so many ways to digital, with about half of it shot in IMAX format for added detail, but again using film not digital capture. The director strongly insists that the movie be shown using film, not digital, and it was previously shown in film format at Airport Plaza. Now, however, it seems to be shown in Digital 2D, completely contrary to the filmmakers’ wishes. Vista is showing the film version (Thai-dubbed).


playing in Chiang Mai

Total Recall: US/ Canada, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi – This is a remake of the 1990 science fiction film which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. This one stars Colin Farrell, with Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, directed by Len Wiseman. It’s set in 2084, and unlike the original contains no trip to Mars. The plot involves a factory worker who suffers from violent nightmares, and takes advantage of the services of a corporation that provides its clients with implanted artificial memories of the lives they would like to have. Too soon for reviews.

Echo Planet: Thai, Animation/ Family – A Thai animated feature by the studio that gave us the hit cartoon Khan Kluay six years ago. It’s about three youngsters determined to save the world from global warming, and how traditional folk wisdom can do more to tackle world-wide problems than high-tech devices.

Step Up 4 / Step Up Revolution: US, Drama/ Music/ Romance – If you like the Step Up films, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this one. The dance sequences are lively and spectacular, and the 3D is great. There is something endearing about this series that separates them from other dance flicks. Most importantly, they don’t take themselves seriously. Their predictable and moronic story lines are simply an excuse to showcase some mad dance moves that you’ll never get to see in real life. These films know that they aren’t high art, and simply enjoy themselves. Mixed or average reviews, but on the low side. In 3D (English) and Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza; not at Vista.

Seven Something / Rak Jet Pee Dee Jet Hon: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – Three love stories from three generations, designed to celebrate the seventh year of the film studio GTH, home of many Thai hits, starting with the 2003 childhood romance Fan Chan (My Girl), one of my most favorite of all Thai films. Thai-only at Vista; English subtitles at Major.

The first story, directed by Paween Purijitpanya, and starring Jirayu La-ongmanee and Suthata Udomsilp, is about romance at the age of 14. Director Paween is responsible for the well-regarded horror thriller Body #19 and contributed to the hit horror compilations  Phobia and Phobia 2. The young actor Jirayu was in last year’s hit rock ‘n’ roll romance SuckSeed while Suthata was in another big GTH hit from last year, the psychological thriller Laddaland.

Adisorn Trisirikasem directs the second part, about a celebrity couple (Sunny Suwanmethanon and Cris Horwang) breaking up when they are 21 and reuniting at age 28. Adisorn is one of the six directors of Fan Chan and also directed and co-wrote the hit romance Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story.

Jira Maligool directs the third part, which features Nichkhun Horvejkul from the Korean boyband 2PM and newscaster Suquan Bulakul in a story about a woman marathon runner going through a crisis at age 42. Director Jira is a co-founder of the studio, and this marks his return to directing for the first time since 2005’s historical drama The Tin Mine – considered a flop apparently, but a film I enjoyed greatly in two viewings.

The Dark Knight Rises: US/ UK, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Thriller – If you at all enjoyed the first two in this series, you will enjoy this one too. All in all, it’s a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the series, with much to commend it.

And yet ... in a way it’s altogether fitting that the shootings in Colorado took place at a midnight showing of this film, for this is without doubt one of the darkest mainstream films ever made, with an unrelieved depiction of the worst of human behavior, with motives of simple power and sadism. Even though the film is rated “G”, the dark is so unrelieved that it really makes me question whether I can consider it entertainment – for me. At the moment, I think it is not.

It is well made, there are fine performances, the movie craft in every department is superb. It’s directed again by Christopher Nolan, with Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, and Morgan Freeman. Christopher Nolan co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan. It’s intended to be the conclusion of the series. The movie was shot in 2D on film, which the director prefers for its photographic qualities which he finds superior in so many ways to digital, with about half of it shot in IMAX format for added detail, but again using film not digital capture. Apparently, from all reports, the IMAX half is so impressive to watch that it’s worth traveling to Bangkok to see it at the one IMAX theatre showing it on film.

Its 2 hrs 45 mins long. Generally favorable reviews. The director strongly insists that the movie be shown using film, not digital, and it was shown in film format last week at Airport Plaza. This week, however, it seems to be shown in Digital 2D, completely contrary to the filmmakers’ wishes. Vista is showing both versions: the film version is Thai dubbed, but the English version comes on digital media.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift: US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – One of filmdom’s most beloved trios – Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth, and Diego the sabre-toothed cat – 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. Mixed or average reviews, saying that the visually inventive film has moments of charm and witty slapstick, and the 3D looks terrific. For some unaccountable reason, it is no longer being shown in 3D at Airport Plaza but only 2D (English), a real shame. In Digital 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista. Very good family fare.

The Dictator: US, Comedy – This newest film by that 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, 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), only at Airport Plaza, and usually only once a day.

The Amazing Spider-Man: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Thriller – I think it’s good, with some fine work in it, an intelligible story, and excellent special effects. I found myself cool to it overall, and I don’t know why. This time Peter Parker is played by the quite amazing Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), who makes a tremendously appealing hero for me. Although he’s way too old to be in high school, he does manage to pull it off. Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Generally highly favorable reviews. Now shown only in regular 2D (Thai-dubbed), and only at Vista.


 
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Now playing in Chiang Mai through August 15.

playing in Chiang Mai