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Vol. XI No.5 - Sunday August 19 - Saturday September 1, 2012


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Let's Go To The Movies  by Mark Gernpy

 
 

Let's go to the movies

By Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Chiang Mai through August 29.
Shambhala: Thai, Drama – An interesting and unusual Thai film starring two Thai actors of considerable note: Lao-Australian superstar Ananda Everingham, and Thai-French heart-throb Sunny Suwanmetanon. They play brothers on a pilgrimage to Tibet in search of Shambhala, a fabled kingdom that most consider to be located in Tibet, and is thought of as a sort of heaven on Earth in Tibetan and Indian Buddhist traditions. Actually shot in the expansive scenery of that country, and the project, written and directed by Panchapong Kongkanoi, took three years to complete. I’m looking forward to this one. A 2D film, with English subtitles at Airport Plaza, Thai only at Vista.

Echo Planet: Thai, Animation/ Family – A rather brilliant Thai animated feature by the studio that gave us the hit film 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. I like this film very much and wish I could induce more people to see it. It has much to offer. The animation is quite superb, and the Thai-ness of the film is delightful. I found it a quite entertaining tale with an environmental message, and a historic triumph for Thai animation. Also a personal triumph, I’d say, for the force behind it all, Kompin Kemkumnird, a Thai who has worked for both Disney (on the team for Tarzan) and Blue Sky Studios (creators of the Ice Age series). At present this excellent film is no longer shown in 3D at Airport Plaza, only 2D, which is a shame; English subtitles. Not playing at Vista.

The Dinosaur Project: UK, Adventure – Explorers go in search of a lost world with high-tech video cameras. Their target: a Loch Ness monster-like creature lurking in the depths of the Congo. This is an eccentrically British attempt to paste together two very different genres: stupendous dinosaur epic, like Jurassic Park, and found-footage fake documentary, like The Blair Witch Project. Mixed or average reviews. In Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza, regular 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

Ted: (In previews this week – i.e., showing after 8 pm only) US, Comedy/ Fantasy – This American comedy film is co-written, produced, and directed by Seth MacFarlane, who stars in it along with Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. In 1985, in the city of Swampscott, Massachusetts, John Bennett was a lonely child, who dearly wished for his new Christmas gift, a large teddy bear he names Teddy to come to life to be his friend. The wish succeeds with a falling star and Ted became a fully mobile sentient being. John's parents (Alex Borstein and Ralph Garman) got over the shock, word of the miracle spread, and Ted was briefly a celebrity. Now an adult, John has a problem with the bear: he refuses to leave his side. Rated R in the US for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use. Generally favorable reviews, saying that even though Ted's "romance versus bromance" plot is familiar, the film is held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script. In Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza only. Warning: It’s utter raunchiness, so don’t bring the kiddies, however much they might want to see a talking teddy bear.
The Expendables 2: US, Action/ Thriller – The Expendables are reunited for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat. Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, and Sylvester Stallone; directed by Simon West. Mixed or average reviews, saying in general that there’s plenty to enjoy on a non-cerebral level: a fun roundup of action stars who simultaneously celebrate and send up their former glories. Redundant, bombastic and cheekily self-aware. Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence throughout. In Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza, regular 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

Yes or No 2: Thai, Drama/ Romance – The sequel to Yes or No, the romance between Pie and Kim, two girls who fall in love with each other. Now, Pie and Kim have been in a relationship for three years, but an internship during their fourth year forces them to stay in different places for a while. However, their long distance love only strengthens their devotion. 2D with English subtitles at Major, Thai-only at Vista.

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/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, it’s about an impetuous daughter of royalty. The film is 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) and 2D (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.

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. Only at Vista, regular 2D (Thai-dubbed).


Now playing in Chiang Mai through August 22

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, once a day in the evening. See it!

Echo Planet: Thai, Animation/ Family – A Thai animated feature by the studio that gave us the hit animated feature 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, calling it an entertaining and handsomely rendered tale with an environmental message, and a historic triumph for Thai animation. Also a personal triumph, I’d say, for the force behind it all, Kompin Kemkumnird, a Thai who has worked for both Disney (on the team for Tarzan) and Blue Sky Studios (creators of the Ice Age series). No longer shown in 3D at Airport Plaza, only 2D, which is a shame; English subtitles. Not playing at Vista.

The Expendables 2: US, Action/ Thriller – The Expendables are reunited for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat. Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, and Sylvester Stallone; directed by Simon West. Mixed or average reviews, saying in general that there’s plenty to enjoy on a non-cerebral level: a fun roundup of action stars who simultaneously celebrate and send up their former glories. Redundant, bombastic and cheekily self-aware. Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence throughout. In Digital 2D (English) at Airport Plaza, regular 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Vista.

Yes or No 2: Thai, Drama/ Romance – The sequel to Yes or No, the romance between Pie and Kim, two girls who fall in love with each other. Now, Pie and Kim have been in a relationship for three years, but an internship during their fourth year forces them to stay in different places for a while. However, their long distance love only strengthens their devotion. 2D with English subtitles at Major; not showing 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. Said to be very much in the spirit of past GTH efforts, featuring directors and stars who've played a part in the studio's successes: familiar GTH-type stories about comfortable middle- and upper-class urban Thai existence, each with a wistful bittersweet and ambiguous ending. Thai-only at Vista; English subtitles at Major.

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, it’s about an impetuous daughter of royalty. The film is 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.

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 Major, regular 2D (Thai-dubbed) 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. Lots in Thailand do: it’s one of the hits of the year. The dance sequences are lively and spectacular, and there is something endearing about the series: 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 truly mad dance moves that you'd 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.


playing in Chiang Mai

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.

The Expendables 2: (Scheduled) US, Action/ Thriller – The Expendables are reunited for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat. Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, and Sylvester Stallone; directed by Simon West. No reviews yet. Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence throughout.

The Campaign: (Scheduled for August 23) US, Comedy – When a long-term congressman (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Also stars Jason Sudeikis and Zach Galifianakis. Rated R in the US for crude sexual content, language and brief nudity. Mixed or average reviews, saying that Its crude brand of political satire isn’t quite as smart or sharp as one might hope in a US election year, but nevertheless the movie manages to generate a sufficient number of laughs, thanks to its well-matched leads.

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).
For updated movie information and reviews, check the Chiang Mai Mail online. It’s updated every Saturday!


 
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Let's go to the movies

Now playing in Chiang Mai through August 22

playing in Chiang Mai

 

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