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Vol. X No.18 - December 1 - December 31, 2011


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 

Let's Go To The Movies  by Mark Gernpy

 

Let's go to the movies By Mark Gernpy

A dissenting voice to Vista manager Tommy’s contention that “the larger part of the people that see films at Vista will like Thai language more than English,” a viewer has written on the Vista blog, “I think that if you used Soundtrack [original language], you’d probably get more steady customers.” She felt that you lose a lot of meaning when the film is not shown in the original language. To take part in the conversation, go to the Vista schedule and blog at http://vistashowtime.blogspot.com/ and click on the “comments” tab at the bottom.

Now playing in Chiang Mai through Dec 28.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: US, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Mystery/ Thriller – Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty. Once again starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Face it, there’s no way there’s going to be a legitimate Holmes movie coming out these days. Surely not when the 2009 film made so much money. This sequel has just as many explosions, anachronisms, quick cuts, and all the rest of the attributes of an action movie. But for all that, the dialogue is a little sharper and more refined, the action really quite inventive, and at least Holmes gets a worthy opponent in Professor Moriarty. It’s mostly enjoyable to watch due to its well-matched leading men. In forty or eighty years from now when these confusingly edited action sequences in all our current films will be re-edited, as surely they must, this will turn out to be a wholly delightful film. Mixed or average reviews. Thai-dubbed-only at Vista, in English at Airport Plaza.

Arthur Christmas: UK/ US, Animation/ Comedy/ Drama/ Family – Reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: “So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?” The answer: Santa has an exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation, hidden beneath the North Pole. Delivering two billion presents in one night, it’s run very much like a military operation. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction, so it says here. And the family is Santa’s! Generally favorable reviews, saying that it’s a clever and earnest holiday film with surprising emotional strength. From the British studio that brought us the Wallace and Gromit tales, in conjunction with Sony Animation. In Digital 3D, and at Major only.

The Kick / Won Don Tae: Thailand/ South Korea, Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – A South Korean-Thai co-production about a Korean family in Bangkok who join with a pair of Thai friends to battle gangsters. Mom and Pop, former Korean Taekwondo champs, settle down in Thailand and open a Korean restaurant and Taekwondo school. Their three kids, though, are interested in different things; the teenage boy is crazy about K-pop, the girl loves football and Thai dance, and only the youngest boy shows any interest in Taekwondo. Soon the family makes friends with Mum Jokmok – who else? – and his niece, a talented Muay Thai boxer, played by Thailand’s favorite female fighter, Jeeja Yanin. Everything changes when the family and their friends become involved with Korean mobsters who've stolen some ancient daggers. This film premiered at the Busan Film Festival and already has been released theatrically in South Korea. Directed by Prachya Pinkaew. Thai-only at Vista, with English subtitles at Airport Plaza.

Headshot / Fon Tok Kuen Fa: Thai, Action/ Thriller – A film By Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director of Last Life in the Universe, this is a modern film noir about a man trying to forget his past – but his past and his karma won't forget him. Premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, then was shown at the Tokyo and Vancouver festivals; has created a bit of interest and anticipation. Rated 18+ in Thailand. At Vista only, and in Thai only.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol: US, Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – I found this to be an exciting and intense action thriller, and of that kind of thing, very well-done indeed. This, the fourth film in the popular series, again stars Tom Cruise, and he still exhibits his undeniable star-quality. The IMF is shut down when it is implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name. It’s a 2D film, with some parts filmed in super high-definition Digital IMAX. When shown in an IMAX cinema (in Bangkok only) these sections are reputedly really something to see, with the high point being the scaling of the Burj Dubai, now the world’s tallest building at 2,723 ft. Tom Cruise is insisting that all the height-defying stunt work on the building was done by him personally. Even without an IMAX projector, the high definition of these scenes are impressive and spectacular. But the whole film is a lot of fun. Both an English and a Thai-dubbed version at Vista; English at Airport Plaza. Generally favorable reviews.

Twilight 4: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: US, Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – Not bad at all! Once you accept the setup (and you might as well, or you’ll get nowhere and shouldn’t be watching) you’ll find it fairly strong, and with perhaps the most disturbing and horrendous pregnancy and childbirth since Rosemary’s Baby. Yes, Edward and Bella are expecting a child, and the Quileute and the Volturi are uneasy. Who do these last two names refer to? Why as any kid can tell you, they are a wolf pack and a vampire coven – currently the world’s most favorite vampires and werewolves. There is certainly some real juice to the film, and I did enjoy it. The wedding night scene between Edward and Bella originally caused the film to receive an R rating, and the scene had to be re-edited to receive a PG-13 rating; so, it’s safe now, whew! Part 2 is due next November, and I’m looking forward to it. Mixed or average reviews. This is a 2D film. Now only at Airport Plaza. See it! You may be pleasantly surprised.


