Let's Go To The Movies
by Mark Gernpy
Note: ENote: European Union Film Festival ends
tomorrow (Sunday, July 31). Twenty-two recent films are being shown at Vista
cinema 7 at Kad Suan Kaew. Free admission.
Now playing in Chiang Mai through Aug 3
Captain America: The First Avenger: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/
Thriller – Really a lot of old-fashioned fun, and by old I mean a steady
camera not jiggly in the current mode, and action you can follow rather than
a blur of images. And solid, confident film-making, so you feel that you’re
in the hands of experts. And an old time, World War II era with a terrific
and detailed evocation of the time and the wartime mood. And a good,
old-fashioned Hollywood musical number.
After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)
volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain
America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals. Three cheers
for the Red, White, and Blue!! Has fine performances by Evans, Hugo Weaving,
Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, and several others. See if you can figure
out how the moviemakers got Chris Evans so skinny to begin with. Diet maybe?
A body double, with Rogers’ head superimposed? Answer next week.
Way at the end, after the seemingly endless credits, there are secret scenes
from future films in the series. I’m looking forward to them.
Playing in both 2D and 3D versions in English at Airport Plaza, and an
additional 2D version that’s Thai-dubbed. In 2D at Vista, in both English
and Thai-dubbed versions. Generally favorable reviews.
Horrible Bosses: US, Comedy/ Crime – It’s been called a bouncy,
well-built, delightfully nasty tale of resentment, desperation, and amoral
revenge. Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jason Bateman, and Kevin Spacey
are nasty, uneven, and funny. Rated R in the US for crude and sexual
content, pervasive language, and some drug material. Mixed or average
reviews. At Airport Plaza only.
The Conspirator: (not playing at the moment, but may return to Vista
Monday after the EU Film Festival departs) US, Drama – In the wake of
Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and
charged with conspiring to kill the President, the Vice-President, and the
Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt, 42, owns a
boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the
simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War
Washington, new lawyer Frederick Aiken, a 28-year-old Union war-hero,
reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal, where the
rules state that only a majority vote is required for a guilty verdict and a
two-thirds vote is needed to sentence a defendant to death. It is a court
where a defendant is prohibited from testifying in their own defense. As the
trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is
being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to
have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son. Generally favorable reviews. At
It’s important to acknowledge the political statement that the very
existence of this film makes. Directed by Robert Redford, The Conspirator is
first of all true to the historical record; it’s written by James Solomon
who spent fourteen years researching the story. Beyond that, Redford, long a
champion of civil liberties in the United States, implicitly reminds us that
the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution expressly guarantees that "no
person shall be deprived of life without due process of law" and provides no
exception for war.
It is not only an important message for those unfamiliar with United States
history, but is strikingly relevant to the present day in which hundreds of
detainees at Guantanamo still languish in prison without trial, where a US
citizen, suspected of terrorist activities, is targeted without having been
charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime, and where the ideal of due
process and the presumption of innocence is slowly being replaced by
violence and the repudiation of legality.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: US, Action/ Adventure/
Sci-Fi – Go see it. You know you will eventually anyway. This, the final
Harry Potter, is an exciting and massively eventful finale that will grip
and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now.
It’s powerfully acted and visually dazzling. The entire series of Potter
books and motion pictures has been leading us to this final showdown between
Harry and Voldemort. The fight here between good and evil is more than
satisfying. It's thrilling – carrying an ultimate message that will resonate
with every viewer, young or old: there is darkness in all of us, but we can
It’s much better than the book, in my opinion, which has sections that are
so preposterous that no amount of suspension of disbelief can overcome. In
2D only now, and at Vista there’s both an English and a Thai-dubbed version.
Reviews: one of the rare films to be labeled by Metacritic as “Universal
The Moon (Pumpuang Duangjan): Thai, Drama/ Musical – The biography of
Pumpuang Duangjan, considered the Queen of Thai country music. The
rags-to-riches story charts her successes in the 1980’s up to her early
death in 1992 at the age of 31. One of the most anticipated Thai films of
the year, and with a newcomer in the starring role. Prettified as biography,
with reportedly anything that shows anyone in a bad light changed or
deleted. In Thai only at Vista, English subtitles at Major Cineplex.
Mary and Max: (Not playing at the moment, may return Monday)
Australia, Animation/ Comedy/ Drama – This is a lovingly crafted,
startlingly inventive piece of animation whose technical craft is equaled by
its emotional resonance. Adam Elliot, director of the Academy-award-winning
Harvey Krumpet, returns to the world of clay animation with this simple tale
of the innocent correspondence between a portly eight year old girl from the
suburbs of Melbourne and a morbidly obese, middle-aged Jewish New Yorker
suffering from Asperger's Syndrome. On the surface it would seem that Mary
(Toni Collette) and Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman) would have little in
common, but over the course of twenty years, the unlikely pen pals exchange
letters discussing everything from taxidermy, trust, pets, religion,
obesity, autism, agoraphobia, alcoholism, and just about any other topic
that comes to mind as they sit down and put pen to paper. Barry Humphries
and Eric Bana provide additional voices. In English and Yiddish, with Thai
subtitles. Generally favorable reviews. Vista only.
Gancore Gud: Thai, Comedy/ Horror – Usual Thai horror-comedy mix of
boobs and severed limbs, this time with gangsta rap. It’s written and
directed by hip-hop guru Joey Boy and stars him and his hip-hop group
Gancore Club. The group is stuck on a remote island, where their paradise
turns to horror as they encounter bloody islanders who love to kill people,
and zombies that rise up from the sea. In Thai only at Vista, English
subtitles at Airport Plaza. Rated 18+.