Movies in Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Mail Online Update of December 17, 2011

In response to a viewer comment on the Vista website questioning the heavy emphasis on Thai language and Thai-dubbed films in the Vista schedule, “Tommy,” who has overseen the film program at Vista for a long time, wrote that he believes that “the larger part of the people that see films at Vista will like Thai language more than English.”

Now playing in Chiang Mai through Dec 21.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol: US, Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – The IMF is shut down when it is implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name. This, the fourth film in the popular series, again stars Tom Cruise. From all I hear, it’s an exciting and intense action thriller, and of that type, well-done indeed. A 2D film, with Airport Plaza showing a Digital 2D version as well. And apparently the Digital IMAX sections when shown in an IMAX cinema (in Bangkok only) are something to see, if only for its shots of the scaling of the Burj Dubai, now the world’s tallest building at 2,723 ft. Tom Cruise is insisting that all the height-defying stunt work on the building was done by him personally. Both an English and a Thai-dubbed version at Vista. Generally favorable reviews.

Happy Feet Two (3D): Australia, Animation/ Comedy/ Family/ Music – The story once again revolves around the colony of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, and especially around Mumble, the dancing penguin who’s now married and has a son. Once again the character Mumble is drawn based on performance capture of the brilliant and street-smart tap dancer Savion Glover who's style is absolutely unique. I didn’t quite feel his presence here as I did so overwhelmingly in the first film. Nevertheless the whole show is a joy, with much to recommend it in terms of music, dancing, and state-of-the-art 3D animation. Mumble’s son has difficulty in finding his unique way of expressing himself, but when he finally finds his “song” it is truly unexpected, outrageous, and thrilling. Added to the mix are two characters – Bill and Will Krill – who some feel are out of place and unnecessary, and others think are the best things in the film: two shrimp-like crustaceans at the extreme bottom of the food chain whose imminent fate of being eaten force them into an existential despair, and who philosophize on the bleakness of existence with all the poetry and angst of Samuel Beckett tramps. Played with great style and comraderie by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. I loved them. Mixed or average reviews, saying it’s too cluttered to have the charm of the original, but praise is generally given to the 3D use. I say it’s a lot of fun. In Digital 3D, and only at Airport Plaza.

Immortals (2011): US, Action/ Drama/ Fantasy – With fantastical design and painterly images that are really quite beautiful (when not too dark to be seen), this film lacks any character development and has no emotional resonance for any of its characters. Eons after the Gods won their mythic struggle against the Titans, a new evil threatens the land, the rise of power-mad King Hyperion, nicely played by Mickey Rourke. King Hyperion has declared war against humanity. and has scorched Greece in search of the legendary Epirus Bow, a really nifty-looking semi-automatic bow-and-arrow weapon of unimaginable power forged in the heavens. Rapid editing spoils most of the film for me; I can see how this might be a decent film, if completely re-edited. Rated R in the US for sequences of strong bloody violence, and a scene of sexuality; 15+ here. Mixed or average reviews. English and Digital 3D at Airport Plaza, Thai-dubbed and 2D at Vista.

Twilight 4: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: US, Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – Not bad at all! Once you accept the setup (and you might as well, or you’ll get nowhere and shouldn’t be watching) you’ll find it fairly strong, and with perhaps the most disturbing and horrendous pregnancy and childbirth since Rosemary’s Baby. Yes, Edward and Bella are expecting a child, and the Quileute and the Volturi are uneasy. Who do these last two names refer to? Why as any kid can tell you, they are a wolf pack and a vampire coven – currently the world’s most favorite vampires and werewolves. There is certainly some real juice to the film, and I did enjoy it. By the way, the wedding night scene between Edward and Bella originally caused the film to receive an R rating, and the scene had to be re-edited to receive a PG-13 rating; so, it’s safe now, whew!. Part 2 is due next November, and I’m looking forward to it. Mixed or average reviews. This is a 2D film. English at Airport Plaza, Thai-dubbed at Vista. See it! You may be pleasantly surprised.

Puss in Boots: US, Adventure/ Animation/ Comedy/ Fantasy – An absolute delight! Excellent animation, with a lot of varied fun, songs, and dance. Long before he met Shrek, the notorious fighter, lover, and outlaw Puss in Boots became a hero when he set off on an adventure with the tough and street-smart Kitty Softpaws and the mastermind Humpty Dumpty to save his town. Generally favorable reviews, saying it has an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm, and I completely agree. Now only at Vista, the 3D is gone, and their version as usual is Thai-dubbed. A lot of careful work goes into the vocal delivery of the characters in the original English version, with some of the brilliant vocal work being considered worthy of Oscar notice. But all of that artistry is lost, of course, when it’s Thai-dubbed. Just saying.


 Now playing in Chiang Mai through Dec 7.

Twilight 4: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: US, Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – Edward and Bella are expecting a child, and the Quileute and the Volturi are uneasy.

Who do these last two names refer to? Why as any kid could tell you, they are a wolf pack and a vampire coven. Seems the film is mostly for the Twilight fan faithfuls, as it’s mostly slow and joyless.

But the New York Times says there’s some real juice to it featuring, as it does, a horrendous pregnancy that “the director Bill Condon makes so palpably disturbing that it might cause David Cronenberg, the master of body horror, to wince.” The sex scene between Edward and Bella originally caused the film to receive an R rating, and the scene had to be re-edited to receive a PG-13 rating. Part 2 due next November. Mixed or average reviews. English at Airport Plaza, Thai-dubbed at Vista.

Puss in Boots 3D: US, Adventure/ Animation/ Comedy/ Fantasy – Long before he met Shrek, the notorious fighter, lover, and outlaw Puss in Boots became a hero when he set off on an adventure with the tough and street smart Kitty Softpaws and the mastermind Humpty Dumpty to save his town. This is the true story of The Cat, The Myth, The Legend ... The Boots. With Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and Zach Galifianakis.

Generally favorable reviews, saying it has an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm. Shown in Digital 3D at Airport Plaza and 2D and Thai-dubbed at Vista. A lot of careful work goes into the vocal delivery of the characters in the original English version, with some of the vocal work being considered worthy of Oscar notice. But all of that artistry is lost, of course, when it’s Thai-dubbed. Just reminding you.

The Thing (2011): US/ Canada, Horror/ Mystery/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A prelude to John Carpenter's classic 1982 film of the same name: A paleontologist has traveled to a desolate region of Antarctica for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, she must join the crew's pilot to keep it from killing them off one at a time. Rated R in the US for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language; 15+ here. Mixed or average reviews. Thai-dubbed at Vista, English at Airport Plaza (shown in Digital, but not 3D).

Tower Heist: US, Action/ Comedy/ Crime – Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda lead an all-star cast in a comedy caper about ordinary working guys who seek revenge on the Wall Street swindler who stiffed them in a Ponzi scheme. I found it a fair low-key comedy with some amusing sequences and a touch of social commentary. Should have been better, par for the course from director Brett Ratner, but it’s pleasant enough. Mixed or average reviews. In English at both locations.

In Time: US, Crime/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – I quite enjoyed this film! It has one of the most intriguing premises of recent movies: In a future where time is literally money, and aging stops at 25, the only way to stay alive is to earn, steal, or inherit more time. You need to stretch your beliefs a bit to swallow all this, but once you do you’re in for a fun and stylish ride with a bit of social commentary. It’s a quietly angry picture – an extended metaphor for the way corporations suck the life from the poor and the not-quite-middle-class. A young man (the ubiquitous and ever more excellent Justin Timberlake) lives life a minute at a time, until a windfall of time gives him access to the world of the wealthy, where he teams up with a beautiful young heiress to destroy the whole corrupt system. Also stars Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettyfer, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde. An interesting style to it, and the art direction and cinematography are top notch. Mixed or average reviews. Only at Airport Plaza.

30 Kam Lung Jaew: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – After three weeks as the top film in Thailand, it’s now in the second spot, displaced by Puss in Boots. Still mighty popular. Ja, a beautiful woman, has everything a woman is supposed to dream of having: a successful career, a partying lifestyle, and a handsome sweetheart. On her 30th birthday, Ja finds her perfect life changed when her boyfriend wants to halt the relationship. Now, at thirtysomething, Ja accepts a happy single life until a new guy gets in her life – and he’s seven years younger than she is. I’m led to believe it’s a charming tale. Shown Thai only at both locations.


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